Let's assume you are ready to file an application or petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). What can you do to ensure that CIS approves your application?

  • Consider contacting a licensed attorney that practices immigration law. Using an attorney gives you security that you have used the correct form, that the application is complete, is in proper order and is being sent to the correct CIS office, and that CIS can contact the attorney if there is a problem. An attorney can also save you lots of time dealing with CIS and the application process.
  • Double check the form instructions to make sure you have included all required documentation and fully completed the application. Check www.immigration.gov to make sure you have the most recent forms and the correct fee amount.
  • Double check your responses on the form. Make sure you have answered all applicable sections.
  • Make a copy of your complete application.
  • Prepare a cover letter listing your enclosures.
  • Note that CIS likes you to indicate page numbers on your documents for certain forms.
  • Check the form instructions or www.immigration.gov for the order of the enclosures.
  • Send it via overnight delivery or certified U.S. mail, return receipt requested. That way, you have evidence of delivery.
  • Complete and include form G-1145 if you would like an email indicating USCIS received your package.

Now that you have sent your application, what happens next?

  • You should receive a Receipt Notice within a month. Review it to make sure your information is correct; if it is incorrect, contact CIS.
  • If you don't receive a Receipt Notice within a month, determine if your check for the fee has cleared your bank account. We recommend sending checks, and not money orders, for this reason.
  • Depending on the application, you may receive an appointment notice to take your "Biometrics." This is a fancy word for electronic picture and fingerprints. You will have to travel to Atlanta on a scheduled date and time. You can reschedule your appointment, but rescheduling is likely to delay processing of your application.
  • You may realize that you failed to include certain documentation or information. You can submit a supplemental filing. Indicate your name, address, date of birth and the receipt number provided in the Receipt Notice on your cover letter so CIS can match up the supplemental filing with your application. Make a copy and send as noted above.
  • You may receive a Request for Evidence. Read it carefully and timely respond. Send everything requested, even if it was in the previous application package. Make a copy and send as noted above.
  • You may receive a Notice of Intent to Deny. Read it carefully and timely respond. Make a cogent argument why your application should be approved. An attorney may be able to locate favorable case law to include in your argument.
  • You may be required to attend an interview. The interview notice will indicate what to bring. Comply with those instructions and take any other documents that might help your case. Practice responding to questions about yourself and anyone that has petitioned for you. Schedule an interpreter if you need one, or if having an interpreter will make you more comfortable.
  • Pray for a favorable decision!
  • You can check the status of your case at https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do. You can also check standard processing times at that site. If your case is outside of the normal processing time, contact CIS at 800-375-5283 and initiate a case status inquiry.

While we like to help clients from beginning to end; often, however, clients contact us in the middle of the process. That's fine, too. We want to help you prepare and file the best application you can!

GKH attorneys pride themselves on being on the forefront of new immigration developments, and we strive to keep you informed of the developments regarding immigration issues. Please call the GKH Immigration Group toll free at 888-463-8117 for more information or representation in your immigration process. We help clients through the internet from around the U.S. and the world. Let us help you no matter where you are, near or far!

This blog is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship or provide legal advice. Please contact the author if you have any questions or comments regarding the subject matter