Attorney, CEO & Cofounder of ImmigrationHelp.org
Jonathan is the proud husband and son of American immigrants. Prior to co-founding ImmigrationHelp.org, Jonathan practiced at two international law firms and graduated from both law school and college at the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as an advisor on international law to both the IMF and the World Bank. In 2017, Jonathan was recognized by FastCase as one of the 50 most innovative leaders in the legal profession. When he isn’t fighting for immigrant rights, Jonathan can be found at the gym, traveling, watching soccer, and reading.
Articles written by Jonathan Petts
What are the benefits of getting a green card?
More than a million people in the United States live in lawful permanent resident status. People become permanent residents in different ways,- through marriage, close family members, employment, and others. There are several benefits of holding a green card. This article explains green card benefits, the responsibilities of having a green card, and some limitations green card holders face.Read More →
Can I File Form I-485 While in Removal Proceedings?
If you are eligible, you can file Form I-485, Adjustment of Status Application, even if you are in removal proceedings and the U.S. government is trying to deport you. This process might seem unusual, but in some situations, you may be eligible to adjust your immigration status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read on to learn when, why, and how you might file Form I-485 during a removal proceeding.Read More →
What Is USCIS Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative?
Every year, many U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents sponsor green card applications for their close family members who are foreign nationals. The first step in most family-based green card application processes is filing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-130, officially called the Petition for Alien Relative. USCIS uses this form to verify a real and qualifying relationship between the green card sponsor and the green card applicant. In this article, we discuss the purpose of Form I-130, who can and can’t file Form I-130, the Form I-130 filing fees, and how long it takes USCIS to process the form.Read More →
Can I Get a Work Permit While Waiting for My Green Card?
Once you get a green card, you’ll enjoy many rights and privileges as a legal resident of the United States, including the right to have a job. But it often takes a long time for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process green card applications. During this waiting period, you can’t legally work in the United States unless you have authorization. If you want to work while you’re waiting for your green card to be approved, you have to apply for a work permit using Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization. In this article, we take a closer look at work permits, including how to get one while waiting for a green card.Read More →
How to Get U.S. Citizenship if you have a Marriage Green Card
Many immigrants in the United States become citizens through the naturalization process. When you have your marriage green card, you can begin to think about naturalizing as a U.S. citizen. All lawful permanent residents can apply to become U.S. citizens. As an American citizen, you'll be eligible to vote in all state and national elections, apply for federal jobs, and live abroad however long you want. You will also never be deported from the United States as a U.S. citizen. This article explains the requirements for naturalizing as a citizen if you hold a marriage green card. It also explains the naturalization process itself.Read More →
How To Write a Cover Letter for Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé)
To prepare a K-1 fiancé(e) visa application for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you must complete the required forms, gather supporting documents, and pay fees. It’s not mandatory to include a cover letter in your application packet, but doing so can help keep your application materials organized and make sure you don’t miss any required documents. You can also use the cover letter to highlight anything you want USCIS to know about your visa application. This article explains what a K-1 fiancé visa cover letter is and the elements it should include. There’s also a template you can use to write your own.Read More →
How to Apply for a Change of Status From a Visitor Visa to a Marriage Green Card
Every year, many foreign nationals meet and fall in love with U.S. citizens and permanent residents while in the country on a B-1/B-2 visitor visa. Many couples choose to make their home in the United States. When that happens, the foreign spouse needs to get a green card to live in the country legally. U.S. immigration law allows immigrants on tourist visas to petition for an adjustment of status from their visitor visa to a green card, but the foreign spouse must meet certain eligibility criteria to do so. In this article, we describe how a foreign spouse qualifies to apply for a marriage green card while on a visitor visa, and what the application process is like when they are changing their immigration status.Read More →
What Happens to Your Immigration Status When You Get Divorced?
Getting divorced may affect your immigration status, depending on what type of marriage green card you have. Divorce won’t affect the status of people who have permanent green cards, but it can delay their application for naturalization. If you have a conditional green card and you get divorced, it may be more difficult to get a permanent green card. This article discusses how divorce can affect immigration status and how people with conditional green cards can still apply to become permanent U.S. residents, even after their marriage ends.Read More →
A Comprehensive Guide to the U.S. Citizenship Test
The U.S. Citizenship Test is one of the most important aspects of your citizenship application. You'll need to pass the test to become an American citizen, and you can only take the exam twice. This article is a comprehensive guide to the U.S. Citizenship Test. It explains what to expect on the test, how you should prepare, whether you can request special accommodations if you have a disability, who's exempt from taking the test, and what happens after you take it.Read More →
Do You Need To Provide Tax Returns To File for Naturalization?
Everyone who works in the United States must file taxes with the IRS. This requirement includes lawful permanent residents and nonimmigrants with U.S. employment authorization. If you intend to naturalize as a U.S. citizen eventually, you will need to provide tax returns as part of your application, so it is essential to understand your tax filing requirements. This article explains all you should know about filing tax returns for your current or upcoming naturalization application.Read More →
Same-Sex Couples and Marriage Green Card Applications: Common Questions and Concerns About the Process
Same-sex couples must be treated equally under U.S. immigration law thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the United States v. Windsor case, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. Even further, in 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that every state be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Following both Supreme Court rulings, gay marriage is legal in every U.S. state. Accordingly, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will view same-sex marriages the same as opposite-sex marriages in deciding on family green card applications. USCIS will not factor in the spouses' genders or biological sexes in making visa application decisions. Same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are welcome to apply for marriage green cards, just like heterosexual couples. However, gay and lesbian couples do face some unique challenges in applying for a marriage green card. This article discusses these challenges and explains how to address them.Read More →
K1 Fiancé Visas vs. Marriage Green Cards: What Are the Differences?
U.S. citizens who would like to marry their foreign fiance have two options to bring their partner to the United States: a marriage green card (spouse visa) through Consular Processing or a K-1 fiance visa. U.S. green card holders may not apply for a K-1 Visa. The main differences between a K-1 fiance visa and a marriage green card are their timing, location, and cost. The K-1 visa is often the quicker option for international couples. It takes 9-15 months and costs $800. With this visa, the couple can begin life in the U.S. immediately after their wedding. They will still have to apply for a marriage green card for the foreign spouse to stay in the U.S. The process of adjusting status from a K-1 fiance visa to a marriage green card takes 4-6 months and costs $1225. Consular marriage green cards (spouse visas) are issued after the couple is married outside of the U.S. The consular marriage green card application process takes 11-32 months and costs $1,210. The foreign spouse cannot move to the U.S. until the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) approves their green card application. Choosing between a K-1 fiance visa and a spouse visa can be tricky, but this article is here to help!Read More →
Can You Apply for Advance Parole With a Criminal Record?
Getting status and other U.S. immigration benefits may be out of reach for people with criminal records. If you have ever committed a felony, for example, you can't get immigration benefits. Advance Parole is a travel permit available to special immigrants and those adjusting status to green cards. For example, if you have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, you can travel abroad and return with Advance Parole. This article explains how you can qualify for Advance Parole and whether or not a criminal record can keep you from getting Advance Parole.Read More →
How to get a marriage green card if you have a TN visa
As part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), nationals of Canada or Mexico can work in the United States through the special TN visa classification. Many of these NAFTA professionals build connections and form relationships with Americans that could end up in marriage. The TN visa is not a "dual-intent" visa. This means changing status to a green card after marrying a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident can be tricky, but it is still possible. This article explains how to get a marriage green card if you have a TN visa and some considerations to bear in mind.Read More →
How to Get a Green Card for Your Child (a Step-by-Step Guide)
As a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder), or U.S. Citizen, you can petition for your foreign-born child who is seeking U.S. resident status to immigrate to the United States and receive their own Green Card. The marital status and age of your children tend to be the largest factors for this application process. We can help you p[repare your Child Green Card application paperwork](http://b.link/immigrationscreener) for free with our simple web app. Read on to learn more.Read More →
How To Get a Copy of Your Marriage Certificate for Your Green Card Application
Every couple must provide evidence of a valid marriage involving a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident to complete their marriage green card application. This article explains how to get a copy of your marriage certificate for your application, which alternative documents you can submit, and what to do if there’s no legal record of your marriage.Read More →
What are the Requirements for Naturalization in the United States?
In addition to holding their green cards for a 3-year or 5-year minimum, lawful permanent residents of the United States must also meet specific requirements to naturalize as U.S. citizens. This article details each requirement for naturalization, how to meet it as a naturalization applicant, and any exemptions that may apply.Read More →
What is "Sanctuary" and how Does it Help Immigrants?
Immigrants in the United States have been increasingly vulnerable to raids, detentions, and deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) immigration agents. As a result, many faith groups and some neighborhoods, campuses, and offices have tried to find ways to advocate for and protect the immigrants in their communities. The practice of sanctuary is one way that faith groups and other communities are trying to protect immigrants from deportation. In this article, we'll explain what sanctuary is, and how it can be helpful to immigrants who are living in a place that is a sanctuary.Read More →
What is the TN visa?
There are several different categories of visas for foreign nationals entering the United States. The TN visa is available specifically for certain Canadian citizens and Mexican citizens. This article explains what the TN visa is, who’s eligible for it, and the application process. The article also answers frequently asked questions about the TN visa, including whether it’s possible to get a green card while in TN status.Read More →
U.S. Immigration Stats - Citizenship by Naturalization
Every year, about 860,000 U.S. green card holders apply for Citizenship by Naturalization, the process by which a lawful permanent resident becomes a U.S. citizen after living in the U.S. for a period of time, usually 3–5 years. Like citizens born in the United States, naturalized citizens can vote in American elections and apply for American passports. And they can never be deported. Of the applications submitted each year, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves about 23%, denies about 2–3%, and leaves about 70% pending. This article covers the U.S. citizenship by naturalization process and statistics on that process.Read More →
What Supporting Documents Do You Need to Get a U.S. Green Card for Your Child?
If you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, you can sponsor your child for a Green Card. You and your child will need to submit certain documents to the U.S. Government when you apply. The application process and documents you will need are different when the child you are seeking a Green Card for is living *__inside__* of the United States (“[Adjustment of Status](https://webflow.com/filing-guides/family-green-card-concurrent)”) and when they are living *__outside__* of the United States (“[Consular Processing](https://webflow.com/filing-guides/family-green-card-consular)”). This guide will serve as a document checklist for both processes.Read More →
2022 Immigration Predictions
2021 was in many ways a [disappointing year](https://newrepublic.com/article/164752/immigration-reform-dead-build-back-better/) for immigration reform. Although the White House rescinded some Trump-era restrictions on immigration, efforts to create a path to citizenship for Dreamers and undocumented agricultural workers failed. Despite these setbacks, immigration reform remains one of the Biden Administration’s top priorities for this year. This article predicts five things that will happen in immigration in 2022.Read More →
Over 60,000 Immigrants Still Waiting for USCIS to Approve Their DACA Applications
President Biden reinstated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program soon after his election to the relief of eligible undocumented youth who missed their opportunity to get status under the Trump administration. Many eligible immigrant youths applied for DACA six months after Biden signed the Executive Order reinstating the program. However, as many as 60,000 and more of these new DACA applicants have yet to receive approved applications from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).Read More →
USCIS Is No Longer Processing New DACA Applications - But You Can Still Apply!
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a vital immigration program. It allows undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children (called Dreamers) to live and work in America. DACA status keeps Dreamers free from the constant threat of deportation to unfamiliar countries. Currently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency responsible for DACA applications, is no longer processing new applications. However, USCIS will accept your application if you choose to send it in. This article will provide a brief legal history of DACA and explain why USCIS is accepting but not processing applications. It will also explain how ImmigrationHelp can help you file for DACA for free and provide resources to learn more about DACA.Read More →
What is President Joe Biden's Immigration Agenda?
Since taking office, Democratic President Biden and Vice President Harris have directed federal agencies to address immigration far differently than the previous administration. In late January of 2021, the Biden administration announced their new U.S. immigration reform plan, which focuses on increasing access to legal immigration and reforming immigration enforcement.Read More →
Is It Risky To Travel With Advance Parole?
For Deferred Action and Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and adjustment of status applicants, the U.S. government makes provision for a travel document called Advance Parole. Advance Parole allows immigrants based in the United States to travel abroad while in status or while waiting for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to process their paperwork. If you have DACA or are applying for adjustment of status, your approved Advance Parole document will serve the same purpose as a U.S. visa, allowing re-entry to the United States upon returning. In this article, we explain Advance Parole, how to get it, and highlight some of the risks involved in traveling back to the United States on Advance Parole.Read More →
How To Get Advance Parole for Business Travel
For many people applying for immigration benefits, Advance Parole is necessary to travel abroad while they wait for the U.S. government to process their application. Other immigrants, like recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), must also have an approved travel permit before leaving the United States if they'd like to return. Advance Parole makes it possible for immigrants with business ties abroad to leave the United States temporarily for work. In this article, we'll explain what business reasons you can get Advance Parole for as well as the step-by-step application process for getting the travel permit.Read More →
Removal of Conditions on Marriage Green Cards
Years ago, the U.S. government instituted tighter measures to help prevent marriage fraud. Issuing conditional green cards (CR-1 visas) to newly-married couples was one of those measures. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) places conditions on your green card so they can re-assess whether your marriage is based on a bona fide relationship with your spouse. This article explains the removal of conditions process for marriage green cards and answers some frequently asked questions about the process.Read More →
What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Approved” Mean for My Form I-129F Application?
If your USCIS case status says “Case Was Approved,” congratulations! This status means USCIS has reviewed your Form I-129F application, determined your eligibility, and decided to grant your fiancé visa. You’ll often see several statuses before approval as your case progresses, and it can take a long time for USCIS to process and approve your application. It can take anywhere from 4–22 months for USCIS to process and approve Form I-129F applications. This article explains the case approval process with USCIS and what happens after your case is approved.Read More →
What Is the Visa Waiver Program?
The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens from eligible countries to stay in the United States for 90 days without getting a visa. It applies to those traveling for business or tourism. This article will explain how the Visa Waiver Program works, who qualifies for it, and how it compares to a B-1 or B-2 visitor visa. If you qualify, you can save yourself time and money on your trip to the U.S., but you should also be aware of a few drawbacks.Read More →
How To Find Help With Your Immigration Application When You Need Some Extra Help
ImmigrationHelp.org is a nonprofit that helps low-income Dreamers prepare their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Advance Parole application paperwork for free. With DACA, you can access immigration benefits like work authorization and protection from deportation. ImmigrationHelp.org is not a law firm, so we cannot provide legal representation for our users. As a nonprofit, our goal is to empower you to file your DACA and Advance Parole paperwork on your own. In this article, we explain other resources you can turn to when you need a bit more help than we can provide.Read More →
All You Need To Know About Form I-589: Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal
If you want to apply for asylum in the United States, you must submit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-589 within one year of arriving in the United States. You’ll also need to submit documents to support your application. This article will help you understand how to fill out form I-589 and what supporting documentation you’ll need to provide. It will also cover some tips to help ensure your application has the best chance of success.Read More →
How To Get or Renew a U.S. Asylum Work Permit
Asylum is a part of U.S. immigration law that allows people fleeing persecution or violence in their home country to live and work in the United States. If you have applied for asylum and your application has been in process for more than 150 days, you can apply for a work permit. This work permit allows you to work in the U.S. while you wait for a decision on your asylum case. You may hear a work permit called an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or an employment authorization card. You cannot work without one. After you receive an initial work permit, you can apply to renew your asylum work permit at any time. Once you apply for renewal, USCIS will extend your expiration date by 540 days. This article contains everything you need to know to apply for a U.S. work permit as an asylee and how to renew your asylum work permit.Read More →
What Is Form I-134: Declaration of Support?
As part of the U.S. temporary visa application process, you will have to prove to the U.S. government that you can afford to care for yourself while visiting the United States. You can verify this with evidence of your personal funds or have someone vouch for you financially with a declaration of support. They will file the declaration of support using Form I-134. This article explains Form I-134, who can file Form I-134, and which temporary visa applications may benefit from it. It also explains how to file Form I-134 and which supporting documents to include.Read More →
What Is Form I-730?
Once U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves your asylum application, you can apply for your immediate relatives to join you in the United States. To do that, you will have to file a Form I-730 petition on their behalf. This article explains Form I-730, including who can file it and when, which relatives qualify for it, and how to file a Form I-730 petition.Read More →
How To Apply for Refugee Status in the United States
As part of humanitarian provisions under U.S. immigration law, thousands of refugees come into the United States every year. These are people fleeing persecution in various forms from all around the world. This article explains what the legal definition of a refugee is, who is eligible for U.S. refugee status, and how to submit a refugee application to the United States.Read More →
How To Use Form I-912 Supporting Documents To Get a Fee Waiver
Applying or petitioning U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for immigrant benefits can be expensive. Many of the petitions or applications require fees of hundreds of dollars that you might struggle to afford. To accommodate these financial challenges, you could be eligible for a fee waiver from the USCIS by completing Form I-912. Generally speaking, many required USCIS fees can be waived if you can prove that you’re suffering from a financial hardship or otherwise meet specific income standards. To provide this proof, you’ll need to attach complete and accurate supporting documents to Form I-912.Read More →
What Is the National Visa Center?
Getting a visa to live or work in the United States usually begins with submitting a petition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After USCIS approves the petition, it transfers it to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC then handles the visa application process, which includes receiving forms, collecting fees, reviewing documents, and setting up the consular interview.Read More →
How To Spot and Avoid Immigration Scams
Filing for immigration status requires a lot of paperwork. Many people get help with their immigration applications. While there are credible services out there to help you file your paperwork, you should know how to spot and avoid common immigration scams. This is especially true if you’re paying for help. It’s important to understand common immigration scams because falling victim to one can hurt you financially and harm your immigration proceedings. The article explains what the most common scams are, how to spot new scams, and what to do if you have been scammed.Read More →
Types of Relief From Removal Proceedings: An Overview
When the U.S. government wants you out of the country, they’ll try to deport you with a removal proceeding. If you find yourself in this situation, you have several forms of relief available, including voluntary departure, adjustment of status, cancellation of removal, asylum, and more. Many of these can delay or stop your deportation, although they’re not always easy to get or applicable to every situation. After reading this article, you should have a general idea of some of the more common forms of relief available and how they work.Read More →
What Are the Tax Filing Requirements for U.S. Nonresident Aliens?
Even if you aren’t a U.S. citizen or U.S. national, you may still need to file an IRS income tax return. Generally speaking, nonresident aliens of the United States must file an IRS tax return if they received income or were engaged in a trade or business in the United States. An individual is a nonresident alien if they are not a U.S. citizen or national and can’t pass either the green card test or the substantial presence test.Read More →
How To Translate Immigration Documents
Whether you are completing a citizenship application, marriage green card application, DACA renewal, or some other application, U.S. immigration law probably requires you to include supporting personal documents with your paperwork. If you are like most immigrants, many of these personal documents are written in a foreign language. Every document you submit to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that is written in a language other than the English language must be translated into English. In this article, we explain what USCIS's immigration translation requirements are, who is allowed to make these translations, how much professional document translation costs, and how to get a USCIS certified translation of your immigration documents.Read More →
Everything You Need To Know About USCIS Form I-690
The United States has an extensive set of laws that control who can enter the country. If you can’t enter because one or more of these laws apply to you, you are deemed “inadmissible.” Luckily, several exceptions may allow you to receive a waiver and enter the country. To get one of these waivers, you have to fill out an application. Which application you fill out depends on why you feel you are entitled to a waiver. One such application is Form I-690 from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).Read More →
The ImmigrationHelp.org Scholarship
[ImmigrationHelp.org](http://immigrationhelp.org/) is a legal nonprofit founded in 2019 at Harvard University that helps low-income immigrants prepare their immigration forms for free. We provide free legal services for DACA, TPS, and Work Permits.Read More →
How To Plan a Courthouse Wedding in the United States
Traditional wedding ceremonies can be expensive and stressful to plan. A welcome alternative for some couples is the courthouse wedding. A courthouse wedding is sometimes also called a civil wedding, a civil union, or a civil ceremony. Courthouse weddings in the United States are recognized as valid marriages for marriage green card applications. This article explains how to plan a courthouse wedding in six simple steps.Read More →
Can Undocumented Immigrants Get a Driver’s License?
Each state decides how and when its residents may obtain a driver’s license. This includes whether or not to issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. While most states will only grant driving privileges to those with lawful immigration status, some will allow individuals who can’t provide proof of legal presence in the United States to get a driver’s license. The following guide explains when someone traveling to the United States will need to get a state-issued driver’s license and what that process entails. It also covers what limitations undocument immigrants may face when trying to get a driver’s license.Read More →
Tips for Choosing a Good Immigration Lawyer
You aren’t legally required to hire an immigration lawyer to represent you in your immigration matter. Many people choose to handle their immigration cases themselves. But sometimes, it helps to have a trained immigration professional to advocate for you, especially if there’s a lot at stake, such as getting asylum or avoiding deportation. This article will discuss when and why it is a good idea to hire an immigration lawyer and how to select the best one.Read More →
What Is Immigration Court?
If you are a foreigner or immigrant living in the United States, you may come in contact with the U.S. immigration court system. This article is an introduction to the U.S. immigration court system. It explains what immigration court is, what kinds of cases would lead you to immigration court, and whether there is an opportunity to appeal immigration court decisions.Read More →
What Is Form I-539: Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status?
If you’re in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa and you need to stay past your visa’s expiration date, you can apply for an extension using Form I-539: Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. To use Form I-539, you must meet certain eligibility requirements, return the completed form to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and pay a $370 filing fee plus $85 for biometrics. This article explains how to fill out Form I-539 and who is eligible to use it to extend their stay in the United States.Read More →
How To Get an I-94 Extension and Extend Your Stay in the U.S.
While on a temporary visit to the United States, it is essential to be aware of the terms of your stay. In particular, you should be conscious of your I-94 expiration date. If your I-94 expires before you leave the U.S., you must plan to get an I-94 extension so you don’t break U.S. immigration law. This article explains what the I-94 extension is and how to get one. It also covers what documents are required for an extension and how long it takes for the U.S. government to process your extension request.Read More →
A Guide To Applying for a U.S. Temporary Visa With Form DS-160
Form DS-160 is also called the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form. Many people applying for temporary U.S. visa classifications like student visas and fiancé visas will have to file Form DS-160 with the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country to get permission to come to the United States. This article is a guide to Form DS-160. It explains who needs to file the form, the application process, and what happens after filing.Read More →
The USCIS 90-Day Rule
It is extremely important to be honest about your intentions when you apply for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa. Misrepresenting your intentions for traveling to the United States will land you in a lot of trouble with the U.S. government. One of the ways that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirms your travel intent is the 90-day rule. The 90-day rule states that temporary visa holders who marry or apply for a green card within 90 days of arriving in the United States are automatically presumed to have misrepresented their original intentions. This article explains the 90-day rule, including how immigration officials apply it, the consequences of breaking the rule, and how to prove nonimmigrant intent on your U.S. visa application.Read More →
What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Was Received” Mean for My Form I-129F Application?
When you see the case status “Case Was Received” from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it means USCIS is acknowledging that it received your immigration application packet. This is just the start of USCIS processing your application. It hasn’t yet reviewed your application materials or determined your eligibility. Once you see this status, you’ll want to keep an eye on future status changes and respond to anything that requires your attention, such as a request for evidence. This article explains the “Case Received” USCIS status and what to do when your application is in this status.Read More →
What Is the G-1 Visa for Foreign Diplomats?
G nonimmigrant visas are for employees of international organizations and representatives of foreign governments in the United States. This article explains all you need to know about the G-1 visa, including what the G-1 visa is, who qualifies for it and who doesn’t, and what the visa application process is.Read More →
A Guide to the F-1 Visa for Study in the United States
One of the primary reasons for visiting the United States is to study. The United States is home to many of the world's most renowned educational institutions. Every year, scholars from all over the world flock to the country to take advantage of the educational opportunities. You will need a nonimmigrant visa to attend a school in the United States if you're not a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. This article explains all you should know about the F-1 student visa, including the requirements and application process.Read More →
What Is the B-1/B-2 Visa?
The B-1/B-2 visa is a temporary, non-immigrant visa that allows foreigners to travel to the United States for business or tourism purposes. If you're traveling to the United States for a business conference or trip, you'll need a B-1 visa. The B-2 visa, on the other hand, covers tourism, such as vacations or visits with family. This article is a deep dive into the B-1/B-2 visa, explaining the visa requirements, who can apply, how much it costs, and how to apply. The article also answers some commonly asked questions about the B-1/B-2 visa.Read More →
What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Was Received” Mean for My VAWA Application?
When you see the case status “Case Was Received” from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it means USCIS is acknowledging that it received your immigration application packet. This is just the start of USCIS processing your application. It hasn’t yet reviewed your application materials or determined your eligibility. Once you see this status, you’ll want to keep an eye on future status changes and respond to anything that requires your attention, such as a request for evidence. This article explains the “Case Received” USCIS status and what to do when your application is in this status.Read More →
How To Prove Your VAWA Case to USCIS
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows certain immigrants who are abused by their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouses, former spouses, parents, or children to apply for permanent U.S. residence without the knowledge of the abusive family member. Some applicants face challenges applying for a VAWA green card or proving their case. This article will review who is eligible for permanent U.S. residence under VAWA, how to prove your case to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS, and common challenges VAWA applicants may face.Read More →
What Does the USCIS Case Status “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent” Mean for My VAWA Application?
If you log in to your USCIS account online and see the case status “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent,” it means that USCIS needs more information from you to process your case and ensure you’re eligible for the immigration benefit you applied for. USCIS will mail a Form I-797E: Notice of Action that outlines exactly what additional evidence is needed and why. The notice will also include a deadline for submitting the requested information. It’s important to submit the requested information before the deadline to ensure USCIS continues processing your application without too much delay.Read More →
How To Get a TPS Work Permit
Temporary Protected Status or TPS is a kind of humanitarian relief issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to citizens of countries affected by political, social, or environmental instability. While in Temporary Protected Status, you may be granted U.S. work authorization. This article explains how to get a TPS work permit and how long you may hold a valid work permit as part of your TPS.Read More →
What Is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
The secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants Temporary Protected Status or “TPS” to some foreigners whose home countries are not safe for their return. This article gives an overview of TPS, including its history and benefits for those eligible. The article also covers which countries have TPS, TPS eligibility requirements and application process.Read More →
How To Get a Green Card Using TPS Adjustment of Status
While temporary protected status (TPS) allows certain immigrants to live and work in the U.S., this status is not permanent. One of the easiest ways to remain in the U.S. is by using the TPS adjustment of status process to get a green card. Once you have your green card, you’ll no longer need to fear deportation if your TPS status changes or expires because you’ll be a permanent U.S. resident. This article explains the requirements for successfully changing from temporary protected status to permanent U.S. residency.Read More →
How To Change Status From H-1B to Marriage Green Card
The H-1B visa is a dual intent visa. Dual intent means that although The H-1B visa is a dual intent visa. Dual intent means that although it's a temporary work visa, U.S. immigration officials won't penalize you for [changing your status](https://www.immigrationhelp.org/learning-center/the-complete-guide-to-adjustment-of-status-process/) to a green card while you're in the United States in H-1B status. This is good news for you as the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident - you can apply for a green card through marriage and be on the pathway to U.S. citizenship. With the green card, you can work in the United States permanently, even after your sixth year of H-1B status. This article explains the process of applying for a marriage green card depending on your spouse's U.S. immigration status.it's a temporary work visa, U.S. immigration officials won't penalize you for [changing your status](https://www.immigrationhelp.org/learning-center/the-complete-guide-to-adjustment-of-status-process/) to a green card while you're in the United States in H-1B status. This is good news for you as the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident - you can apply for a green card through marriage and be on the pathway to U.S. citizenship. With the green card, you can work in the United States permanently, even after your sixth year of H-1B status. This article explains the process of applying for a marriage green card depending on your spouse's U.S. immigration status.Read More →
What Is Form I-129F?
One of the benefits of naturalizing as a U.S. citizen is that you can petition the U.S. government for your foreign spouse or fiancé to join you in the United States. The U.S. government requires you to file Form I-129F on behalf of your partner as part of your petition for them. This article explains what Form I-129F is, as well as its eligibility requirements, cost, and necessary supporting documents. It also describes what happens after you file and the timeline of submitting Form I-129F to getting a green card.Read More →
6 Questions About Health Insurance for Immigrants
All immigrants, documented or undocumented, can legally purchase private insurance in the U.S. if they can afford it. Depending on your immigration status, you may be able to access federal and state benefits to make healthcare more affordable. This article will help you understand the different aspects of healthcare in the U.S. and determine if you qualify for federal or state health benefits. After reading this article, you will be able to make more informed choices about your health insurance options.Read More →
How To Make a USCIS FOIA Request
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) grants the general public the right to access records of any federal agency, including the USCIS. You may want to know what information USCIS has about you if you are facing a removal proceeding or there is a problem with your request to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization. This article will discuss the Freedom of Information Act, including how to submit a FOIA request to USCIS.Read More →
Forms N-600 & N-600K: How to Get U.S. Citizenship for Foreign-born Adopted Children
Many American couples adopt internationally every year. The good news is that as long as your foreign-born adopted child has at least one U.S. citizen parent, they qualify to become a U.S. citizen too. You will need to file Form N-600 or Form N-600K to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for your child. The type of form you'll have to submit will depend on where your family lives. This article will explain the different circumstances that merit your applying with either Form N-600 or N-600K.Read More →
How To Obtain Police Reports and Court Records for a Green Card Application
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts a background check on every immigration application. If you're applying for a green card and you have had any interactions with U.S. law enforcement, you'll have to disclose your criminal record to USCIS with your application. Generally, it's a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney if you have a criminal record before submitting your green card application. This article explains how to determine if you have a criminal record, where to get a copy of your criminal record, and the step-by-step process to request a copy from U.S. federal and state authorities.Read More →
How Can My Undocumented Immigrant Spouse Get a Green Card Through Marriage?
If you are married to an undocumented immigrant, you are not alone. According to the Wall Street Journal, about 1.2 million undocumented immigrants are married to United States citizens. And that number doesn't even include undocumented immigrants married to U.S. permanent residents. Getting a marriage green card protects your spouse from deportation and, as immediate relatives, gives them a path to naturalization. But applying for a marriage green card can be a difficult process. And in most cases, it is even more challenging when your spouse is undocumented. This article will help you weigh the benefits and risks of applying for a marriage green card for your undocumented spouse.Read More →
How To Pay USCIS Fees With a Credit or Debit Card
The majority of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) immigration forms carry a government filing fee. USCIS uses filing fees to cover the processing costs and biometric services for your application type. You can pay for your application’s filing fees using a traditional check or money order, or more recently, a credit or debit card. USCIS does not accept or process online payments, but you can still pay with a credit or debit card using Form G-1450. This article explains how to use Form G-1450 to pay your USCIS filing fees with a credit or debit card.Read More →
What Is USCIS Form I-140: Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker?
Form I-140 forms the basis of nearly every employment-based green card application. Your employer who has agreed to sponsor a work visa for you is responsible for submitting a Form I-140 petition on your behalf to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This article delves into Form I-140, and covers what it is, who’s eligible to file it, when to file it and how to file it with USCIS, and other considerations to bear in mind.Read More →
When Is a Proxy Marriage Valid in an Immigration Case?
A proxy marriage occurs when one or both partners are not physically present for the marriage ceremony. Instead, a stand-in takes their place for the ceremony. Proxy marriages are legal in some U.S. states but not in others. This article will discuss how to ensure your proxy marriage is legal under state law, when your marriage is considered legal for immigration purposes, and alternatives to proxy marriages that may make more sense for you, depending on your immigration circumstances.Read More →
How To Apply for Citizenship by Naturalization
If you are a U.S. lawful permanent resident (green card holder) who meets residency and background check requirements, you can apply for citizenship by naturalization. There are many benefits to becoming a U.S. citizen. For example, once you become a U.S. citizen, you will be able to vote in U.S. elections, travel to and from the U.S. as you please, and apply for your eligible family members to receive U.S. green cards. The application process is pretty straightforward. For most people, it costs $725 and takes 7-15 months. This article explains how to apply for U.S. citizenship in seven easy steps.Read More →
What Is a Receipt Number, and Where Can I Find My Receipt Number for USCIS?
Your receipt number for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a 13-character identification code that USCIS uses to identify and track your case. The receipt number will contain three letters followed by 10 numbers. The letters identify the USCIS service center that is processing your application. The 10 numbers that follow are a combination of the date your case was opened and your unique case number. USCIS will print your receipt number on any correspondence they send you regarding your application. You will need your receipt number to check your application status. This article explains what a USCIS receipt number is, where to find it, how to read it, and how to use it to check your application's status.Read More →
How To Get a Marriage Green Card as a Military Spouse
It’s common for active-duty military personnel to fall in love while stationed abroad. If the couple meets the requirements, the foreign spouse can get a marriage green card in three simple steps. They will apply for a green card either from the United States or abroad, attend a green card interview, and wait for a response from the U.S. government. This article explains the requirements for the military spouse green card and the application process to follow depending on where you live.Read More →
What Is Consular Processing?
There are two major pathways to apply for a United States green card. One method, called adjustment of status, applies when you’re already in the United States. The other method is consular processing, which refers to the process of applying for lawful permanent resident status while located in your home country. The consular process begins with filing a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which then hands it over to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC completes the green card application process and issues a visa allowing you to travel to the United States and get your green card.Read More →
How To Get Military Records for Your Immigration Application
To join the U.S. military, you must either be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. In the past, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients could join the military through the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program, which ended in 2016. Most immigration applications you submit will ask that you provide any military service records if you were a member of the U.S. military or any foreign military service at any point in time. You will need to attach your military service records to your application forms when you're submitting them to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This article explains what military service information you need to provide for your application and how to get a copy of your records.Read More →
Green Card vs. Visa: How Are They Different?
A common misconception is that a green card and a visa are the same thing. While the two are similar, there are differences between green cards and visas. To avoid confusion, you should first understand what a visa is and what a green card is. This article explains both, then highlights the differences between green cards and visas.Read More →
How To Apply for a U.S. Passport
If you recently became a U.S. citizen, congratulations! You are now eligible to apply for a U.S. passport. The U.S. passport process is very straightforward, and passport applications are processed much quicker than the other immigration applications you’ve been used to. This article is a step-by-step guide to the application process for a U.S. passport if you’re applying for the first time.Read More →
What Supporting Documents Do You Need for a U.S. Marriage Green Card?
U.S. citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their spouse for a marriage green card. They and their spouse will need to submit certain documents to the U.S. government when they apply. The application process and documents you will need are different when the spouse seeking a green card is living inside of the United States (adjustment of status) and when they are living outside of the United States (consular processing). This guide will serve as a document checklist for both processes.Read More →
Marrying a U.S. Citizen - What You Should Know
Congratulations on finding your life partner! Now is the time to figure out the logistics of getting married to your U.S. citizen spouse. This article explains how you and your spouse can live permanently in the United States. A marriage green card allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen to live and work anywhere in the United States. The article also explains the visa considerations to bear in mind when deciding whether to get married in the United States or abroad.Read More →
What are U.S. Work Visas?
Generally, you can get work authorization as a foreigner in the United States working for U.S. employers, either as a temporary employee or as a sponsored, permanent employee. This article is a guide to all the different U.S. work visa types that exist for noncitizens of the United States. Broadly speaking, there are permanent immigrant work visas, temporary nonimmigrant work visas, and other categories of employment authorization for some nonimmigrant groups.Read More →
What is the IR-2 immigrant visa for children of U.S. citizens?
There are visas available for foreign-born children of U.S. citizens to immigrate to the United States. The IR-2 visa is an immigrant visa available only to unmarried children of U.S. citizens. This guide explains the IR-2 visa in detail. It defines who can apply for the visa, the IR-2 visa application process, the costs involved, as well as how long it takes to process IR-2 visa applications.Read More →
All About USCIS Requests for Evidence (RFEs): What They Are, How To Avoid Them, and What To Do if You Receive One
When U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines that it needs extra information to make a decision on your immigration case, it will send you a request for evidence, also called an RFE. USCIS will send it to the mailing address you listed on your application. In this article, we will explain what a USCIS request for evidence is, how to avoid RFEs, and how to respond to a USCIS RFE if you receive one.Read More →
What To Do if You Are Denied Entry Into the United States With Advance Parole
For green card applicants based in the United States and people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, Advance Parole is a welcome provision. With this travel document, you can leave the United States while in DACA status or while U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes your green card application. Advance Parole provides a chance to visit ailing family, study abroad, attend forums and conferences abroad, and catch up with friends. But sometimes the U.S. government does not allow people with valid Advance Parole documents to reenter the United States. This article explains some reasons why the U.S. government would refuse to let you back into the country even with Advance Parole and some things you can do if you find yourself in this situation as an adjustment of status applicant or a DACA recipient.Read More →
What Is USCIS Form I-797: Notice of Action?
Written by Jonathan Petts. Legally reviewed by ImmigrationHelp Team
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-797: Notice of Action serves several purposes. If you file an application with USCIS, the agency will send you Form I-797: Notice of Action to inform you that it has received your application. This is often called a receipt notice. It’s also commonly used as a way to communicate that USCIS has approved your immigrant or nonimmigrant application. While these are common uses of Form I-797, USCIS also uses Form I-797 to notify you of case status changes. These notices have a letter at the end of the form name, such as Form I-797C, and each form provides information regarding the status of your application. In this article, we explain each of the uses of Form I-797.Read More →
Form I-131: The Advance Parole Travel Document Explained
If you have a green card, DACA status, or certain humanitarian visas, and you want to travel outside the United States, you need to get a travel document from the U.S. government. You apply for this document by filing Form I-131: Application for Travel Document with USCIS. This allows you to get what’s called an Advance Parole document. Below is a guide on how to apply for Advance Parole step-by-step as well as tips on how to plan for your temporary travel.Read More →
Common U.S. Citizenship Interview Questions
Separate from the civics questions and English language test you have to take, the USCIS officer will ask you other questions at your citizenship interview. Many of these questions will come up from the information on your A-File, and others will be follow-ups from the information you provide. This article explains what your A-File is, and also provides a sample list of common questions you can expect at your interview.Read More →
How Long Does It Take for USCIS and the NVC To Process applications?
If you would like to track your immigration application as it moves along the immigration process or if you are wondering how to check if your application's processing is outside the expected processing timeframes, we've got you covered! This article will explore how to check your application case status - both with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the National Visa Center (NVC) - and what to do if your application processing falls outside the normal processing time.Read More →
What Are the Photo Requirements for a Green Card Application?
As part of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s (USCIS) requirements, you must submit photos of yourself with your green card application. This article explains the U.S. government’s green card photo requirements, how you can get a photo that meets these requirements, and the number of photos to include with your application.Read More →
What Is the U.S. Citizenship Interview?
After U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reviewed your naturalization application and processed your biometric information, they will set an interview appointment for you. Your appointment notice will have your interview date and time. Citizenship interviews typically take place at a USCIS field office — usually, one that is close to the physical address you provided on the Form N-400 form you submitted. This article explains the purpose of the citizenship interview, what to take with you, and what happens during and after the interview.Read More →
What Is the Form I-94 Travel Record?
Nearly every foreign traveler to the United States has an I-94 travel record (also known as “Form I-94” or “I-94 Form”). U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials issue Form I-94 to foreign travelers entering the United States. CBP officials use Form I-94 to track arrivals and departures of non-citizens visiting the United States. This article explains Form i-94 in-depth, including how it is used, how to access yours, and answers to some frequently asked questions.Read More →
What Is Form G-1145: E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance?
Mailing your completed application packet to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is an exciting time. You have finally finished gathering your documents and filing fees for the immigration benefit you applied for, and now it's up to USCIS to process your application. There are multiple ways to keep up with USCIS' processing of your application. In addition to tracking your case status online with the USCIS website, you can sign up to receive email and text notifications about updates to your application using Form G-1145. This article explains what Form G-1145 is, and whether you should consider filing the form.Read More →
How Long Does It Take USCIS To Process Form I-129F for a K-1 Fiancé Visa?
The processing time for a K-1 fiancé visa ranges from 12–18 months on average, and involves U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the National Visa Center, and a U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate in your foreign fiance’s country of residence. Right now it’s taking USCIS 5 to 16.5 months to process Form I-129F: Petition for Alien Fiancé, and it’s taking the NVC 34 days to create and review cases—which is 30 days less compared to last week.Read More →
How Long Does It Take USCIS To Process Form N-400 for Citizenship Applications?
To get U.S. citizenship, you must file Form N-400: Application for Naturalization with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Processing times for Form N-400 have stayed fairly consistent over the past five years with the average wait time being 10.2 months. There are 89 field offices that currently process Form N-400. The current average processing time across all offices is 15.5 months. The whole naturalization process (including application processing, the citizenship interview and exam, and oath of allegiance ceremony) takes 18-24 months on average.Read More →
How Long Does It Take USCIS To Process Asylum and Asylum Work Permit Applications?
Currently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not release data on the process time for Form I-589, which is the application for asylum status. USCIS does release data about Form I-765, application for a work permit based on asylum. - It's currently taking USCIS 4.5 to 15.5 months to process work permit applications (Form I-765) for individuals with approved asylum status. - It's taking USCIS an average of 3 months to process Form I-765 for individuals with a pending initial asylum application. - It's taking USCIS 3 to 14.5 months to process Form I-765 for individuals applying to renew or replace their asylum status.Read More →
What Is Direct Consular Filing (DCF)?
When your green card application goes through consular processing, U.S. immigration officials at an embassy or consulate in your home country handle your application. Consular processing is the default application method for green card applicants filing from outside the United States. Direct Consular Filing (DCF) is a fast-track process for filing Form I-130, the foundation of every family-based green card application. This article is a deep dive into direct consular filing, discussing eligibility, the application process, and processing timeframes.Read More →
How IMBRA Protects Green Card Applicants From Sponsor Abuse
Several protections are built into U.S. immigration law to shield immigration applicants from different kinds of abuse. For marriage green card applicants and fiancé visa applicants, the International Marriage Brokerage Regulation Act (IMBRA) serves as protection from abusive spouses who are sponsoring your application. This article discusses the history of IMBRA, its provisions, and how it may be helpful for your immigration application.Read More →
What Does the USCIS Case Status “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent” Mean for My Form I-129F Application?
If you log in to your USCIS account online and see the case status “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent,” it means that USCIS needs more information from you to process your Form I-129F and ensure you’re eligible for a K-1 fiancé visa. USCIS will mail Form I-797E: Notice of Action that outlines exactly what additional evidence is needed and why. The notice will also include a deadline for submitting the requested information. It’s important to submit the requested information before the deadline to ensure USCIS continues processing your application without too much delay.Read More →
Is U.S. Dual Citizenship Possible?
While the United States does allow for dual citizenship, your country of origin may not. It's important to check with your home country prior to applying for citizenship by naturalization in the U.S. The process of applying for dual citizenship is the same as the process of applying to become a U.S. citizen. Being a dual citizen comes with both advantages and drawbacks, which we explore further in this article.Read More →