US Immigration: Common Mistakes

Making mistakes on your US immigration forms or applications can cause delays or can even cause your applications to be rejected. Unfortunately, mistakes are easy to make because the immigration process can be quite confusing, especially for someone who is not familiar with the process. Some of the more common mistakes in immigration documents include:

1) Incorrect translation. Many US immigration forms require documentation, such as birth certificates. If your original forms are in a language other than English, they will need to be translated into English by a qualified translator and this translator will need to attach a special “Certification by Translator” to the translation. This document must be on the translator’s or translation agency’s letterhead and must include the contact information, full name, and signature of the translator or authority at the translation agency.

2) Problems with names and contact information. Names may look differently or be translated differently into English. Unfortunately, your name must appear in an identical fashion on your passport and on all translations of your documentation. Your name must also appear identically on every document you fill out. If you move frequently, you will need to fill out the correct documentation each time to ensure that USCIS has the correct contact information for you at all times.

3) Incorrect forms. USCIS has many forms available, so it can be somewhat confusing to determine which form you need for a specific purpose. You may need to ask for help or at the very least read the details on the USCIS very carefully to determine which form you need. Once you have the correct form, check and double-check to ensure that it is correctly filled out and mailed to the correct address or correctly filed online.

4) Lost documentation. Your original forms – such as birth certificates or marriage certificates – are very important. Never mail your original documents to anyone, not even to an immigration attorney or a translator. Send copies or certified copies only and keep the originals in a safe place. Send certified copies by registered mail so that they can easily be tracked and traced.

5) Trusting the wrong choices. Virtually everyone who takes part in the US immigration process will need help at some point. You may need help filling out a form or you may need legal advice about your applications. There are many places where you can turn for help, but keep in mind that not all resources are equally reliable. Some fraudsters promise newcomers immigration status or other help, but only want to take a victim’s money, without providing a quality service. Some resources are simply too incomplete to help. Even well-meaning friends may not have all the facts you need. Make sure that you use only qualified sources of information. Visit the official USCIS site and speak to USCIS agents or a qualified US immigration attorney. There are also books available at your local library that can help you understand the immigration process at no cost. These are also good, reliable sources of information.