If you need to fill out any immigration forms from the USCIS, you likely appreciate how complex these forms can be. While the USCIS has made many attempts in recent years to offer a more user-friendly and comprehensive interface, forms are complex. In many cases, this is not the fault of the USCIS. The USCIS needs to process millions of forms each year, and in order to do this, they must have each form filled out in just the right way to prevent delays. Usually, to ensure this, complex and very detailed instructions are needed. As well, US immigration laws are quite complex in many cases, and this complexity is reflected in difficult-to-understand forms.
Immigration forms are written in a very precise legal language. Unfortunately, this language is not easily understood by most native English speakers. Immigrants who are new to the country may have an even more difficult time with the complex language on some forms. Even determining which form to use can be difficult, as most forms have many exceptions. What is needed are forms in plain English. So far, this is unlikely to happen. However, there are many ways to ensure that you understand the necessary US immigration forms as though they were written in plain English:
1) See an immigration attorney. This is often the safest and most reliable way to deal with complex US immigration forms. Experienced attorneys can translate US immigration forms in plan English. As well, many immigration attorneys speak multiple languages and can explain forms and immigration issues in a native language as well. This is often especially helpful if a newcomer is still just learning English. In addition to helping immigrants understand US immigration forms, US immigration attorneys can also ensure that forms are correctly filled out and that newcomers are well advised about immigration issues and laws which can affect their application. In many cases, good attorneys can ensure that even an irregular application is given the best possible chance. In many cases, seeing a US immigration attorney is a more expensive option, but it is also often the most useful option. The American Immigration Lawyers Association is a professional association of experienced US immigration attorneys. They have a very useful website for finding a qualified immigration attorney in your area.
2) See a translator. A translator can often translate immigration forms into your native language. This is useful if you need the forms in a language other than English. While translators will not provide legal advice, they can help you understand the forms you need to fill out.
3) Seek help from an immigration advocacy group. Many groups that advocate on behalf of newcomers and immigrants have representatives and even attorneys who can help you understand US immigration forms in plain English. In some cases, these groups can even provide you with legal advice or assistance in filling out forms. In many cases, these groups offer free help or help that is quite affordable. You can find local immigration resources like this by looking in your phone book.
4) Seek help in the library. A local library usually has a section of books about immigration. Many of these books explain US immigration issues and US immigration forms in plan English, so that they are easily understood. Some of these books show you step-by-step how to fill out immigration forms and some even include examples of successfully completed forms. These free resources can be very useful in helping your understand your forms.