USCIS immigration forms

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The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues a number of forms for people to submit to them relating to immigrant and non-immigrant visa statuses.[1] These forms begin with the letter "I". None of the forms directly grants a United States visa (visas can only be issued by US consulates outside the United States), but approval of these forms may provide authorization for staying or extending one's stay in the United States as well as authorization for work. Some United States visas require an associated approved USCIS immigration form to be submitted as part of the application.

Although the term immigration form is used on this page, and the forms begin with the letter "I", many of the forms pertain to non-immigrant visa classifications.

The USCIS also issues some administrative request forms (AR) for purposes such as address change as well as G forms for other administrative purposes.[1] The AR and G forms are generally filed in conjunction with a USCIS I form. The two most important G forms are the G-28 (notice of entry or appearance of attorney)[2] and the G-1145 (e-notification of application/petition acceptance).[3]

The USCIS also handles forms related to naturalization and citizenship. These forms begin with the letter "N" and are not discussed on this page.[1]

There are two main forms that begin with the letter I and pertain to immigration status but are not managed by USCIS: Form I-20 (issued by educational institutions to students on a F visa status)[4] and Form I-94 (issued by United States Customs and Border Protection when an alien enters the United States).[5]

Filing details[edit]

Fees[edit]

All USCIS forms are free to download. The filing fees vary by form, from free to several hundred dollars.[6]

The filing fee for a form may not be the only fee that needs to be paid for the status being sought on the form. There may be additional fees associated with that status. For instance, Form I-129 is used to apply for H-1B status (among many other statuses).[7]

Two of the forms, Form I-129 and Form I-140, are eligible for the Premium Processing Service, which requires the filing of Form I-907. As of 2015, this service costs $1225.[8]

Some applicants are eligible for a fee waiver. To apply for a fee waiver, the applicant must submit Form I-912, Request for a Fee Waiver, along with the application form.[9][10][11]

Paper filing[edit]

All USCIS forms can be filed on paper. Payments must be included in the form of a check or money order along with the paper filing of the form.

The rules associated with where forms are to be mailed are complex: the location for mailing a form depends on the form name, the category of application, and the mailing address specified by the applicant (this may differ from the address the applicant sends the application from). The mailing address is either one of the lockbox addresses or one of the Service Center addresses.[12] The lockboxes are in three US cities: Chicago (Illinois), Phoenix (Arizona), and Lewisville (Texas) (this is near Dallas, Texas and is often referred to as the Dallas lockbox). They are managed for the USCIS by a Department of Treasury designated financial agent.[13] The lockbox cashes in on the included payment, sends an e-notification if the applicant filed Form G-1145 with the application, and forwards the rest of the application to the service center.[9]

Any response to a Request For Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) must always be sent to the Service Center that sent the request, and never to a lockbox address, regardless of whether or not the original application was filed with a lockbox.[9]

Electronic filing[edit]

Some of the USCIS forms may be filed electronically via e-Filing (for Forms I-131, I-140, I-765, I-821, and I-907) or the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS) (for Forms I-526, I-539, I-90, or the Immigrant Fee).[14][15]

Electronic filing offers the following benefits:[14]

  • It reduces the hassle and cost of filing a paper application (but see the caveat below).
  • Fees may be paid by debit card or credit card.
  • The applicant receives an immediate confirmation of receipt of the application.

However, there are two major caveats:[14]

  • Supporting documents must be sent in by mail within 7 days of online filing, to the address specified on the e-Filing Confirmation Receipt. USCIS does not begin processing the application until all supporting documents are received. If they are not received then USCIS may send the applicant a request for evidence (RFE).
  • If the applicant is requesting a fee waiver (filing Form I-912) then the application cannot be submitted online and must be filed on paper.

To enhance privacy and security for applicants, USCIS uses the HTTPS protocol for e-filing.[16]

Forms[edit]

The two main kinds of forms are:

  • Petition forms: Here, a petitioner files a form requesting a benefit (associated with an immigrant status or non-immigrant status) for a beneficiary. The beneficiary is usually distinct from the petitioner, though there are some self-petition categories. Petition forms generally carry the most uncertainty regarding approval, and some of them are subject to quotas.
  • Application forms : These include application forms related to entry to the United States, leaving to the United States, and work authorization in the United States. The benefits being sought here are generally governed by clearer frameworks of rules, and carry less uncertainty than petition forms.

In addition, there are affidavits (such as Form I-134, Affidavit of Support)[17] verification forms (Form I-9, Employee Eligibility Verification Form),[18] and request forms, such as Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service.[19]

Family-based petition forms[edit]

Form name Who needs to file? (relationship between petitioner and beneficiary) Filing fee Filed to lockbox or service center? Electronic filing? Associated visa or immigration statuses
I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)[20] United States citizen or lawful permanent resident seeking to bring the alien fiancé(e) to the United States $535, with some caveats Lockbox No K visas
I-130, Petition for Alien Relative[21] United States citizen or lawful permanent resident seeking to establish relationship with aliens who wish to immigrate to the US $535 Lockbox No Family-based immigration (includes IR and CR visas)
Note: This form is eligible for Direct Consular Filing
I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative[22] (also related: I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition)[23] United States citizen who seeks to classify non-US orphan not residing in a Hague Convention country as immediate relative $775 per child, unless adoptees are birth siblings Dallas Lockbox No Family-based permanent immigration
Note: This form is eligible for Direct Consular Filing
I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition[24] Refugee/asylee already in the United States requesting follow-to-join benefits for an immediate relative No fee Service Center No Family-based immigration
I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative[25] (filed in conjunction with I-800A), Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country[26] United States citizen prospective adoptive parent who seeks to classify as adoptee a resident of a Hague Convention country No fee for first petition based on an approved I-800A (which in turn has a $775 fee). Each subsequent petition costs $775, unless the new petition is on behalf of a sibling of a previously petitioned child. Dallas Lockbox No Family-based permanent immigration
I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant[27] U visa non-immigrant requesting non-immigrant status for a family member $230 Vermont Service Center No Family-based temporary migration (i.e., non-immigrant status)

Other petition forms (employment-based, entrepreneurial, and special)[edit]

Form name Who needs to file? (relationship between petitioner and beneficiary) Filing fee Filed to lockbox or service center? Electronic filing? Associated visa or immigration statuses
I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker[7] Employer requesting permission to hire the beneficiary non-immigrant worker $460 Service center No Statuses for initial employment: H-1B, H-1C, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, L-1, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1 and R-1. Statuses for extension of stay or change of status: All the preceding, plus various treaty and free trade statuses: E-1, E-2, E-3 (for Australia), H-1B1 (for Chile and Singapore) and TN (for Canada and Mexico).
Note: This form is eligible for Premium Processing Service
I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker[28] United States employer requesting permission to hire the beneficiary immigrant worker $700 Lockbox for regular processing, Service Center for premium processing Yes, via e-Filing (for some categories) Employment-based visas (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3) (with path to Lawful Permanent Resident status).
Note: This form is eligible for Premium Processing Service
I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant[29] Beneficiary must self-petition $435 (special instructions) Lockbox or Service Center, depending on the subcategory No Permanent immigration status (depends on subcategory within I-360).
Note: This form is eligible for Direct Consular Filing
I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur[30] Beneficiary must self-petition $3675 Dallas Lockbox Yes, via ELIS EB-5 visa (with path to Lawful Permanent Resident status)
I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status[31] Beneficiary must self-petition $3750 (+ biometric services fee of $85) Dallas Lockbox Yes, via ELIS EB-5 visa (with path to Lawful Permanent Resident status)
I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status[32] Beneficiary must self-petition No fee (biometric services may be required at no cost to the applicant) Vermont Service Center No U visa

Application forms[edit]

There are many application forms. Only the most important ones are listed below.

Form name Who needs to file? Filing fee Filed to lockbox or service center? Electronic filing? Associated visa or immigration statuses
I-131, Application for Travel Document[33] Applicant for re-entry permit, refugee travel document or advance parole travel document Depends on type of applicant. Fee values include $105, $135, and $575. For I-485 applicants, there is no fee. Lockbox or Service Center, depending on the category Yes, via e-filing, but only for those applying for advance parole, not for those whose application is based on an approved request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals (Form I-821D). Humanitarian/refugee statuses and DACA/DAPA-associated statuses.
I-539, Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status[34] Applicants seeking to change, extend, or reinstate status. Note that this form need not be filed by those whose Form I-94 says "Duration of Status" and who are extending within the status provided by the form (for instance, somebody on a F visa with Duration of Status can simply extend the end date on the Form I-20 and need not submit Form I-539). It is also not to be submitted by those using Form I-129 to change or extend status. $370 ($0 for some categories) Lockbox or Service Center, depending on the category Yes, via ELIS (for some categories) Eligible for ELIS: Extend status for B-1, B-2, F-1, M-1 or M-2 visas; change status to B-1, B-2, F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, M-1 or M-2; reinstate status to F-1 or M-1
Other applications, such as T, U, and V status extensions, need to be made on paper.
I-765, Application for Employment Authorization[35] Applicant seeking permission to work. $410; DACA applicants need an additional $85 biometrics fee. For I-485 applicants, there is no fee. Lockbox for most categories, Service Center for some Yes, via e-filing (for some categories) A number of statuses, including DACA-associated statuses as well as F visa (student) statuses applying for Optional Practical Training or Curricular Practical Training
I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status[36] Applicant seeking Temporary Protected Status $50 or $0; however, it must be filed along with Form I-765, which has a fee of $410 Complicated[37] Yes, via e-filing, but only for re-registration, and if so, Form I-765 must be filed online along with it All applicants for TPS
I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals[38] Applicant seeking deferred action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program Must be filed with Form I-765, which has a filing fee of $410; also a $85 biometrics fee. No separate fee for I-821D Lockbox No All applicants for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Appeal forms[edit]

These are the forms that need to be filed to appeal a decision by a USCIS officer regarding another form. The appeal form must be filed by the party that filed the original form. In particular, in the case of a petition, the appeal must be filed by the petitioner and cannot be filed by the beneficiary (if distinct from the petitioner). Appeals are handled by the Board of Immigration Appeals within the Executive Office for Immigration Review (part of the Department of Justice) and the Administrative Appeals Office within the USCIS. BIA's main role is for challenges to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement decisions, but it is also used to appeal some USCIS forms.

Form name Whom is the appeal forwarded to? What forms can this be filed for?
EOIR-29, Notice of Appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals from a Decision of an Immigration Officer[39] Board of Immigration Appeals Form I-130 and the subtype of Form I-360 that is for widowers.
I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion[40][41] Administrative Appeals Office Most employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa petitions (Forms I-129 and I-140); I-526, I-821, I-129F, I-601, I-212, I-360, I-600, I-600A, I-914, I-918, N-470

Of the USCIS immigration forms, decisions on the two forms Form I-130 (family-based immigration, the F and IR categories) and the widower subcategory for Form I-360 (special immigrants, the EB-4 category), must be appealed through the EOIR-29 (Notice of Appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals from a Decision of an Immigration Officer) to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Also, appeals for denials of Form N-400 (the naturalization petition) must be made using Form N-336. For Special Agricultural Worker (SAW) or legalization applications, the appeal must be filed on Form I-694, Notice of Appeal of Decision under Sections 245A or 210 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

For all other USCIS petitions where appeal is possible, the petitioner can appeal an adverse USCIS decision on the petition to the AAO using Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.

As of December 2016, appeal to AAO is possible for the following petition forms: I-129 (nonimmigrant worker), I-140 (immigrant worker), I-526 (immigrant investor), Form I-821, I-129F, I-601, I-212, I-360, I-600, I-600A, I-914, I-918, N-470. As of December 2016, there are no appeal rights for Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status)

There is no standalone appeals process for Form I-765.

The form is usually applied for in conjunction with another form that grants the underlying authorization, and a denial of the other form can be appealed.

Form I-797[edit]

Form I-797 is a form used by the USCIS to issue approval of status or notice of receipt for applications. It is not a form that people can fill out.[42]

Form-filling guidelines[edit]

The USCIS website includes a number of tips for people filing USCIS forms, including suggestions to download the latest version from the website, use black ink, and start with a clean form in case of errors. All supporting documents must be included in the application, and documents not in English must include a certified English translation.[43]

Law resource NOLO emphasizes the importance of filling in all fields, even if it's filled with "N/A", and being accurate and consistent. NOLO also places emphasis on getting one's name correct.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Forms". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  2. ^ "G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  3. ^ "G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  4. ^ "What is the Form I-20?". Department of Homeland Security. January 28, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  5. ^ "I-94". United States Customs and Border Protection. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  6. ^ "Filing Fees". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  8. ^ "How Do I Use the Premium Processing Service?". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c "Tips for Filing Forms with USCIS". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  10. ^ "Form I-912, Request for a Fee Waiver". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  11. ^ "Fee Waiver Guidance". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  12. ^ "Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  13. ^ "Office of Intake and Document Production". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  14. ^ a b c "File My Application Online". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  15. ^ "USCIS Electronic Immigration System". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  16. ^ "Additional Online Privacy Information For E-filing". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  17. ^ "I-134, Affidavit of Support". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  18. ^ "I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  19. ^ "I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  20. ^ "I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  21. ^ "I-130, Petition for Alien Relative". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  22. ^ "I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  23. ^ "I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  24. ^ "I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  25. ^ "I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  26. ^ "I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  27. ^ "I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  28. ^ "I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  29. ^ "I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  30. ^ "I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  31. ^ "I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  32. ^ "I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  33. ^ "I-131, Application for Travel Document". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  34. ^ "I-539, Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  35. ^ "I-765, Application for Employment Authorization". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  36. ^ "I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  37. ^ "Temporary Protected Status". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  38. ^ "I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  39. ^ "EOIR-29, Notice of Appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals from a Decision of an Immigration Officer". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  40. ^ "I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  41. ^ "The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO)". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  42. ^ "Form I-797: Types and Functions". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  43. ^ "Tips for Filing Forms with USCIS". United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved May 23, 2015.