Living in the United States is a dream for many people. Fortunately, this dream can be a reality as long as proper understanding, patience, and effort are put into the immigration process. Remember that the immigration process is not easy. It can be time-consuming and confusing for many people, but help is available. By avoiding these common mistakes during the immigration process, you can enter and live in the United States in a legal manner.
Not Submitting the Proper Paperwork
A common mistake many people make during the immigration process is failing to submit the proper paperwork. Showing identification will not be sufficient, since you will need to support this evidence with proper documentation.
For example, a bill statement from a utility company can prove your residence is in the United States. It can also show how long you have lived at this residence. If you are married, you need to support this legal relationship by submitting a copy of your marriage certificate.
You should also pay close attention to whether you are asked for a copy of these documents or the original. Failing to submit an original can delay the immigration application process, increasing the time and costs of going through the process legally.
Not Signing the Application
Most people are surprised when their application is rejected because of a missing signature. Without signing the application with your full legal name, your application can be rejected even if you have spent the time and effort on sending in all documents.
Fortunately, a rejected application is not the same as a denied application. Your application and application fee will be returned to you.
Your application can be denied, if it was not signed AND there was another issue affecting approval. If denied, you will need to resubmit the entire application again and pay an additional application fee.
Allowing Visa to Expire
Visas have an expiration date, so it is important to pay attention to this date. If your visa expires while you are applying for an extension or citizenship, you will be asked to leave the country.
Because the application for an extension or to become a permanent resident is long, you need to start the application early. Knowing and understanding the expiration date is imperative to ensure you have enough time to gather your documents, submit the application, and wait for the approval.
If your visa expires before the application is submitted and approved, you may have to leave and remain out of the United States for many years before you can apply for a new visa.
Breaking the Law
Finally, breaking the law is another mistake you do not want to do, especially if you are in the country on a visa and are hoping to become a permanent resident.
When the immigration department is reviewing your application, they will take a detailed look into your history to determine if you have committed any crimes and if these crimes are on your permanent criminal record.
Certain crimes have more severe punishments. For example, if you commit a crime of moral turpitude within the first 5 years of living in the United States or you commit two or more crimes of moral turpitude, you may be deported. Crimes of moral turpitude include the following:
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Involuntary manslaughter
- Spousal or child abuse
- Aggravated assault
- Animal fighting
If you have been charged with one of these crimes, it is best to consult a lawyer to learn your options.
Becoming a lawful resident or citizen of the United States is possible, but you will need to put in the work. This guide and an immigration lawyer can help you avoid a few common mistakes.