Top Five Tips for Navigating the Immigration System

Navigating the United States immigration process can become a lengthy and complicated process. Maintain your legal status and successfully expedite the application process by following these five tips.

  1. Follow the rules. Whether you have a non-immigrant visa, tourist visa or green card, be sure to know your responsibilities and limitations of your status. Even minor infractions could result in cancellation of your status and eventual removal from the US. For example, if you are staying in the United States as a tourist, getting a job is a violation of your status and resulting in your unlawful presence in the US.
  2. Submit more than one visa petition. If you have more than one family member who can legally submit a visa petition, do so. For example, if your parent and a sibling are both U.S. citizens, have both submit a petition for you. Visa waiting times are long and many things can happen while waiting for your visa priority date to be current. Having petitions filed in multiple categories gives you flexibility and gives you other options in case your situation changes. You could decide to get married, your petitioner might die, or you could over age.
  3. Let the USCIS know if you move It seems like a minor detail, but if you are in the United States for more than 30 days, you must notify U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within 10 days if you have a change of address. Each family member must submit a separate notification, either by mail or online.
  4. Be prepared and organized. Immigration processing takes time. Submit applications in advance of your deadline, so that your status does not expire. Keep copies of all applications, paperwork and correspondence to and from USCIS. It's also advisable to send materials by certified mail.
  5. Beware of unreliable advice. Do your own research for your own specific circumstances. Well-intentioned friends may have a lot of advice for you, but each situation is different. If you have questions you can't find answers to, consult an immigration attorney.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that over 35 million immigrants are living in the United States. If you are one of them, following the appropriate process is key to maintaining your legal status. If you are experiencing difficulty, let Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo help.