Top 10 Common Immigration Mistakes

Immigrating to the United States is exciting — but filling out the paperwork necessary to do so certainly isn’t. While we like to think of immigration as a straightforward process, there are a lot of chances to mess up along the way and ruin your chances of becoming a citizen or permanent. It’s important to understand what’s at stake and avoid the most common mistakes people make in immigration cases.

Mistake 1: Giving False Information — Even Accidentally

Providing false information on your immigration application, even accidentally, could result in you being permanently banned from the United States. When you’re filling out immigration documents, don’t guess about anything and make sure you have documentation to back up every date and piece of information.

As far as the U.S. government is concerned, omitting any information (for example, a criminal record) is also considered falsifying information — so don’t chance it. Make sure you run a background check on yourself if there is any possibility that you have a criminal record — the U.S. government certainly will do so.

Mistake 2: Submitting Foreign Language Documents Without Translations

If any of your official documentation from your home country is in another language, you will have to submit certified translated versions along with your application. Even if you are comfortable translating your own documents into English, it is strongly recommended that you enlist the help of a professional translator. Legalese can be difficult to translate, and it’s important that your application has a fully accurate translation.

Forgetting to translate your documents could delay your application by 6 months or more.

Mistake 3: Sending The Wrong Filing Fee

The U.S. government will not process your application if you forget to pay the filing fee or pay the wrong amount — even if you overpay. Make sure that you convert from your home currency into U.S. dollars if you need to do so. If you don’t do this, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will send your application back to you with an invoice — and you’ll have to start the waiting process all over again, costing you several months.

Mistake 4: Falling For A Scam

Unfortunately, there are many corrupt individuals who would love an opportunity to separate you from your hard-earned money and time. When you’re searching for advice and help on immigration matters, keep in mind that if something sounds too good to be true, it is probably a scam. Don’t enter your credit card information into any sites that aren’t secure (the URL of a secure website should have “https” in the beginning and a lock icon should appear in the URL bar of your browser) or that aren’t reputable. Don’t pay any lawyer before they’ve actually heard your case, and be very careful about who you trust to help you complete or translate your paperwork. Scams aren’t only costly financially — they could end up costing you your chances of immigrating as well.

Mistake 5: Not Getting Help

When you’re attempting to make sense of the messy business of immigration, it is important not to try to do everything yourself. Even native English speakers can benefit tremendously from the legal advice of reputable counsel, and having someone who knows the rules double check your work is always a safer bet than going it alone.

Mistake 6: Applying For The Wrong Type Of Visa

If you’re confused about which visa you should actually be applying for, you’re not alone. There are thousands of different ways that new immigrants join the United States, and there’s a different set of forms for almost every one of them. If you end up filing paperwork for a type of visa that you’re ineligible for, then your application will likely be denied.

Mistake 7: Missing Financial Requirements

If you apply for certain types of visas, you’ll need to have a financial sponsor — either your employer or an individual. If they don’t fill out the right paperwork (or if you don’t have a financial sponsor at all), your application will be rejected.

Mistake 8: Missing Critical Deadlines

Once you start your immigration application, there are many important dates that come along with it. You’ll need to be sure that you keep track of the deadlines for filing certain forms, the renewal deadlines for your non-immigrant visas or other permits, the dates and times of any interviews, and renewal deadlines several years down the line. If you miss these deadlines, your application could be denied, because the government might assume you’re not that interested in immigrating after all.

Mistake 9: Neglecting To Send In All Of The Required Forms

There are a lot of forms that accompany an immigration or visa application, and it’s important to send them all to the right place. In addition to official forms, you’ll be required to send in supporting evidence such as birth and marriage certificates, bank account records, passports, and tax forms. Sometimes, you can just submit a copy, and other times, you’ll need to submit a certified copy.

Concurrent filing, or sending all of the forms at the same time, can sometimes slash years off of your processing time.

Mistake 10: Forgetting To Properly Sign A Critical Document

Immigration applications are complicated, but signing your name at the bottom shouldn’t be. Unfortunately, this mistake is more common than you think, and could cost you a lot of wasted time. Before you submit your application, make sure you, your translators, and all other relevant parties properly sign each and every form that requires your signatures. It might be helpful to have a trusted friend or legal professional double check your work, especially if you aren’t fluent in English. If you sign in the wrong place or forget to sign a form, your application will be automatically rejected.

While figuring out the immigration application process is complicated on your own, with a reputable legal team, it can be a much less painful process. 2nd.Law is a full-service immigration firm and is available to help with all of your application needs, for a fraction of the price of typical law firms. See how you can save today.