After paying over 1000 dollars for the I-485 form that we submitted along with about 7 other forms at the same time we got a notice that it was denied so now we just applied all over again with the same paperwork and we had to pay the money all over again and submit the other 7 forms all over again as well. My wife got two official notices to appear and get her biometrics done which in this case consists of her picture being taken and getting her fingerprints taken. She showed up the first day and got the first biometric appointment done. She had to take off work to go to the appointment. Then she took off work to go to the second biometric appointment which was for her work permit. Talk about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. She has had a Utah drivers license for the past 20 years and Utah would only renew it for less than 6 months until the immigration paperwork is done.
Another friend of ours applied for her residency by filling out all the forms, going to the medical appointment and paying the money. Her paperwork also came back denied because her husband who is a legal resident had not registered with the selective service so they had to get a lawyer to straighten it all out. She is applying again and paying the 1070 dollars plus the biometric fee of almost 100 all over again and her husband is applying to be a citizen since he qualifies. We hear story after story about these type of things and complaining does not do anyone any good although you can definitely see the system is broken.
1. Pay any and all fines with the City, State and Country such as parking, speeding, back taxes, child support and any other fine that you may have pending.
2. Do not drive without current valid insurance for your vehicle.
3. Order current birth certificates from your country with the new seals and get a current passport and consular ID from your country.
4. Participate in community programs keeping all certificates. One such program is the CERT Community Emergency Response Team Training.
5. Learn as much English as you can. There are many free programs or low cost programs through churches and community schools and universities.
6. Save up money for your forms and lawyer fees because it is best to hire an experienced immigration lawyer. Many of the forms cost over 1000 to file. Plan on paying about $2,600 if the lawyer has to file 1000 dollar form. You can submit things yourself although it is much more difficult so you can go to some legal workshops that are available through the community and they can help although there is no substitute for getting an experienced immigration lawyer.
When you file your I-485 form for example (for residency) it is best to file several other forms at the same time including your request for a work permit I-765 (not cost to file) and many times you should file your medical exam form to be sent in by a qualified doctor at the same time. You may also be required to file the affidavit of support at this time too so check with your lawyer. Your lawyer will have you sign a form so he or she may represent you. Sometimes you will be required to file paperwork showing that you do not have a criminal back ground so verify this with your lawyer but having all of these things ready will help you be ready to see your lawyer. www.uscis.gov has all of these forms along with the instructions to each form.
When I filed one of the forms immigration sent a request back that I fill out section B which was the spouse information and I had left it blank because I am a US Citizen and I had included a copy of my passport and birth certificate. So I filled out the section b that they required and sent it in, I then got an official order that required me (a US Citizen) to get my biometrics taken which I did even though I disputed it and USCIS issued me an A# (Alien Registration number) how can that happen you may ask? I asked the same thing from several people. I wrote letters to USCIS and my Senator and I did not get a response from either agency. I understand it was an error and this just goes to show how messed up our system is. My wife says I should not dwell on things like this and she is right although it is a bit nuts that my own government would issues me an alien registration number when I sent in my own birth certificate. SO currently we have spent over $13,000 dollars on immigration forms. ($5,000 on a lawyer and $8,000+ in additional forms that we filled out ourselves) I have learned a thing or two about the system so get your paperwork in order before you ever go to a lawyer and save up some cash so you will have the money needed to file the forms.