Tricky Immigration Questions Answered
Author: Immigration Attorney Alena Shautsova
Have you tried filling out immigration forms by yourself? Have you ever wondered if some of the questions you saw on those forms were prepared by LSAT or GRE examiners? Sometimes, you read a question, and it feels you need to utilize your entire brain power to understand its meaning, and you only wish you could provide an answer that, hopefully, would be considered accurate by USCIS...
For example, let’s take form I 864 affidavit of support. First, it asks you to identify who you are (the signed): the petitioner, ... or the joint sponsor. Many answers the joint sponsor because they feel that because they are helping their family member to immigrate to the US, they are “joining” them as a sponsor. However, if you are the person who is sponsoring the immigrant (the person who filed the document- petition for this immigrant to begin with), you need to check “the petitioner.” Sometimes, the petitioner’s income is not enough to sponsor an immigrant. In such cases, the petitioner will find a “joint sponsor” who together with the petitioner will be sponsoring the immigrant. The joint sponsor will have to fill out the form I 864 as well and will check “the joint sponsor” field.
Another “interesting” question on form I 864 is in Part 5, Sponsor’s Household Size. If you read the question and count everyone in your family (let’s say it is only you and your wife), you will always get 3 instead of 2 people. The question is unclear, and the form’s direction “do not count anyone twice” is unclear and causes constant confusion.
Let’s look at form I 485. Part 2 is asking an applicant to check off the box that described the basis for his/her green card application. Many spouses of US citizens, instead of the first choice choose “other” basis. In fact, they should choose choice No. 1 “ An immigrant petition giving me an immediately available immigrant visa number...” because when a US citizen is sponsoring his/her spouse, the “visa” number” is always immediately available, even if the two applications (1 130 and I 1485) are filed at the same time.
Finally, we can also “pick on” form I 130, Part 4, Question 61: “If beneficiary is in the United States and will be filing for adjustment of status to that of lawful permanent resident in USCIS office in”... Well, the thing is that all filings for adjustment of status (or most of them) have to be made though a “Lockbox,” meaning that if you reside in NY, for example, your application will have to be mailed to Chicago. The question is confusing because one may not be sure how to answer it: Chicago, IL or New York, NY... I have seen practitioners answering both ways...