Immigration is a hot legal issue with legislatures at both the Federal and State levels working to ease burdens for families hoping to be together in the United State by making the process of applying and being granted a visa or green card easier. There are many legal forms and affidavits that need to be filled out, filed, refiled and, at times, appealed, making the process drag on for not only many months, both often years. While there are many steps in the process to legal immigration, and in some cases, it is wise to hire an immigration attorney to help you, there are still many immigration forms that you can begin filling out on your own. Here is a list of some common forms and the issues they address.
Form DS-260: Immigration Visa Petition
A visa is a legal document that allows you to cross the border into the United States. There are several types of visas including tourist and student visas. An immigration visa is required in order to come to the U.S. and the DS-260 is the form you need to start your petition. The wait time between the time you send in your form until you are approved for the next step is typically a couple of months, though it could take up to a year or more.
Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative
Once you have established legal residency in the United States, you are eligible to be a sponsor to your relatives, helping them on their own immigration journey to the U.S. Form I-130 is one of the forms required to help relatives wishing to immigrate. This helps establish that you are legally related to a family member that is going through the immigration process. There are some limitations on who can file an I-130 form, so you should speak with an immigration attorney before filing your legal forms.
Form N-400: US Citizenship Application
This form is the starting point of the naturalization process. Anyone over the age of 18 who wishes to become a permanent citizen of the United States needs to fill out an N-400 form. While there are many additional forms, photographs and documents that need to be filled too, this form is probably the most important. Submitting this form gets the process started, though you will need gather and submit additional required forms, letters and affidavits along with it.
Form I-589: Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal
If you are physically in the United States but not a citizen or legal resident, Form I-589 is the document you file to petition to stay within the U.S. In addition to filing this form, you are required to provide documentation that proves that you would be tortured or killed should you return to your homeland. This form is also used if you have been suspected of entering the U.S. illegally and are going through the deportation process. You also need to provide proof that you have been living in the United States for several years, have been a contributing member of society and that returning to your homeland would provide a hardship for yourself or family.
EOIR-26: Notice of Appeal from a Decision of an Immigration Judge
If an Immigration Judge has ruled against any of your petitions, you have 30 days from the time the written or oral decision is given to have your appeal received by the Board of Appeal. The EOIR-26 form doesn't guarantee a successful appeal, especially since it usually comes down to the discretion of the Judge. If your petition has been denied by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you need to file Form EOIR-29, Notice of Appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals from a Decision of an Immigration Officer.
If any of these immigration forms don't address your particular legal issue, check out the Top Ten Reviews online legal forms sites for a helpful solution that specializes in immigration forms or that includes a legal directory to help you find an immigration attorney in your area.