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What to expect after filing any USCIS form?

15th November 2011
By Jessica Potter in Immigration Law
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All immigration procedures require some form or the other that needs to be filled and submitted with the USCIS. Be it the application to obtain citizenship, green card or a visa, an applicant should choose the appropriate form and submit it without any errors. It takes quite a bit of a time to fill in a form and gather all the necessary documents and photographs. But the longer wait begins only after the form has been submitted. Many applicants are not aware of the ensuing procedures after submission of application and are gripped by anxiety.

It would be really helpful, if the applicants acquaint themselves with every detail about the form that they are filing in. Given below are the common formalities that are met after the submission of any USCIS form.

Receiving the Notice of Action

After submitting any USCIS form, the applicant will be issued with the Notice of Action (Form I-797C) which has information regarding the official filing date of the form and the receipt number. In case the application is being rejected by the USCIS, then the USCIS form along with all the supporting documents and also with a notice explaining reasons for denial will be sent to the applicant.

Biometrics and photographs

When a person has filed in form I-485, the USCIS will send a notice requesting the applicant to appear for a biometrics test (finger printing & photographs) at an ASC. The biometric test is only for applicants who are 14 yrs or older. If Form I-765 is also filed along with it, then a separate notice will be sent for it.

When the applicant goes for the interview a state-issued photo identification card or a passport along with both the notices should be taken without fail. If for some genuine reason, the applicant fails to make it to the scheduled appointment, then he/she should follow the instructions on the appointment notice and fix up a new appointment. When an applicant does not ask for a new appointment, then the application will be rejected.

Once the fingerprints are taken, they will be sent to the FBI for verification. The FBI will compare it with their database and if found satisfactory, will approve it and send it back to the ASC. Sometimes, the fingerprints will not match due to unclear prints. In such cases, a second fingerprinting test will be taken. The applicant need not pay any additional fee for this. When the second set of fingerprints are also rejected by the FBI, then the applicant has to get a police certification from the local station, indicating that he/she has a clean record.

Interview- Scheduling and getting waivers

The next step after taking the biometrics appointment is waiting for the interview call. Certain USCIS forms allow for waivers for the interview. Normally the interview will be scheduled within 180 days of the official filing date. The interview notice will carry the information regarding the USCIS field office where the applicant has to attend the interview.

Awaiting the decision of USCIS

The time taken by the USCIS to decide on any USCIS form varies depending upon whether they are satisfied with all the attached supporting documents. In case, they find it to be unsatisfactory, a RFE (Request for evidence) notice will be sent to the applicant.
In case of citizenship applications, the applicant will get an idea about the results after the interview itself. Some may have the oath ceremony scheduled for the same day itself. It all depends on the immigration officer, ASC and the way the applicant fairs in the test.

The decision will be intimated through mail and the applicant should ensure that the USCIS has the current address of residence. Any change of address should be duly informed otherwise notifications from the USCIS will be missed. The status of any USCIS form after the applicant has submitted it can be checked online on the government website.

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