Tip of the Week #8
I’m Andres Mejer and I’m an immigration attorney. For this week’s Tip of the Week, we’ll list five things you should avoid doing when applying for an immigration benefit.
While these may seem like an “anti-tip,” it’s important for you to know what not to do. As an immigrant myself, I know how confusing it is to apply for your own immigration benefit. I know how frustrating it is to work with USCIS. You think you’re doing everything right, and then you get an RFE or NOID or worse, a rejection or denial.
I don’t want this process to be confusing or frustrating for you. I want your immigration process to be as smooth and as stress-free as possible. That’s our goal for all our clients at Andres Mejer Law.
Don’t rely on your friend’s experience or advice when filing your own application.
You need to read the instructions and follow them for YOUR application. You need to make sure you fill them out with your own personal information.
There is a rabbit hole of information for almost anything online nowadays. We’ve seen people asking questions here and on other sites about what to do, what to say, and what results you’ll have.
And if you’ve done any research you’ve seen them, too. And then you’ve probably seen that people contradict each other all the time. One person says to do X and the other says to do Y and you’re confused and end up doing Z. The only Z you should be doing is what USCIS or DOS wants. And the only way to know that (besides letting an attorney handle it for you) is to read the instructions and follow them when you fill out your application.
Don’t hire a notario, a “paralegal” or non-attorney to file your immigration case.
I have talked about this before, but we still have people who come to us whose case has been messed up because they used someone who wasn’t an attorney and didn’t know immigration law. When you do that you have no protection under the law to get your money back or improve your situation. You made the choice to hire someone who wasn’t qualified.
I have said before, you don’t have to hire an attorney – you can file your own immigration applications. That would be better to do than to hire someone that isn’t qualified and capable. Because if they do it wrong, you don’t have any recourse and you are out your money and possibly out of the US.
Don’t lie. Don’t exaggerate. Don’t misrepresent who you are or what has happened in your life.
We have so many people we have to help because they have done this. They think “they’ll never find out.,” or believe that it’s okay to do so since “my friend did this and it worked out.”
Did you know that even AFTER you become a US Citizen, if you are found to have received that or your green card through fraud, which means you lied, it could be taken away?
Agencies share information. I have been in interviews at USCIS with clients and been surprised by the information that was brought up that they didn’t tell me about, simply because they thought USCIS wouldn’t find out. If you have hired an attorney, tell them everything. Be honest. It is much better to solve a problem before it becomes a barrier to you getting the result you want.
We knew a couple who had applied for a K1 visa. They say that they had been so excited to see each other they forgot to take photos together. So, when they sent their application into USCIS they didn’t have any photo evidence together. So instead of admitting to it, they decided to photoshop pictures of themselves together. USCIS saw right through the photoshopped images and now they had to overcome a finding of fraud.
The thing to remember is when you lie, you need to remember that lie forever. You need to remember that lie from meeting to interview to questionnaire to application. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard enough time remembering the truth of what happened in my life, I don’t want things to have to remember that didn’t happen and neither do you. Plus, you don’t want notes about that lie, or photoshopped pictures, in your immigration file forever.
Don’t take your frustrations and worries out on the workers, judges, or officers that you interact with.
Did you know that immigration officers have so many cases they are processing that they may not even look at your file until they sit down with you for your interview? That is not disrespectful towards you. It is their work-life.
We know this entire process is super stressful. It feels like you should be able to do something to make it go faster. In addition, when you finally talk to a person, you may feel relief that you have someone to hear all your frustrations. This won’t help you. And, in many cases, it will probably hurt you.
Try your best to treat everyone you interact with at USCIS – in real life and on the phone – the way you would want to be treated. Be kind. Be appreciative. Remember they are a people, too.
Don’t post what you don’t want USCIS to know on the internet including social media.
I am shocked sometimes by what I see people post. I see people who are trying to get a green card by marriage showing pictures with other people who are not their spouses in circumstances that should only be with your spouse.
I see people write about their crimes, or lies to USCIS, and ask if those are going to hurt their chances. You have no idea who is seeing that. You have no idea if that person who claims to be helpful and asks you to DM them is an ICE agent or USCIS officer.
Be very careful about what you share and who you share it with. You have no expectation of privacy on the internet. That means that if you share it, it is out there for anyone in the world to see.
Talk to an Immigration Attorney
If you need help with your immigration legal problems, don’t hesitate to contact us at Andres Mejer Law. If we can’t help you, we won’t take your money. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation.