Common questions when getting ready to file

Filing an application or petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can be a lengthy and complex process. However, people interested in obtaining the right to live and work in the U.S. can make the process less overwhelming by preparing in advance and learning the answers to these common filing questions:

How do I obtain a form?
USCIS provides all necessary forms for applications and petitions for free on its website. They are also available to order in hard copy via the mail or over the phone by calling 1-800-870-3676. However, you can also fill out a form through Immigration Direct and get step-by-step help filling it out to ensure that it is complete and accurate.

How much does it cost to file an application?
The fees set by USCIS change periodically. As of November 2010, the price to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status was $1,070 for people between the ages of 14 and 78. This includes the form filing price as well as the fee for fingerprinting. Children and the elderly had the fingerprinting cost waived, and certain categories of applicants had lower or no filing fee. Depending on your status and eligibility, you may be able to have your filing charge waived altogether using the Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver.

How long does it take to process a form?
Processing times vary greatly according to the form. Applications and petitions are generally processed in the order in which they are received, and you can check the estimated time of completion for yours using the USCIS processing times chart. To do so, you will need the following information, which can be found on your receipt notice:

  • The type of form
  • The ISCIS office that is reviewing your form
  • The date that the office received the form

Where do I file my form?
Each USCIS form provides instructions for how to properly file, including where you should send the document. However, these instructions can change, so you may want to verify this information with the USCIS. Additionally, you can rely on Immigration Directs’ up-to-date forms for this information.