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Help With INS Forms: Filling in the Blanks

Legal assistant Claudia Gregorian, Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, hosted a Live Chat with us, answering questions regarding the following INS forms:

G-28, G-325, I-90, I-129, I-130, I-131, I-140, I-485, I-765, I-864, and N-400

Jennifer Wipf: 
Good evening everyone. This is your guide, Jennifer Wipf.

Please join me in welcoming our host tonight, Claudia Gregorian from the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman.

Tonight's topic is "Help With INS Forms: Filling in the Blanks." I am on the phone with Claudia and will be transcribing her answers here word for word. As always, any typos are my fault!

Hello Claudia!

Claudia Gregorian: Hello everyone! I am a paralegal at the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman.

I just want to remind everyone that the information I will be providing tonight is of a general nature and may not be construed as legal advice. For specific contractual legal advice, please consult an attorney.

O.K., ready for questions.

Question #1: Is the affidavit of support the same for the original sponsor and the co-sponsor?

Claudia Gregorian: The principal is I-864 and the joint sponsor, providing they are living in the same household, will use I-864 A. However, if there are other sponsors, not living with the original sponsor, they will each have to individually submit I-864.

Jennifer Wipf: Thank you for clearing that up for everyone, Claudia. Here's another question:

Question #2: What does the term 'household member' mean on the forms?

Claudia Gregorian: Any household member who has been living in the household for at least 6 months who is related to the sponsor by birth, marriage, adoption; or whom the sponsor has lawfully claimed as a dependent on the sponsor's most recent federal income tax return even if that person does not live at the same residence as the sponsor, and whose income and/or assets will be used to demonstrate the sponsor's financial ability for purposes of Form I-864 Affidavit of Support.

Jennifer Wipf: So many of you had that question. I'm sure that will clear up any confusion; thanks Claudia.

Question #3: In I-485, a Social Security Number is asked for, if a dependent on H4 is filling out the form what should I put there?

Jennifer Wipf: Good question.

Claudia Gregorian: If the applicant does not have a Social Security number, just write "none" - that's fine!

Question #4: If my American Citizen Spouse lived in a foreign country as a child, for only one year does she need to find out that address for the biographical form?

Claudia Gregorian:  If at all possible, it would be a good idea to answer as thoroughly as you can. If the information is not available, just give the city, town and country; all known information.

Jennifer Wipf: Thanks Claudia

Question #5:  The Biographical Info. sheet refers to "applicant" on the form, does "applicant" refer to both people, sponsor and alien?

Claudia Gregorian: The biographical form is used both for the alien and the petitioner.

Question #6: When getting a medical exam for the I-485 how long is the exam valid for INS purposes?

Jennifer Wipf: Another common question here this evening.

Claudia Gregorian: It is valid for one year.

I want to add that for all immigration forms you can link through our website as follows:
http://shusterman.com/immforms.html

Question #7: In form I-485 Part 2, what is the application type for a person with H1 status and his wife with H4 status?

Claudia Gregorian:  Are you eligible for a green card through an employment based petition? If you're filing the I-485 based on an approved employment-based petition, you will be marking Box A, and the family member such as spouse and children will mark Box B if you are all filing together at the same time.

Question #8: What does someone need to do for fingerprinting?

Jennifer Wipf: Good one. Claudia?

Claudia Gregorian: At the time of filing any application with the INS, that requires fingerprinting, a separate fee of $25 must be included with the application and payable to Immigration and Naturalization Service - You cannot write "INS" on your checks: You must write it out completely. The INS will then mail you an appointment for fingerprinting.

Question #9: Which Affidavit of Support is being used now?

Claudia Gregorian: Currently, two forms are being used: Form I-864 and I-864A together, and Form I-134. All family-based immigrants, including immediate relatives and orphans will be required to have the I-864 affidavit of support.

In addition, the employment-based immigrants--who have been petitioned by companies where relatives of the immigrant own 5% or more of the company--must also use the I-864.

Claudia Gregorian: For any other form of immigration such as: immigrating through visa lottery, for example, Form I-134 will be used.

Question #10: The green card lottery requires an affidavit of support?!

Claudia Gregorian: Yes, from a US Citizen or Permanent Resident relative or friend from within the United States, or a job offer from a US based company. This is not a requirement for the lottery application or winning the lottery! But it is needed at the time of actual application for the green card, after you have been selected in the lottery.

Jennifer Wipf: Thank you Claudia. Here's another question:

Question #11: Can you apply for Advance Parole in person or by mail, either one?

Claudia Gregorian: It depends on the individual office handling the case, but in general all Advance Parole applications for Adjustment of Status cases that are pending at the service centers are filed by mail.

Question #12: What are the poverty levels for a family?

Claudia Gregorian: For 48 states, DC, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Guam, for one person, 125% of the poverty guidelines start at $10,300 for one person.

Up to $34,975 for 8 people in the family and/or any family member above 8 members, they have to add $3525 per person, BUT this is a partial answer because government personnel only have to reach 100% of the poverty guidelines. Also, those figures do not include Alaska or Hawaii: they have their own guidelines. Please refer to page seven on Form I-864 for revised 1999 Poverty Guidelines.

Jennifer Wipf: Good to know, here is another question:

Question #13: If I do not have a birth certificate, what can I do?

Claudia Gregorian: In the event that a birth certificate cannot be obtained, various other legal documents can be submitted; check with an attorney or look up form instructions: this would be handled on an individual case basis.

Question #14: Should INS forms be sent by certified mail?

Claudia Gregorian: Yes always!!!!!

Question #15: Do I include my spouse's income on a green card application if my green card is employment based?

Claudia Gregorian: If you are applying for a green card based on employment, you do not need an affidavit of support, unless the employer is a relative and owns 5% of the company.

If your spouse is immigrating together with you, under your employment petition, the job offer letter from your employer or affidavit of support form I-134 will suffice for your spouse. This is a general overview. Individual cases need to be handled on a one-to-one basis.

Question #16: How do you determine where you are to file your paperwork?

Claudia Gregorian:  If you look at the instructions section of the individual form, you will find brief instructions and addresses/filing information there. You can also link to the INS Home Page through: http://www.shusterman.com/ins.html   and look up *new forms, fees and filing chart* for more update information.

The website may prove helpful, but the phone line is not as user-friendly.

Jennifer Wipf: Does anyone else have questions before we say good night to Claudia? OK, it looks like we've gotten to everyone just in time. Great. Thank you Claudia.

Claudia Gregorian: It has been a pleasure having this virtual conversation with you, everyone. A last word of advice: always double check with immigration attorneys for the most up-to-date filing information. It is a good idea to have an attorney for most, but not all cases. I would also like to mention that our site has over 100 forms, more even than the INS has available: Here is the URL for free form downloads:

http://www.shusterman.com/toc-forms.html

Jennifer Wipf: O.K. Claudia, good night and thank you for hosting this evening. Everyone really appreciates it. See you again soon for more forms tips!

I believe that I got to all of your questions. If I missed anyone, I apologize.

If you have additional questions, we may be able to direct you to an answer within articles on Shusterman's site.  Peter and I, your editors to Immigration Issues at Born Abroad  will be happy to help you and direct you to the specific information you need.

You can also send us any comments about this chat and how to improve the next one. We will work hard to make these chats valuable for you,  and will share comments with Claudia and Mr. Shusterman as well.   Write to  immigration.guide@about.com.

And last but not least....

In all these chats, I notice that before our host arrives many of you are busily sharing your stories with each other, and then I change to moderator console and you probably feel frustrated at not being able to continue interacting.

The size and professional nature of hosted chats require that I moderate.

However, feel free to drop into our Chat Room to chat with each other anytime you'd like. You can click here to page us or an immigration chat buddy.

You can also exchange messages at our Forum Boards. Both these community tools are available to you every day and we encourage you to use them.

All chats hosted by Mr. Shusterman and his staff are listed at http://Shusterman.com/toc-chat.html

and on this Born Abroad site at the Events link up by our photos on every page of this site.

Claudia, Peter and I all wish you much success with those pesky immigration forms and hope all your immigration and other endeavors go smoothly! Thank you all for coming and we will see you again at the next chat!

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