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Must-Know List of United States Immigration Forms
Image of US immigration document placed under an ink pen.

In this blog, you will find details about:

US Immigration Forms

  • DS-160
  • I-94
  • I-765
  • I-129F
  • I-797
  • I-539

US Immigration Visas

Finding a job in the US is a dream for millions of people worldwide. Besides that, there are hoards of tourists who visit the country every day. Everyone who enters the US requires a non-immigrant or an immigrant visa.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is responsible for issuing these visas. All US immigration and non-immigration visas start with the Letter "I," followed by numbers. If you are applying for a US visa, you should know that none of the forms directly grant a US visa. However, once approved, you can use these forms to stay or extend your stay in the US. These US immigration forms also authorize you to work in the US.

Below is a list of the most important US immigration forms you may encounter before making your journey to the US. Let's unravel each form, its purpose, and the procedure to fill it correctly.

6 Important US Immigration Visas, Their Purposes & Filling Procedures

1.DS-160: The Online Non-immigrant Visa Application

For temporary travel to the United States, you need to fill out the DS-160 online nonimmigrant visa application form. Here are the top features of the DS-160:

  • A separated Form DS-160 is required for each applicant, including children.
  • Form DS-160 must be completed and submitted online before the visa interview.
  • The information given in the DS-160 is used to determine your applicant's eligibility to process the visa further.

DS-160 form filling and the process:

Filling the DS160 Form online is a simple task. Nevertheless, you must take extra care to ensure the form is filled out correctly. You must:

  • Determine the applicable category of visa.
  • Gather the documents required for DS-160.
  • Login to the Consular Electronic Application Center website.
  • Login to your account.
  • Answer your security question.
  • Note and save the DS-160 to your computer.
  • Answer the questions related to your personal information, family, occupation, and security.
  • Upload your DS-160.
  • Submit your DS-160 Form.
  • Print DS-160 barcode page.
  • Schedule your visa appointment.
  • Attend the interview via the US Embassy or Consulate website and answer the country-specific instructions.
  • Pay the visa processing fee.
  • Review the country-specific instructions on the US Consulate website.

Also Read: What is i-94?

2. Form I-94 Arrival / Departure record

I-94 Form is the DHS Arrival/Departure Record issued to foreigners applying for an Extension, Change of Status, or other things. Given below are the salient features of Form I 94:

  • Form I-94 lists the entry date, duration, visa status, and port of entry.
  • This form is required for I-9 employment verification and other purposes.
  • Form I-94 is attached to your passport by a CBP officer when you enter the US.
  • You must leave the country on the date issued on the Form.

The USCIS issues a new Form I-94 or another documentation if you choose to extend your stay in the US by obtaining a Green Card.

Form I-94 is available in two types:

Electronic form:

The electronic Form I-94 is issued by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to those arriving by air or sea. You will also receive a stamp on your passport showing that you entered the country legally. You can also visit the CBP official website to view your travel records and download or print a copy for your records.

2. Paper form

The paper version of Form I-94 is issued to foreigners arriving by land. It is in the form of a small white card attached to the visitor's passport. The US Government tracks your entry and exit from the country with your Form I-94. Hence, it is mandatory to submit your paper Form I-94 when leaving the US.

The process to obtain an electronic and paper I-94 travel record:

  • Fill in all the details in CAPITAL LETTERS.
  • Fill the information exactly between the lines.
  • Complete the I-94 Arrival Record Section on the front of the form.
  • Do not fill out the backside of the Form. It is used only for official purposes.

The CBP officer will review the I-94 at the entry point of the US, retain the top half and return the bottom half of the I-94, which is the departure record.

3. Form I- 765 Application for Employment Authorization

The Employment Authorization Document or EAD is also known as a work permit. Issued by the USCIS, the EAD is proof that you are legally permitted to work in the US. The EAD application is known as I-765 Form. Foreigners (especially dependents) may file Form I-765 to obtain an EAD and work while they are in the US.

The EAD is a credit-card-sized plastic card with enhanced, non-duplicable multiple-security coding.

The EAD is issued in the following categories:

  1. EAD: Proof that you can work in the US.
  2. Renewal EAD: Cannot be filed 120 days before the expiry of your previously authorized employment.
  3. Replacement EAD: Replacement for lost, stolen, incorrect, and mutilated EADs.

The I-765 form filling and the process

To fill I 765 Form, you should:

  • Enter the application reason, and your personal information, such as:
  1. Statement
  2. Contact information
  3. Certification
  4. Declaration
  5. Signature
  • If you are filing Form I-765 with an interpreter's help, you should fill in the following information:
  1. Contact details
  2. Signature
  3. Certification
  • Fill in all additional information.

4. Form I-129F: Petition for Alien Fiancé

U.S. citizens who want their foreign fiancé to come to the United States to get married must fill out the USCIS I-129F form. If your Form I-129F petition is approved, the sponsored fiancé or spouse will need a visa, an interview, and then enter the U.S. to obtain a green card. After the couple is married, the foreigner can "adjust status" to acquire their Green Card.

Who all can submit Form I-129F:

  • Fiances of American citizens who come to the US and marry them within nienty days.
  • US citizens who wish to bring their foreign fiancé to the country to marry and live with them.

The I-129F Petition filing and the process and document list

To file Form I-129F, you need the following documents:

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship (petitioner)
  1. Photographs of the couple
  2. Proof of original statements from the U.S. citizen and foreign fiancé of their intent to marry if a K-1 visa is granted.
  3. Proof of all legal termination from both parties, if applicable
  4. Proof that the couple has met in person in the immediate two years before filing the I-129F.
  5. Certified English translations of any documents, if applicable.
  6. Completed G-28 if an attorney is being represented in the case.

If you are a US citizen wishing to file Form I-129F, you should:

  • Petition for Alien Fiancé (Form I-129F) to USCIS.
  • Submit it to the USCIS service center where you reside.
  • Fill in the form correctly with information about the petitioner (you) and the beneficiary (your fiancé ).

The USCIS will send a notification about the approved petition to the US Consulate or Embassy where the fiance lives. The fiance should:

  • Apply for a K1 visa with the US Consulate or Embassy in the country where they reside.
  • Enter the US with a K1 status.
  • Marry the American citizen within 90 days.
  • Change the K1 status by officially requesting for Green Card after marriage.

5. Form I-797: Notice of Action

This Form is primarily a communication form between the USCIS after submitting any immigration application to the agency. I-797 is generally applied by the sponsoring employee on behalf of the foreign worker.

Important aspects of Notice of Action:

  • Form I-797 serves multiple purposes, such as:

Application approval
Request for Evidence
To notify about a scheduled appointment.

As far as Form I-797 is concerned, you must:

  • Read it thoroughly as it comprises instructions for the rest of the application process.
  • Alert the USCIS if you plan to relocate so that all the critical information is mailed to the correct address.
  • Fill and submit AR-11 and Alien's Change of Address Card, or update the same via the USCIS online account.

Types of Form I-797

Form I-797 comes in seven categories, each depending on the type of immigration application submitted and the stage of the process.

1. the USCIS sends Form I-797 Notice of Action to notify them that they have received your application.

2. Form I-797A Notice of Action for Replacement of I-94

For I-94 Extension, adjustment of status, and change in residential address.

3. Form I-797B Approval of Alien Worker Petition

Receiving an I-797B denotes that your I-140 Immigration Petition for Alien Worker is approved. However, the I-797B should come with a new I-94. If not, you may have to return to your home country and get your visa stamped.

4. Form I-797C Important Follow-up Information

This form informs you of scheduled appointments, rejection, reopening of a case, or transfer.

5. Form I-797D Benefit Card may come with a Green Card or an EAD, depending on your application.

6. Form I-797E Request for Evidence.

Popularly known as RFE, the USCIS sends this form if it requires additional information to process your visa application.

7. Form I-797F Transportation Letter

Form I-797F allows applicants to travel overseas and comes with instructions specific to your case.

Also Read: What is I-797?

6. Form I-539 Change or Extend Non-Immigrant Status Application

All US immigrant visas come with an expiry date. However, Form I-539 comes to your rescue if you want to extend your stay in the US or switch to another visa. Non-immigrants are advised to apply for extensions to their stay at least 45 days before their current visa expires.

I- 539 Form filling and the process

To file an I 539 Form, you will need the following:

  1. Fee for filing the extension visa
  2. Online printed form I-94
  3. Copies of the pages in your passport
  4. Proof of financial support
  5. A letter explaining in detail the following:
  • Reason to prolong your stay in the US
  • Why your stay in the US is temporary.
  • The effect your extended stay would have on your foreign employment or residency.

Important tips to fill out Form I-539

  • Enter only NA or Non-Applicable if your answer does not apply to the situation.
  • Fill in your information in the first part of the form.
  • Fill the first box and leave the other two empty to extend your stay.
  • Fill out Form 5A to include your spouse and children's details and other information.
  • Fill in the processing information.
  • Enter all additional information without fail.

Conclusion

Always refer to the USCIS official website before filling in any information because the portal includes information that asks you to:

  • Use only black ink.
  • Restart with a clean form in case of errors.
  • Download the latest version of the immigration forms.

Kindly follow all the instructions and attach the required documents to ensure a smooth and hassle-free application process.

Visit our TechFetch H1B website for detailed insights about US immigration policies and procedures.

**Disclaimer : All US immigration policies and procedures are subject to change. Kindly refer to the USCIS official website for more information.**

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