Becoming a U.S. citizen is often a tedious process with multiple hoops and a lot of potential delays on the way. Nevertheless, many people are willing to fight tooth and nail for US citizenship, and for a lot of reasons other than getting a chance at living the American dream.
While the immigration process may be challenging, there are also a lot of ways to make it less difficult for you. Depending on your case, you may be able to have an easier time immigrating to the country with these practical strategies:
Start as early as possible
The process of immigrating to the U.S. starts with the application step. Applying for an immigrant visa is a time-consuming process in and of itself, which is why it’s best to start as early as you can by gathering the requirements. It’s also important that you plan for delays in and application because the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is consistently lagging behind schedule. As a result, it can take a year or even longer to process your application.
If you already have a green card, start the process as soon as the law allows (usually after five years). Once your green card expires, you may be arrested or deported by immigration authorities even if you have already applied for a renewal.
Let the USCIS know of any address changes
Immigrants who stay longer than thirty days must notify the USCIS of any address changes within ten days of the change of address. You can do this by using the USCIS’ change of address service on their official website or filling out and mailing Form AR-11. Do this for any USCIS office that is processing your application if it is already underway.
If there are other immigrants in your family, they must also notify the USCIS of address changes, including children.
Never be late
When attending any scheduled appointments with the embassy, immigration court, consulate, or the USCIS, arrive at least an hour early or even earlier. Arriving late can result in delays in your proceedings and processing times, or worse, lead to your deportation.
Be aware of immigration visa laws or provisions
As an immigrant, it is your duty to do due diligence and be aware of all the immigration laws and provisions that apply to you. There are plenty of sources online that can help you be knowledgeable of what you need to know, and consulting with an experienced immigration attorney can help even further.
This way, you know what you can and cannot do as an intending immigrant. Violating laws or provisions, even inadvertently, can lead to the cancellation of your application and even your disqualification from future immigration applications. There is also a risk of paying fines or getting arrested due to violating immigration laws.
Start learning English ASAP
If you or a family member does not have sufficient English skills before applying for immigration, it is highly recommended that you start learning English as soon as possible, ideally before you even start the application process. Otherwise, it can be extremely difficult to communicate with others when you arrive in the U.S., making it harder to find jobs, look for housing, and simply connect with other people.
Create a realistic timeline
As we’ve said before, the process of acquiring U.S. citizenship can be time-consuming and laborious at best. That said, creating a timeline for what you need to accomplish is a great way to stay organized and plan ahead. For example, determine what month or date you need to figure out housing, or when you need to have a job.
At the same time, create contingency plans for delays or anything that can make significant changes to your timeline.
Apply for jobs before you arrive
When you get to the U.S., you would have to find a way to support yourself and your family as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may have to rely on a “survival job” that is not in line with your educational background, experience, or the salary that you need to support your lifestyle.
With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to start looking or applying for jobs in advance. Make a list of potential employers and perhaps even reach out to them to build your professional network.
Unfortunately, it’s rarely easy to immigrate to the United States. There is a lot of steps that you have to accomplish and multiple errors that you have to be wary of. By using these strategies, however, you can help make the process at least a little easier and increase your chances of getting approved.