© Attorney Farhad Sethna 2012
This New Year, 2013, while you are making resolutions to gain weight, lose weight, being more organized, think positive, act positive, and all the other good things that we always start the year with, I would like to add one more item to your list. This is probably an item you can actually complete, so here it is!
“This New Year I am going to get my immigration file in order.”
Well, it certainly sounds simple but what does it mean? The reason I recommend this resolution is because I am hopeful that within the next term in Congress, we will have some new immigration reform law. I fully anticipate that any law will require very strict evidence. So, what should you be collecting?
Documents to prove your stay in the USA: These may be documents related to your leases, any driver’s licenses or state ID cards, hospital and school records, TIN applications, WIC or needs-based assistance documents, court records, traffic tickets, bank accounts and certified copies of birth certificates of your US-born children, etc. For example, if you were in a hospital, those records would be proof. You could also compile school records for your children. If you used another name, then compile your records under that name too. These may be payroll stubs, tax returns, forms W-2, and any other employment-related documents.
Make a detailed list of all your addresses and the dates you lived there.
Compile your own personal biographical records: Get a certified copy of your birth certificate. Obtain a passport or “matricula consular” from your home country if you can. If your children and other family members who live with you are undocumented, obtain that person’s evidence as well just as you obtain yours.
Criminal or traffic violations: Obtain certified copies of all criminal or traffic violations of which have either been accused, arrested, or convicted. If you have paid fines, obtain copies of receipts. Such records will prove your presence in the USA and that you obeyed the law and paid your fines.
Once you have compiled these documents, keep them in a safe place. You don’t want to lose them or have them fall into the wrong hands. I anticipate that millions of applications are going to be ready to be filed if and when comprehensive immigration reform is finally passed into law. Even if comprehensive immigration reform does not become law, it is highly possible that some other form of reform- perhaps some temporary form of work authorization- may become available. The documents you have collected will be most helpful in applying for any kind of immigration relief.
Finally, make a conscious decision to consult a qualified immigration attorney. Please do not rely on “notarios” or other similar individuals. Get your information from a trusted, knowledgeable source.
Make this one of your New Year’s resolutions and I promise, it will probably be easier to keep this resolution than it will be for most others! Good luck to you and Happy New Year!
About the author: Attorney Farhad Sethna has practiced law for over 20 years. Since 1996, he has been an adjunct professor of Immigration Law at the University of Akron, School of Law, in Akron, Ohio. His practice is limited to immigration and small business. With offices in Akron and Dover, Ohio, Attorney Sethna represents clients in all types of immigration cases. Our number is: (330)-384-8000. Please send your general immigration questions to AttorneySethna@immigration-america.com. We will try to answer as many questions as possible.
This is only general legal information. Please consult a qualified immigration attorney for advice on your specific case.