Immigration Law – Form Based With a Face

Categories: Immigration Lawyer Blog San Diego

When it comes to immigration law, one thing is constant – you will always work with FORMS.  Lots of forms.  Constantly changing forms.  Hard to understand forms.  FORMS, FORMS & more FORMS!  Moreover, the locations of where to file these forms are constantly changing and not necessarily intuitive. One I-140 is filed at this lock-box, but if you file premium, you better file it somewhere else or else the petition gets rejected; the I-539 is filed here for this category, but somewhere else for that category; and who the heck is supposed to sign the I-907?  Worse off, if you forget to sign a form and the petition is returned – utter humiliation!  It is enough to drive our immigration lawyers and paralegals crazy!  However, it has always been a part of immigration law and probably always will.

One thing to always keep in mind though, is that through the sea of forms, there eventually is a face.  That 2000+ page Extraordinary Ability petition (with the accompanying I-140 form) will end up at an officer’s desk; that H-1B petition (with the accompanying I-129 form) you triple-checked at cap-filing time will end up at an officer’s desk; and that romance-filled fiancé petition (with the accompanying I-129F form) filled with love letters and ridiculous around-the-world selfies will end up….you guessed it, at an officer’s desk.  Yes, immigration may be a form-based practice, but it is also a human-based practice.

Officers are trained to evaluate cases based on the information presented, and when writing a petition, I always keep that in mind.  I try and include background information, real-world scenarios, and antidotes to both educate and entertain an officer throughout the petition.  I involve the client in this process, constantly going back to him/her for clarification on technologies and/or terminologies, explaining that if we don’t clearly understand the explanation, chances are an officer won’t either.  This background information and additional clarification may seem unnecessary to some, but I believe by including more than just the form, we can humanize these filings, and connect the officer to the face on the other end as well – our clients.