How to Send Documents to USCIS

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • When submitting documents to USCIS, the method depends on the form you need to submit.
  • Regardless of the method, it’s crucial to receive and keep the USCIS receipt notice as proof of application submission and to track your status.
  • Forms can be found and ordered on the USCIS website, and the website provides information on where to send the form.
  • Completing forms accurately, organizing supporting documentation, and mailing the application to the correct address are essential steps.

The U.S. immigration process is an arduous process. Understanding how the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) functions and processes applications form an important part of a successful application.

But how do you send your documents to them? The USCIS no longer offers paper copies of forms that are available to file online (we’ll look at this in more detail below). Fortunately, there are various ways you can submit your application, but it all depends on the kind of application you’re making.

Can Forms Be Sent Directly to USCIS?

It can be quite confusing figuring out how to send documents to USCIS – you can do it by mail or online. But the method depends on the type of form you need to submit.

Regardless of the method, all documents will get to USCIS – some faster than others. The most important thing is to ensure you receive and keep the USCIS receipt notice of your application. This receipt is proof that your application has been submitted and the only way to accurately track your status.

How to Find and Order USCIS Forms

How do you find the forms you need in the first place? And how do you figure out the right address they need to be sent to?

After assessing which form you need, go onto the USCIS website and click on ‘Forms’. Here you’ll find a directory for all the immigration-related forms, each directing to their own information page on the website. There it will tell you everything you need to know about the form, a downloadable link for the form you can fill in electronically and print at home, and details on where to send the form – unless it can be filed online.

If you don’t have access to a printer, you can also opt to order forms from the USCIS via mail. This option is only available to individuals, not immigration professionals. You can order up to five copies of each form. You’ll be asked for your address details, but please note that they only deliver within the U.S. and its territories.

You also have the option of ordering your forms via the USCIS Contact Centre besides ordering via mail or downloading from their website. All these forms are free.

Keep in mind – if an online filing option exists for that form it won’t be available in a paper format.

Form Filing Tips

After getting the right form, the next step is to start filling in your form and get all the required documentation together.

It’s important to follow the form’s instructions carefully. Here are also a few extra tips on how to send documents to the USCIS.

Complete Your Form Accurately

The best way to ensure your application is successful is to take time to complete your forms correctly – one mistake could easily disqualify your entire application.

Here are some tips to remember while filling in the form:

  • Sign everywhere that requires a signature – no signature means no approval.
  • Verify you are using the most up-to-date form downloaded from the USCIS website and print the form single-sided.
  • Don’t leave any empty spaces – rather write ‘Not Applicable’ (N/A).
  • Use black ink if you’re filling in your form with a pen, and definitely no highlighters or correction fluids. The form needs to be legible for the USCIS scanning machines.
  • Make sure all the information is the same if you’re submitting multiple forms.
  • Double-check that you’re paying the correct fee – otherwise, your application will be disqualified.

Assemble Your Application, Petition, or Request

After you’ve filled in your form, it’s important to ensure your whole application – including all documentation and evidence – is organized neatly. This makes it easy for the immigration officer to assess your application, petition, or request.

Here are some pointers:

  • Put your proof of payment, check, or money order at the front of the application. This should be followed by the completed form(s) and supporting documentation in English. All documents must be correctly numbered and with your name on them.
  • When putting your application together, opt for fasteners or heavy clips instead of heavy-duty stapling so that officers can easily disassemble it for processing. You can also add sticky tabs but put them at the bottom.
  • This package should be headed by a cover letter that highlights what the application is for. The type of application you are making should also be noted clearly on the envelope.
  • If the packet is related to a Request for Evidence (RFE), place the notice for the RFE on top of your packet and use the envelope sent with the notice for the RFE.

Mail Your Application, Petition, or Request

Once you’re ready to send off your application, you can send it off via mail to the address stipulated on the form’s information webpage.

If you don’t send it to the right address, your application will be rejected and sent back to be filed correctly.

You can opt to send it either via the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, DHL, or UPS.

Online Filing As an Alternative to Mail

While you can submit most of the forms via mail, the USCIS will not mail paper copies of forms if online filing is available. These are forms that can be submitted electronically on their web filing system.

Not only is online filing faster and more convenient, online filing also offers better protection of your information. The filing fee will also differ between filing online and filing by mail.

The following forms are eligible for online filing (however, if you’re applying for a fee waiver you’ll have to do it via mail):

  • Alien’s Change of Address Card (AR-11)
  • Freedom of Information/Privacy Act and Online FOIA Request (G-639)
  • Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (I-90)
  • Petition for Alien Relative (I-130)
  • Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (I-539)
  • Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (N-336)
  • Application for Naturalization (N-400)
  • Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document (N-565)
  • Application for Certificate of Citizenship (N-600)
  • Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322 (N-600K).

To start filing online, you first have to create a free USCIS online account on their website under the ‘Sign Up’ button. You will be asked for a valid email address and to create a password. Signing in uses two-factor authentication to make it extra secure.

After your account has been authenticated, you can select a form to fill in and upload the requested documents. Remember, you mustn’t leave any fields blank.

Once this is done, you’ll be able to review your submission before signing it digitally with your full name. You can then pay the filing fee with a credit or debit card on the online system.

You can also use your account to check appointment notices for biometric services, upload extra RFE documentation, check the status of your application and mail an immigration service officer with any queries.

Read More

Conclusion

Dealing with the USCIS can be complicated, but it’s a necessary process for receiving and maintaining your legal status in the country.

Whether your petitioning for a nonimmigrant worker, attempting to adjust your immigration status, or trying to apply for a new travel document, understanding how to send documents to the USCIS is a crucial step in a successful application.

How to Send Documents to USCIS FAQ

How do I send documents to USCIS?

Sending documents to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) involves the following steps:

  1. Prepare Your Documents: Ensure that all documents are complete, signed, and organized as required for your specific immigration application or petition.
  2. Make Copies: Make photocopies of all documents for your records. USCIS recommends this practice to retain a record of what you submitted.
  3. Complete the Appropriate Forms: If your documents are related to a specific immigration benefit or application, make sure you have filled out the required USCIS forms correctly.
  4. Check the Filing Fee: If applicable, verify the correct filing fee for your application. USCIS often updates fee amounts, so check the USCIS website or current filing instructions for the latest fee information.
  5. Pay the Fee: Pay the filing fee online through the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS) or by mail with a check or money order, as instructed in the USCIS guidelines.
  6. Prepare the Package: Place your completed forms, supporting documents, fees (if applicable), and a cover letter (if desired) in an envelope or package. Organize the documents in a logical order.
  7. Address the Package: Use the appropriate USCIS mailing address for your specific application or petition. USCIS has different mailing addresses for various types of submissions, so ensure you choose the correct one.
  8. Affix Adequate Postage: If sending your package via mail or courier service, make sure you have sufficient postage or postage labels to cover the cost of mailing.
  9. Track Your Package: If desired, consider using a trackable mail or courier service to monitor the delivery status of your package.
  10. Send the Package: Submit your package to USCIS by mailing it to the designated USCIS address or, if applicable, by submitting it electronically through USCIS ELIS.

What should I include in the cover letter when sending documents to USCIS?

While a cover letter is not required, it can be a helpful addition when sending documents to USCIS. A cover letter should include:

  • A brief description of the contents of the package.
  • Your name, address, and contact information.
  • Any special circumstances or requests related to your application.
  • A list of the enclosed documents.
  • The form type and receipt number (if applicable).
  • Your A-Number or USCIS account number (if applicable).
  • Your signature.

The cover letter serves as an introduction to your submission and can help USCIS officers identify and process your application more efficiently.

Can I send documents to USCIS online?

Yes, USCIS offers electronic filing options through the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS) for certain forms and applications. Eligibility for electronic filing may vary depending on the specific immigration benefit you are applying for. Check the USCIS website for details on forms available for electronic filing and the submission process.

What if I need to send additional documents or evidence after submitting my application?

If you need to send additional documents or evidence after submitting your application, follow these steps:

  1. Gather the Documents: Collect the additional documents or evidence you wish to submit.
  2. Create a Cover Letter: Include a cover letter explaining the purpose of the additional submission and listing the enclosed documents.
  3. Use the Correct Address: Verify the appropriate USCIS address for submitting additional evidence. This may be the same address you used for your initial submission or a different address provided in USCIS correspondence.
  4. Affix Adequate Postage: Ensure that you have sufficient postage or postage labels if sending the documents via mail or courier service.
  5. Submit Promptly: Send the additional documents as soon as possible to prevent delays in processing your application.

Can I send documents to USCIS in person?

USCIS generally does not accept in-person document submissions at its field offices or service centers. Most documents must be submitted by mail, courier service, or electronically through USCIS ELIS, following the specific submission instructions provided in the USCIS guidelines for your application or petition.

How can I track the status of my submitted documents with USCIS?

You can track the status of your submitted documents and application using the USCIS Case Status Online tool. This tool provides real-time updates on the progress of your case, including confirmation of document receipt and processing status.

Remember to consult the USCIS website and specific application instructions for the most up-to-date information on document submission procedures and USCIS mailing addresses.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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