Tips from an Immigration Attorney, particularly if you have no status in the United States:

  1. Keep a log of every time you have left and entered the country.
  2. File away any piece of paper you get with your name, date, and a location on it. Many immigration solutions depend on proving that you were in the United States at a certain time or for a certain length of time. These sorts of records can make or break a case and they are much easier to build over time, instead of in a mad-rush to gather ten years (or more) of evidence all at once in time to get to court on a schedule decided by the judge(Examples of these documents include doctor’s notes, envelopes mailed to you with a postmark, receipts for money transferred to loved ones abroad, mobile phone statements, bank statements, utility statements, school and medical records for you or your children, rent payment receipts, Amazon delivery records, gym memberships, etc.).
  3. Limit alcohol intake. DUIs and domestic violence or assault charges stemming from a drunken fight can be hugely problematic for foreign nationals in the United States.
  4. Never ever EVER claim to be a U.S. citizen, which includes registering to vote. If you fear that you may have been automatically or accidentally registered at some point when you did something else, do not ignore it! Act to cancel the registration as quickly as possible and do not vote in local, state, or federal elections until you are naturalized.
  5. Do not seek legal advice from a notario! In the United States, a notario (notary public) is not an attorney nor an immigration expert. They are not authorized to practice law. They may advertise that they are “immigration consultants,” but they are not qualified to assist you in your immigration case. We have seen countless cases filed by notarios that have led to serious consequences, because they were improperly handed. A notario cannot represent you in court. A notario does not have a legal license to protect. Attorneys, rather, will be there with you in court — defending you and ensuring you get the best defense. Attorneys know that if they mishandle your case it could affect their law practice. If you go to a notario, your case will likely end in shambles with no one there to help you piece it together. Do not make this mistake. Immigration law is extraordinary complicated. If you want your case done right — go to an immigration lawyer.
  6. File your taxes, and do so honestly! Do not claim dependents you do not support (nieces, cousins, siblings), and claim all income received – regardless of whether it was cash or check. Taxes often must be submitted to judges and other immigration officers as proof of good character, and it is important that yours have been done correctly.