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BECOMING Legal: A Guide to the New Immigration Law : Documents Needed for Interview

May 04, 1987

Completed application form (Form I-687)

Medical examination report (Form I-693)

Two color photographs of the applicant

Fingerprint card (Form FD-258) if applicant is 14 or older

Proof of military registration (Selective Service Form SSS-1) for males 18-26

Filing fee payment (money order, cashier's check or certified bank check only; no cash or personal checks)

To qualify for the legalization program, the undocumented alien also must present:

1. Proof of identity

2. Proof of residency

3. Proof of economic self-sufficiency

The following documents can help establish such proof.

Proof of identity: Acceptable documents, in order of preference, include: passport, birth certificate, national identity document bearing a photo and fingerprint (including the cedula, or Mexican national identity card, and the cartilla, the Mexican military identification), driver's license or similar state identification document bearing a photo, baptismal record, marriage certificate or affidavits.

Aliases: According to INS rules, people who have used aliases must prove their true identity with some of the documents mentioned above. The documentation to prove eligibility for legalization must state the alias used by the applicant. The application must be in your true name.

Common Identity: If an applicant has gone by more than one name, he must also show the common identity between the names. To do so, the applicant may submit a document in which the alias is being used bearing a photograph, fingerprints or detailed physical description. Or he may submit a statement by others who, under oath, attest that the applicant is in fact the person who used the alias in question.

Proof of residency in the United States since Dec. 31, 1981, and physical presence since Nov. 6, 1986, which may be established by:

Past employment records such as pay stubs, W-2 forms, certified copies of income tax returns and letters from employers or, if self-employed, from banks and firms with which the applicant did business.

Utility bills (gas, electric, water, phone), receipts or letters from companies showing dates during which applicant received service.

School records, such as letters or report cards that show where the alien or children attended school in the United States and the dates of such attendance.

Hospital or medical records showing where and when an alien or his children received treatment in the United States.

Letters from churches, unions or other organizations.

Additional documents such as money order receipts; passport entries; birth certificates of children born in the United States; bank books with dates of transactions; letters to the alien showing a U.S. address; Social Security card; Selective Service card; auto license receipts, title, vehicle registration; deeds, mortgages or contracts involving applicant; tax receipts; insurance policies; receipts or letters, or any other relevant document such as rent or house payment receipts.

Continuous Residency: INS rules suggest that in order to fulfill the requirement of continuous residency, the applicant must prove that since Jan. 1, 1982:

Applicant has not been absent from the country for more than 45 days at a time, unless he can show a special hardship.

The sum total of days absent from the country from Jan. 1, 1982 to the date of filing an application does not exceed 180.

The applicant was not deported after Jan. 1, 1982.

The continuous physical residency requirement is not broken by a person who left the country for a short period before May 1, 1987. After that date, an immigrant will need a special permit from INS to leave the country.

Proof of financial responsibility: To show that the alien is not likely to become a public charge, he must provide evidence of a history of employment (such as employment letters, W-2 forms, income tax returns); evidence that he is self-supporting (such as bank statements, stocks, bonds or other assets), or evidence that he is being supported by a spouse or other relative (which requires the filing of an affidavit, Form I-134).


For the processing of applications, the INS will charge:

$185 per adult.

$50 for children under 18.

$420 per family.

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