1. Be cautious! Do NOT pay anyone to get in line for immigration reform or to hold your paperwork or open a file on your behalf to get a head start! Immigration Reform has NOT passed, it is currently in debate in Congress. Ethically speaking, an Immigration attorney should not retain a case for some form of relief until that immigration relief is available by law or approved by the U.S.C.I.S.
  2. Start gathering proof for the years that you have lived in the United States. Make sure all documents have your name, U.S. address, and the date. Examples of documents that could be helpful are: pay check stubs, income taxes, doctor/dentist receipts, rental agreements, school records, insurance documents, bank statements, vital statistics e.g. birth records, marriage, divorces (all occurring in the U.S.)
  3. Obtain your personal certified records; Contact your local Consulate to obtain a copy of your birth certificate and a valid passport.
  4. Save money in your piggy bank! Immigration reform will bring about new USCIS application fees and attorney fees.
  5. Contact your Certified Tax Preparer to find out if you owe any Income Taxes – keep a copy of all of the Income Tax forms that you have filed.
  6. It is extremely important to avoid any trouble with the law during this time. Avoid driving if you don’t have a driver’s license. Avoid getting traffic citations. Obtain a copy of any police report or court record pertaining to your criminal history.
  7. Practice your ENGLISH! Also obtain copies of all of your school records from any school you attended in the U.S.