Tips for Filing Forms by Mail
This page contains tips for filing forms by mail.
Many USCIS forms can be filed online. You can review the list of Forms Available to File Online, check out the Benefits of Filing Online, and learn how to Create a USCIS Online Account. If you are filing online, see our Tips for Filing Forms Online page.
You may download and print forms for free from the All Forms page. You may also order forms that are not available to file online on our Forms by Mail page.
Please be sure to carefully read and follow the form filing instructions. Form fees, eligibility requirements, fee waiver eligibility, required documents, and mailing addresses vary depending on the form you are filing and why you are filing it. These tips will help ensure we accept your application, petition, or request package for processing.
Complete Your Form Accurately
- Remember to sign your form in the space provided for your signature. We will reject and return any unsigned form.
- Use the current form edition. You can download forms from our website, complete them electronically, and then print your forms to submit by mail. If you need help downloading and printing forms, read our instructions.
- Do not mail a form that you have already submitted online.
- If you hand write your answers, use black ink. Make sure that everything you write on the form is clear so the information you provided can be clearly read when we process your form.
- Ensure that the form edition date and page numbers are visible at the bottom of the printed pages and that all pages have been completed with the same edition of the form. If any of the form’s pages are missing or have been completed with a different edition of the form, we may reject your application.
- Complete the entire form unless the form directs you to skip one or more items. If you do not complete all parts of the form we may reject your submission for missing information. If you make an error, start over with a clean form.
- Do not use highlighters or correction fluid or tape. The scanners we use will not properly read information that is greyed out, highlighted or corrected using correction fluid or tape.
- If filing multiple forms, write your name, date of birth, and A-Number (if any) exactly the same way on each form (unless you have had a legal change of name or date of birth and provide proof of such).
- Pay the correct fee. We will reject forms submitted with incorrect or incomplete fees. Use the Fee Calculator to help you determine the correct fee.
- If you are filing multiple applications, petitions, or requests, we recommend sending separate payments for each application, otherwise if one payment is submitted and one of the applications, petitions, or requests is rejected, all others will be rejected as well.
Assemble Your Application, Petition, or Request
- We recommend assembling your package in the following order:
- Check or money order or Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. If you are paying by check or money order, write the form you are filing and your A-Number or other applicable identification on the check or money order. If you are paying with a credit card, see our Pay with a Credit Card webpage.
- Form G-1145, Request for e-Notification (if applicable).
- Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative (if applicable).
- Form being filed.
- Form supplements being filed, if applicable.
- Supporting documentation:
- Submit the documents or evidence listed in the form instructions.
- Supporting documents must be in English or accompanied by a complete English translation which the translator has certified as complete and accurate. The English translation must be accompanied by the translator's certification that they are competent to translate from the foreign language into English.
- Submit legible copies of official documents, but do not send the original documents unless specifically requested in the form instructions or applicable regulations. If you send an original document with your form, it may become part of the record or be destroyed. We will not return it to you automatically.
- In most cases, a copy of a USCIS notice, if available, is acceptable evidence of a prior, related filing. If you prefer to provide a copy of a complete prior application, petition, or request in support of a new filing, please be sure that the prior application, petition, or request is clearly marked as a “COPY” at the top of each page to ensure it is processed as intended.
- All forms and supporting documents submitted must be single-sided, standard 8½ x 11 letter-size pages.
- Please do not submit evidence using digital media, photo albums, scrapbooks, or binders, which cannot be processed and will be returned to you.
- When providing photos or other attachments, please provide your name and A-Number (if any) at the top of the page or on the back of any photos. If you send original photos with your form, they may become part of the record or be destroyed.
- You may number support pages and include the total number of pages being attached (for example, “page 1 of 11”).
- If you forget to send in supporting documentation with your benefit request package, please do not submit them in a separate package to a USCIS lockbox. Please retain the supporting documents so they can be submitted later, if requested by USCIS.
- Mark the envelope and the cover letter with the nature of the submission. For example, Original Submission, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485).
- Mark the envelope and the cover letter with the form number. For example, Form I-129, Form I-360, or Form I-485.
- In preparing your packet, remember:
- Do not use binders or folders that we cannot easily disassemble.
- Do not use heavy-duty staples. Instead, use fasteners or heavy clips to hold together thick or bulky applications or petitions. Two-hole punching the top of the material for easy placement in the file is appreciated. Note: this is only applicable when submitting filings at a USCIS lockbox location. We recommend that you do not use fasteners, hole punch, staple, paper clip, binder clip, or otherwise attach documents to one another when filing directly with a USCIS service center as that may cause delays in scanning the documents into the electronic database systems.
- Sticky tabs assist in locating items listed as attachments. For easy filing, place the tabs on the bottom of the page, not the side. Note: this is only applicable when submitting filing at a USCIS lockbox location. We recommend that you do not place sticky notes on documents when filing directly with a USCIS service center as that may cause delays in scanning the documents into the electronic database systems.
- If you are sending more than one case in an envelope, clearly separate the cases by rubber band or fasteners as noted above.
- If you are resubmitting the packet in response to a Request for Evidence (RFE), please place the notice requesting the additional evidence/information on the top of the packet.
- If you are submitting evidence in support of a previously filed appeal or motion, place a cover letter with “Brief for (Appeal/Motion)” on top of the packet.
Mail Your Application, Petition, or Request
- When addressing the package, be sure to enter the complete address provided on the USCIS website, including the Attn: line, which helps to ensure the application, petition, or request is processed and routed correctly for the type of filing.
- Mail your forms to the address listed on that form’s webpage. You may submit your forms through USPS, FedEx, DHL, or UPS.
- We encourage you to save a copy of your payment, along with any tracking number provided by the courier, for your records and to allow you to verify the status of its delivery.
- If you mail your application, petition, or request to the wrong filing location, we may reject it as improperly filed and return it to you to re-file.
- Forms that are not available to file online are available by mail on our Forms by Mail page. Download and print forms for free from the All Forms page.