How to File USCIS Form I-817

How to File USCIS Form I-817

Form I-817 is a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) family-based immigration form that allows undocumented immigrants to request Family Unity Program benefits and benefit extensions. On this page, you’ll find information about Form I-817, the Family Unity Program, the Family Unity benefits you can receive, and how to file it .

USCIS emphasizes the importance of family-based immigration and values families staying together. The immigration attorneys at our law firm also hold family unity in high esteem. We will work with you to make sure that not only you and your family could stay together but are able to thrive in the United States. 

What Is Form I-817?

You will file Form I-817 if you need to request Family Unity Program benefits. You will also file this form to request an extension of these benefits. 

Form I-817 grants two primary benefits:

  1. Legal presence in the United States for two years
  2. An Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which allows you to work in the United States legally 

The form itself is a 10-part document. You need to include many specifications in the form, and legal knowledge about qualifying for Family Unity benefits. Work with an experienced immigration attorney from our law firm for legal guidance and representation when filing Form I-817.

What is Family Unity Immigration?

You can receive Family Unity benefits if you qualify for one of two immigration acts:

  1. Section 301 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT 90)
  2. Section 1504 of the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE Act Amendments)

Both immigration acts allow you to apply for the two Family Unity benefits of remaining in the U.S. for two years and receiving an EAD. However, if you are applying under the LIFE Act and your spouse or parent already has a pending application for adjustment of status through family sponsorship, then the time period is shortened to one year instead of two. 

If you are unsure whether you qualify for either of these immigration acts, speak with the experienced attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C. We will review the immigration acts with you and let you know what benefits you are eligible for. We want you to be able to remain with your family for as long as possible and we will work tirelessly to see that you are granted Family Unity immigration if you meet the requirements.

Who Qualifies for Form I-817?

If you are an undocumented immigrant who is at risk of being separated from your family in the United States, you should file Form I-817. This form allows unmarried children or the spouse of certain lawful permanent residents to legally reside in the United States with their families, as well as opens the door to applying for a green card. 

Undocumented immigrants -unmarried children and spouses- need to be related to an LPR who received their residency through the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA).

The IRCA came into effect during the Reagan administration in 1986. IRCA makes it possible for immigrants to gain legal residency if:

  • They have resided in the U.S. since 1982 or;
  • Perform farm labor in the United States and have qualifying working hours

Though the IRCA helped migrants, particularly during the 1980s, the form did not allow families to stay together. Therefore, the Family Unity Program was formed to keep migrant families together to remain legally in the United States.

Additionally, you must reside and file your application for Family Unity Benefits while you are in the United States

Not qualified to file form I-817? Click the link to find out if you are eligible for a sibling green card. Our family sponsorship attorneys can help today! 

How to File Form I-817

Form I-817, Application for Family Unity Benefits, is a 10-part document. Make sure you use black ink when filing your form. Below are step-by-step instructions to fill out your Form I-817:

Part 1

This section requests information about you. Here, you will write or type out information about yourself, including your:

  • A-number
  • Fill name
  • Any additional name used 
  • Date of birth
  • U.S. Social Security Number, if you have one
  • USCIS online account number
  • Gender
  • Country of birth
  • Country of citizenship
  • U.S. mailing address(es)

Part 2

Part two is titled “Biographic Information.” You will indicate the following information here:

  • Ethnicity
  • Race
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Eye color
  • Hair color

Part 3

Part 3 informs USCIS of your Family Unity benefits qualification. There are eight options to choose from that specify the qualifying conditions. You must check one of the eight in order to be eligible for benefits. 

You will then indicate which benefit act you are applying for once you have established that you qualify for benefits. You have four options to choose from:

  1. IMMPACT 90 Family Unity benefits
  2. An extension of IMMPACT 90 Family Unity benefits
  3. LIFE Act Amendments for Family Unity benefits
  4. An extension of LIFE Act Amendments for Family Unity benefits

Your choice depends on what you chose in the first section of Part 3 (your basis for applying). 

Part 4

Part 4 is for information about your relationship with your LPR spouse or parent. You will fill out the following information:

  • Information about your spouse or parent such as their full name and U.S. address
  • Your current marital status and additional information about your marriage, if any 

If you are filing as a spouse: 

  • How many times both you and your spouse previously married 
  • Date and location of your marriage
  • Information about your previous marriage(s) 

If you are filing on the basis of child/parent relationship:

  • The relationship with your parent, such as if they are your adoptive, biological, or stepparent

Part 5

Part five is reserved for any additional information USCIS wants to know, including:

  • If you have applied to receive Family Unity benefits previously
  • Passport information
  • Other travel documents
  • Immigration status
  • Immigration Act-specific information 
  • Current and previous addresses

For any inadmissible acts you have done (Consult with the attorneys at  Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C.   if you have committed any inadmissible acts.)

Part 6

Part 6 is for your statement, contact information, declaration, certification, and signature. Make sure you read through all of the information before signing your Form I-817. 

Part 7

Part 7 is for interpreter information if you use an interpreter to fill out your form. The interpreter will include their full name, address, contact information, certification, and signature.

Part 8

This section is similar to part 7, but instead of an interpreter, it is for any other person involved in preparing your Form I-817. For example, your immigration attorney will sign part 8 of the form.

Part 9

You will sign the form again in part 9. The signature here will be placed on your Employment Authorization Document.

Part 10 

The final section is for any additional information you need to add. Use this part if you ran out of room in a previous section of the form. 

Form I-817 Filing Fee

There is a $600 filing fee and $85 biometric fee for applicants 14 years old or above, making the total Form I-817 filing fee $685. 

Contact an Experienced Immigration Attorney 

Filing form I-817 can be a complicated process that involves lengthy paperwork and legal jargon. Contact an experienced family sponsorship lawyer at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C. for help and guidance filing your form. We are here to answer any of your questions about the Family Unity Program, adjustment of status, or other family-based immigration forms. Call us at 312.444.1940 or fill out an online contact form for your inquiries. We look forward to hearing from you!  

Click the link to find out if you are eligible for a sibling green card. Our family sponsorship attorneys can help today! 

We're looking forward to hearing from you!