Government bureaucracy gives me a headache!! Learn from my mistakes.

Personal finance

I should have known that the luck of successfully submitting and receiving approval on my husband’s green card application in good time wouldn’t last. We received his I-551 (green card) in the mail yesterday, only to discover that his birthdate had been misentered by the USCIS. Instead of showing the his birthdate as “10”, it showed “01”. To get this fixed, we now have to file a I-90 form, wait for it to be accepted, then set up an appointment to appear in the local USCIS office with the old card, proof of his real birthdate, and proof that it was a mistake on USCIS’s part.

This last part is what’s so annoying. In an attempt to become a little more efficient, the USCIS has allowed fillable PDF files for some time now, so on the original application, we’d simply typed in the information on the PDF file, printed it out, and then signed it before submitting the application for processing. I, stupidly, didn’t make a photocopy of the application, and of course, the one time I decide not to cover my bases with the government, they make a mistake.

I have the PDF file, saved and untouched since we filled it out, sitting on the computer, showing we’d correctly entered my husband’s birthdate. But without a photocopy of the original, signed and submitted form, I can’t prove that it was an administrative error on the USCIS’s part, so we’ll have to pay a whopping $260 processing fee on top just to get the birthdate error corrected! No proof of their mistake = no waiver of fee.

Not to mention the time we’ll lose re-filing, re-appearing in person, waiting again for a new card, and paying for a trackable, guaranteed delivery method. Even more annoying when compared to the fact that I could have spent 10 minutes driving to Staples for a $0.10 copy of the signed form before we’d filed it initially. Ugh! Oh well. We’ll still try to submit a hard copy of the PDF application anyway and see if they’ll accept that as “proof” but I’m not keeping my hopes up.

The moral of this story is, when you do anything related to the government, be sure to photocopy everything, even though it’s annoying and chances are it’ll be a complete waste of money, trees, and time. The minute you don’t, you’ll end up paying even more.


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8 Feedbacks on "Government bureaucracy gives me a headache!! Learn from my mistakes."


I hear you. I am obsessed with the photocopy for my taxes. I hate electronic filing for that reason. I just love the paper.

Anna V

Yes this is frustrating! USCIS sent me a letter that I have to go to Memphis (5-6hr drive) to pick up my green card. When I arrived there they asked me why didn’t I go to Fort Smith Office instead (Ft.Smith is 40 mins away from where I live)? Apparently, there was a glitch in their system and all the letters that they sent out (to people who are actually closer to Ft.Smith) had a Memphis location on them. But at least I didn’t have to pay extra money or reschedule that appointment.


Good god, just print out the PDF NOW, and submit it. Unless they had required that you have an original copy notarized at the time of filing, there’s no difference in authenticity or their ability to prove otherwise. At least give it a shot – don’t surrender to this bureacratic nonsense without giving it a shot.


Doh! didn’t mean to be repetitiously redundant. So shoot me!


Thanks MTGlass — actually, you were absolutely right, and that’s exactly what we ended up doing. Turns out they accepted the application and waived the fee. Now we just have to wait for the new card…and hope it doesn’t have any mistakes!

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