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Major Documents a New Immigrant Needs to Live in the U.S.

Immigration documents are essential for newcomers to the United States, serving as the foundational paperwork required to navigate the intricacies of living in a new country.

1️⃣ Passport

A valid passport from your home country is a necessary document for international travel and as a form of identification. To do USCIS biometrics for an initial immigration filing, the applicant needs to have ID. Before becoming eligible for an Employment Authorization or Driver’s License or State ID, their country’s passport is the main form of identification for new immigrants.

2️⃣ Form I-94

This is the Arrival/Departure Record documentation. Most non-immigrants receive this upon entry to the United States. It shows the date of entry, visa class, and authorized period of stay. For immigrants who recently filed for Asylum at the U.S./Mexican or Canadian borders, this Form may show they have ‘DT’ or ‘212(d)(5)’ humanitarian parole status if they do not have a visa entry.

3️⃣Form I-797

This form documents the approval of various immigration applications or petitions.

4️⃣ Form I-20 (for F-1 students) or Form DS-2019 (for J-1 exchange visitors)

These documents are necessary for international students and exchange visitors to participate in their respective immigrant programs.

5️⃣ Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

If you are not a U.S. citizen but have authorization to work in the country, you will need an EAD as a form of immigration documentation.

6️⃣ Social Security Number (SSN)

Not technically a document, a Social Security Number is essential for many purposes for an immigrant. This includes employment, paying taxes, and accessing government services.

7️⃣ Birth Certificate

U.S. immigration law often requires individuals to provide proof of their identity and age as part of the immigration process. This is crucial for verifying eligibility for certain immigration visas and benefits.

8️⃣ State Identification or Driver’s License

State-issued identification or a driver’s license may be a required document for immigrants as they embark on various day-to-day activities. This can include opening a bank account or getting a job.

9️⃣ Proof of Address

You may need to provide proof of your address. Some types of documents can be a lease agreement or utility bill. These are necessary for certain immigration applications or processes.
For most American local (non-federal) agencies, the main documents are:
🪪 State ID or State Driver’s License – considered main form of ID inside the U.S. and good enough to serve as ID for domestic flights.
💳 Social Security card (or at least know your number)
📜 Birth Certificate
📄 Proof of address is a recent utility bill (utilities are water, gas and electricity) and a lease agreement (signed and dated).
It’s important to note that the specific documents you need to live in the USA legally can vary depending on your immigration status, and the process can be complex. If you are planning to move to the USA, we recommend you consult with us or visit the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for the most up-to-date and accurate information relevant to your situation.