Generating and Saving Immigration Forms

Overview: The Immigration Forms Module in LegalServer allows agencies to collect case information that can then be pulled into a variety of immigration forms. Users walk through a multi-step process, described below, which creates and saves generated immigration forms to a client's case. For users and admins having trouble saving and generating forms, please see our Troubleshooting Page for Immigration Forms for additional help.

Starting the Form Process

Site administrators usually create a dedicated auxiliary process called "Add/Edit Immigration Forms" or "Generate Immigration Documents," that displays the below tab block. Under the "Immigration Documents" tab, users can click the "Form Process" link next to a given form to start the multi-step process of generating and saving that form to the client's case.

Step 1: Selecting Actors

The first step of the process is to select which persons on a case will be used for each Person Actor on a form. By default "Applicant" will generally default to the client, "Preparer" will generally default to the Primary Advocate, "Family Member" will default to family, and so on, though the user can choose a different person for each person role.

Step 2: Reviewing and Editing Related Information

For each actor, the user can review previously-entered information such as date of birth, country of birth, A Number, etc. Users can also click on the "Edit" button to change or add information for each actor. Note, however, that any changes made at this point in the process will save back to the case itself, not just to the generated form.

Adding New Information: Address, Aliases, Etc.

Depending on the form, the user may be asked to select the appropriate records for Address, Immigration Entry, Marital History, or Alias for the Actors on a form. The available options for each of these records will pull from records that have already been collected on the case at intake or through an auxiliary process. For example, if the user has entered several addresses on a case (work address, several previous home addresses, etc.) those values will appear in the address dropdown lists, and can then be selected by the user for the "Applicant's Current Residence" or "Previous U.S. Mailing Address" as called for on a given form.

Users also have the option to add new records to the case as part of the form process. For example, if there are no aliases already saved to the case, the user can select "New Other Name for Client" from the dropdown list and add that information as part of the form process itself, without having to leave the form to update the client's case. Note that any records entered at this point in the form process (new addresses, new marital history, new alias, etc.) will save to the case itself, not just to the generated form.

Step 3: The HTML Form

Once the actors and related information have been updated, the user will see an HTML version of the immigration form where they can view and edit the auto-populated information, and add additional information directly to the HTML form itself. Note that information added directly to the HTML form at this point will not save to the case itself--information added directly to the HTML form will only save and display on the HTML form.

Step 4: The Generated PDF

Once the user has added all of the desired information to the HTML form, he or she may optionally re-name the form, and/or record the form as an activity on the case if using the activities module. The "Add Document and Continue" button will generate a PDF of the form that will automatically save to the case, usually under the "Generated Documents" tab, depending on site configurations.

The generated PDF can be further edited by the user if desired, and if allowed by the user's PDF software. Note, however, that changes to the downloaded PDF on the user's computer do not save back to the PDF that has already been saved to the client's case. However, users can save and upload that updated PDF to the user's case as they would any other document, though if a large number of changes are needed, it is recommended that the user return to the HTML version of the form, make the desired changes, and re-generate an updated PDF.

Caution! Depending on how a given computer is configured, the "Click here to download your generated form" link may open in the user's browser, and will be blank. Remember that the user is downloading a generated document, and often needs to navigate to their Downloads Folder or similar in order to see the generated PDF with all of the saved information.

Saving and Adding Additional Information to the HTML Form

To return to an HTLM form to add additional information, users will go to the immigration auxiliary form on their site (usually "Add/Edit Immigration Forms," or "Generate Immigration Documents,"), and select the appropriate process under the Immigration Document Processes Tab.

If a process has already been started, the user will be taken directly to the HTML form page, rather than walking back through earlier process steps. Users can click the "Show Steps" link on the left side of the page to access these earlier steps in order to add or edit actors, addresses, or other related information, which will then generate an updated HTML form.

Once the HTML form is generated, users can add additional information to that form, and click any of the 'Save and Stay on Page' buttons to save that information to the form. Users can add and save information to the to the HTML forms over the course of several sessions so that lengthy or complex forms can be updated as needed.

The I-864, I-912, and Other Forms that Perform Calculations

Some forms, like the I-864 and the I-912, are designed to total information such as the number of people in the household, total household income, etc. For these forms, users will find that they are unable to enter information directly into the "Total" fields in the HTML form. This is done intentionally to avoid user error--LegalServer takes the raw data entered into these individual fields, totals this information, and then displays these totals in the generated PDF.

For example, in Part 7 of the I-864, the user can add the needed asset information into Questions 6, 7, and 8 on the HTML form:

But the user is unable to enter a value into the Total Field in Part 7 Question 9 on the HTML form:

However, in the generated PDF for the I-864, the total assets have been calculated and display as expected for Question 9:

Users will see similar behavior where a form asks for data to be entered first in one field, and then ask that that same data be re-entered in a later field on that same form. Here again LegalServer prevents the user from entering erroneous data into that later field on the HTML form because the later field will auto-populate as expected in the generated PDF.

Again using the I-864 as an example, the user is able enter the number of sponsored immigrants in Part 3, Question 29 on the HTML form as expected, but is prevented from doing so when that same number is asked for later on in the HTML form in Part 5 Question 1. Note that in the final generated PDF, that number from Question 29 is carried over to Part 5 Question 1 in the generated PDF below.

HTML Form:

Generated PDF:

Admin Setup: Collecting Immigration Information

Site admins can use the below form elements to collect additional immigration-specific information such as a client's work history, immigration entries and exits, marital history, and address history.

  • Marital History (use the Marital Status History List block)

  • Work History (use the Work History Block and Work History listview)

  • Address History (use the Address List block)

  • Immigration Entries and Exits (use the Add An Immigration Entry block and Immigration Log listview; or, alternatively, the Edit Immigration Log block). Admins will want to review both entry log blocks for possible desired configuration options.

These form elements can be added to intake and/or auxiliary forms, and information saved to the case using the these system blocks will then be pulled into the related mapped fields on immigration forms. For more information on available immigration tools, please see our Immigration Tools Playlist on YouTube.