When you apply for a green card (permanent residency) from inside the US, you have to show you are admissible as if you were outside the US trying to come in. It’s on Form I-485, which used to be 6 pages long and would ask you all kinds of questions about your criminal record, address and work history, immigration history, and whether you intended to spy on the government.

The new version is 18 pages long. Mostly yes/no questions, but a lot more of them.
The new I-485 asks if you have plans to engage in espionage, torture, genocide, narcotrafficking, and if you’ve committed a crime for which you weren’t arrested. Who actually says yes to these?

Obviously very few people. But the length of the I-485 – which we call the “Mother of All Inadmissibility Lists” at our firm – shows something important. There are a lot of traps. Each one of those questions has law behind it.

So bottom line: all immigration forms are going through a massive expansion, and more and more information is being collected on every form. Each one of these questions has law and purpose behind it.
Don’t think of these forms as boilerplate. You have to put some thought into each question and really think, “Could the answer to one of these questions be yes?” because if the immigration agency thinks so, you’ll have a very nasty problem.

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