The U.S. government doesn't know it yet—but you do. You've realized that you made a mistake on that immigration application form you filed. What should you do now to correct it or deal with the situation? This definitely isn't something to ignore. As we'll discuss in this article, the appropriate next steps depend on what stage of the application process you've reached.
If you catch your mistake early, before the U.S. government has done anything in response to the form you sent, the mistake will be easier to correct.
First, ask yourself whether the mistake is a serious one, and whether it's worth your time and effort to try to fix it right away. A mistake in the information that identifies you (like a misspelled name or the wrong birth date) or a mistake in information that would affect your eligibility for the benefit you're seeking (like forgetting to mention an arrest or conviction) is something you want to correct right away.
But if your mistake was mixing up two numbers in the zip code of an employer you worked for ten years ago…you can relax.
To fix a mistake on a form filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), wait until you get the notice that tells you the agency received it. The notice will have a receipt number or other case identifier, which will make it easier for USCIS to find the form you filed. Then you should call the national USCIS Contact Center, explain the mistake, and request that they fix it.
Sometimes, USCIS customer service officials can fix a problem right away. If they tell you they will fix it but that it might take a while, write down the reference number they give you, in case you need to call again.
Some mistakes are too serious for the Contact Center to help you with. They might make an in-person appointment for you.
In fact, you could try requesting an in-person appointment directly, via USCIS's online "My Appointment" portal. This is new as of late 2023, so it's impossible to assess whether it will be faster than going through the Contact Center, or what happens if you try both at once. Also, getting an appointment isn't guaranteed; the agency will evaluate your need after you submit the request.
In addition, or as an alternative, you can send a letter to the USCIS office that is processing your form, explaining the mistake and how it should be corrected. Also include a newly completed, signed form. (Sometimes your form gets transferred between USCIS offices, so you might want to wait until you know the address of the office that will actually work on it.
You can check your case status online or ask the Contact Center.
If you're an employer who has made a mistake on a labor condition application (LCA) submitted through the iCERT portal, you won't be able to edit your LCA after it has been submitted. You can withdraw it if you wish, but you'll have to submit a new LCA with the correct information. If you need help using the iCERT portal, see the latest iCERT External User Guide.
Similarly, you can't correct a mistake in a PERM labor certification application. You'll have to withdraw and refile with the correct information, using the online PERM system. Click "Frequently Asked Questions" for a user guide.
You might be able to reconcile mismatches between information contained in a Department of Labor filing and the associated USCIS filing when it comes time for the USCIS filing. Keep that option in mind if there is no time to refile the LCA or labor certification, and the mistake is not serious. But bear in mind, the Department of Labor is very unforgiving about mistakes on LCAs and PERM applications.
Like Department of Labor applications, most visa applications are done online. If you have made a mistake on a "DS-160" form that you submitted to get a "nonimmigrant" visa, you can reopen your application from the database by entering the application ID and providing identifying information. You need to do this within 30 days after submitting your DS-160, however. For information on how to reopen your online application, see Made a Mistake on Form DS-160--How Do I Fix It After It's Submitted?.
If you need to correct a mistake on a "DS-260" form that you submitted to get a permanent resident visa, you will be unable to access your application again without the assistance of the National Visa Center (NVC) or the U.S. embassy or consulate at which you plan to apply.
If you want to correct the mistake before your visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate, contact the NVC to explain the error and ask it to change the DS-260. See the NVC Contact Information page on the Department of State website.
If you get your correction to USCIS early enough, it might accept your correction and start work on your form.
But if USCIS has already started working on your form and notices a mistake, two things could happen. It might send you a "Request for Evidence" asking you for more information about the mistake. (See How to Handle a Request for Evidence (RFE) From USCIS.)
Or, if the mistake is serious enough, USCIS might reject your original form and make you start all over again. You'll have to file a correct form and pay the filing fee again.