For millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., obtaining a visa can be a tedious, expensive process. With this in mind, a start-up called Borderwise created a simpler and affordable way for immigrants to apply for a green card.
The Philadelphia-based company, whose offices are located at 1701 Walnut street, implemented a service on their website for immigrants to apply for visas at a minimized cost.
The traditional process of obtaining a green card can cost between $2,000 and $5,000 for immigration lawyers and government filing fees while the standard fee to use Borderwise is $500. For immigrant families making less that $30,000 a year, they can use the software for $1.
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"We believe strongly -- given recent things that have gone on in the [Trump] administration -- that anybody who has the ability to get legal should get their green card," said James Pittman, co-founder of Borderwise. "And we don’t want money to be their obstacle, so we will place that within their reach so they can have a better life."
Borderwise also simplifies the long, complex paperwork written in legal jargon that is involved in the application process. Luis Aponte, a Borderwise user, attempted to file for a green card the tradition way.
"I was bound to look for help because I had so many questions and doubts," he said. "Borderwise condenses the traditional process into about 10 pages for someone able to complete it on their own-- it's extremely easier."
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Instead of filling out about 40 pages of paperwork, applicants using Borderwise answer simple yes-or-no questions. Based on the answers provided, The software then chooses the necessary forms for the applicant to file their case.
As part of Borderwise's service, when applicants are finished preparing their case and submitting the correct forms, the paperwork is automatically sent to a qualified attorney who will spend at least one hour with users.
"These immigration lawyers will review our users' applications and answer any questions they might have," Pittman said. "The attorneys will also explain the procedures after filing a case; and users can always return for assistance on an as-needed basis."
With the software, Borderwise aims to cut the stigma undocumented immigrants have on the visa application process and motivate them to apply.
"They think it's difficult to get a green card-- mainly because of the financial cost and plethora of documents involved," said Jonathan Delgadillo Lorenzo, a client acquisition specialist at Borderwise. "With our services, however, since it's simpler and affordable, people become motivated to apply for visas."
For more information on how to apply for a green card, visit Borderwise's website.