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American Opportunity Tax Credit, up to $2500

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Hey all,

Considering we're nearing the end of the 2016 tax year, I'm throwing out a reminder of a tax credit that you will not want to ignore or forget.

If you paid tuition and other education expenses toward a degree or certificate program during 2016, then you probably qualify for this tax credit. I was unaware of this credit until a week ago. My wife is going through a re-education and re-certification process for her established career of nursing. We spent almost $1,000 last fall in tuition, books, uniform expenses.

It turns out, we're getting back every penny of these costs by using the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Here's the IRS link to explain if you qualify:


This credit applies to tax year 2016 and it appears the program is extended through 2017, too. If a computer is required for your classes, you may also qualify to apply the cost of the computer to this credit, as well.

Note, tax credits are significantly better than tax deductions. Tax deductions drop your taxable income allowing you to get back 15% or 25% of the total deduction. Tax credits drop your actual tax paid, dollar for dollar, so you get back 100% of the credit that you qualify for.

Also note, this credit is for legal immigrants only. This is one gift we get for "doing things right."

I hope this information is useful to you.

Marriage: 2014-02-23
CR1 started : 2014-06-06
CR1 completed/POE : 2015-07-13
ROC started : 2017-04-14 - CSC

ROC interview/completed: 2018-08-16 - Albuquerque

N400 started: 2018-04-24

N400 interview: 2018-08-16 - Albuquerque - Approved

Oath ceremony: 2018-09-24 - Albuquerque


April 2017 I-751 Filers Spreadsheet


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do expenses paid for attending high school count or is it just post secondary schooling?

just answered my own question. high school does not count.

Edited by f f

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thank you for this information

12/18/2015: Got married to the love of my life (L)(L)(L)

07/26/2016 Mailed I-130,I-485 & I-765

07/27/2016 Delivered at Chicago Lock Box with signature confirmation

08/04/2016 Both checks are cashed

08/09/2016 Received NOA1 via text for I-130 & I-485

08/11/2016 Received NOA1 hard copy via mail for I-130 & I-485 (I-765 is rejected, forgot to sign)

08/12/2016 Mailed I-765

08/13/2016 Delivered at Chicago Lock Box

08/15/2016 Picked up at the Chicago Lock Box with signature confirmation

08/05/2016 Received NOA1 hard copy via mail for I-765

08/19/2016 Received Biometrics Appointment letter (2pm at Bellflower location)

08/24/2016 Successful early walk-in for Biometrics Appointment at Bellflower location.

09/09/2016 I-765 receipt number is working online

09/12/2016 I-130 receipt number still not working, I-485 worked for the first time and says "Ready to schedule for Interview

10/03/2016: I-485 is scheduled for interview on November 3, 2016

10/28/2016: EAD card being produced

11/03/2016: We had out interview in Los Angeles CA. Our IO said they don't normally approve on the spot anymore and she gave us a paper saying "your case is being held for interview". The IO also said she is new, therefore she need to talk to her supervisor. Additionally she showed us a pile of cases that is being held for review, so it looks like it will take a while to get an answer about our case.

11/07/2016: EAD card was mailed to me

11/09/2016: EAD card received. Applied for SSN, needs verification will take up to 4 weeks.

11/10/2016: went back to SSA office with my unexpired passport, got verified right away.

11/10/2016: SSN card received

12/28/2016: I-485 status updated to "New Card Being Produced",later in the day updated to "Case was approved"; I-130 status updated to "Case approved"

(1 month, 3 weeks & 4 days after the interview) & (5 months & 2 days after filing AOS)

1/03/2016: Receive I-797 approval letter for I-130 & I-485; status updated to "New Card Being Produced"

1/04/2016: Welcome letter received; status updated to "Card was Mailed"

1/06/2017: 2 year green card received :D

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