Applying for a green card comes with its own ups and downs. Some go through it with a breeze, especially if they hired a good attorney. BUT others must jump through hoops for their green card. AND some get denied. BUT that isn’t the end fortunately, there ARE options for you in case of a denial.
Our Tip of the Week gives you the MOST COMMON reasons why green card applications are denied and the options you can take to still get that green card.
Why are green card applications denied?
Failure to submit supporting documents
Every application is a story. Knowing how to present your story is the most important part of any application. Whether its a fiance visa or family based application, proving that the relationship is legitimate is crucial.
That requires first understanding the requirements for the application. Then consider any facts that could disqualify you. You then need to explain what happened and why you deserve the outcome you are asking for.
For example, deciding whether to file for a fiance visa vs a marriage based application. Each has different requirements, a “story.” You then need to document that “story.”
If you have been convicted of certain types of crimes such as “moral turpitude”, drug trafficking, fraud or money laundering… OR are coming to the US to commit them, your green card could be denied.
In most cases, it’s the criminal conviction of the foreing immigrant that could disqualify her. However, if petitioner who must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, was convicted of an offense involved sexual abuse of a minor that could also result in a denial of the petition.
Every applicant will be subjected to a medical examination by an authorized medical professional. TAKE NOTE that the findings may result in the refusal of your green card.
The US government has the authority to refuse a green card application to someone who has a communicable disease, a serious mental or physical disorder, or infections… that POSE A RISK to public safety.
Historically, drug use has become a problem. But recently, receiving needed vaccinations, like Covid 19, have become a problem for some. Refusing or being unable to have them done BEFORE your green card application can be approved will result in the application being denied unless you receive a waiver.
Financial Reasons (Public Charge)
IF USCIS determines that you will be reliant on the US government for long-term care or financial assistance, your green card application may be denied.
REMEMBER that the USCIS will have to consider MANY variables such as your age, health, family situation, assets and liabilities, etc. WHEN you file.
A fifth reason for GC denial, are more technical note, if you:
- Do NOT satisfy the application requirements;
- Do NOT show up for appointments or interviews;
- Changed employment after filing the I-140;
- OR denial due to an error made by immigration decision-makers.
Keep in mind that these are only the MOST TYPICAL reasons your application may be denied. Ask questions if you don’t understand something or have other concerns. In this way, you’ll be more prepared for your application.
What should you do if your green card application is denied?
Receiving a Denial is like being stabbed in the heart because you have already committed your money, time, and effort to meet the requirements.
However, you should not be discouraged since there are still ways to obtain a green card. Follow these tips as alternative options for getting that green card!
Tip #1: Reapply for a new petition
Most people will choose to appeal the decision, but they are unaware that it is often expensive and very time-consuming to appeal. An appeal can take years. I often step in to fix applications that were done without an attorney or with an incompetent attorney. Those applications are often missing key pieces of the story. Rather than appealing the decision, I often REAPPLY and cure the defects in the application. A defective application shouldn’t be approved and appeal won’t necessarily change the outcome. Sometimes you have to take a step back before stepping forward.
Tip #2: Appeal the decision
Sometimes an appeal is the only option because you no longer qualify to file a new application. For example, if a child has aged out by turning 21. If the application is approved the law could treat your child as under 21. But that won’t happen if you file a new petition after your child turned 21. In those cases, you have no choice but to appeal. The denial notice will tell you if you can appeal.
The disadvantage of appealing your application is that you will only have a LIMITED TIME to do so, immigration will charge you an additional fee, and appeals can take years.
Tip #3: Go for a Motion to Reconsider or Reopen
These two motions are frequently used when you need to correct the record in the case or you think USCIS made an obvious mistake. I often do this when we plan on appealing but I didn’t prepare the underlying application, someone else did. The difficulty is you often do not have enough time to file a proper motion to reconsider or reopen and you are thus left with only the first two options.
The motion to reconsider is filed WHEN you believe that the officer denied your case for the wrong reason, such as believing that USCIS misread the law, did not apply the law appropriately to you or misconstrued your situation.
On the other hand, IF there is new evidence that may be useful in your case or if your circumstances have significantly changed, a motion to reopen is your option.
Remember that you should be responsible for your green card application. Take the necessary steps, diligently follow the instructions and provide the necessary evidence.
If your application gets denied, don’t fret. You can seek the help of an immigration lawyer to expertly assist you through the process and alternative options for your case.
Until next time, stay healthy and be safe…