So Your Green Card Was Denied, What Next?

Make a plan to move forward

In the unfortunate situation where a marriage green card is denied, a strategy must be created to pick the pieces back up and try again. There are typically two options:

  1. Restart with a new application
  2. File a petition

But always the first step is to discover why the application was denied and to see if it is possible to make corrections. Marriage green cards have a relatively high approval rate, with only 12% of family-based applications being denied per year, so it is essential to understand what happened. And make the necessary adjustments.

Why can a green card be denied?

There are different levels of severity for denied applications, let’s outline a few of them starting with the most severe:
-Certain serious medical or mental diseases
-Criminal records
-Fraud in the application process (i.e lying about the marriage)

There might be an option for waivers to be granted, even in these cases, discuss with your legal representation the details of the situation. It is also important to ensure your marriage is recognized by the USA.

The next level is those who are ineligible for applying from WITHIN the United states:
-Specific Visa types – (K-1 fiance visa sponsored by a different individual, tourist visas while still valid, or certain visas issued to those aboard ships and airplanes)
-If you entered the country illegally
-Those in the process of removal proceedings
Many times there are alternatives, primarily being to apply again from outside the United States, but each case will require a thorough examination.

The final level is typically easier to correct:
-Missing documents
-Missing signatures
-Lack of financial means ( it is possible to have a separate financial sponsor, i.e. extended family)
-Problems with translations
-Or simply not paying the processing fee in full

There are times when a clerical error was made and an immigration lawyer familiar with the system will be able to identify if things should have been approved.

When the denial notice is received it should contain information for what may be done, and there is only a 30-day window to file an appeal if this is the best option. This letter and the application packet should be reviewed by a professional as soon as possible. They can then assist with filing the Form I-290B for the appeal process.

Seeking legal assistance

If you attempted the application process on your own the first time, it is even more important to seek legal advice if you choose to start fresh and apply again. It is a time consuming and expensive process and it would be in your best interest to get everything in order and double-checked before proceeding a second time. Additionally, the government keeps records of every application and the errors can keep piling up.

An attorney experienced with family sponsorship will be able to identify what went wrong, the probability of correcting the mistake and finding the best path to move forward. When it comes to such a long and expensive process such as bringing your loved ones legally into the USA, don’t leave things to chance.

Slatus & Slatus Immigration Law Firm of NYC

225 West 34th Street, Suite 1303, New York, NY 10122

(212) 465-0537

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