Obtaining a green card – or permanent resident status – can be a dream come true for many immigrants looking to build a successful life in the United States. A green card can also open the door for citizenship, which brings along more rights and opportunities. However, the green card application process is not an easy one to go through. It would be very easy for one to make an unintentional mistake that causes their approval to be delayed by months or even years, and costs them more in fees. In this blog, we will detail the top 10 most common mistakes that applicants make in the green card process, so that you can avoid making them yourself!
Mistake #1: Failure To Prove Your Marital Status
If you are applying for a marriage visa (CR-1/IR01 or K-3 visa), you will need to be sure you can effectively authenticate your marriage. This means that your marriage must have legally taken place in the country where you were living at the time. While in most cases this simply means providing a copy of the marriage certificate, matters can be complicated if either partner went through a divorce or if either partner’s former spouse passed away. These scenarios would require proof that the divorce was finalized before the subsequent marriage took place in the form of divorce certificates, or proof of the former spouse’s death in the form of a death certificate. In addition, same-sex couples may run into issues if their home country does not recognize same-sex marriages, or if the marriage is not recognized for other reasons, such as an interfaith pairing.
Furthermore, you must be able to prove that your marriage is genuine and that you are truly building a life together. This may be accomplished by providing evidence such as financial documents, photos from various life events you experienced together, or birth certificates of children you share. If it seems like your marriage only took place for the purpose of obtaining a green card, your application will likely be denied.
Mistake #2: Failure To Prove An Authentic Relationship
If you are applying for a fiance visa (K-1 visa), you will also need to be able to prove that your relationship is genuine, and isn’t simply a ploy to obtain a green card. This is accomplished much in the same way as detailed above. While there may not be any legal or financial documents, you could provide records that prove your travel to see each other, pictures from your visits, and records of phone calls and texts between the two of you.
Mistake #3: Missing Forms In Your Application
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that green card applications are incredibly extensive and complex. Each application is several pages long and may consist of up to a dozen different forms. It is crucial that you complete your application in its entirety, otherwise it may be sent back to you and you may be forced to wait several months before you can try again.
Mistake #4: Missing Or Incorrect Information In Your Application
Not only do you need to be sure your application is thoroughly completed, but you also need to be sure all required information is present and accurate, especially when it comes to signatures. Depending on the type of green card you are applying for, the required signatures may be that of the applicant, or of the person that will sponsor them. It is essential to pay close attention to the places where signatures are required and who is required to sign them.
Moreover, it is vital that the information on your forms is accurate. Even if it is inadvertent, giving false information can be seen as lying and will lead to being denied a green card, as well as potentially jeopardizing any chance you have of being approved in the future!
Mistake #5: Missing Or Incorrect Document Translations
Any documents in a non-English language must be translated into English, and both translations must be included in your application. However, the translations must be certified, meaning that the translator must certify that they have translated the document accurately. The translator must also provide their name, address, signature, and the date the translation took place.
Mistake #6: Missing Important Deadlines
Timing is incredibly important when it comes to your green card application process, and failure to meet deadlines can lead to rejection or significant delays.
Mistake #7: You Are Ineligible To Apply From Within The United States
There are several circumstances that make you ineligible to apply for a green card from within the United States, and will lead to the rejection of your application. They are:
- You entered the U.S. with a tourist visa and applied for a green card less than 60 days after entering the country
- You entered the U.S. illegally
- You entered the U.S. on a J-1 exchange visitor visa and have not spent at least 2 years in your home country afterwards
- You entered the U.S. on a C-1/D “crewman visa”
- You are currently in removal proceedings
- Your originally entered the U.S. on a K-1 visa and did not marry the person who sponsored you
Mistake #8: You Are Total Ineligible To Apply For A Green Card
In other circumstances, you may be completely ineligible to apply for a green card, which would also lead to the rejection of your application. They are:
- You have committed certain crimes (click here for the specific types of criminal charges that make you ineligible)
- You have certain medical conditions, such as a communicable disease, mental illness, or history of drug abuse
- You have been dishonest on your application or with immigration officials
Mistake #9: Paying The Wrong Amount In Fees
It goes without saying that the government doesn’t do anything without getting their due first. Be sure you pay the correct amount in application fees.
Mistake #10: Having Poor Legal Representation And Aid. Call Ortega Law Group For Reliable Guidance Through The Green Card Process!
Many of these mistakes can be avoided with the help of an experienced immigration attorney who can put you in the best position to be approved for your green card. Our lead attorney, Isaac Ortega, has helped hundreds of immigrants reach their goals, and can do the same for you! We ensure that all parts of your application are completed entirely and correctly, that all supporting documents are included with certified translations, and that all deadlines are met. Call today to schedule your free consultation and let us make a difference in your green card application experience!