You and your spouse probably don’t expect a denial of your marriage-based green card. You’re married, you live together. Why would your case be denied?
There are lots of reasons a marriage-based green card case might not be successful. Some marriage and immigration issues stem from questions about whether your marriage is real and not just a sham for immigration purposes. Other problems might be related to your spouse’s eligibility for a green card.
Denial of Marriage-Based Green Card
The good news is that if your marriage-based green card case is denied, you may have some options going forward. Which options make sense for you and your spouse will depend on the reasons for your denial and your specific facts.
If you filed for your marriage-based green card within the United States (a process called Adjustment of Status), your case has two parts:
- The I-130 petition – this a petition for a family member, in your case, your spouse
- The I-485 application – your spouse’s application for the green card based on your marriage
You will also be required to attend an interview at your nearest USCIS office.
If Your I-130 Petition is Denied
The I-130 petition is marriage-based piece of the process. You must show that you have a legally valid marriage. If you were previously married, you must show all prior marriages have ended, either through divorce, annulment, or if your former spouse is deceased. If you do not have sufficient proof that your prior marriages have ended, your marriage-based petition may be denied.
You must also show that your marriage is real and you and your spouse did not simply marry for immigration purposes. If you do not have evidence that you and your spouse live together and married with the intent to establish a life together, or if things you say in your interview aren’t consistent with the information you provided in your application or what USCIS is able to verify during your interview or through a subsequent investigation, your I-130 petition may be denied.
After your marriage-based green card interview, you may be sent a Request for Evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny your I-130 petition. If you do not respond, or your response is deemed insufficient, your I-130 petition will be denied.
The I-130 petition is the basis for your spouse’s application for the green card. If it is denied, your spouse’s I-485 application will be denied.
If Your I-130 Petition is Approved, But Your I-485 Application is Denied
It’s also possible that your marriage-based petition could be approved, but your I-485 application for permanent residence is denied. If this happens, the basis for the denial is usually failure to show that you are eligible to become a resident by filing an I-485 application.
Not everyone is eligible to apply for a green card by filing an I-485 application, and the denial may be related to eligibility to file the I-485. One common reason you might not be eligible to file the I-485 is if you did not enter the United States lawfully.
Other reasons an I-485 application might be denied are related to the person’s eligibility to become a permanent resident. These issues may include:
- You receive a notice to attend your marriage-based green card interview, but you do not go
- You have a criminal record that makes you ineligible to become a resident
- You have a criminal record that means you must file for special permission (a “waiver”) to become a permanent resident, but you did not get a waiver approved
- You made a misrepresentation in order to get a visa, to enter the U.S., or to get an immigration benefit, but you do not qualify to file for a waiver for this issue, or you file a waiver and it is not approved
- Within the last five years, you failed to attend an immigration court hearing and were ordered deported
- You are sent a Request for Evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny your I-485 application, and you do not respond
What Can You Do to Avoid Denial of My Marriage-Based Green Card Application?
One of the best things you can do to try to avoid a denial of your marriage-based green card application is to understand the issues of your case. Another thing you can do is be prepared with the documentation you need and know what you’ll have to explain at your interview and if anything in your history will require a waiver or other additional steps. An experienced immigration attorney can help you figure out if you are eligible to file a marriage-based green card application in the United States and determine what issues your case presents.
If you need help filing your marriage-based green card application, consult with a specialized immigration attorney. Click here to schedule a consultation with the law office of Kathryn N. Karam: