7 pitfalls to avoid when filing for a marriage based green card

United States citizen or lawful permanent resident can sponsor his or her spouse for a United States green card. The beneficiary spouse may be in the United States or outside the United States.

1. Incomplete forms: There are standard forms that are required when filing for your spouse. Failure to submit the right forms will result in the case being rejected, also, the form must be the current version. Always get the current forms USCIS website. The government always revise these forms from time to time. If you submit an outdated form, USCIS will reject the application and reject the case. All questions must be answered, and signature signed in the appropriate column.

2. Criminal Record: After the application is submitted, the beneficiary spouse will be required to attend biometrics or finger printing. The purpose of the finger printing is to determine if the beneficiary has any criminal record. Any kind of criminal record is a potential problem. Please contact an attorney if you have any kind of criminal record.

3. Failure to attend a scheduled biometrics appointment: The beneficiary spouse is expected to attend a scheduled biometrics appointment held at a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC). The purpose is for a record check during the appointment, your fingerprints will be taken and electronically submitted to various government agencies’ databases. Your finger prints are captured to check for any criminal record. An applicant appears at the date and time specified on their interview notice, provides their fingerprints and leaves with a stamped form. The common issues we see here are where the notice is not received, or the beneficiary is outside the United states. It is very important to reschedule if you cannot attend. USCIS can deny a case for failure to attend the biometrics appointments.

4. Illegal entry into the United States: If the beneficiary spouse entered the United States without inspection. This is a huge problem. Waiver may be available. Please contact an attorney for case review. This is a complicated matter.

5. Failing to show sufficient financial support: The filing spouse is required to submit an Affidavit of Support on Form I-864. The purpose of this form is to prove that he or she will provide the immigrant any necessary financial support for a period of years so that the beneficiary spouse will not be a public charge. Failure to file this form with result in denial of the application. If the sponsor income is low, a co-sponsor may be needed.

6. Failure to undergo medical examination and submit the medical report: The beneficiary spouse must undergo a medical examination. The purpose behind the examination is to ensure that you are not inadmissible to the U.S. on public health grounds. There are designated immigration doctors that carry out the examination. The doctor will complete Form I-693 and give it to you in a sealed envelope. You must then submit the envelope to USCIS, with your application or at your green card interview. The envelope will not be accepted unless it remains sealed.

7. Failure to submit documents that show good faith marriage: Failure to submit copies of documents to demonstrate the circumstances of the relationship and that the marriage is bona fide will result in denial. Some helpful documents are: birth certificate, documents showing proof of entry to United States, marriage certificate, prior divorce documents, joint bank accounts, joint credit card, lease or mortgage document showing cohabitation, insurance policies that show the other spouse as the beneficiary, joint Federal and State tax returns, joint utility bills, birth certificate(s) of child(ren) born to the marriage, title of car showing joint ownership, affidavits sworn to by at least two people who have known the couple, photos of married couple together.

The content of this article is intended for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. Those seeking specific legal advice should contact Gertrude Onuoha Esq. at 575 Lexington Avenue, 4th Fl. NY NY 10022 (Phone) 7326425605 or 2129719704.

Gertrude Onuoha Esq. is the founder of the law offices of Gertrude Onuoha, P.C. She has practiced law for more than 17 years. She has great depth of experience and a successful track record in handling immigration. She is admitted to practice law in the state of New York and has a Master of Laws (LL.M) degree from Benjamin Cardozo School of Law in New York. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the New York Bar Association.

Join us for a free immigration clinic at 575 Lexington Ave., at 4th Fl. NY, NY 10022 every Friday of the month.

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