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Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Marriage-based Green Card

LKR042533Obtaining your marriage-based green card can be a lengthy process, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. Avoiding certain mistakes can make the process more smooth and stress-free. Here are common mistakes to avoid when applying for your marriage-based green card:
1. Failing to file all of the necessary forms with the correct filing fees at the correct filing location.

Filing for a marriage-based green card involves a lot of paperwork and if you omit a required form or forget to pay a fee, your case can be delayed or even rejected. Filing locations change periodically so it is important to make sure you are sending your case to the correct address, with the correct paperwork, and the correct amount of filing fees.

2. Waiting to apply and delaying your benefits.

You and your spouse should apply for your marriage-based green card as soon as possible after getting married. The longer you wait, the longer you will go without the benefits to which you are entitled and the longer your subsequent process of obtaining naturalization.

3. Not anticipating how long the process will take for you to obtain your marriage-based green card.

Obtaining your marriage-based green card can be a lengthy process. After obtaining the paperwork and filing the forms, you must attend a biometrics appointment and then a scheduled interview. After approval, the green card usually takes another four weeks to arrive in the mail.

Government processing times are always changing, so it is important to start your process as soon as possible.

4. Not being thorough and honest in your application

If you are incomplete or dishonest in your application and an immigration officer catches you in a lie, he may begin to doubt the legitimacy of your application. In a marriage-based green card case, proving you have a valid, bona fide marriage is absolutely essential to the success of your application. If the immigration officer doubts the legitimacy of your relationship or your documentation, your case will be denied.

5. Not gathering paperwork in support of your application

To assist in demonstrating the validity of your marriage, you will need to provide documentation of a bona fide relationship as evidence. You need to get as many documents together as you can so that the immigration officer doesn’t have any doubt as to the validity of your relationship. For some examples of the best ways to evidence a bona fide marriage, see our blog post here.

6. Missing your appointments

If you do not attend a biometrics appointment or scheduled appearance your case will be delayed and could even be denied.

If immigration schedules you for an appointment at a date or time that you cannot attend, your attorney can reschedule the appointment for you.  It is better to reschedule the appointment then to simply not attend.

7. Not Preparing for your interview

It is best to know what to expect at your interview so that you can be prepared to answer questions, be relaxed, and provide appropriate responses to the officer’s questions. Appearing nervous or unprepared can lead an officer to doubt the legitimacy of your case.

8. Not discussing the basics of your relationship with your spouse

It is very important to discuss ahead of time what will happen at the interview. Review with your spouse the particulars of how you met, details of your engagement, wedding, recent celebrations, finances, etc. It is common for one spouse or the other to misspeak during the interview in regards to a date or time and that will also raise doubts in the mind of the interviewing officer. 

9. Thinking that immigration will give you the benefit of the doubt

Immigration will NOT give you the benefit of the doubt. If you misspeak or accidentally provide incorrect information to the immigration officer, your case could be denied.

10. The most critical mistake couples make is not hiring an immigration attorney!

There are so many things that can go wrong if you do not have the proper advice and guidance from experts in the field with years of experience. Hiring an attorney will provide a life-long return on your investment and will make the green card process as stress free and efficient as possible. Many couples wait until after they’ve already been delayed or denied to contact a lawyer. Don’t make the same mistake! Contact our office today to set up a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys!