The immigration process is complex and daunting. Extreme attention to detail is required. This is especially true when applying for a green card. In the current atmosphere, it often appears that USCIS searches for ways to deny the applications it is receiving. For instance, USCIS recently announced that it was not obligated to issue a request for evidence (RFE) or notice of intent to deny (NOID) to provide the applicant with an opportunity to submit missing information. Thus it is very important that your initial application package be as complete and accurate as possible.
Here are the most common issues that arise in filing for immigration benefits with USCIS:
- Filing with the help of a notario or forms preparation service. This is one of the worst mistakes that an applicant can make. It is also unfortunately the most common mistake. Notarios and immigration forms preparation services are merely scribes – in other words, all they do is fill out forms. They do not spot issues that can result in denial of your application (and loss of the expensive filing fee) or, even worse, land the applicant in deportation proceedings. They do not even know the questions to ask that would reveal eligibility or deportation issues. Thus NEVER use anyone other than an experienced immigration attorney to prepare your filing package.
- Leaving part of the application blank. If a question requires information that you do not have or know, answer “unknown”. If a question requires information that does not apply to you, answer it with “N/A”. If a question directs you to provide detail, DO IT! For example, several immigration forms ask if the applicant has ever been arrested or cited. If the answer is “yes”, the form directs the applicant to provide details including the date of arrest and final disposition.
- Missing individual forms or supporting documentation. A complete application for a green card consists of several forms. Make sure your application package contains all the required forms. Likewise, a complete green card application requires supporting evidence such as proof of a good faith marriage, the applicant’s birth certificate, and proof of lawful admission. Filing without such required supporting evidence can result in rejection or denial.
- Missing a critical deadline. If USCIS requests additional information or documentation through an RFE or NOID, they will give you a deadline for submission. Failure to comply by the stated deadline WILL result in denial of the application. Note, however, that USCIS has added additional time to respond, due to the pandemic, to certain requests for additional information or documentation received between March 1, 2020 through January 1, 2021. That information can be accessed at https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-response-to-covid-19 under the tab, “Deadlines for Certain Requests, Notices, and Appeals”.
- Providing false information. Most immigration applications require that the applicant sign under penalty of perjury. By signing the application, therefore, the applicant acknowledges that he or she can be criminally prosecuted for perjury (i.e. lying under oath) if the applicant provides false information in the application. For example, when asked when you entered the U.S., it is tempting in many situations to misrepresent the circumstances regarding an entry without inspection. DON’T DO IT. Again, using an experienced immigration attorney to gather your information, inform you of any eligibility or deportation issues, and file the application will avoid the risk of having your application denied and, much worse, of committing perjury. Although this goes without saying, it must be said: DO NOT GIVE FALSE INFORMATION IN ANY IMMIGRATION FORM.
These are five of the most common issues we see when applicants fail to use an experienced immigration attorney to file for an immigration benefit. But they are not the only ones.
You could also submit an incorrect filing fee amount, send the application package to the wrong USCIS office, forget to sign forms that were otherwise filled out perfectly, or fail to provide the information requested due to a language barrier. These potential issues evidence the necessity to entrust an experienced immigration attorney with representing you before USCIS. Antonini and Cohen have filed thousands of successful applications with USCIS. Contact us so we can get you the immigration benefits that you are eligible for.
HAVE QUESTIONS? YOU CAN ALWAYS COME TO ANTONINI & COHEN WITH ALL YOUR IMMIGRATION QUESTIONS. WE ARE HERE TO HELP.
For more information or questions about how these new policies might impact you, reach out anytime online or give us a call (404) 850-9394 for assistance with any immigration issue you’re facing.
Marshall Cohen is one of the founding principals of Antonini & Cohen. Admitted to the Georgia Bar in 1989, he has practiced immigration law exclusively for over 30 years. Mr. Cohen practices all areas of immigration law including family and employment cases, temporary and permanent visas, naturalization, deportation defense, and federal litigation.