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What to Do If Your Green Card Gets Denied: A Comprehensive Guide

Shot of female worker puts stamp with denied mark written on it

Hello and welcome to another episode of The Empowered Immigrant Live! Thank you all so much for being here. My name is Otis Landerholm, the founding attorney at Landerholm Immigration, APC, where we fight for your American Dream. Today, we are diving into a crucial topic: **What to Do If Your Green Card Gets Denied**.

The Empowered Immigrant Live is here to train, teach, inspire, and empower immigrants to make the most out of immigration law and to live their best lives. If you're aiming to get a green card, apply for citizenship, or explore your immigration options this year, we are here to help you achieve those goals. Our firm is on a mission to win 10,000 immigration cases in the next 10 years, and we’d love for your case to be one of them.

As we discuss this topic, if you have any questions, please feel free to submit them. I will do my best to answer them live. Let's get started!

Understanding the Green Card Application Process

When applying for a green card, there are two primary processes:

1. Adjustment of Status: This process is for those applying for a green card from within the United States.

2. Consular Processing: This process is for those applying for a green card through a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

If your green card application is denied, it’s crucial to carefully review the denial notice provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the consulate. This notice will outline the specific reasons for the denial, which can guide your next steps.

Common Reasons for Green Card Denials

There are typically five primary reasons why a green card application might be denied:

1. Incorrect Process: Sometimes, applications are denied because the applicant is not eligible for the process they chose. For example, if you weren't inspected and admitted into the country, you might be required to go through consular processing instead of adjustment of status.

2. Inadmissibility Grounds: There are various grounds under immigration law that can make an individual inadmissible. Some of these grounds can be waived, but others cannot. If your denial notice cites an inadmissibility ground, it’s important to understand whether it can be waived and how to apply for a waiver if applicable.

3. Non-waivable Inadmissibility: In some cases, the inadmissibility ground is not waivable. This is the most challenging scenario, as it means there are no legal remedies available to bypass the inadmissibility.

4. Issues with the Petition: Sometimes the denial is due to problems with the underlying petition, such as issues with the legitimacy of a marriage in a marriage-based green card application. This might involve allegations of marriage fraud or other issues that need to be resolved before reapplying.

5. Insufficient Documentation or Evidence: If the application lacked adequate evidence or documentation to prove eligibility, it could be denied. This might include missing medical exams, issues with sponsorship, or other key pieces of evidence.

Steps to Take If Your Green Card Is Denied

Depending on the reason for the denial, there are three primary options for how to proceed:

1. File an I-290B (Motion to Reopen or Reconsider):

- This is applicable if your case was denied by USCIS (not for consular processing).

- You have 30 days to file this motion.

- The motion argues that the denial was incorrect based on either new evidence or an error in the initial decision.

2. Do Nothing:

- In some cases, the best option may be to do nothing, especially if the denial is based on non-waivable grounds or if the denial is clearly justified.

- It’s crucial to consult with an immigration attorney to evaluate whether this is the best course of action.

3. Refile with New Evidence:

- You can submit a new application with additional evidence or corrected information.

- This approach can address the issues that led to the initial denial and increase the chances of approval.

Detailed Strategies Based on Denial Reasons

Incorrect Process

If your application was denied because you applied through the wrong process (e.g., you should have applied through consular processing instead of adjustment of status), the best course of action is to refile using the correct process. Ensure all necessary documentation is complete and accurate.

Inadmissibility Grounds

For denials based on inadmissibility grounds, it’s essential to determine whether the ground is waivable. If it is, you can file for a waiver. The waiver process involves demonstrating that the denial of your entry would cause extreme hardship to a qualifying relative (usually a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent).

Non-waivable Inadmissibility

If the inadmissibility ground is non-waivable, you will need to consult with an immigration attorney to explore any possible options. Unfortunately, in many cases, this may mean waiting for a change in the law or looking at alternative immigration pathways.

Issues with the Petition

If your green card denial is due to problems with the petition (such as an invalid marriage), you’ll need to address these issues before reapplying. This might involve gathering additional evidence to prove the legitimacy of your relationship or resolving any legal issues with prior marriages.

Insufficient Documentation or Evidence

If the denial was due to insufficient documentation, gather the necessary evidence and refile your application. This might include missing medical exams, additional financial documents, or affidavits of support. Ensure that all documentation is complete and accurately reflects your eligibility.

Seeking Professional Help

If your green card has been denied, the first step should always be to consult with an experienced immigration attorney. They can help you understand the specific reasons for the denial and guide you through the best options for your particular case. They can also assist with filing motions to reopen, appeals, or refiling your application with stronger evidence.

Staying Informed About Immigration Changes

Immigration law and policies can change frequently, impacting your case. For instance, recent executive orders or changes in immigration enforcement priorities can affect the processing of green card applications and other immigration benefits.

To stay informed, follow reputable sources of immigration news and consider subscribing to updates from immigration law firms. At Landerholm Immigration, we regularly update our clients and followers about important changes in immigration law.

Conclusion: Don't Lose Hope

Receiving a denial for your green card application can be a daunting experience, but it doesn't mean the end of your journey. By understanding the reasons for the denial and exploring the available options, you can take proactive steps to address the issues and work towards a successful resolution.

Remember, the key is to act quickly and consult with an immigration attorney to navigate the complexities of immigration law effectively. At Landerholm Immigration, we are dedicated to helping you fight for your American Dream. If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Call to Action

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Thank you for joining us today. Make it a great day, and we'll see you next time on The Empowered Immigrant Live. Take care and goodbye!

Additional Tips for Green Card Applicants

While discussing the main topic, here are a few additional tips for green card applicants to enhance your chances of success:

1. Double-Check Your Application: Before submitting, ensure that all sections of your application are completed accurately. Missing or incorrect information can lead to delays or denials.

2. Gather Comprehensive Evidence: The more evidence you can provide to support your application, the better. This includes financial documents, proof of relationship (for family-based applications), and any other relevant information.

3. Stay Organized: Keep a copy of all documents submitted and any correspondence with immigration authorities. This can be crucial if you need to reference them later.

4. Meet All Deadlines: Ensure that you meet all application deadlines and respond promptly to any requests for additional information from USCIS.

5. Consult an Attorney Early: If you anticipate any issues with your application, consult an immigration attorney early in the process. They can provide valuable guidance and help you avoid common pitfalls.

Final Thoughts

The journey to obtaining a green card can be challenging, but with the right information and support, you can navigate the process successfully. At Landerholm Immigration, APC, we are committed to helping you achieve your American Dream. Reach out to us with any questions or concerns, and let us assist you in your immigration journey.

Thank you for being part of The Empowered Immigrant Live community. Stay strong, stay informed, and keep pursuing your dreams. See you next time!

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