As many Green Card applicants are aware, filling out the application for a Green Card with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) can be a challenging, tedious process. The Green Card application itself – Form I-485 – is a fairly large document which requires applicants to provide a lot of information about themselves and the details of their current situation (i.e. marital status, professional background, etc.). Along with this application, most applicants will also need to have a petitioner who files an additional form on their behalf. The whole process can be quite convoluted. (Welcome to immigration law!)
We have had many, many clients come to us in a state of complete stress after making the following mistakes; our hope is that through this blog, we can help you avoid the common pitfalls. We’ve helped our clients get back on track after their application was rejected for not marking a single box correctly, you needing a waiver, or facing deportation. If you read this and decide you don’t want to risk everything by going it alone, we’re here to help you, too! Here are 3 mistakes to avoid when filing for your green card!
- Forgetting to Pay the Entire Application Fee
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This is actually a much more common mistake than most people realize. After you fill out your application in its entirety, you also have to pay your full immigration fee at the same time. Also, if you have a petitioner, your petitioner also needs to do the same thing. If either you or your petitioner fails to pay the fee in full at the time of completion, your application will not go through. In many cases, applicants are rejected because the petitioner fails to pay his or her fee in full; you should be sure to remind your petitioner about the importance of paying the full fee at the time of filing. This gets especially complicated when there are multiple people applying for a green card at one time (a parent and his children, for example)—the total fees and how many checks starts to feel like a complex math problem!
- Forgetting to Fully Translate Documents in Foreign Languages
In many cases, Green Card applicants will need to attach documents in foreign languages to complete their application. In these situations, applicants need to know that they must provide translations of these foreign language documents. These documents must be translated into English, otherwise the application will not be considered complete. Importantly, the person (or persons) who performs the translation must certify in writing that the translation is complete and accurate. The translator must also provide personal information, as well as the exact date that the translation was performed. Many applicants may see this requirement as a hassle; although it may be difficult in some cases, it is absolutely necessary. Our team speak 6 major languages, so when you hire us, we take care of everything for you!
- Providing False or Inaccurate Information
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When you fill out the Green Card application, you must provide all information requested. This means that, in most circumstances, none of the spaces should be left blank. For many questions, if it doesn’t apply, then you should mark it as “N/A” (Not Applicable), rather than leaving it entirely blank. What you must avoid, however, is providing false or inaccurate information on the form, especially providing false information to make yourself seem more desirable. Of course, if you have no middle name, don’t put “N/A” or that’s what will be on your green card as your middle name!
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As an example, under Part 8 of the application (“General Eligibility and Inadmissibility Grounds”), there is a subsection on criminal history, “Criminal Acts and Violations.” You should never provide false information on this subsection in order to present yourself in a more positive light. This subsection asks you if you’ve ever been arrested, or ever committed a crime of any kind. You should be 100% truthful here, because if the USCIS discovers false information you will lose eligibility. That said, before you disclose any criminal history, you should always talk to an experienced immigration lawyer who can advise you exactly what to disclose on the form. It is a very complicated question and a delicate answer is needed.
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These are just a few of the more commonly encountered mistakes on the Green Card application. There are so. many. others. In the future, we may return and discuss some of the other mistakes which are routinely made by applicants. In the meantime, if you’d like additional information, contact us, New Frontier Immigration Law, by calling 623-742-5400. We have an award-winning team ready to help you with every step of your immigration matter.