While not all reasons for denial are easily fixable, most of them can be fixed. Denials are often due to a few common reasons, so being prepared and using the expertise of an immigration lawyer can help you avoid a denial and, more importantly, delays in the immigration process for your family. Here are the top five reasons your sponsorship application could be denied:
You don’t Meet the Income Requirements to Be a Sponsor
To be eligible to sponsor your family, you must meet a few requirements. Per the Bureau of Consular Affairs, the two most important criteria are that you are at least 21 years old and currently a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
Beyond that, your petition also needs to show that you:
- Meet the minimum income requirements for the size of your household
- Make your income lawfully–that is, you have a U.S. work authorization and pay your taxes
Some circumstances may allow those who don’t meet the income threshold to file their petitions anyway, including if you are a member of the armed services or if you have a joint sponsor.
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You don’t Currently Live in the United States
As has been previously stated, you must be a U.S. Citizen or green card holder to become a sponsor. However, you must also have a legal “domicile” to qualify, according to the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ “I-864 Affidavit of Support (FAQs).”
A domicile is your principal residence (the United States). You must meet these criteria to demonstrate that you qualify:
- You intend to stay in this residence for the foreseeable future
- If you are a green card holder, you must maintain your Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status
Exceptions to the Domicile Rule
If you don’t meet these qualifications, you may fall under one of the exceptions to the rule. You can still be a sponsor and live outside of the United States if:
- You are stationed abroad as a U.S. government employee.
- You are stationed abroad as a researcher recognized by the U.S. Office of Homeland Security.
- You are temporarily abroad as part of foreign trade with a U.S. company or its subsidiary.
- You are temporarily abroad as part of a public international organization in which the U.S. participates by treaty or statute.
- You are temporarily abroad as part of a religious organization that is recognized as genuine in the United States.
- You are temporarily abroad as a religious missionary.
You can also prove that you still meet the domicile criteria by submitting evidence that you are employed by certain organizations, are only abroad temporarily and are maintaining your U.S. residence, and are planning to return to the United States no later than your sponsored family member’s arrival.
Your Application Has Been Falsified
Deliberately falsified applications will not only result in a denial, but they could also result in criminal charges and deportation.
Per 18 U.S.C. 1546, it is a criminal offense to falsify immigration forms. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) describes these penalties. According to this article, you may also be subject to civil penalties if you fail to provide a change of address within 30 days of moving.
If you failed to provide a change of address knowing that your sponsored immigrant was receiving certain public benefits, you could face substantial fines.
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Your Application Is Incomplete
The application process can be complex and time-consuming. It’s easy to make mistakes that can give the USCIS reason to deny your petition. For example, your application may be denied if you fail to include documentation showing:
- Your residency or citizenship status
- Your domicile
- Your proof of income
- Evidence of assets in place of proof of income
- Proof of active military status, if applicable
- Proof of household relationship for the immigrant and their residency in your home, if they already live in the United States
These instructions and more can be found in the “Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA.”
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You Applied to Support Relatives Who Aren’t Eligible for Sponsorship
Finally, it’s possible you’ve misunderstood who may be eligible for permanent residence. According to guidelines from the USCIS on “Green Card for Family Preference Immigrants,” a U.S. Citizen can apply for any of the following family members:
- Their spouse (second preference)
- Unmarried children over the age of 21 (first preference)
- Married sons and daughters (third preference)
- Brothers and sisters (fourth preference)
A lawful permanent resident has slightly fewer options than a U.S. Citizen. They are eligible to apply on behalf of:
- Their spouse (second preference)
- Unmarried children under the age of 21 (second preference)
- Unmarried children over the age of 21 (second preference)
Preference order for family members only means that higher preferences will receive priority among other applicants of lower preferences.
Our Immigration Lawyers Can Help You File, Appeal, or Re-File Your Petition
The immigration process is complex. At New Frontier Immigration Law, we have dedicated years to learning the ins and outs of immigration law, so we can help people reach their goals. Your future shouldn’t be on standby because of small mistakes in the application process. Allow our team to handle your application process, appeals, and other immigration matters so that you don’t face unnecessary delays.