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Why Would a Green Card Be Denied?

Green Card

The excitement of applying for a Green Card can quickly become overturned when you get a notification that your application was denied. Why did this happen and what went wrong?

The reality is that there are several reasons why a Green Card application may be denied. By understanding some of the most common reasons for these denials, you can get a better understanding of how to ensure your application is approved so you can start your life in the U.S. as soon as possible.

Failing to Establish an Authentic Marriage

If you or your spouse is obtaining a marriage-based Green card, you both must show that your marriage is authentic and not simply a ploy to obtain residence in the U.S. Additionally, you must prove that your marriage is legally recognized by providing supporting documents, including your marriage license or certification and past divorce certificates (if applicable).

If USCIS either 1.) suspects your marriage is inauthentic or 2.) claims that your marriage is not legally recognized, a marriage-based Green Card application may be denied. You can read our recent blog to learn more about what to expect during this process.

Insufficient Financial Resources

If someone is applying for Green Card status through marriage, their spouse must show that they have enough financial resources to support their spouse in the U.S. In general, USCIS requires the sponsoring spouse to be earning at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) in order for the applying spouse to be granted a Green Card.

This can be proven with financial documents such as federal income tax returns and recent pay stubs. If the sponsoring spouse does not earn enough to meet this threshold, their spouse’s Green Card application may be denied or the couple may have to provide additional sources of financial support.

Not Eligible for Green Card Status

Contrary to popular belief, just being married to a U.S. citizen or a Green Card holder does not entirely guarantee someone can obtain immediate Green Card status. In the following instances, an application may be denied by immigration services:

  • If you entered the U.S. as a tourist, either on a tourist visa or through the Visa Waiver Program, and applied for a Green Card within 60 days of your arrival

  • If you entered the U.S. illegally

  • If you entered the United States on a J-1 exchange visitor visa (in this case, you may be required to spend 2 years in your home country before residing in the U.S.)

  • If you entered the United States on C-1/D “crewman visa”

  • If you are in the middle of removal proceedings

  • If you originally entered the United States on a K-1 fiancé(e) visa but did not marry that partner

There are certain circumstances that may completely bar an individual from obtaining a Green Card, including:

  • Certain criminal records. Some, but not all, criminal records make individuals ineligible to apply for Green Card status.

  • Certain health-related issues. There are certain communicable diseases or mental illnesses that may make a person ineligible; these are screened during the Green Card medical exam process.

  • Lies or misrepresentations. Any type of misrepresentation to immigration services is considered fraud and makes a person ineligible.

Helping You Pursue the American Dream

At Maney Gordon Zeller, we understand that every client’s path is completely different from the next. That’s why we are dedicated to crafting a personalized strategy for each client in order to help them achieve their goals and pursue the American Dream. We’re ready to hear your story and stand by your side throughout the entire immigration process.

Contact Maney Gordon Zeller at (800) 708-4399 to speak with our immigration legal team today!


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