Countdown to top 10 Mistakes in Family Immigration Cases

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I want to help spare you the head banging frustration that comes along with making a mistake during your immigration application process. Such mistakes prove costly, can result in rejection or denial of your application and leads to further delay in an already long and drawn out process. In the Trump era, these sort of devastating consequences is becoming a common occurrence. Whether you are applying for U.S. citizenship, for the permanent residence of a parent, child, spouse or sibling, or for DACA, it is so important to avoid these mistakes in your immigration case.

10.  Failure to organize all the required documentation required in the case.

Believe it or not the people on the other side of the application are human beings and are prone to frustration when they receive an immigration application package that is a disorganized mess. When the application goes before an officer for a decision, it should be organized and tabbed to make it easier for the officer to find the relevant forms and supporting documentation. Believe it or not, organization can help with the creation of a compelling and persuasive application. For instance, a cover letter that lays out the contents of the package, with page numbers in order, along with the labeling of an A number is particularly helpful to the immigration officer during examination of your file and the decision process. Proper labeling, page number and organization also assists the officer to reorganize the file should the file become disorganized during the lengthy process of changing hands. So be thoughtful when putting the paperwork together to be mailed. It could make a big difference in how persuasive and compelling your case is.

9. Failure to sign and send original signatures in the the applications.

Most immigration applications such as the I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative or the Adjustment of Status application require you and your relative’s original signature. Once you complete your application be sure to go to the signature page and write your signature in the designated box along with an applicable date box, preferably in blue ink. Make sure all required original signatures are on the document before submitting the application.

8. Failure to submit all the required immigration forms and include proper fees.

This is a common mistake. Keep in mind. Nothing will be done with your application if you don’t include the required filing fee. Verify the particular fee for the specific immigration forms and include the total amount based on all the fees for each immigration form and application. For example, when a relative is filing the Adjustment of Status application they have to pay the filing fee for this application and also include the filing fee for the sponsor’s petition, all in one package. There may be other fees required as well, such as the biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment fees. Carefully read the instructions on how you should pay, usually by check or money order. You must also pay to the order of a particular agency. If you don’t follow the correct mode or amount of payment, your application will be rejected and sent back which just leads to more delays. This can be devastating when time is of the essence in your case.

7. Failure to provide proper evidence and supporting documentation to the immigration application.

In some cases once you make this mistake, it can lead to a plethora of bad consequences. In some cases the officer will simply deny the case which either requires an appeal, or additional request to reopen your case. For example, the Affidavit of Support must be submitted in an Adjustment of Status application package. If the Affidavit of Support does not have sufficient evidence for an approval, this can lead to an outright denial before you even get to the Adjustment of Status final interview. This can be a costly error. Then you have to seek help to appeal the denial, or just resubmit the application again, with the new filing fees.

Some individuals have such a hard time coming up with the money to apply for an adjustment of status that a denial also means they can’t afford to reapply again. This then leads to a scary future. The delay means the applicant may fall out of status which means they are living illegally in the United States. An illegal status also means they will not have valid work authorization. Being undocumented means unlawful presence, which results in inadmissibility and ineligibility to apply for an immigration benefit. Another mistake here worth mentioning is the failure to include certified translations of all documents in a foreign language. This will lead to a delay in the case for failing to provide the proper documentation. Delays and denials are serious consequences which should be avoided at all costs. It only makes your case unnecessarily complicated.

6. Failure to submit applications to the correct immigration office.

Be sure to send your application to the correct address. You run the risk of losing your filing fee, a denial or rejection. Follow instructions carefully. Instructions can be found along with the application forms on the agency website. The instruction sheet will specify where the application should be sent. For example, uscis.gov provides forms and instructions for each of the forms.

5. Failure to send the proper documentation required.

Individuals will send a copy of a document rather than a certified or original copy which can trigger a request for more Evidence or even a denial. Pay attention to when original documents, such as the birth and marriage certificates are required versus just the copies of such documents. For example, when it comes down to the final interview at the consulate, the USCIS office or an embassy, it is important to have those required original documents ready and set for the interview. Providing copies of such documents when an original or certified document is required will lead to a denial of your case or to a request for more evidence.

4. Failure to determine correct eligibility for certain immigration benefits.

I have seen some pretty scary stuff here. I once had a mother bring her children to the United States thinking they would be eligible for Adjustment of Status (AOS). She thought she was doing what was best for them and applied for the AOS. While the AOS was pending her children lost their legal status, they lived in fear as they were undocumented and as they waited for approval of the AOS. Well, an approval never came. Instead, the mother got a big fat denial of the AOS applications for her children and was told her children would have to return to their country. Not to mention, had she received legal advice before doing all of this, she and her family would have never been in this situation. The children’s mother was devastated about the while debacle and how this terrible mistake could have been avoided had she understood the eligibility criteria for adjustment of status. So, before making big moves like applying for a specific immigration benefit, be sure you a properly advised and fully informed.

3. Failure to meet income requirements as a sponsor.

If you are sponsoring a relative or more than one relatives, you need to be making a certain amount to show you can support the existing people in your household as well as the immigrant(s) that you are sponsoring. If you cannot meet income requirements, you need to secure a joint sponsor which only adds to the complexity of your case and requires plenty of time to get this part of the application complete. For starters, look at the income guidelines at www.uscis.gov, under the I-864 form link. Then be sure to have a professional look it over throughly. If your Affidavit of Support does not meet the requirements, your application will be denied.

2. Failure to include ALL material information in your immigration application or giving either willful or unwittingly providing incorrect information.

Sometimes people think facts are just too ugly to admit or too far back in the past to remember. This often leads to the omission or falsifying of material information. When this happens nothing good can come of it. For example, some people believe that omitting their criminal history will increase their chance of approval. They believe there is no way the agency will find out, or they believe such a history is not a big deal (such as a misdemeanor or an arrest that did not lead to a conviction). I have news for you. An extensive background check is done by the agency. Whatever is buries will eventually come to light. I cannot emphasize this enough. Treat all your facts as material. I believe it is safer to over disclose than omit. The reason being, an immigration officer may find such an omission to be misrepresentation or fraud even if it was just a mistake on your end. The consequences for this is inadmissibility to the United States. This means you are officially on the “DO NOT ENTER” list of the United States. Once this happens, its hard to get back on the good side of the United States. You often have to jump through unbelievable hoops against the odds to get back into the United States. So disclose all your information to your attorney and then let your attorney advise you on the best course of action.

1. Failure to retain a qualified attorney to advise on the immigration case

This is the most devastating mistake. The reason this is the most devastating is because all the other mistakes could be avoided by hiring an attorney to advise on pitfalls, and to prepare the application. It is the mistake of all mistakes. When hiring an attorney, be sure the person representing you during the process is qualified to provide legal advice. As far as I’m concerned, no-one is qualified to give legal advice but an attorney. Don’t cut corners and try to save on money by “doing it yourself.” Sometimes you may think you have a solid case, when you are not even aware of problems that are likely to arise. An attorney can identify such issues.

Also, don’t cut corners by hiring cheap immigration service setups that paint a “too good to be true” picture for you. Often times shady immigration shops offer to complete the application and move forward with submitting the application even when there is problematic information in the application. For instance, an applicant may have an overstay, an arrest or criminal history, may have tax and child support problems. Yet the unqualified shady immigration person will completely disregard this information, mislead the applicant to believe they totally qualify for an immigration benefit and move forward with submitting the application. Cases like this end with a rude awakening and a big fat denial. So don’t cut corners by hiring shady and fraudulent notarios. Hire a qualified attorney that will properly advise you before, during and after your immigration application processing.

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED! But I want to make sure that I can provide you with some more helpful information. I provide a detailed checklist to my clients and subscribers to follow in order to avoid mistakes on their immigration application. To receive your handout by email and to get other great information like this and exclusive offers, SUBSCRIBE HERE!

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