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8 Green Card Application Mistakes That You Need To Avoid

Applying for a green card, whether for yourself, your spouse, or a family member, is a complex and time-consuming process. 

Green card application mistakes can set back an application months, and sometimes even years. The preparation and filing of your case has to be done right the first time; otherwise you will waste much time and energy trying to make sense of the confusing paperwork. 

To help you avoid common green card application mistakes, we’ve compiled this list of the eight most common mistakes people make when applying for their green card. 

1. Missing forms in your application

Like all documents that have to be filled out and submitted to the US government, a green card application is not as straightforward or easy as many people think. 

Green card applications are incredibly complex and contain almost a dozen different application forms and require many supporting documents. All of these forms have to be filled out correctly in order to complete your green card application. 

No matter how you're applying for your green card or who you’re applying for, you're going to be submitting several application forms in order to get that green card. If you’re missing any of the required forms or information, your application package of documents will be returned to you and this can make you wait several more months for your case to be approved and for you to get the results you want. 

2. Missing document translations

When you start applying for your green card, you’ll be submitting a lot of supporting documents to help back up the information you’ve provided. This is to confirm that you are who you say you are and that you’re truthful about the information you’ve filled out. 

Some types of supporting documents that are needed can include:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Divorce certificates
  • Passports
  • Bank account information
  • Tax returns
  • Criminal records
  • Other information

If you or your relative are from a non-English-speaking country, your green card application documents will have to be translated from your native language into English. Certified translations are required. 

3. Forgetting to sign your forms

All of those hours spent filling out forms will be wasted if you forget to sign them. Another common mistake is signing documents in the wrong place -  they’ll also be rejected. 

Green card application forms don’t just have one page that needs to be signed; there are numerous pages, each with different signature locations. 

Make sure you get the correct person to sign the forms too. Sometimes, the person receiving the green card will have to sign, and other times, the sponsor must sign the application.

This part is tricky as sometimes the name designation of the person who signs changes, and getting it wrong means immediate rejection by the USCIS. So take a few minutes to double-check the signatures before sending them off. 

4. Incorrect government payment

Many people make mistakes on the fee section of their application. The check they send is for the wrong amount of money.

The USCIS charges fees for each green card application, and you have to make sure that the payment amount is correct. 

This means checking:

  • It is the correct amount of money
  • Some forms require additional fees for biometrics
  • Some forms require different fees depending on the age of the applicant

5. Missing an important deadline

As soon as you have entered the US and before you start your green card application process, you have to know and remember important deadlines. 

Be aware of your:

  • Authorized period of legal presence in the US
  • Visa expiration date
  • Dates for processing your application
  • Renewal deadline 

Missing any of these dates can cause your application to be denied, as the US government takes its deadlines very seriously. If you miss any of these, they’ll assume you don’t want to become a permanent resident anymore or that you’re not serious about your green card or citizenship application. 

Ensure you know precisely when each application needs to be submitted and what time all of your appointments are to avoid missing anything important. 

6. Accidently giving false information

Putting the wrong information down, even by accident, will be seen as lying on your application. If the government believes you’re lying, you will be denied and might even have to leave the US forever. 

So make sure you have all the following information correct:

  • Biographic information
  • Dates
  • Addresses
  • Occupations 
  • Previous jobs 
  • Criminal history
  • Memberships in organizations or groups

The best way to avoid getting this information wrong is to have everything you need out in front of you when filling out the information. This will help you avoid making mistakes.

7. Falling for a scam

Unfortunately, there are people who will take advantage of immigrants looking for a green card and scam them out of their money. 

It’s important to remember that if you think the application process is too easy or the results promised are too good to be true, you might be getting scammed. 

Stay away from “immigration consultants” or “notarios” who are not lawyers and offer their services for very little money. Sometimes they promise good results for cheap prices. Later you find out that they take your money and disappear or your applications are rejected by USCIS because  there are mistakes. Some mistakes are so serious that you will not be able to get a green card or citizenship. 

You should ask the “immigration consultant” or “notario” if they will go with you to your USCIS interview. They will say no, because only licensed attorneys are allowed to go with you inside the room for your USCIS interview. 

At Meimaris Law, a licensed attorney will always prepare you for your immigration interview before your appointment and do practice interviews with you. On the day of your interview, a licensed attorney will be with you inside the room as your legal representative. 

Do your homework because if you do make the mistake of getting scammed, you might lose your chances of obtaining a green card or citizenship altogether. 

8. Not getting the right help with your application

When it comes to your green card application, mistakes are costly. You must prepare and file everything correctly the first time.

Don’t waste your time and money trying to do everything by yourself. These applications are complicated, long, and confusing at times, especially if you don’t speak English fluently. 

163,049 applications were rejected last year, a lot of them due to these avoidable and straightforward mistakes, and with the right help, you can avoid these mistakes too and save yourself months of wasted time and frustration. 

If you’re looking for the right help, then the team at Meimaris Law can be there for you. We’re experts in the green card application process, and we’d love to make sure your application is completed and filed correctly the first time. 
Get in touch with us today for competent legal guidance with the complicated green card permanent residency process in the US.

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