What are the biggest mistakes that can delay your immigration case or worse, cause it to get denied? By the end of this video, you will know what each of these mistakes are and you'll be better prepared in your immigration journey. These are the mistakes that I often see immigrants who have done their cases by themselves make, or worse, other attorneys make these mistakes when they should know better. And these mistakes may end up following you for the rest of your immigration journey.
The first category of mistakes is what I would call documentation and application errors. These can include not thoroughly reading instructions, forgetting to send in all the required paperwork, missing pages from your application (even though they might be blank ), using expired or outdated forms, forgetting to sign or date your forms, or signing and dating them in the wrong place, providing inconsistent documents, not sending applications to the correct filing location, and not keeping a copy of your paperwork.
First thing that you can easily avoid is using outdated or incomplete paperwork when you send in your application. For example, USCIS regularly updates the editions of their forms, and if you do not use the latest accepted edition, then you will cause a complete rejection and denial of your case.
Next, forgetting all of the pages of your application or forgetting to send in the required documentation and evidence with your case can also cause a denial or delay in your case. For example, if you are filing for a marriage based green card but you forget to send them a copy of your marriage certificate or your bona fide marriage evidence, this can cause a serious impact on your immigration benefits being approved. And in some cases, we have actually heard of outright denials of the case without you even getting a chance to respond to provide this missing documentation.
In order to avoid making application mistakes, make sure to always look at USCIS.gov look up your form, and what I would suggest is for you to first read through a blank copy of the form, and then look at the entire instructions for that form. Read those instructions top to bottom, and create draft version of the form following those instructions. This can be the basis for which you use to create a clean final application so that you know that you're not missing any information.
I also recommend that you print out a copy of the instructions for that form and create a checklist for the minimum required documentation. And lastly double check everything. Double check the filing address where you are supposed to send your paperwork so that you don't send it to an old place. I know many of you like to read the forums.
I know you're on Facebook groups asking each other questions, but there is no better authority than the USCIS website itself. This will always contain the most up to date instructions, locations, and filing fees required for your form. Which brings me to my next category of mistakes...
These are some money related ways that immigrants can cause mistakes to occur on their immigration applications.
These include not attaching the correct filing fees, using an improper payment method (such as providing the credit card form on applications that do not accept credit card fees), not including separate fees for biometrics, not understanding fee exemptions and reductions, incorrectly written checks, expired checks, and failing to keep sufficient funds in your accounts for your check to be cashed.
Now, the filing fees can be difficult to understand sometimes, so I have one big suggestion for you,USCIS.gov the has a wonderful tool called the Filing Fee Calculator. What I recommend for you to do is make a list of each of the forms that you plan on filing, and then go into this tool, and put in the type of forms so that you can calculate each and every single fee that you must include.
Many times people make the mistake of not including age appropriate fees because when you are a senior, sometimes, or when you are a minor under 14, the fees can change. In addition, there may sometimes be a biometrics fee of $85 that you must include for certain applications. When you properly use this tool on the government's website, it can absolutely clarify for you how much fees you must include with your application.
But this is just the first step. Once you calculate the correct fee amount, you must make sure you fill out your check properly. Many times I have seen rejected applications for checks that are outdated or not filled out properly. Keep in mind you can also use money orders or certified checks, but you must also consider the expiration date of either the money order or your certified checks.
A huge thing that I repeatedly see, with not just my current clients but with people outside, is when you use a check to pay your filing fee, but you fail to keep sufficient funds in your account until that check is cashed. Now, make no mistake, USCIS can be very, very slow in doing everything, including cashing your check. I would recommend that you monitor your bank account closely to see when USCIS has actually cash your check. Then you can spend your money the way that you need to.
The next mistakes are some of the worst that I can see in an immigration application and won't just cause you to get rejected, but will probably haunt you forever within your immigration journey. But before we move on, I want to let you know that we do accept new clients for many types of cases.
My name is Moumita Rahman, and I have been practicing immigration law for the past 13 years. And if you would like my assistance on your immigration case, give us a call at 212-248-7907 to explore how we can help you with your immigration case. I am based in New York, but I work with immigration clients all over the United States.
The third mistake that I commonly see is what I would categorize as Misunderstanding of Legal Requirements. Some of these examples include filing for benefits when you're not really eligible for them, not understanding the legal issues that need to be addressed in order to be approved, incorrectly handling RFE’s, failure to maintain proper immigration status that may be required for your application, and missing deadlines.
One of the more serious mistakes that I see when persons file their own immigration applications is when legal requirements for that benefit are not properly understood. Sometimes you may be required to maintain legal status or have a legal entry into the country in order to qualify for certain immigration benefits, such as a marriage based green card. And these are actual legal requirements that need to be satisfied in order for immigration to be able to approve your application.
And sometimes they're not so easy to understand because there are complicated calculations and evaluations that need to be done in order to assess eligibility. For example, a person may be disqualified for filing for a green card inside the United States because they have unlawful presence or they have an entry without inspection, or they do not have a qualifying relative to satisfy the legal requirements for a waiver which may be necessary to overcome inadmissibility such as misrepresentation or criminal convictions in their case.
These are serious legal matters that must be assessed by a qualified attorney with experience in your case. The other biggest issue that I see when it comes to legal requirements is missing deadlines or not properly handling or responding to requests for evidence. How is it possible for you to mishandle responding to an RFE?
Number one, you may mishandle it by not responding by the deadline that is prescribed on that document. It is very easy to not satisfy the deadline, but the real true way that responding to a request for evidence by yourself can cause you harm is because oftentimes requests for evidence are asking for things that are related to legal issues and legal complications within your case. The way that your request for evidence must be responded to is usually very strategic in a legal sense, and sometimes the government officer may ask for things inside your RFE that are actually not legally required within the immigration rules.
And if they do that, unless you already understand immigration law, you may be responding to it incorrectly and thus your case may get denied. It's easy to make these mistakes when you don't have an experienced and qualified immigration attorney by your side. A good immigration lawyer will know exactly what the government is looking for and will know how to proactively address these deficiencies and requirements.
Now the next mistake that people make, which is definitely very serious, is being dishonest on your application. What this essentially means is not telling the truth, providing falsified documents, or excluding illegally relevant information in an attempt to hide the truth. Do not try to hide your criminal history if you have ever been arrested. Do not try to hide prior marriages if you have ever been married in the past.
Do not try to hide the fact that you have applied for previous immigration benefits, including visa applications and including requests for admission at the airport or other ports of entry. Also, don't make the mistake of inadvertently misrepresenting yourself on paperwork. Make sure you double check the accuracy of your information. You can just assume that USCIS will know everything. That is the way that I would recommend you approach honesty in your applications.
And the next mistake that you can make is making mistakes at the interview. And really what I mean by this is you can ends up causing your case to gets denied or delayed if you are not properly prepared for your interview. This includes everything from not having the proper documentation for your interview, not knowing the answers or not knowing what you already put down in your case, missing your interview, which is a big no no.
And it can actually create red flags for immigration, and also arguing with the officer. You don't need to argue or the officer. That's why you should hire a lawyer to protect you from officers, and they can do the arguing on your behalf...like me. So make sure you are not overly nervous at your interviews and you show confidence in your answers.
If you need more advice on immigration interviews, make sure you check out my other videos. I've done hundreds of immigration interviews with USCIS, and I pride myself on my knowledge and I love to share my experiences with you. You can still be very well prepared for your interviews by making sure you review all of your applications that you have already sent in, review your answers, review your documentation, double check the checklist that you should have made by now, and make sure you take any new supporting evidence that you think you may need. And of course, if possible, have an attorney by your side!
Bring a lawyer, make that investment, because this is your immigration journey, and having approvals of your green card means the world for your life here in the U.S. If you are still worried about making mistakes or messing up your application, leave me a comment in the box below so you can share with all of us what your fears are. And if possible, I’ll make further follow up videos in response to your questions.
And if you are filing for any immigration benefit, make sure you watch my latest video about how USCIS could be spy on you on social media in order to try to deny you on your case. In this video, explain some of the steps that you can take to protect yourself, which go beyond just making yourself private. I'll include a links that video here. I'll see you there.