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Avoiding Pitfalls: Mistakes to Avoid in Family-Based Immigration Applications

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Family-based immigration allows foreign-born individuals to immigrate to the United States based on their relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. It is the most common form of immigration to the United States – at least 20,000 immediate relative visas were issued by the Department of State in 2022 alone.

However, this process can be complex, leading applicants to make mistakes or overlook important steps. This can result in unnecessary delays or even rejection of applications. The immigration attorneys at Espinoza Law Group go over some of the most common mistakes people make in family-based immigration applications and explain how an attorney can help you avoid these mistakes and maximize the chances of your application being successful.

Mistake #1: Not Understanding the Requirements

One of the most common mistakes people make in family-based immigration applications is not fully understanding the requirements. For example, it is crucial to verify that you are eligible to petition for your loved one and to check whether your family member is considered an immediate relative or not.

Permanent residents (green card holders) may only petition for their spouses and unmarried children. If you are a permanent resident wanting to petition for your parents or siblings, your application would likely be denied.

Mistake #2: Not Providing All Required Documents

Filing a petition for a family member can be a lengthy and sometimes overwhelming process. The USCIS requires petitioners to provide a long list of documents in addition to filling out all appropriate forms. Simply filling out the form and submitting it to the USCIS without all of the required supporting documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, or proof of relationship, may result in a denied application or a delay in processing, as the USCIS may send you a letter asking for those documents. If your documents are in a language other than English, you must also remember to submit a certified translation along with those documents.

Mistake #3: Not Meeting the Income Threshold

Another common mistake is failing to meet the income threshold set by USCIS. Many applicants do not realize that their family members must be sponsored by the petitioner in order to receive a green card.

In order to be a sponsor, the applicant must meet certain financial requirements to support their family members, such as having sufficient income and assets or finding a joint sponsor if their own income is not enough. A sponsor must be prepared to provide documentation, including tax returns and financial statements, to demonstrate their ability to support the family.

Mistake 4: Fraud and Misrepresentation

Fraud or misrepresentation in family-based immigration applications can seriously damage an applicant’s chances of success. It is crucial to be honest and accurate in all dealings with USCIS.

This includes providing truthful information about family relationships, income, and any criminal records or issues that may affect immigration status. Lying, omitting facts, or providing false information can lead to serious consequences, including permanent disqualification from immigrating to the United States. Be sure to review your application and all forms for accuracy, as sometimes even an honest mistake or oversight can negatively impact your chances of obtaining a green card for your family member.

Mistake #5: Not Consulting with an Immigration Attorney

Family-based immigration is a complex legal process that requires attention to detail and understanding of immigration law. Many applicants neglect to consult with an immigration attorney, which can lead to costly mistakes and delays. In addition, family-based immigration applications often have certain deadlines for submitting various documents and forms, especially if the USCIS has sent an RFE (Request for Evidence) letter. Missing these deadlines can lead to delays and potential rejection.

An attorney can provide expert advice, assist with document preparation, ensure all deadlines are met, and give you more peace of mind as you will know your application is error-free and contains all the required documentation. At the Espinoza Law Group, our attorneys have years of experience assisting clients with the process of preparing their petitions for a family-based green card application. Contact us at 213-667-0701 for all your immigration legal needs.

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