Top 5 Reasons a Marriage Based Green Card Application is Denied

It is a common misconception that a green card application based on marriage can only be denied because USCIS suspects marriage to be fake.

Obtaining a marriage based green card may be a dream come true for many successful applicants; however, this sweet dream can instead become a nightmarish reality of green card denial if the process is not completed correctly.   Although movies have been made about how fun and easy it is to obtain a marriage based green card, the truth is that immigration law is a complex field, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is a strict governmental department.  There are many reasons a marriage based green card application may be rejected, but the following are some of the most common causes of denial.

Visit our section on top 5 reasons a same-sex marriage green card application gets rejected here.

Incorrect Green Card  Application, Wrong Fee, Incorrect Mailing Address for USCIS

Your application needs to be completed correctly at every step.  If you are inexperienced, errors can easily occur either when preparing your application or after submission of your application.  There can be almost a dozen different USCIS forms that need to be completed and included with the application.  USCIS is constantly changing the forms and applications.  They will only accept the correct version.  It’s extremely easy to become confused or to be unaware of which forms must be included.  Simple omissions or improper answers on the forms can lead to negative consequences. In some instances, an omission or improper answer could result in the application being rejected or denied whereas in other instances certain omissions or improper answers could lead to a finding of fraud/misrepresentation at the interview. Failing to respond to a request for additional information properly or failing to show up at the right date/time for biometrics or your green card interview can have dire consequences. For help with your marriage based green card application, call or email our experienced Los Angeles immigration attorneys.


Marriage Fraud

USCIS Considers Your Marriage a “Sham” or Fraudulent Marriage

USCIS will deny your green card application if they think that your marriage is a sham or the applicant cannot meet its burden of proof to show marriage was bona fide. For more information on a bona fide marriage, please read more here. A marriage green card application requires a lot of supporting documents from both spouses at the time of application submission and at the time of the interview.  For more on what you might need, please see our section on Documents for Your Marriage Based Green Card. The couple interview comes last in the application process, but it is still possible to fail at your interview.   You need to have the correct supporting documents and evidence regarding your relationship, you and your spouse need to have consistent information about your relationship.  Remember that simple omissions, "white lies,” or concealing truths should never be done and will only lead to a negative outcome.  For more on what to expect at the interview, and tips on how to prepare for it, please read more here.


Green Card application deniedLack of Financial Security to Become a U.S. Permanent resident

The USCIS will not admit any immigrant who will likely become a public charge. A public charge is someone who cannot support themselves in the U.S. and must resort to the government to support them financially.  Such a person cannot immigrate to the U.S., and you will need an “Affidavit of Support” from your spouse petitioner to show that you have financial support here and will not need to rely on government assistance.  If the petitioner's income is not sufficient, then the petitioner will need a joint sponsor to show sufficient income. Be aware that the previous or current acceptance of certain public benefits may make you ineligible for a green card because the government has you on record as a public charge.  For a more in depth article on public charge and the affidavit of support, please visit our section on public charge and on the affidavit of support here. Our experienced immigration lawyers can assist you with filling out the requisite affidavit for your spouse and advocate on his or her behalf.  Call or email our Los Angeles immigration and green card attorneys today.

Misunderstanding Your U.S. Green Card Eligibility

If you have current or previous immigration status issue, this may continue to be an obstacle on your immigration journey.  If you had been lawfully present in the U.S. for a total period of more than one year, or you were ordered removed or deported but then entered the U.S. again or tried to enter illegally, it may be nearly impossible for you to be admitted at this time.  However, if you were to wait for 10 years outside of the U.S. then you might be able to reapply for admission into the U.S. If applying for a marriage based green card, an experienced immigration attorney can help you prepare your application, make sure you are ready for the interview, and even accompany you and your spouse to the green card interview and help clear up misunderstandings and make sure the USCIS officer isn't overlooking important information in your application.  For a free initial consultation, call or email our Los Angeles immigration attorneys.

 Green Card Crimes

USCIS Determines Ineligibility Based on Crimes, Previous Marriages

Any noncitizen can be denied admission to the U.S. and removed or denied a green card and adjustment to lawful permanent resident status if he or she has a ground of inadmissibility. There are economic reasons, as discussed above, and numerous other grounds of inadmissibility.  The other most commonly applied grounds of inadmissibility in marriage based green card cases are as follows:

  • Health-Related Grounds

    • A foreign national will be denied entry if they are determined to have a communicable disease of public significance.  Inadmissibility may also be determined based on vaccination history, physical or mental disorder, drug abuse and addiction.  HIV+ individuals no longer fall into this category.
  • Criminal Grounds

    • A foreign national is inadmissible to the U.S. if he or she has been convicted of or admits having committed acts which constitute the essential elements of either (1) a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT); or (2) an offense relating to a controlled substance.
  • Previous Undissolved Marriage

    • The U.S. does not allow polygamy, and if you are applying for a marriage based green card but your spouse is still currently married to someone else, it is not possible for you to be admitted as a spouse on a marriage based green card.

Even if you think you have an easy case for a marriage based green card, it is actually a complicated process with many potentials for mistakes— errors that may cost you more than lost money in application fees, but may cause you and your loved one to lose the opportunity to obtain a green card.  For experienced legal counsel on how to apply for your marriage based green card, please call or email JCS Immigration and Visa Services for your free initial consultation.

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