Ep. 68 What are the Reasons for Green Card Denials?

  • Applying for green card can be family-base or employment-based
  • Reasons for the denial can be health-related, criminal-related, security-related, public charge, immigration crimes, not able to meet requirements, and not showing up to immigration appointments.

Raw Transcript:

Jacob: Hello everybody. Well, welcome to another episode of Ask an Immigration Lawyer. You ask, we answer, simple. Today, I wanted to tackle a general topic that people ask all the time. They want to know what are the main reasons green card applications might be denied.

So, permanent residency, green card in the common name, we have family-based and we have employment-based. The common reasons that when you apply for permanent residency may result in a denial of your application.

There are quite a few reasons and I think it’s important to understand them because as you venture on the journey, you may want to be prepared. These are reasons that both the US Immigration and the US Embassy’s State Department Consulate consider before they issue a final approval on an application.

So, first reason can be health-related. As you know, before you get to adjustment of status or the final step in the green card, both in the US and outside of the US or the US Embassy, you have to go through a medical example. Medical example report is required for admission as a green card holder and this is performed by a government-approved doctor. The results of these medical reports can lead to the denial of the green card if they find out that you have some sort of communicable disease dangerous to the public.

Again, in the past maybe five, six years ago, HIV was on that list, for example. Now it’s no longer. But just to give you an example, people that carry the HIV virus were not allowed to enter the US and get their green cards unless they filed a waiver. That law has been changed a few years back and now that’s no longer an issue. Just to give you an example. So health is one issue.

Another one is criminal, criminal-related. So if you’ve been convicted of certain types of crimes and you’re coming to the US to apply for the green card, you are not going to be able to finish the process unless you get some sort of a waiver, if at all possible.

So for example, crimes of moral turpitude, multiple crimes. Let’s say if you have multiple DUI’s; that can be a bar for you to get a green card. Let’s say something like a petty theft and other small multiple crimes altogether can lead to a bar; drug trafficking, prostitution, money laundering, being involved in criminal organizations. All these things can lead to somebody’s denial of a green card or not even letting him finish the process. So criminal is another issue.

Security-related. After 9/11 we had a lot of issues with people that were on certain list, terrorist list. People that visit in certain countries, former Nazi or totalitarian parties. People like that who are flagged for security purposes may not be able to get a green card or finish the process.

Public charge. So, if you’re seen as likely to become independent on the US government for a long-term care or financial support, then a green card cannot be approved. For example, when a person marries a US citizen, the US citizen is considered to be their sponsor. But if that US citizen is not making enough money, they can’t emigrate their spouse or their relative. So they have to get a co-sponsor.

The reason they do that is they don’t want the immigrants to become a public charge until they are part of society and become a US citizen and they are able to contribute. So that’s another issue to consider the public charge.

Any people that committed immigration crimes. So if you came here legally or came as — smuggle in here or help somebody come here in that way. Those people can also have an issue unless they get some sort of a waiver before they can emigrate.

Anybody that is not able to meet the requirements of the application. So for example, if they lie on the forms or if they commit or provide false information, that means they’re unable to meet all the requirements on the forms and they’re not able to finish the process.

If you are not showing up to an immigration appointment. So let’s say you have an adjustment interview or any other interview leading to a green card and you fail to appear, your application may be considered abandoned and closed, and you’re not going to be able to get a green card. So it’s very important to attend the fingerprints appointment, the adjustment, the interviews. All the appointments you’ve been called by the government, you have to show up.

For example on the employment side, if you apply for an I-140 which is the immigrant petition, and then you changed jobs before the six months allowed or before you meet the requirements on when you can change jobs, you may lose the ability to get a green card. So that’s kind of just an example on the immigration side.

If your appeal was denied after a motion to reopen or a series of request to the government to overcome a denial then, of course, you’re not going to be able to finish the process because all appeals have been exhausted. This is some of the reasons why green cards are denied in very, very general terms. But it’s always good to know as you start to venture on this process.

Hopefully it was a little bit helpful. If you have any questions, email me at jacob@askanimmigrationlawyer.com, and we look forward to seeing you at our next episode. You ask, we answer, simple.