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Obtaining a US permanent residence permit, popularly known as the green card, to live and work in the United States can be a long and arduous process. Thousands of green card applications are rejected each year because of avoidable mistakes in the application forms, documentation or visa photos.
If you’re applying for a marriage-based green card, here are the top five mistakes you should steer clear of to prevent your application from being disqualified at the very outset.
Not applying for a marriage-based green card at the right time
Ideally, you and your spouse should apply for a green card as soon as you get married. This will ensure that you don’t miss out on the social benefits and legal rights afforded to permanent residents. Also, obtaining a green card is mandatory for applying for US citizenship later.
Once you submit the forms and your application is processed, you’re called in for a biometrics appointment followed by an interview. If all goes well, it will still take several weeks before you receive your green card. By delaying your PR application, you deny yourself the opportunity to live in the US as a legal resident.
Not filing all of the required documents or filing at the wrong location
Forgetting to attach a particular form or to pay the required fee or submitting your papers at the wrong location can delay or even disqualify your case.
Applying for PR in the US does involve a lot of paperwork, but if you have all your documentation in place and know where to apply and how much filing fee to pay, you’re unlikely to face rejection.
Submitting false or incomplete information
Providing incomplete or false information in your application does not improve your chances of success; rather, it exposes you to the risk of being black-marked by the immigration officer if they find you’ve been dishonest.
Whether applying through the conventional route or the DV lottery, support your marriage-based immigration application with valid documents. Obtain a legal marriage registration certificate as well as other paperwork required by the visa process to avoid disqualification.
Not making it to a visa appointment
Missing an important appointment at the immigration office could result in your case being delayed or denied altogether. To be prepared, find out how long it usually takes to receive a call for biometrics and interview and plan accordingly.
If you cannot make it on the allotted date or time, send a request to the visa office to reschedule the appointment – don’t expect to miss the appointment and hope for leniency from the immigration officers.
Not rehearsing for the interview
Even the most confident individuals tend to fumble and inadvertently give incorrect answers to a visa officer’s questions. This can seriously jeopardize your case and lead the interviewer to doubt the legitimacy of your application.
To avoid that from happening, rehearse the interview with your spouse. Recall important dates and other key details regarding your marriage and relationship as well as your family and finances.
And if you want a tip for when you do move to the US; instead of buying a house, buy vacant land and build one yourself. It’ll save you a few bucks.