The United States immigration laws are precise and unforgiving. It can make it difficult for those unfamiliar with legal terminology, the United States court system, and the requirements for a green card to navigate the process by themselves. Unfortunately, many immigrants do just that and then find themselves making costly mistakes that can get their green card revoked or denied despite their best efforts. Understanding some of the reasons why your green card may be denied and how a family immigration lawyer can help you might make the process a little bit easier to navigate.
Did You File For Your Conditional Green Card Renewal On Time?
When you marry a U.S. citizen as an immigrant, you are provided with a conditional green card for the first two years. You'll then have to apply to have the conditions lifted and have that green card converted to a permanent one.
The immigration laws require that you file for that conditional green card renewal within the 90 days preceding the existing green card's expiration. Filing before that 90-day window or filing after the 90 days is up could lead to a denial and being forced to return to your home country.
Working with a family immigration lawyer can help you to avoid this. Your lawyer will keep track of those deadlines and help you to ensure that your paperwork is filed within the appropriate timeframe to preserve your right to stay in the United States.
Did You Get Divorced?
Although getting a divorce doesn't automatically mean that your conditional green card won't be renewed, it does raise questions for the immigration officer who is reviewing your case. Unfortunately, many people enter into a marriage with the sole intention of obtaining a green card, which is considered fraudulent in the eyes of the immigration service.
If your marriage didn't work out and you've filed for divorce since your conditional green card was issued, you can expect that the immigration officer reviewing your application for renewal will want to conduct an interview and will ask you about the reason for the divorce. From there, they will decide if they believe that your marriage was, in fact, legitimate or not. This will be a deciding factor in your green card renewal.
If you find yourself in this situation, it is important that you seek the guidance of a family immigration lawyer before you file your renewal paperwork. Your lawyer will help you to fill out the paperwork based on your new status, and they can even attend the interview with you to help you explain the situation.
Were You Convicted Of A Crime?
Many criminal convictions will result in green card revocation or the denial of a conditional green card renewal. The immigration law states that "crimes of moral turpitude" can lead to deportation. While this is open to some interpretation, it typically applies to violent crimes, theft, domestic violence, driving under the influence, and most felonies.
If you're facing charges for a crime, or you have been convicted of a crime, you should talk with a family immigration lawyer about how this could affect your green card status. Your lawyer can help you understand the law and potentially petition the courts for an exception. Exceptions are rare, but they may be granted based upon the amount of time you served in jail, the severity of the crime, and extenuating circumstances.
These are some of the most important things to consider when it comes to preparing for your green card renewal. Talk with a family immigration lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you are prepared and protected when it comes to navigating the green card renewal process.