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10 reasons why you don't have a Green Card yet

Do you dream of getting a Green Card to live in the USA? You are not alone! However, the US immigrant visa is not easy to obtain. Learn about the most common problems in the Green Card process and how to avoid typical mistakes.

From the wrong picture format to unreliable sponsors to the classic form typo: These ten reasons for rejection you can work around before applying for a Green Card:

Living in the USA with a Green Card

#1. Lack of eligibility

Without a doubt, entering the annual Green Card Lottery is the easiest and often the only path to living in the United States. The entry requirements for the US government-run lottery are pretty low, and due to the high number of Green Cards drawn each year (55,000), the chances of winning are tremendously high.

Nevertheless, the Green Card Lottery is not open to anyone. Among others, the following reasons may exclude you from participating in the lottery:

  • Your home country is not eligible for the Green Card Lottery.
  • You do not meet the educational requirements for the Green Card Lottery.

Also, an error in the application can quickly derail your Green Card winning project, as the US authorities disqualify applicants without warning. Due to the lack of information about the reasons for rejection, many participants fail again and again and thus lose crucial time year after year.

Avoid mistakes

Have your personal eligibility for the lottery and your application documents reviewed by an expert. Government-licensed immigration consultants, such as the USA experts at The American Dream, will protect you from disqualification by US authorities and help you with further proceedings after winning the lottery.

#2. Filing the wrong petition

If you are not trying your luck in the Green Card Lottery but through one of the alternative routes to the Green Card, there are high requirements placed on you by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

In order to succeed in the application process, e.g., for an employment-based Green Card or a family-based Green Card, you must fit into an exact category of Green Card eligibility. Examples:

  • You have close relatives who are U.S. citizens or Green Card holders.
  • You have a US employer who sponsors you (i.e., agrees by affidavit to cover the costs of your immigration process partially).
  • You meet the requirements to immigrate as a "Special Immigrant."

Avoid mistakes

Make sure you know exactly which path to the Green Card suits you, and only start the application process if you are 100 % sure. If you start an application process whose requirements you do not meet, you will lose a lot of money because the US authorities do not refund any fees once they have been paid.

#3. Incorrect photo format

Not only when registering for the Green Card Lottery but also in all other Green Card application processes, you have to submit (digital) passport photos. Depending on the application process and step, your photos must meet different requirements.

Photo for the Green Card Lottery

Many Green Card applicants fail at this point because they either don't pay enough attention to the photo requirements or don't understand them properly due to the language barrier.

So before submitting your photos, make sure to read the requirements for your particular case carefully:

Avoid mistakes

If you are unsure, it is better to consult an expert. Also, using a Green Card photo tool such as The American Dream's image correction software will guarantee you an error-free photo. It automatically matches and corrects your image for the Green Card Lottery with the technical requirements of the US authorities (e.g., by removing the background or adjusting the proportions).

#4. Gaps and errors in the application form

The path to a Green Card involves several steps, which include page-long visa application forms such as Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) or the DS-260 form (Immigrant Visa Electronic Application).

Many things can go wrong when completing online and on paper forms. Technical hurdles on the US government websites and the strict completion rules and language barriers often lead to mistakes.

From the exact English translation of school or job titles to the famous hidden blank space, many traps lurk for Green Card applicants. Even obvious mistakes such as forgetting the middle name are surprisingly common and can lead to the rejection of your application.

Avoid mistakes

Get detailed filling instructions or - even better - a Green Card expert to take care of the forms. After winning the Green Card Lottery, for example, The American Dream's VIP service is available to help you fill out the immigration application. In addition, the service also covers the cost of a round-trip USA flight and prepares you for the important interview at the US Embassy.

#5 Missed deadlines and appointments

A common reason for lost Green Card chances is missing key deadlines. Throughout the process, obligations and due dates await Green Card applicants and their sponsors, and they vary somewhat depending on the type of application process.

They include:

  • Timely submission of the application or participation.
  • Obtaining a Labor Certification (for a Green Card through the workplace)
  • Timely status check (if participating in the Green Card Lottery)
  • Timely completion of the immigration application form
  • Timely payment of visa fees
  • Timely submission of supporting documents
  • Scheduling a medical examination with a contracted physician
  • Attending an interview at the US Embassy or Consulate
  • Making the Green Card activation trip
  • Timely emigration

Avoid mistakes

Keep a calendar of upcoming dates in the immigration process and set reminders. An emigration consultant can handle this for you and keep all the pieces in place. If you change your email or postal address, notify your immigration consultant immediately so they can have your information updated at all key points of contact with the US government.

Take your chance to win a Green Card! Apply now

#6. Poor evidence

Almost all pathways to the Green Card require the submission of numerous documents proving your right to an immigrant visa during the application process. If you do not adequately meet the requirements for evidentiary documents, you risk having your Green Card application denied.

Applicants for a Green Card through marriage have to overcome extra high hurdles, as US immigration authorities are extremely harsh in their approach due to fears of sham marriages. For example, they set terribly short deadlines or make hasty decisions to the disadvantage of applicants.

Avoid mistakes

Read the list of required documents carefully and adhere to all specifications. Certified translations of documents are mandatory! When applying for a Green Card through marriage, you and your spouse should go over your joint history to avoid giving deviating answers inadvertently in the so-called "marriage imposter interview." Also, expect spontaneous inspection visits by an examiner.

#7. A job change

If your employer is sponsoring you in the Green Card process, it ties you to the company and your exact job title. This is because the Labor Certification is issued by the U.S. Department of Labor for a specific job with a specific employer in a specific location.

Suppose you change jobs in the middle of the application process without further action, for example, because you were promoted, transferred, or applied for a job at a different company. In that case, US Immigration will stop your Green Card process.

Avoid mistakes

Before changing companies, make sure your new employer sponsors you and applies for a new Labor Certification. In case you only get a new job within the company, a new immigration petition (I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers) may be sufficient, but your employer must file it.

#8. Payment problems

You will be asked to pay processing and immigration fees in the Green Card process. The type and amount of fees depend on the type of application and the processing step you are currently in. Incomplete or late payment can lead to rejection of your Green Card application.

Avoid mistakes

When paying your Green Card fees, exactly follow the payment methods specified in the payment request. Pay on time using your "Case Number," the form number (e.g., I-130), and the "Invoice Identification Number" (if available). Do not abbreviate the names of government agencies on remittances (e.g., DHS instead of Department of Homeland Security).

#9. Green Card sponsor mistakes

Suppose you are going through the application process for a family-based or employment-based Green Card. In that case, you are dependent on a sponsor to file the immigration application and sometimes provide an affidavit of support on your behalf.

Depending on the case, this sponsor may be your US spouse, a parent, or your employer, and they bear a tremendous amount of responsibility in the complex and often lengthy Green Card process. Unfortunately, sponsorship errors are a common reason for Green Card application denials.

The most common errors made by Green Card sponsors include:

  • Making discrepant or false statements to examiners (e.g., in the case of a Green Card by marriage).
  • Failure to provide important statements or documentation
  • Misunderstanding applications and instructions
  • Forgetting to sign an application
  • Incorrect, late, or missed fee payments

Your sponsor's insufficient financial resources may also be a reason for denial (typically for family-based Green Cards).

Avoid mistakes

Stay in close contact with your sponsor during the Green Card process and go through all the required forms together. In complicated cases (e.g., a very recent marriage that is difficult to prove is bona fide), get help from an immigration attorney.

#10. Mistakes by USCIS

Sometimes even the US immigration authorities make a mistake. For example, a filing fee may get lost, a document may be misfiled, or a misspelling of your name, (email) address, or date of birth could happen.

Such glitches can lead to incorrect conclusions, omissions, and in the worst case, a denial of your Green Card application. If you feel that the reason for the rejection of your Green Card is an error by the USCIS, you can appeal the decision.

Appealing a Green Card denial

To appeal a Green Card denial within the United States, file Form I-290B (Notice of Appeal or Motion) along with your Notice of Intent to Deny or NOID for short.

For applicants outside the USA, the first step to reconsideration of your Green Card application is to file Form I-601 or go to the designated embassy, which will obtain a second opinion from the U.S. Department of State.

Avoid mistakes

Even in the appeals process against an incorrect USCIS decision, some sources of error lurk, and fees are incurred again. Therefore, we recommend consulting an immigration attorney.

How do I get a Green Card?

The paths to a Green Card through employment, marriage, or relatives in the USA are full of hurdles and pitfalls, and they are suitable for only a few people. However, entering the annual Green Card Lottery is easy, inexpensive, and (by eliminating waiting periods) much faster in many cases.

If you dream of living in the USA, sign up for the Green Card Lottery today. It only takes a few minutes to apply, and your chances of winning are excellent.

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