How to Avoid 3 Common Mistakes in Green Card Applications for Spouses of US Citizens
How you entered the United States matters.By marrying a US citizen you are not automatically qualified to receive Lawful Permanent Resident Status. One critical factor is how the immigrant spouse last entered the United States. If the immigrant was admitted and inspected at a port of entry they may be eligible to apply, but this is not always true and always depends on the specific facts of the case. If the last entry was an "illegal" entry you still may be eligible to apply, but may have to do so outside the US and even then it may require a very difficult to obtain waiver. Again there are some exceptions. It is best to check with a qualified attorney.
Fill out the paperwork completely and truthfully.Sometimes immigrants applying for Lawful Permanent Resident status forget or believe it is not important to list all prior marriages, children from other marriages, arrests and convictions (including as a juvenile) or other information in their applications. Even when this is truly an innocent mistake it can lead to major problems such as denial of the application, the need for a hard to win waiver and even removal from the United States. It is very important to carefully, correctly and truthfully complete all paperwork. Read the questions carefully and provide everything requested. It does not matter how old the incident or information is, the immigration agency considering the application will want to know about. If there is any confusion or you are simply not sure about some information requested, it is always better to play it safe by checking with an immigration law expert.
Do not take risks when it comes to any criminal issues or prior immigration violations.If you have an arrest, conviction or prior immigration violation it is relevant to the application process. Many immigrant believe juvenile cases, older cases and convictions that have been expunged or removed based on rehabilitation no longer pose an immigration problem. This is wrong. If you have any such issues you should always contact an immigration law expert with experience in handling these cases prior to filing any paperwork with the immigration agency.