Applicants File But Don't Qualify Even if Married to a U.S. Citizen
Too many foreigners think that once they marry, file applications, and U.S.C.I.S. issues a receipt, then the application is approved. Unfortunately, the application process requires a good faith emotional relationship that results in marriage. Applicants who don't have enough proof that they qualify can spend an excessive amount of money on filing fees, complicate future efforts and spend needless time and effort. There may be a delay to further document the relationship. At times, the file can be denied, misplaced, overlooked in the process. The cost of filing a second adjustment and petition can prove almost as expensive as hiring an attorney the first time.
Applicants have Difficulty proving that they Qualify
Sometimes, hiring inexperienced immigration attorneys result in delay or denial. Verifiable documentation to prove that an applicant best qualifies may be overlooked.
An attorney that accepts artificially low fee to prepare the application and organize documentation may lack the commitment to reasonably complete the work in good order. In some matters, it can take extra time and effort to document an applicant's qualifications. At times, attorneys may depend upon cooperation from the applicants. A few may chose not to reasonably warn of foreseeable problems with filing as a matter of discretion until it is evident at the appointment.
Verifiable documentation to prove that an applicant qualifies for a lawful permanent resident status help, but the types of documents that help the most are often overlooked by applicants. The instructions don't go into enough detail, which can also help to uncover questionable candidates and spouses.
Applicants Lie, omit important facts, or facts are lost in translation.
If a U.S.C.I.S. adjudicator or consular official reasonably believes that an applicant has acted in a deceitful way, then a decision on the visa application can be delayed, denied, or questioned. Some foreigners speak English, but the words used are misused and misunderstood to mean something different. Of course, at times, applicants are afraid and tell a lie that somehow complicates, delay decisions, or result in denials.
Applicants are Disqualified for Unlawful Presence Bar Reasons
An applicant who has lived unlawfully in the U.S. or overstayed 180 days or more beyond the expiration date of an entry card, but depart and return can be barred from a visa even if they were admitted in error on a visitor visa. Those who are discovered to be an overstay can start the unlawful presence clock and face the same challenges where they depart, even if they originally entered with duration of status on an F-1 or J-1 visa. A decision that a person is no longer in status can be devastating to a former university student and their new U.S. Citizen Spouse, where they depart and later use their visitor visa to return to the U.S.
An Applicant Falsely Represented Themselves as a U.S. Citizen
Strangely, this is easier than it looks. Some state departments of motor vehicles accidentally and unknowingly register foreigners to vote by mistake.
Some foreigners 'unknowingly' serve on a jury in a Federal or State Court case may ruin their right to immigrate. Only U.S. Citizens can serve on juries. Such an action can be considered a false representation of U.S. Citizenship. Those who register to vote or vote in a state or Federal Election can be disqualified. These civil offenses may cause a permanent ban to lawful immigration. At times, careful attention by an experienced immigration attorney can undo Government mistakes or the actions of others, who improperly prepare the documents. Often, this information is part of the public record. In fact, voter registration information can be found online with minimal effort by the U.S.C.I.S. Regrettably, our state departments of motor vehicles has unknowingly registered unqualified voters based upon the Motor Voter Act.
An Applicant was already deported, but returns to the U.S. without Advanced permission
In most, but not all situations, it is a Federal Crime to unlawfully re-enter the U.S. after deportation without written permission for the D.H.S. Some file for a new visa after deportation thinking that they can pay a penalty or marry a U.S. Citizen. Such a marriage will not make the deportation order will go away. This can prove to be a big mistake and devastate a U.S. Citizen unaware of the situation!
An Application has Committed a Disqualifying Crime or Civil Immigration Offense that May Disqualify The Applicant
There is this belief that marrying a U.S. Citizen resolves all past actions, particularly those where there is no criminal conviction. The Civil Immigration Laws may cause reasons to delay or deny for reasons that are not understood by the general public or those who are less experienced in the adjudication or practice of immigration law.
An Applicant has Abused or Experimented with Recreational Drug Use
There is a distinction between drug abuse and experimentation that is sometimes overlooked and treated as the same as a matter of discretion. This can result in a three year ban on immigration without a waiver. A misrepresentation may result in an indefinite immigration ban. Knowing where this may occur, when, and how to approach each situation can vary based upon how the applicant or attorney approaches each situation.
An Application has Committed a Potentially Disqualifying Crime
Not all crimes disqualify, but most do. Knowing how or whether there is a way to overcome the denial is important. If no relief is possible, then an applicant 'may' be referred to the Immigration Court for deportation. If there is no relief, the qualifications don't yet exist, or relief is questionable, then filing for a spouse who was convicted many years ago can result in a mess. Do not assume that old criminal convictions will not count. These can and with incredibly unforgiving fury.
An Applicant is Unaware of the Pardon/Waiver Process, Pays the Fee, and Does Not Know How to Better Prove that they Qualify Based Upon the Law
If you don't know that a person is disqualified, but may be able to somehow get a pardon, filing the application without legally verifiable proof of extreme hardship to the U.S. Citizen Spouse or fifteen years of rehabilitation depending upon the type of waiver possible can prove frustrating and seem like a wasted effort.
Understanding the responsibilities and risks of an anticipated waiver filing should be factors considered and carefully discussed before filing.
Additional resources provided by the author
Some, but no all grounds have exceptions. At times, facts are not what they seem. For this reason, where the above are potential issues, or other reasons seem to suggest past fraud, then I strongly recommend an appointment or teleconference with an experienced immigration attorney to discuss all legal options to overcome disqualifications, if any.