Posted on: 24 July 2015
If you're just beginning your research on how to bring a foreign-born relative into the United States, the process can look deceptively easy. The USCIS provides a very clear hierarchy of which relationships are preferred – unmarried children of U.S. citizens and spouses take precedence over siblings – so you know where your case stands from the get-go. Even the I-130, the official form for getting your family petition started, is a mere two pages long.
Unfortunately, carrying your petition through isn't always as simple as it sounds. The two problems below are just a couple of examples of seemingly small oversights that can get an otherwise perfectly valid application denied.
Most petitioners are well aware that they must submit all requested paperwork within the specified deadlines, so why do denials for incomplete evidence remain relatively common? Often, the problem isn't so much with the depth of the evidence itself but how it's submitted. Small details, like missing date stamps on photographs in time-sensitive cases, improperly translated documents, and even faded photocopies, can sometimes be enough to sink your application.
It's important to remember that immigration employees handle an immense number of inquiries every week from all over the country and the world, which is exactly how something as simple as the clarity of your photocopies may come to matter a great deal. USCIS officers are just too busy to communicate directly, and you'll be expected to do most of the legwork on your case, even when the mistake isn't on your end.
This is also the reason why a small percentage of family petitions routinely get denied due to clerical errors, and because they travel by regular mail, the notifications don't always come in time to appeal.
However, if you miss the appeal window due to a clerical mistake and slow-moving or lost mail, you can still fight for an extension by asking to speak to a second-tier supervisor – a higher-ranked officer with access to all of your information – through the live assistance line and making an in-person appointment at the local immigration center.
The good news is that most petitioners do get the right to appeal, and they can always restart the process completely, which really isn't as daunting as it sounds. In fact, instead of untangling exactly what went wrong, some petitioners prefer to start over with a clean slate.
If you want to avoid risking a denial that can prolong the process and potentially cost you another hefty application fee, the best thing to do is to invest in legal counsel when your first file. Because immigration attorneys deal with family petitions regularly, they can spot and eliminate the flaws in your application process long before they turn into denials. To speak with an immigration attorney, visit Tesoroni & Leroy.Share