The marriage-based green card is a popular route for Iranian nationals seeking to immigrate to the United States. This process, however, is not without its challenges, and many applicants make mistakes that can delay or even jeopardize their applications. In this article, we will discuss the 10 most common mistakes Iranians make when applying for a marriage-based green card and provide guidance on how to avoid them to ensure a smooth and successful application process.
1. Insufficient Documentation to Prove a Bona Fide Marriage
🚫 Common mistake: Failing to submit adequate evidence, such as photographs of the couple together, joint financial statements, shared living arrangements, or correspondence between the spouses. One of the primary concerns of U.S. immigration authorities is ensuring that the marriage between the applicant and the U.S. citizen spouse is genuine and not solely for the purpose of obtaining a green card. To this end, it is crucial for Iranian applicants to provide sufficient documentation proving the bona fide nature of their marriage.
✅ Solution: Compile a comprehensive portfolio of documentation that demonstrates the genuine nature of your relationship. Include photos, letters, joint bank accounts, shared leases or mortgages, and affidavits from friends and family who can attest to the authenticity of your marriage.
2. Incomplete or Inaccurate Information on Forms
🚫 Common mistake: Submitting forms with incomplete or inaccurate information, which can result in delays, requests for additional information, or even denial of the application. The U.S. immigration system relies heavily on the information provided in various forms, such as the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and the I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust of Status.
✅ Solution: Double-check all forms for accuracy and completeness before submission. If you are unsure about any aspect of the forms, consult an experienced immigration attorney for guidance.
3. Failing to Disclose Prior Marriages or Divorces
🚫 Common mistake: Not including information about previous marriages or divorces on the application forms or failing to provide supporting documentation. U.S. immigration authorities require full disclosure of all prior marriages and divorces for both the applicant and the U.S. citizen spouse. Failure to provide this information can raise suspicions and result in delays or denials.
✅ Solution: Be honest and thorough when disclosing prior marital history. Provide copies of all relevant marriage and divorce certificates, even if they have been translated into English.
4. Not Meeting Financial Support Requirements
🚫 Common mistake: Failing to provide sufficient evidence of financial support, resulting in a delay or denial of the application. The U.S. citizen spouse must demonstrate that they can financially support the Iranian applicant by submitting an I-864 Affidavit of Support. This form requires proof of income and assets that meet or exceed 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, which depends on your household size.
✅ Solution: Ensure the U.S. citizen spouse's income and assets meet the required threshold. If necessary, consider utilizing a joint sponsor who meets the financial requirements. You can check the threshold income requirements based on your household size here.
5. Missing Deadlines or Submitting Late Documents
🚫 Common mistake: Missing deadlines or submitting late documents, which can result in delays or denial of the application. The marriage-based green card process involves numerous deadlines and time-sensitive documents, such as medical examination results and police clearance certificates.
✅ Solution: Stay organized and create a timeline for all required steps and submissions. Be proactive in gathering documents and scheduling appointments to ensure everything is submitted on time.
6. Failing to Prepare for the Green Card Interview
🚫 Common mistake: Being unprepared for the interview, leading to inconsistencies in answers and raising suspicions about the validity of the marriage and other aspects of your case. The green card interview is a crucial part of the application process, as it allows immigration officers to assess the authenticity of the marriage and the applicant's eligibility for a green card.
✅ Solution: Thoroughly prepare for the interview by reviewing your application materials, practicing answering common interview questions, and discussing your relationship history with your spouse. Additionally, consult with an immigration attorney to receive guidance on what to expect during the interview and how to present your case best.
7. Failing to Maintain Legal Status
🚫 Common mistake: Overstaying a visa or violating the terms of a visa, which can result in the denial of the green card application or even deportation.
✅ Solution: While the marriage-based green card process is underway, Iranian applicants must ensure they comply with all their visa requirements and authorized stay in the United States. If necessary, consult an immigration attorney to explore options for extending or changing your visa status.
8. Not Responding Properly to Requests for Evidence (RFEs)
🚫 Common mistake: During the application process, U.S. immigration authorities may issue Requests for Evidence (RFEs) if they require additional information or clarification on certain aspects of your case. Ignoring or failing to respond properly to RFEs can result in the denial of your application.
✅ Solution: Respond promptly and thoroughly to any RFEs you receive. If you are unsure how to address the RFE, consult with an immigration attorney for guidance.
9. Not Updating USCIS on Changes in Circumstances
🚫 Common mistake: Iranian applicants must keep U.S. immigration authorities informed of any changes in their circumstances, such as changes in address, employment, or marital status. Failing to update USCIS on changes in circumstances can lead to delays, denial of the application, or even deportation.
✅ Solution: Submit the appropriate forms, such as the AR-11 Change of Address, to notify USCIS of any changes in your circumstances. Keep copies of all correspondence with USCIS for your records.
10. Attempting to Navigate the Process Without Legal Assistance
🚫 Common mistake: The marriage-based green card process can be complex and challenging, particularly for Iranian applicants who may face additional scrutiny due to their nationality. Trying to navigate the process without the guidance of an experienced immigration attorney can result in costly mistakes and delays.
✅ Solution: Consult with an immigration attorney specializing in marriage-based green cards for Iranian clients. Their expertise can help you avoid common pitfalls and ensure a successful application process.
By being aware of these 10 common mistakes and taking steps to avoid them, Iranian applicants can significantly increase their chances of successfully obtaining a marriage-based green card. Seeking the guidance of an experienced immigration attorney is highly recommended to navigate the complexities of the U.S. immigration system and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
--Najmeh Mahmoudjafari, Esq.
Najmeh is the Founder and Lead Immigration Attorney at ImmigraTrust Law (www.ImmigraTrust.com), an immigration law practice in Orange County, California, representing individual and corporate clients in all 50 U.S. States and internationally. Najmeh can be reached at Najmeh@ImmigraTrust.com.
Avoid Costly Mistakes:
Secure Your Marriage-Based Green Card with ImmigraTrust Law
Selecting ImmigraTrust Law as your US immigration partner means entrusting your future to a top-rated law firm with a proven track record of success in serving Iranians, Persian-speaking individuals, Muslims, and others from Islamic countries. Our exceptional services, led by the renowned Najmeh Mahmoudjafari, Esq., ensure you avoid the common pitfalls highlighted in "10 Mistakes Iranians Make When Applying for a Marriage-Based Green Card" and sail smoothly through the immigration process. With an unwavering commitment to understanding your unique challenges and offering the highest quality legal services, ImmigraTrust Law is the ideal choice for those seeking a trusted immigration partner.
Benefit from the expertise of Najmeh Mahmoudjafari, Esq., California's best Persian immigration lawyer, who specializes in green cards, family-based petitions, U.S. citizenship, temporary visas, diversity visas, business investments, and immigration employment opportunities. At ImmigraTrust Law, we provide personalized solutions and attentive services, ensuring your case is handled with the utmost care and dedication. Our experience with Iranian and Muslim communities allows us to navigate the complexities of the US immigration system and provide tailored strategies for your individual needs. With global representation, exceptional client service, and a passionate team, you can confidently embark on your immigration journey with ImmigraTrust Law.
Take the first step towards a successful marriage-based green card application by scheduling a consultation with Najmeh Mahmoudjafari, Esq., the top immigration lawyer at ImmigraTrust Law. Stay informed on immigration topics by visiting our articles page and subscribing to our Facebook page for updates.
DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended and does not constitute legal advice. This article does not create an attorney/client relationship and does not provide an attorney/client privilege. For legal advice about your specific case, please contact an attorney.
Latest posts and news from our top immigration lawyers