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Reasons Your Green Card Renewal Can Be Denied

If your Green Card has been denied, you are not alone.

According to data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denial of green card renewals are on the rise. In fact, the number of denied applications has increased for a third year in a row. Approximately 8% of the forms filed with USCIS were rejected, and thousands more applications for green card renewal will be denied this year.
USCIS does not refund the filing fee when applications are denied, and if certain immigration violations are exposed in the review process, this can lead to significant legal problems for the applicant. If you are filing a green card renewal you owe it to yourself to have it reviewed by a licensed Immigration Attorney to avoid making a mistake that you would not realize that you are making because you most likely will not file more than one green card renewal every 10 years.
There are a variety of ways that you may have your green card renewal denied. Most people won’t run into a problem, but the impact can be significant if your green card renewal application is denied. Here are four of the most common reasons USCIS may deny a green card renewal application:

1. Denial for Filing the Wrong Form

Many permanent residents incorrectly file Form I-90 for the renewal of their green card. If you are a ‘conditional permanent residents’ then use Form I-90 to replace a green card in the event that it is lost, stolen, damaged or contains incorrect information.

However, if you are a ‘conditional permanent resident’ and want to ‘renew’ then you should NOT use Form I-90 because this will automatically result in a denial and you losing your application fee.
When you became a conditional permanent resident by marriage to a United States citizen or permanent resident, and your conditional status is expiring within the next 90 days, you should file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.

If you became a conditional resident based on a financial investment in a U.S. business, file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions.

2. Denial for Being Dishonest on Your Renewal Application

After filing Form I-90, USCIS will schedule you for a biometrics appointment. At the appointment, USCIS will ask you to re-affirm under penalty of perjury that all of the information in your application is complete, true, and correct and was provided by you. If you obtained assistance from a friend, family member or attorney to prepare the application, you must disclose this information. Likewise, indicate if you received help from a language interpreter.

Knowingly submitting incorrect information on Form I-90 and lying to USCIS officers is against the law and will get your green card renewal denied. It’s simple — be truthful. If you believe that the truth will damage your chances, you should consult with an immigration attorney.

3. Denial Associated with Criminal Activity

Crimes which involved ‘moral turpitude’ or CIMTs are deportable offenses. There isn’t an all-encompassing list of crimes, but if you have a felony or misdemeanor conviction, it is highly recommended that you consult with an immigration attorney prior to filing Form I-90 to renew your green card. There is a lot of misinformation and false information out there. You should not rely on what you hear from friends and non-legal experts, or read on the internet. Please seek the advice of an attorney with experience, and licensed to practice immigration law.

It is better to play it safe than to get your green card renewal denied. In many cases, an experienced attorney can successfully obtain a renewed green card for clients that have deportable crimes.

4. Denial Because You Were Ordered Removed

In the event you have been ordered removed from the United States after you have obtained permanent resident status, it is likely your green card renewal will be denied.
In order to know if you have been “Ordered removed” one or more of the following must have happened to you:
• An immigration judge has ordered you deported or removed.
• You signed a stipulated removal order.
• You were caught at the border and immigration officials decided to complete Expedited Removal paperwork on you. (This is different than simply being refused entry.)

Additional Issues to Consider:

Unpaid Taxes: U.S. citizen or an immigrant working in the United States may be obligated by law to file an income tax return. Although this may not automatically result in a denial of a renewal, it can create problems. You can be prosecuted, fined and could prevent you from becoming a United States Citizen at a later date. Working out these issues can be as simple as getting on a payment plan, but an expert attorney can work with you to advise you throughout this process. Having a bad credit score or owing taxes as well as other similar financial problems will not affect your Form I-90 application, although these issues can affect an applicant from getting a green card in the first place.

Travel Abroad for Extended Periods of Time: A trip abroad that lasts longer than one year at a time or spending significant amounts of time outside the U.S. in a short period of time over multiple trips most likely will not result in getting your green card renewal denied. Despite this, it can lead to issues when trying to re-enter the United States, or when trying to obtain Citizenship. You would be smart in avoiding trips abroad which will keep you outside the United States for six months or longer. There are also other residency requirements for becoming a U.S. Citizen not covered in this article.

If your green card renewal is rejected, USCIS will mail you a letter outlining the reasons for the denial. It will also include the steps you can take to file an appeal. Appeals are time sensitive and there is a deadline for this process. If your green card renewal has been denied, you may wish to consult a qualified immigration attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you can get a new decision in your case.

If your Greencard has been denied, talk to an Immigration Lawyer today about your next steps.

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