The I-130 is called the Petition for Alien Relative and approval is normally required for any family based green card or immigrant visa application. If an I-130 is denied, any subsequent application that depends upon it, such as an I-485 adjustment of status application, is doomed. As many articles out there already cover, you may have the option to appeal the denial of I-130 or even possibly file a motion to reopen or reconsider. However, it may be more instructive to understand top reasons why USCIS denies family based petitions so that you don't make the same mistake. Note that this discussion pertains to family I-130 petitions filed for parents, children, and siblings. I will discuss marriage based petition denials in a subsequent entry.
Not Supplying The Proper Documents
Unless the denial is due to a mistake or misunderstanding of the law or facts by a USCIS officer, the main reason why we see most family visa petitions denied is that the petitioner has not met his/her burden of proof in proving the family relationship. It is not enough to merely file the USCIS petition. You must attach supporting documentation. Unfortunately, USCIS will not be going out of its way to look for evidence or give the benefit of the doubt to a petitioner. What this means for you is that if you want to petition for someone, you must assemble and attach all relevant documentary proof demonstrating the family relationship. If you are filing for your sibling, for example, you need to demonstrate that you share a parent in common, which would be reflected on the birth certificates. Additionally, the proofs include not only evidence of the biological or family relationship between the parties but also proof of each person's status. So for example, if you are a US Citizen filing for your sibling, you need to attach proof that you are a US Citizen, which would normally be your Naturalization Certificate or Certificate of Citizenship. Additionally, for most cases, you will need to secure the following:
If certain documents are not available, the documents are not considered reliable or authoritative, or if they do not conclusively establish the relationship between the parties, the case may be in jeopardy.
Request For Evidence
USCIS will not normally deny a case outright without giving the parties an opportunity to cure the deficiency. The petitioner will normally receive a Request for Evidence or "RFE" which will specifically indicate what evidence is missing. It is extremely important to read this notice carefully and adhere to what USCIS is requiring. We have seen many cases (by people handling cases themselves) denied because the petitioner furnished some but not all of the required documents. On a side note, it is equally important that you keep USCIS up to date with your current address. In cases that take much longer for the visa date to become current, such as the 4th preference sibling category-it is not uncommon for USCIS to mail a RFE many years after the case was initially filed. If you move without updating your new address with immigration, the RFE will go to your old address and the case will be likely be denied for abandonment.
Keep in mind that the I-130 is only one half of the process. Once and if the petition is approved, there are other considerations which may impact the ability of an individual to receive a visa, such as criminal history, overstay issues, or fraudulent misrepresentations. These issues could potentially result in a denial of the visa or status even if the underlying I-130 is approved.
We hope that you have enjoyed this article and learned at least one new thing or tip that you may not have known. To keep informed about the latest developments in immigration law, please subscribe to our blog feed by clicking on the "Subscribe To This Blog's Feed" button on the right. It is important to understand that the above is only general information and not legal advice. It does not create an attorney-client relationship nor should it be relied upon as legal advice. The law is extremely fact and circumstance sensitive. For an individual legal analysis of your specific legal case, please complete the "Case Evaluation" box to the right of the screen to get in touch with one of our attorneys.