Top 3 Reasons Your Removal of Conditions Was Denied
Facing a denial of your green card renewal can be stressful, but knowing the reason for the denial will get you on the path to resolving this problem. So just because your removal of conditions was denied doesn’t automatically mean that you are going to be deported. The process of removal proceedings is complicated and can sometimes take up to a year but you will need to appeal the decision as soon as possible (within 30 days).
Generally, there are a few common reasons why someone would be denied a 10 year green card, and many of these can be overcome. I always recommend that everyone know exactly what is required of them before they even attempt to apply for removal of conditions. This is to help you get familiar with the process, documents and evidence. This is serious business – don’t take it lightly!
It is much easier to prepare properly for removal of conditions than to try to fight a denial. This goes for everything in life so let’s make sure you know exactly why someone can be denied a 10 year green card and how to avoid this happening to you. Even if you have already been denied, knowing the reason will help you appeal this decision and eventually get an approval for your case.
What Are The Reasons For I-751 Green Card Denial?
Before I go into the top 10 reasons for a green card denial, I just want to point out that this is not an exhaustive list so your specific reason could be different. This is to help the vast majority of people understand the most common reasons for denial and what to do next.
Reason #1: USCIS Suspects Marriage Fraud
This is a straightforward reason for a green card denial because USCIS suspects that your marriage is not legitimate. This can be due to many factors but the most common is not providing enough evidence of a bona fide marriage. Sometimes you may have provided some good evidence but they were looking for specifics such as tax transcripts (filed jointly) or joint residency.
Depending on what evidence you submitted with your I-751 application, you can fix this by providing more evidence of a bona fide marriage during the appeals process. Normally, you will not be denied after the interview due to fraud – but instead will be send request for evidence (RFE) before an interview.
Interestingly, before a denial judgement you may be asked to attend a second I-751 stokes interview which is used to weed out those who are truly committing immigration fraud from those who have made mistakes in their case. If you are asked to go to a stokes interview, think of it as a second chance to show that you are genuinely in a real marriage based on love and not for the purpose of gaining a 10 year green card.
So how do you overcome a fraud suspicion?
- provide more evidence of bona fide marriage (during appeal)
- provide affidavits from friends and family (during appeal)
- prepare for a stokes interview (if applicable)
Sometimes your case will be under review after the I-751 interview and this is not the same as a denial. Some permanent residents tend to stress out if they don’t get an immediate approval but this is very common. The adjudicator may need to review your evidence or is waiting on a background check to complete. As long as you have provided ample evidence of your bona fide marriage and haven’t committed a serious felony – you should be fine.
Reason #2: Petition Abandonment
Okay, so this reason is not going to very common especially for those of you respond quickly to any requests from the USCIS. But, there will always be some people who forget or have moved and never changed their address with USCIS that will face this type of denial. No one is going to call you to remind you to answer an RFE so make sure that you stay up on anything that is asked of you.
If you are denied due to abandonment, you will receive a Notice of Denial in the mail that states:
“On [date], USCIS issued a request for evidence providing the CPR, (name), 84 days in which to respond. That time period has elapsed and, as of this date, there is no record of a response to that request. Therefore, it is ordered that the petition is denied due to abandonment, and the CPR’s conditional residence status is terminated concurrently.”
This type of denial is easy to fix but you will be required to reapply for the I-751 Removal of Conditions petition and pay the hefty fee again. Include everything that was requested on the RFE and make sure that you are getting any mail that is being sent to you.
Reason #3: Not Enough Evidence
This should be a no-brainer by now. But for those of you who still don’t know how important evidence is….ITS REALLY IMPORTANT. You should have been gathering as much evidence as you possible could from the day you married your US citizen spouse. You should have been thinking ahead and preparing for the petitions that are required to be submitted correctly.
Yes, life can be hectic but that does not give you an excuse to procrastinate and submit a petition that doesn’t smell right. Even if you are in a good faith marriage, just being lazy and not providing strong enough evidence can get your denied. Don’t risk being denied because you didn’t gather all the evidence that is needed to get your I-751 approved.
What type of evidence is considered strong?
- joint tax returns
- joint bank accounts
- joint lease/mortgage
- joint health insurance
- life insurance policies
- birth certificates of children
In the case of divorce, you need to prove that your marriage was bona fide and that you entered it in good faith. The good news is that you are not required to prove that you had a GOOD marriage, just that you entered it without the intend of marriage fraud. So, divorcing your spouse before or during the ROC process is not usually a grounds for denial but not providing enough evidence can cause your case to be denied.
If you have divorced before filing the I-751, you will need to file the I-751 petition with a waiver as soon as the divorce is finalized (you don’t need to wait until you are eligible to remove conditions).
What Happens After A I-751 Denial?
There is a good chance that you will be placed in removal proceedings (deportation) if you do not appeal the decision right away. If the reason for denial was lack of evidence or abandonment, you can reapply or appeal the decision with the evidence that was required.
If you are facing any fraud allegations, you have a tough journey ahead but it is not impossible to fight the denial and eventually get approved. You need to find out why USCIS believes that your marriage is not bona fide. Think of how your interview went and whether anything in your case may have had any red flags.
Some common red flags for marriage fraud are:
- not living together for a long period of time
- no joint bank accounts/credit cards
- no joint tax filing (without a good reason)
- cannot answer basic questions spouses should know
If you had a stokes interview and still got denied, you may need to think about getting a consultation with a good immigration attorney that knows how to fight these types of denials. It is not common for a legitimate couple to go through a stokes interview and still get denied. It is extremely rare to be in this type of situation. First, the majority of those that are still married and living together will not be required to attend an interview as long as they submit enough evidence.
So, for you to be asked to go to an interview means that you didn’t submit enough evidence. Then, if you are asked to go to a second interview, USCIS is already very suspicious of your marriage. Unfortunately, you really should have taken care of this before the interview process began, but it’s not too late. You can still get approved as long as you have strong evidence that can show you have a bona fide marriage after you appeal the denial.
Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.