Reasons for Green Card Application Denial and What To Do Next?

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The green card process is a lengthy and expensive one. There are various ways to determine eligibility and different ways to apply for a green card in the United States. Sometimes you will make mistakes on your application, or U.S. government officials could make errors during the process.

So, for example, let’s say your green card application was denied. No matter the case, there are multiple reasons that your green card application could be rejected.

If this is the case, reach out to those experienced in immigration paperwork so that you can get back on track in no time.

Denial Statistics
Every year U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denies thousand number of green card applications. In the fiscal year 2021, USCIS denied more than 16 percent of green card applications. To avoid the rejection of your application you need to be eligible and complete the form without any mistakes.

Top Reasons for Green Card Denial

When it comes to your green card being denied, there are various reasons as to why the U.S. government may reject your application. The average green card denial rate is between 6% and 50%, whereas the green card success rate is 69%.

Your green card application, which is also known as Form I-485, has countless reasons as to why it could be denied. Below, we will go over all the possible green card rejection reasons and how you can change the outcome. So, what really disqualifies you from getting a green card?

Denial Reason #1: Ineligible for Green Card

The main category for green card denial is due to not meeting the application requirements. These requirements will be listed below in more detail and will give reasons as to why you could receive an I-485 form rejection notice.


When you file the application for your green card, you must undergo a medical exam. This medical exam needs to be carried out by a government-approved doctor or at an approved hospital.

Upon completion, you will receive a medical exam report and must submit this with your application. Based on the results of your test, there is a chance your medical report can be a cause for rejection in the green card process.

If your report comes back and shows you have a communicable disease that is dangerous to others around you or do not have the required vaccinations, you will be denied. Additionally, if you are abusing drugs or addicted, your report will be used to deny your green card application.

Criminal Related

As expected, if you have been convicted of certain types of crimes, or have committed multiple minor crimes, you will be denied a green card. Some crimes that are included in this section are:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Prostitution
  • Money laundering
  • Violations of religious freedoms
  • Fraud

When filling out the required forms for a green card application, there are multiple questions that must be answered truthfully. Some questions do revolve around security-related questions and criminal history. If you check yes to any questions about your criminal history and don’t give an explanation, you will be automatically denied.

Security Related

Security laws deal with anything revolving around terrorist efforts or membership in totalitarian parties, you will be quickly denied. Any type of involvement with groups that are averse to foreign policy can also be cause to reject your application.

The bottom line is that you can’t sabotage or violate any U.S. laws, or participate in any groups that wish to overthrow the U.S. government.

Public Charge

When applying for a green card, your independence will be looked at. For example, if you are seen as someone who will come dependent on the U.S. government for long-term financial care or types of support, you may be denied by USCIS.

In this part of your application, you will be considered due to your age, health, family status, assets, resources, education, and financial status at the time of filing. More specifically, if you are someone who is applying for a green card without the need for an affidavit, you may be more likely to get approved.

Immigration Violations

As expected, if you have tried to enter the U.S. illegally, you will be seen as abusing the visa process. In turn, your application will be quickly denied.

Failure to Meet Application Requirements

Throughout the green card application process, you will be asked to submit numerous forms, pay countless fees, and collect multiple documents. If you don’t read the instructions thoroughly or fail to provide some of the required information, you will have one chance to supply what is needed.

If you still fail to submit the necessary documents, you could be denied.

Failure to Attend Appointments

Upon filing your application, you will be mandated to attend appointments or interviews with the USCIS. If you are unable to make these important appointments, you need to reschedule them as soon as possible.

Failure to do so will result in a strict end to your green card application process. In some cases, your green card can be denied after an interview if you have a track record or are missing and rescheduling appointments.

Denial of Underlying Visa Petition

When you are filing a green card application, there are a few ways in which you are sponsored. If you have a sponsor, you will need to fill out a petition, which is known as Form I-140, or if you are filing a family-based application, you will need to fill out Form I-130. No matter the type of petition you submit, it must be approved if you wish to get further in the green card process.

These petitions could be rejected if you don’t give enough proof of family ties, or if your sponsor doesn’t have enough proof of U.S. citizenship. If your initial immigrant petition is denied, your green card application will be stopped.

Changing Jobs After Filing of I-140

As stated above, you can petition for a green card via your employer. If you change employers anytime throughout your green card process after having an approved form I-140, you must meet certain requirements to move forward.

Or, if your green card was denied after unauthorized employment, you will need to establish a different petition for eligibility.

Denial Reason #2: Error by Immigration Authorities

With all the information listed above, that can cause denial, immigration authorities could make a mistake while reading the paperwork. If this is the case, or if they have made wrong judgments on your application, you could be denied.

Denial Reason #3: Missing RFE Response Deadline

What happens if your green card is denied because of missing information? It’s important to note that it is normal to leave out green card documents, or not read the instructions carefully enough and resulting in filling out misinformation. If this is the case, USCIS will likely reach out to you and ask for the additional information they are looking for.

What will happen if your I-485 is rejected due to this third reason? If USCIS sends you Form I-797E, which is known as a Request for Evidence form, you will need to submit it back in a timely manner.

Within the form, there will be a response deadline, and as long as you add the information missing, or send in the missing documents within the time frame, you likely shouldn’t be rejected.

Denial Reason #4: Processing Errors by USCIS or Consulate

So, what happens if USCIS denies your application? In rare cases, the USCIS might make errors while processing your application and documentation, causing your green card application to be denied.

For instance, your filing fee might have gotten lost, or your name has been misspelled. It’s important to review all information that USCIS gives you back, and stay updated on your case.

See Also: How to change your name on Green Card Name

Denial Reason #5: Mistakes in Your Application While Filing

If there are mistakes in your application, sometimes, USCIS will simply deny your application instead of reaching out for more information. Here are the most common errors that are made on a green card application.

  1. Failing to provide translations for your documents: All documents must be translated to English when filing your green card application. Furthermore, all translations need to be certified and have a written certificate provided along with the documents to state they have accurately translated the paperwork.
  2. Missing information: This is incredibly important to make sure that no information is missed or forgotten when filing.
  3. Insufficient fees to cover all the costs required: The overall fee to apply for a green card will depend on which category you are filing in, and if you are applying in the U.S. or abroad. If your payment is invalid, the USCIS won’t process your application.
  4. Issues with signatures on your sponsorship petition: All signatures on your petition must be original and done in “wet ink”, which is also called a wet signature. This means that they must be done with a pen, and not electronically.

After Denial: Filing an Appeal or Motion to Reopen

So, what if your green card is denied? If you have experienced a green card denial due to any of the reasons listed above, there is still hope.

If your green card is denied you can simply apply again. When denied, you can file Form I-290B to USCIS and appeal your rejection. Of course, you will need to pay an additional filing fee for applying for your green card a second time.

Your appeal must be filed within the given amount of time, which is 30 days from the date you were rejected. And, include the necessary documentation to appeal your I-485 form rejection reasons. However, this will only work if you have applied for a green card within the U.S.

But, you might be wondering if your green card was denied, can you apply again if living abroad? Unfortunately, you will be unable to apply for an appeal. The most common path is to refile Form I-130 and go through the process again.

With all that could go wrong, it’s imperative that you reach out to our skilled professionals at ImmigrationDirect as soon as possible. If you have questions revolving around the green card process, or wish to have someone support you in making a case, contact us today.

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