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USCIS Denial does not have to be the end: What to do if your Green Card was Denied?

What to do if your Green Card was Denied?

In many cases, a green card denial does not have to be the end of your immigration journey and depending on the reason, you may have a strong basis to appeal. The first thing you should do is to consider working with an immigration lawyer, some procedures throughout the green card application process can be complicated, and the right immigration attorney can help you navigate through them.


What to do if your Green Card was Denied?

Carefully read your notice of denial as it contains important information regarding how you may proceed. The notice will inform you as to whether you can appeal the denial. If you are able to appeal, it will let you know how to do so. The process involves submitting a Notice of Appeal to the USCIS within 30 days of receiving the denial notice. A supervising officer will then review your case and make a decision. Appealing your denial involves asking the Administrative Appeals Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (AAO) to review your case to find out whether the USCIS officer was wrong in denying your green card application. Be mindful of the deadline in place for filing your appeal.


Here are the other options when Green card is denied:

1. File a New Application

If your visa allows you to stay in the United States post denial of status, you may be able to re-file the I-485 form. This gives people whose applications have been rejected the chance to start over. This may be the best option depending on the reason for the I-130 denial. There is no rule that prevents you from re-applying for the same person again, however, filing a new I-130 petition for the same person is not an appropriate response for all situations.


2. A Motion to Reconsider or Reopen.

If you are not permitted to file an appeal, you have the option of filing a motion to have your case reopened or reconsidered. Motions to reconsider are typically filed when applicants and their lawyers believe USCIS officials may have denied Form I-485 in error. If you can identify a legal or factual error in your application, filing a motion to reconsider is worth considering.

A motion to reopen is slightly different. You should consider this option if new evidence comes to light that was unavailable to the immigration authorities at the time of the determination that would potentially change the outcome of your green card application.


3. Seek a Review by the Administrative Appeals Office

USCIS notes that there is no mechanism for appealing the denial of an adjustment of status, with few exceptions. However, USCIS can certify your case for review by the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). This process involves transferring your case away from the immigration authorities to a different department. Since there is no scope to submit additional evidence, this avenue is only useful if you believe that USCIS made an error.


4. Request Reconsideration of Denial for a Judge

Applicants or their lawyers may request reconsideration of denial of adjustment of status by a judge. This is a long-shot avenue that’s rarely used. If you lack the status needed to remain in the United States, you will receive a Notice to Appear before a judge to start the removal process.

You can present your case in court. You must submit the same documents used in the original I-485 application but will have the opportunity to introduce new evidence or bring witnesses to testify on your behalf.


NOTE: Refrain from submitting several inconsistent applications. The U.S. government maintains a record of all your submissions and will not hesitate to point out any previous instances of fraud or other grounds for inadmissibility.


Reasons why Green Card Applications are Denied

Green card applications can be denied for various reasons, with some of the most common causes including:

  • Errors or Omissions on the Application: Missing required documentation or providing incorrect information can lead to denial.

  • Issues with Adjustment of Status: Trying to adjust status from a visa category that doesn't qualify often results in denial.

  • Criminal Issues: Any criminal record, even for minor offenses, can render you ineligible.

  • Immigration Violations: Unauthorized entry into the U.S. or overstaying a visa are significant issues.

  • Fraud Suspicions: Doubts regarding the authenticity of your relationship (in cases of family-based green cards) may cause denial.

  • Financial Problems: A sponsor's inability to demonstrate the capacity for financial support can lead to denial.

  • Health Issues: Certain contagious diseases and other health concerns can disqualify applicants.

  • Gaining a deep understanding of the specific reasons behind your green card denial equips you to better address any problems or deficiencies in your application, allowing you to reapply with improved chances of success.


Seek Legal Guidance

If your visa or green card application has been denied, consider consulting an immigration lawyer for representation and assistance. At Elizee Law Firm, we specialize in representing individuals whose green card applications have been turned down. We recognize the stress and frustration involved in this process. Our legal team is committed to working closely with you to seek a favorable outcome wherever possible. For more information on how we can assist you, please visit our website at or email us at


Patricia Elizee is the managing partner of the Elizee Law Firm, an immigration law firm located at 1110 Brickell Avenue, Suite 315, Miami, Florida 33131. Phone 305-371-8846.





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