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USCIS denied my I-130. What to do next?

Question:  I am a U.S. citizen and I recently filed a petition for my husband. We went to an interview at immigration and they denied the petition. What do we do now?

We first need to determine why immigration denied the petition you filed for your husband. Generally speaking there are two reasons why immigration denies petitions filed for spouses. The first reason is because the applicants did not provide enough evidence to prove that they are in a good faith marriage. The second reason is because immigration has determined that the applicants are in a fraud marriage entered into for the sole purpose of cheating immigration laws. It is important to know that immigration will not approve your petition just because you are legally married with a valid marriage certificate.  To get the petition approved you must show immigration that it is a good faith marriage.

The first reason for denial of spouse petitions is because the applicants did not submit enough evidence to prove that the marriage is legit.  The best thing to do in this scenario is to file a brand new petition, but this time you must submit evidence showing that your marriage is real.  Examples of evidence you should use include birth certificates of children born to your marriage, lease or mortgage contracts showing joint occupancy or ownership, and financial records showing joint ownership of assets and joint responsibility for liabilities (joint bank accounts, joint tax returns, joint insurance, joint bills, joint loans).  You should also submit sworn declarations by at least two people who have known both of you and have personal knowledge of your marriage.

The second reason immigration will deny a spouse petitions is because they have determined that the applicants have entered into a fraud marriage for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits.  This is a serious accusation that must be removed from your husband’s record if you are in fact in a real marriage.  If you do not remove it from his record, he will never be able to immigrate through a family based petition.  One way to fight this determination is to file a motion to reopen, but this can only be done if you can show new evidence in your case.  For example, I once helped a client in this situation file a motion to reopen when his wife became pregnant with his child shortly after immigration denied his petition.  Immigration granted the motion to reopen and reversed the marriage fraud determination.  Another way to fight a marriage fraud determination is to appeal immigration’s denial to the Board of Immigration Appeals.  This appeal process can take years to be completed, but I strongly advise you fight the marriage fraud determination if you believe your marriage is legit.

The goal is to get your spouse petition approved so that your husband can apply for his green card.  Good luck.

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