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The most common reasons why you may be denied a green card, and how to solve these problems

While obtaining green cards has enabled hundreds of thousands of people around the world to achieve their American dream, countless others have been frustrated by the process and have their visas revoked. There are main reasons for refusing to receive a green card, reports EconomicTimes.

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To enjoy the freedom to live, work, study, or retire in the United States, you will most likely need a green card. Once you receive this document, you will be granted permanent residence for the rest of your life, provided you follow some simple rules such as filing tax returns, not committing a crime, and living in the US.

There are three main types of green card visas, also known as immigrant visas: family, work, and green card lottery. However, family and work visas contain many different nuances with many criteria ranging from investment and talent to marriage and lineage.

On the subject: Not just a lottery: the easiest and fastest ways to get a green card

Such differences between each category mean that the grounds for refusal will often vary depending on the eligibility requirements of a particular visa. For example, the EB-5 investor visa - a work visa - requires you to make an investment of $800 from a net source of funds that creates ten jobs. Whereas, the EB-000C visa for multinational managers and executives (also a work-based visa) requires the manager to have worked in an eligible foreign business for at least one of the three years prior to first entering the United States. Failure to comply with the specifics of any visa may result in refusal.

In addition to these grounds for visa denial, there are also general reasons for denial that affect all green card applicants, including:

Previous conviction

Anyone convicted of certain crimes may be denied a green card. This includes crimes related to drugs and prostitution, murders and more. You will need to indicate this on your application. It is important to note that not all crimes can prevent you from getting a green card. If you have a criminal record, it is recommended that you speak with an immigration attorney to understand how this may affect your application.


The US requires green card applicants to submit a medical examination report by an approved physician. Grounds for denial may include that you have an infectious disease that could be a public health hazard in the United States, or that you do not meet vaccination requirements. Closely related to this is the possibility of being denied on the grounds that you may become a burden on the state, for example if you require long-term care or have mental health problems.

Security risk

The US authorities will refuse to issue a green card to anyone who is suspected of being involved in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage or political subversion. They can also deny anyone who has historical involvement in Nazi atrocities or other genocides, war crimes, terrorism, or other crimes against humanity. Inevitably, this is a category in which applicants will not normally self-report on their application form. However, if the person is subsequently found to have committed war crimes or acts of terrorism, their green card may be revoked and face deportation and a ban from entering the United States.

Previous immigration offenses

Your green card may be denied if you have previously tried to enter the US illegally, either by crossing the border without permission, or if you lied on a previous visa application. Immigration offenses may also include an overstayed visa or failure to appear at removal and deportation hearings. Even if you're worried about the outcome of a court case, a no-show can be worse than any outcome.

Administrative errors

Applying for a green card can be a lot of paperwork, so it's a good idea to seek the help of an experienced US-licensed immigration lawyer. In some cases, an administrative error may not be made by the applicant, but by a family member or employer if a sponsor is required. Failure to appear for an interview, failure to pay proper fees, meeting deadlines, or submitting relevant documentation may result in rejection.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants, and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.

While all of this can make the immigration process intimidating, there are always grounds for appealing or reapplying for a green card that has been rejected. The best option is to hire an immigration lawyer for the initial application, or at least for any appeal or re-submission. The key is to be completely honest with your lawyer to avoid hidden surprises and ensure that the application process can be as smooth and painless as possible.

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