New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

5 Deadly Mistakes That May Cost You Your Immigration Status

Author: New York Immigration Attorney Alena Shautsova

Many of perspective clients who come to my office for a consultation ask me: does having a lawyer really help my case? Will the Immigration think that I did something bad and need a lawyer because of it? Can I file myself?

While you can certainly try to file / apply for benefits yourself, here are 5 mistakes that may cost you your immigration status and lead to a huge subsequent spending and/or deportation.

1. Change Of Address While Waiting For An Action From The USCIS

Many applicants who file pro-se or without an attorney have to change their address and move to a new State or new home after they file their case with the USCIS. Unfortunately, even though they notify the USCIS about the change of address, their case can get lost. As a result, they can miss an important deadline and lose a chance for an immigration benefit. It actually happened to a family from Ukraine, who, after winning a DV lottery, changed their address and after filing the initial application package moved to a different State. They notified the USCIS promptly about their move and started waiting for the notices to proceed with the case. While they were waiting, the deadline to submit an adjustment of status application had passed; and now, for over 10 years they are fighting the removal proceedings in the Immigration court. Even though the change of address form was filed, the USCIS cannot be held responsible for missing the deadline! So, be very, very careful when you are moving with a pending case.

2. Lying On Your Application

Another common mistake that may lead to inadmissibility and removal is misrepresenting information on your Immigration documents. A misrepresentation about your education or marriage while applying for visa may turn into a big issue. Nondisclosure of misrepresentation may turn into FOREVER being unable to obtain any immigration benefits. Many people are following someone’s advice and think that “immigration is not going to find out.” Well, if they do find out, you will face a bigger problem than feeling bad and embarrassed about your lie.

3. Failure To Submit Necessary Documents

When applying for any type of Immigration benefits, like adjustment of status, or submitting an I-130 petition, it is crucial to follow instructions, and submit ALL necessary documents. If they are not available for any reason, you must provide a detailed explanation for the reason. I cannot tell you how many times people, after a very long wait, were surprised and crushed to learn that their petition or an application was denied because they did not present a… BIRTH CERTIFICATE! In one case a lady came to my office crying because a lawyer who worked on her case failed to submit a document proving grandfathering: her employment adjustment got denied, and because she changed an employer by the time the appeal was granted, she had to start the process all over again! 10 (TEN) years of waiting were wasted!

4. Failure To Attend A Scheduled Interview Or Hearing

Believe it or not, but some people think that the USICS is just like a Starbucks and you can pop up in there anytime you want to, and if the USCIS sends you a notice of appointment, it is not a big deal and you can reschedule it. Well, you can definitely re-schedule by sending a notice in advance; and in certain situations you may send an explanation for missing an appointment trying to reverse the damage that may result for failure to keep an appointment. But one thing I may guarantee you: it will with a probability of 100% delay your case, and sometimes may result in removal proceedings against you. So, is it worth it?

5. Failure To Disclose Criminal Record

Last, but not least, this point relates to the two and three above, but deserves a separate mentioning. Many application forms, virtually all of them, contain questions regarding criminal history. Some clients believe that if a conviction took place 10 or 15 years ago, the immigration will just forget about it. They find themselves in an interesting situation, when after attending a biometrics appointment they get served with a Notice to Appear. Here is a tip: unless you grew a new set of fingerprints, do not hide your criminal history: in most situations a skilful Immigration lawyer will be able to help you to deal with it, especially if the conviction is an old one.

If you have immigration concerns, consult an experienced New York immigration lawyer at 917-885-2261 and find out about your options.

20 November 2012
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