Immigration Q&A: Request to reopen a case

Question: My daughter sponsored me for my Green Card and we went to the Immigration office for my interview and everything was fine. But the officer said that I needed to send in some documents about an arrest that I had way back many years ago for driving without a license, before she could issue my Green Card. She gave me a paper to include with the documents when I sent them back to her. I went to the police station and got some documents from them about the case and sent them to the officer several days later – way before the deadline, then waited for word from Immigration that my case was approved. But instead, I was shocked to just now receive a denial letter saying that I didn’t send her the correct court document. I thought that the police documents were the right ones. I’m so upset now and don’t know what to do. Can you please help me to get the correct documents that the officer wants so I can go and give them to the immigration officer? If I do, will she approve my case? The letter says I can’t appeal.

Answer: What you are experiencing is very common and avoidable. It’s important to understand that when the USCIS issues a request for documentation, you generally only have one opportunity to provide EXACTLY what is requested or the case will be denied. With USCIS Requests For Evidence, it is crucial to determine exactly what the request is asking for, so that you can provide it, since there are no second chances. For criminal cases, Immigrants must provide the USCIS with a certified copy of both the Police Report or Ticket AND the Court Disposition. One or the other will not be sufficient. It’s also important to know that in many cases like yours which cannot be Appealed, an Immigrant can still make a request for the officer to reopen the case or reconsider it (I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion). The filing fee is $630. A motion to reopen must be based on factual grounds, such as the discovery of new evidence or changed circumstances, while a motion to reconsider must establish that the decision was incorrect based on the evidence of record at the time of that decision. Unlike a motion to reopen, no new evidence circumstances can be submitted to support the request.

While not required, due to the technical legal issues involved in such Motions, its always best to have a qualified Immigration attorney prepare and submit the request.

In some Immigration cases, filing an Appeal, Motion to Reopen or Reconsider is not advised and just a waste of money. These types of cases involve eligibility issues, for instance when an Immigrant files for residency or some other immigration benefit that they are clearly not eligible for. For example, when a Resident sponsors a married a child. In such a case, no eligibility exists, since there is no immigration category for a adult married child of a Resident, only for single children. Only U.S. Citizens can sponsor their married children.

In your case, it is likely possible to request that the case be reopened to submit the correct documentation and explanations as to why the documents were not initially provided. Processing times can be 3 to 6 months and if approved, the USCIS will reopen/reconsider the case and approve it.

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