In this article, we will explore five important pieces of information that individuals may have neglected to disclose to their immigration lawyer, which could ultimately jeopardize their chances of obtaining a green card. Attorney Vanessa Rae Alonso, a seasoned immigration lawyer at Alonso & Alonso Attorneys at Law, will provide insights and tips for individuals to avoid these common pitfalls and increase their chances of a successful immigration application.

1: I had to lie on my tourist visa application to get it approved.

If you maintained a tourist visa after your US citizen child was born it’s highly likely you checked the box “No” to the visa application question that says Do you have any children who were born in the United States? Answering yes would have prompted the consular officer to begin questioning as to the payment for the birth of the child in the US, whether US government public assistance was used and if you were living in the US or working in the US at the time.

Because of this you may have answered NO and had your visa renewed without issue. This does cause a problem because you technically lied to receive an immigration benefit (the tourist visa). This lie isn’t a complete ban or bar to your green card but may require you to seek a waiver.

The waiver to fix this lie is only available to you if you have parents or a spouse with legal status. Your US citizen child won’t be enough for the waiver and that’s how a simple and non-malicious lie can cause your green card to be denied. There is hope if you are in this situation.

There are remedies that would allow you to still get a green card in the above scenario (past lie and not eligible for a waiver) but does require a special evaluation which can be done during a consultation with our firm. We take these kinds of cases all the time and win.  


2: I was arrested, and I think it was dismissed

If you were ever arrested, you need to ensure your case was resolved. Meaning the charges were dropped, the case was dismissed, or you plead guilty to the case and received a sentence. Basically, it’s completed. 

If you were ever arrested and unsure what happened, this could be a huge problem. You could have a warrant for your arrest and could be arrested by the police at your immigration interview. 

Your criminal history could make you ineligible for a green card, so you have to know exactly what resulted from any arrest to ensure you are eligible. You never want to file a green card application blindly and hoping that your prior arrest was dismissed or disappeared. 

If you were ever arrested, you should have a disposition which is a fancy word for document showing your case result. If you are unsure if you have a warrant you could seek an FBI record by sending in a fingerprint card with properly taking prints. For a video on how to take your prints at home click here (link to A&A Youtube video for taking prints) 

You can also go to the court where you believe your charges were filed and request your dispositions. However, if you believe you may have a warrant it’s best to use a criminal lawyer to help you get the dispositions and not present to the court where you could be arrested.

Our firm handles immigration cases which means we know how to manage past criminal history whether resolved or not while seeking or planning to seek a green card. We are available to do a free pre-screening of your case if you aren’t sure how your criminal arrest affects your chances of a green card. We take very complex cases with prior arrests, convictions, deportations and unlawful entries. We got your back. 


3: I may still be married in my home country 

Still being married in your home country means your current marriage in the US in invalid. You must have a divorce decree or death certificate of your ex-spouse to show that your current marriage is valid. 

You must be sure that the divorce decree exists or that your ex has passed away and you will have to provide that evidence to avoid a denial in your marriage based green card. There are options! You can obtain a divorce in the US to validate your current marriage and the basis of your green card.

You will not need your ex to be present or their signature as most states in the US will allow you to obtain a divorce without your ex participating. We have helped many people in this situation navigate their unresolved prior marriage to make their US marriage based green card a reality.

So just be honest with your lawyer about prior marriages even tribal marriages in Africa because those are considered legal marriages and require evidence to show a tribal divorce or divorce with the civil registry. Also know that just because you haven’t seen you ex in 15 years doesn’t mean you are “divorced!” 


4: I smoke weed but it’s legal in my state 

Smoking weed may be legal in many states in the US but it’s still not legal by federal law. Immigration is federal law and your green card will require you to pass a medical exam. If you tell the medical examiner that you smoke weed this could cause you to have to complete rehabilitation before your green card is approved.

This is especially problematic if your green card interview requires you to leave the US as the rehab can take a year and you cannot return to the US until it’s complete and your immigrant visa is issued to you. So tell your lawyer if you smoke weed so you can be advised properly. It’s best to quit until after your green card is approved.


5: I am married to a US Citizen but I live with someone else 

I have heard this many times over the years and we cannot have a real relationship for love and a different marriage for papers. This is a basis for not only denial but also a lifetime ban on you ever getting a green card based on a marriage. If your marriage is only for papers know that your case is not valid and can be denied.

The law says your marriage cannot be solely for the green card. The green card can be a reason for the marriage but not the only reason. Ensure you have enough evidence that your marriage isn’t just for the green card. Ensure you can show plans to have a future together, accounts in common, evidence of quality time spent together.

Don’t ruin your chances of ever having a green card because someone is willing to “help” you or even worse take payment in exchange of a marriage based green card. If you are in this situation consult with us as soon as possible so we can seek the appropriate remedy for your legal status. We have saved many applicants from a denial and the severe consequences of a fake marriage green card.