|Immigration “robbed” us twice!|
|Thursday, 29 July 2010 17:16|
Question: I have a question about my husband’s case that we have been struggling with for almost a year now! I’m an American and we filed my husband’s green card case and got a letter asking for our tax return. We had filed an extension of our taxes for 2008 and explained that to Immigration in a letter, so we could only provide the extension – which we did. After that, we got a letter from immigration denying my husband’s entire case and lost the whole $1,365 filing fee!
We wrote back explaining again and even called the 800#, and were told that the decision was final, but we could appeal the case. So we went and spent $585 to request a review of the case from Immigration, hopefully so they would see that it was impossible to provide what they were asking for and the case should not have been denied.
But last week we got another denial from Immigration saying that because we only sent in the 2008 IRS extension and not the actual tax return, the case was denied again. Now we are robbed of even more money! I am at my wits end and my friend that I go to church with said I should ask you about it before we go through even more headaches. Can you please tell me how I can get my husband’s case reopened again because of their mistake in denying it or get a refund of all the filing fees we paid to immigration?
Answer: Your question is a very good one and will be helpful to other readers. What you have experienced with your husband’s immigration case is very common. Receiving a denial from the USCIS can be frustrating, disappointing and very expensive! But there are ways to avoid it.
1) Understand What Documents are Required: it is extremely important to understand exactly what documentation the USCIS will require before you even start your case; that way, you are sure that you have everything so there are no surprises – or disappointments later. This will also give you time to obtain vital documents ahead of time.
2) Understand the Basic Process: the more you know what to expect during the immigration process, the better prepared you are to keep updated on which phase you are in and what the next step is.
3) The USCIS Is Not There to Help You: this is the most difficult (but most important) concept to understand, since we all feel that the U.S. government is good and helpful and that is mostly true. However, in the case of the USCIS, it is important to know that this agency is responsible for carrying out the technical regulations of the law in processing immigration cases. There are certain legal and documentary requirements which MUST be met before a USCIS officer can approve an application, and if the required documentary evidence is not provided, the case will be denied. That’s it. The USCIS policy allows the officer to issue one letter requesting the required documentation, with a deadline for providing it. If either the EXACT documentation requested is not provided, or the documents are provided, but received by the USCIS even one day after the deadline, the case will be denied and all filing fees lost.
There is no refund of filing fees. Once a case is denied, there is always the option of filing an Appeal or motion to reopen the case; however, this is frequently a waste of time and money!
In cases where the USCIS requested documents and the applicant did not provide them, or was late in providing them, an Appeal or motion will also be denied an another $585 fee lost.
Sometimes, when a case has gone wrong, the best approach is to simply re-file it again – properly. Many immigrants filing immigration applications are under the mistaken belief that they can just send in what documents they have and if something is missing, the USCIS will tell them exactly what it is and give them plenty of opportunity to obtain it or accept some other document instead.
Another commonly held belief is that the USCIS will accept whatever documents are submitted, even if they are not exactly what is required; as long as the applicant explains logically why required documents are not available. Unfortunately, nothing can be further from the truth.
I frequently meet with clients who went through this experience on their own before coming to me who sit there in shock and disbelief, unable to comprehend that they have actually lost so much money and time and have to start all over. But, these are often my best clients, because they have learned the hard way that when the USCIS requires certain evidence, it MUST be provided. So to recap, the best advice is to know what documents are required by the USCIS and be prepared to submit them. Finally, if a case is denied due to failure to provide documents requested by the USCIS, don’t waste $585 filing an appeal. The best approach is usually to simply re-file the case again – properly, with all the required documents.