The process involved in applying for and obtaining a permanent resident card through marriage is a complicated one. Besides, even if the process goes smoothly and has no red flags, many applicants get anxious because of the high stakes involved.

If you have applied for a marriage green card in Philadelphia, US, and are having sleepless nights because of it. Perhaps, ruminating on possible reasons why your application might be denied may help a bit.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS, is also interested in helping eligible couples stay together. The government body is not against happy couples who are genuinely married living together in the United States. Thus, marriage green cards have a higher approval rate, although that doesn’t mean they don’t get denied.

What Can Cause a Marriage Green Card Application to be Denied?

Despite the high approval rate, certain situations can result in a marriage green card being denied. Below are some of them:

Failure to Prove a Valid Marriage

All the forms and interviews you will attend during the application process will be to prove your marriage is valid. You will prove to the USCIS that your marriage with your spouse is legally recognized and that your relationship is real.

Your ability to establish your marital relationship beyond a reasonable doubt will dictate the tune of the eventual turnout. Thus, the first step in the marriage green card application process is for you to prove you have a legally recognized marriage.

The simplest proof the USCIS will require is a copy of your marriage certificate, but this can also get complicated. For instance, your marriage must be valid in the country where your wedding was held; not just in the US. Also, you must prove that your current marriage started only when your previous marriages (if any) ended. To prove this, you will need to provide a divorce certificate or death certificate where applicable.

Below are instances where you might encounter some problems in proving your marriage is legal:

  • One of the spouse’s divorce wasn’t finalized before they got married;
  • Your marriage was not legally recognized in your home country or the country where you got married. For instance, if you’re in a same-sex marriage and this isn’t officially recognized in the country the wedding was held. Another instance is if you are in an interfaith marriage and the country where the wedding occurred prohibits it. In these two instances, you might encounter trouble proving that you have a legal and valid marital relationship.

Apart from proving your marriage is authentic, you also need to supply proof of your life together. Items needed for this include financial documents, your children’s birth certificates if any, and photos from trips you took together.

Errors on Your Application Form

Another instance where a marriage green card application can be denied is if there was a mistake on the application. These mistakes can be simple errors you did not think mattered but that the USCIS takes very seriously. A good example of these mistakes is the failure to translate documents that are not written in English. Every document you submit with your forms that are not written in English, including marriage and birth certificates, must be translated into English.

Additionally, every translation made must be certified; that is, the translator must certify in writing that they translated the document accurately. The certification will include the translator’s name, signature, address, and the date the translation was made.

Another error that can cause your application to be denied is if you leave out information in the application forms. It is important that you completely and correctly fill out the forms, putting “N/A” in sections that don’t concern you and your spouse. Also, the photo you provided while filling out the form must be passport-style; anything less can result in a rejection of your application.

Financial Resources Not According to Standard

The US citizen or permanent resident sponsoring the alien spouse is under obligation to support the latter throughout their stay. As such, the USCIS requires that the sponsor(s) must prove that they have enough financial resources to support their spouse.

The requirement is that the sponsoring spouse should earn at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guideline to qualify. The sponsoring spouse will prove that they meet this requirement by providing copies of their federal income tax returns.

How Can Getting Professional Counsel from Herman Legal Group Help?

Having the backing or guidance of an experienced immigration attorney does not guarantee that your application will be approved. However, working with an experienced law firm like Herman Legal Group increases your chances of getting approved. More so, through the help of our lawyers, you can avoid these seemingly minor but incredibly significant errors in your application.

Although our headquarters are in Ohio, we have dedicated offices across different places in the United States, including Philadelphia. You can book online for a consultation with us or call us at +1-216-696-617.


The approval rate of marriage-based green cards is higher than most other immigration benefits. However, like every other immigrant and nonimmigrant visa, marriage green card applications also get denied. The grounds for denial can range from something serious like a sham marriage or minor like your passport not being passport-style.

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