Can USCIS revoke an already approved family petition?

In this week's Consulta Migratoria® column, I answer a reader's question about whether the federal government can revoke an approved family petition.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on the immigration history of each person. Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before beginning any process.

This is the column:

I am a U.S. citizen and I am petitioning for my husband who is Dominican. Immigration approved my petition and a waiver that my husband requested. We went to Santo Domingo for the consular interview and the officer charged us with marriage fraud. He told us that he would return my husband's case to the National Visa Center for further processing. We are now five months old and we know nothing more about the case. I am traveling to see my husband every month and a half and all of this is difficult for both of us. What can we do?

Awilda, I am very sorry that you are having difficulties with your husband's immigration case and the family separation you are experiencing.

A consular officer has the power to ask the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to revoke approval of a family petition if he or she suspects fraud. In this case, as you mention, the officer suspected that you only married so that your husband could obtain permanent residency in the United States, which is considered marriage fraud.

Revocation Process

Suspecting marriage fraud, the consular officer probably issued a temporary denial of your husband's immigrant visa application and returned his immigration file to the National Visa Center (NVC) with a recommendation that they revoke approval of the family petition.

USCIS may now be reviewing your husband's immigration file and the consular officer's memorandum detailing the reasons for revoking the family petition approval.

Upon review of the case, USCIS may take one of the following actions:

Determine that your family petition is not revocable and forward the decision to the consular officer with an explanation of the decision not to revoke the petition.

2. Send you a Notice of Intent to Revoke.

3. Send you an automatic revocation notice.

Notice of Intent to Revoke

If the USCIS sends you a Notice of Intent to Revoke the approval of your spouse's family petition, the document will explain the reasons why the approval of your family petition should be revoked. In addition, you will be given a reasonable amount of time to respond to the notice and submit additional evidence in support of your case.

Here are some examples of evidence you can send to prove that your marriage is real:

1. Invitations or other wedding documentation.

2. Photos of the wedding day and the couple's pre-wedding photos.

3. Birth certificates of children in common.

4. Documents proving ownership of property in common.

5. Rental contract showing that you live together in the same house or apartment.

6. Documents showing that you live together, such as utility bills in both names.

7. Documents showing that you share financial resources, such as joint bank accounts, joint investment accounts, or tax returns filed as spouses.

8. Affidavits from third parties as to the bona fides of the marriage.

9. Any other documents that establish an actual marital union, such as photos of the spouses at various events before and after the marriage, with other people and family.

USCIS will revoke the approval of your family petition if you do not respond to the Notice of Intent to Revoke in a timely manner.

Decision

If USCIS determines that the approval should not be revoked, you will receive a notice from USCIS reaffirming the approval of the family petition you filed on behalf of your spouse. USCIS will then forward your husband's immigration file to the U.S. Consulate General in Santo Domingo through the NVC for final review.

The consular officer may either accept the USCIS decision and continue processing your spouse's immigrant visa application, or submit new evidence to USCIS detailing why the family petition approval should be revoked. If the consular officer insists on denying approval of the family petition, USCIS determines whether the new evidence warrants revocation.

Appeal

If USCIS revokes approval of your family petition, they will send you a decision using Form I-292 explaining the reasons for the revocation and how to appeal the decision.

The appeal must be sent to the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office within 15 days after the date the decision was issued, or within 18 days if you received the USCIS decision by mail. You should carefully read the USCIS decision and follow the instructions for appealing the case as written in the letter.

Your case is complicated and I recommend that you hire an immigration attorney as soon as possible to help you with the immigration process.

For more information and immigration tips, read my blog InmigracionHoy.com.

Send your questions to preguntas@consultamigratoria.com. Include detailed information about your situation to better answer your questions.

Nelson A. Castillo, Esq. is an immigration attorney and author of La Tarjeta Verde: Cómo Obtener la Residencia Permanente en los Estados Unidos (Green Card: How to Obtain Permanent Residence in the United States) and presenter of immigration television segments of El Abogado a Tu Lado on NY1 News. He is a past President of the Hispanic National Bar Association and current President of the Westlake South Los Angeles Neighborhood Council. For information on how to consult with Dr. Castillo, click here. click here.

The purpose of this column is to provide general information. There can be no guarantee or prediction as to what will be the outcome of the information presented by Dr. Nelson A. Castillo. The information should not be taken as legal advice for any individual, case or situation. Consult with an immigration attorney for personalized legal advice before beginning any immigration proceedings.

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