By Alary E. Piibe
All immigration cases must be supported by evidence. The evidence should be clear, relevant and consistent with your claim. Here are common mistakes to avoid with your evidence.
Errors on officially issued government documents
Immigration officials will compare every detail of your documents. Innocent typos and errors on a supporting document can doom your case. This is especially frustrating where an official document from a foreign government contains errors, because it is the government’s mistake, not yours. We commonly see errors on birth certificates, marriage certificates, and more. Another common error in is misspelled names or shortened, incomplete names. You will have to get those errors fixed, and get a correct document re-issued.
Dates that contradict your other evidence are especially harmful. For example, you claim you were married and living with your spouse in 2017, but one of your documents lists your address in another city during that time. You need to file consistent evidence, rather than explain later.
Common errors on U.S. tax returns include filing in the wrong status: for example, both spouses filing separate tax returns as “Head of Household.” Another error we see is claiming multiple dependents without basis, such as nieces, nephews, cousins and family members living outside the U.S. We are not experts in tax law, and neither are immigration officials, but quite often these claims turn out to be clearly invalid when further questioned.
Too many pages
Make sure your evidence is concise, and if you are submitting lengthy records, you should highlight the relevant information. For example, submitting 100 pages of a medical record to prove your child was treated on a certain date—the immigration officer probably will not find that one date hidden among all those pages. You should either cut down the pages, or make an obvious highlight to the date you want the officer to see.
Failing to provide relevant evidence
Every document should have a purpose, and you must review all of those documents to make sure they prove your point. A common error is submitting divorce documents, but the final judgement is missing, or not properly signed. Or believing that a certain document is sufficient to prove your case, but you are actually making the government connect dots and make assumptions. For example, a photo of a funeral fails to provide the same concrete evidence of an official death certificate, because the photo does not establish a date, or location, or identity of the deceased.
Think ahead and anticipate questions
You must examine each document that you file and take the point-of-view of the immigration officer who does not know you. Does your document leave any questions, or does it require further explanation? Immigration officers will not do your research, they will not follow internet links that you give them, and they certainly will not watch video links that you provide. Ask yourself if all of your documents prove every question about your eligibility, and if not, then you need to supplement.
© 2020 Hill & Piibe, Immigration Attorneys