Successful I-485 Despite Error on Certificate of Birth and Prior Arrest
- Applicant: Ms. Flores
- Nationality: Mexican
- Case Type: I-485
- Processing Time: 8 months
- Birth certificate from Mexico did not have a year of birth written down
- Her birth certificate literally had the words, “of last year” written on it
- Consulate cannot find her records due to discrepancies in birth year
- She had an arrest as a minor that may be on her record
- Client required a co-sponsor because petitioner’s son did not meet income requirements for Affidavit of Support
When applying for permanent residency even the smallest discrepancies on any documentation can and will very often result in extended case times or a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS. Unfortunately for our client, Ms. Flores, she had to deal with one of the most unusual documentation issues that we have ever seen. Ms. Flores entered the U.S. from Mexico when she was a small child. She had been in the U.S. for so long: she had already gotten married, started her own business, and had two children. She qualified in every way with only one issue ahead of her, her Mexican birth certificate. In addition, Ms. Flores had a previous arrest when she was a minor. Lastly, she needed a co-sponsor to move forward with her case.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
Ms. Flores was born in late December of 1976, but her official birth certificate was issued in 1977. And given that this is a story about a documentation discrepancy, one might think that Ms. Flores’ birth certificate merely said that she was born in 1977. This was not the case. Her birth certificate actually read, “December 16 of last year.” So, anyone reading her birth certificate would then have to find the issue date year and backtrack a year to figure out when she was born.
The fun did not stop there. When she went to the Mexican consulate here in the United States for her consular I.D., they issued her an I.D. that said she was born December 16, 1977, which was obviously incorrect. However, she did not have the time or resources to get the consulate to fix it then, and it did not seem to matter at the time, Ms. Flores went about her life as normal. However, now that she was ready to submit her I-485 application, these are the kind of discrepancies that can create significant delays and additional requests for documents. USCIS officers are always on the lookout for fraud, and they are required to address such discrepancies when reviewing cases.
Ms. Flores was overwhelmed by the process and the discrepancies but we felt confident that we could help Ms. Flores navigate this error, so we agreed to take on her case. The first thing we advised Ms. Flores to do was to return to the consulate and request a copy of her birth certificate. When she went to request her birth certificate, the consulate told her they could not find her record, because of course, they were searching for someone by her name born on December 16, 1977, not 1976. So, we asked Ms. Flores if she had anyone in Mexico who might be able to go to get her a birth certificate with the correct date. Luckily, she had a sister in Mexico who was able to go to the Civil Registry and obtain a computerized birth certificate with the correct birth date. All of this was merely step one of the process.
We then had to do a background check on Ms. Flores regarding her arrest when she was a minor. We did not know if it would show up on her criminal record because often arrests for minors become sealed and then they do not end up showing up. The background check came back clean, and we had one less issue to deal with.
The final issue with Ms. Flores’ case was that her petitioning sponsor, her son, had not worked before. When USCIS sees a petition for permanent residency, they need to know that the person applying is not going to become a financial burden on the state. Thus, the petitioner not only has to agree to help support the person they are petitioning, but they also have to prove that they can financially support them by having sufficient income to meet their requirements. With no work history and minimal income, Ms. Flores’ son would not be able to qualify so she needed a co-sponsor. Because Ms. Flores had lived here essentially her whole life and her entire life was built here, that ended up not being much of an issue. She had a working business, and she had many relatives here in the U.S. She quickly found a co-sponsor to agree to sign on.
Despite all of the issues surrounding the case, her case was approved in under eight months. Normally, with so many variables, we usually expect similar cases to take over a year, but her approval came quickly. Ms. Flores is now waiting patiently for the five-year mark of being a permanent resident, at which point she wants to become a naturalized citizen. All the challenges she faced were worth it in the end because now she is a permanent resident in the country, she calls home.
*Name has been changed to protect client identity