How can a bad address screw up my immigration case?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, San Diego, and coming soon, a third office. We’re going to announce where that office is here pretty shortly, and it’ll probably during our Immigration Answers Show.
But in this video, we’re talking about bad addresses. Scenarios vary, but sometimes couples don’t like to use their actual address. And so, when you’re thinking about what address to use, you should use the address where you sleep at night. If the place where you sleep at night changes during the course of your case, you should update that address with USCIS.
Here’s how this sort of plays out, and it happens in lots of different ways. I’ve had clients who use their aunt’s mailing address as their USCIS address. Bad idea. USCIS can come a-knockin’, and if you’re not there, they’re going to say, “Hmm, something fishy is going on.”
We’ve also had scenarios, we had one this week, where the couple isn’t living together, yet they’re married. And an immigration benefit is about to be applied for, and they wanted to use the St. Louis address. So the foreign beneficiary lives in Chicago where he works, and he has a lease. And the spouse, the U.S. Citizen spouse, she lives in St. Louis, and she has her own lease. And they wanted us to use our St. Louis address as their official mailing address. That’s a bad idea. The reason it’s a bad idea is because eventually USCIS might come check on that address, and if they knock on the door and the U.S. Citizen is there and the foreign national is not, then they’re going to think, “Hmm, this is a fake marriage, and somebody tried to trick us by listing the beneficiary’s address as St. Louis.”
So you have to be completely transparent, completely honest, and completely upfront. If you’re living apart, your case can still be approved. We’ve had 20, 30, 40 cases in our office get approved where the couple don’t live together every single day. It takes more work. Lots more to do. Lots more evidence that you’re going to need, but it is approvable. But if you put both of you at the same address and you’re not sleeping there at night, then what happens is they knock on your door at 5:00 in the morning. And when they knock on your door at 5:00 in the morning, they want to see who is there. I mean, they want to see who runs out the back door. They want to see who’s sleeping in the bed, and they want to make sure that this marriage is legit.
So you never know when they’re going to come. And so if they come a-knockin’ and you’re not there, and they say, “Where are you?” “I’m up in Chicago.” “Oh, that’s strange.” And then they find out there’s a lease that you haven’t disclosed. That’s a paper trail, and that’s setting yourself up for failure.
We’ve also had situations where USCIS has come to talk to the landlord, and they want to know who lives here? What kind of people do you see coming in and out? Have you seen this person? Have you seen that person? Do they appear to you to be spouses? Those are the kinds of scenarios that we’re seeing. So you really need to be careful and transparent with your address. If you have a complicated address situation, then you’re probably going to need help from a lawyer to help make it less complicated for the officer because they’re used to people living together.
And when you don’t live together, that’s just one more reason for them to slow down your case or to deny your case. And that’s what we’re trying to overcome. That’s why we make these videos, so you don’t make those mistakes. So you don’t get your case delayed. So you don’t get your case thrown out.
If you have questions about this or about how to list your addresses, and they go over your whole address history, so it’s all important: 314-961-8200. You can email us at email@example.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group. It’s called Immigrant Home. If you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social and you subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Don’t forget, Tuesdays and Thursdays, usually at noon central, you’ll find me in Immigrant Home and at our YouTube channel answering as many of your immigration-law-related questions as possible. And finally, find us on Instagram at hackinglawpracticellc. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.