3rd Time Married Canadian Foreign National Gets Immigrant Visa Approved (I-130 Approved August 20, 2018; Immigrant Visa Approved May 14, 2019 – Quebec, Montreal, Canada).
Our client was a native US citizen. He came to us to obtain a green card for his Canadian spouse who was living and working in Canada. Sounded easy enough, until we found out that this was the 3rd marriage for each of them. The client also wanted the immigrant visa approved before June of 2019.
We began this case in January of 2018, when we filed the I-130. This petition was approved on August 20, 2018 without issue (No Request for Evidence or interview). On October of 2018, we received an email from the National Visa Center that our case number had been generated and the invoices need to be paid. Our client paid the invoices and since we had already had our client provide us with the documentation for this step, we reviewed the documents.
Among these documents were the client’s 2017 Federal Taxes and his W2. The client “self-prepared” his taxes and in doing so, arbitrarily listed the “gross pay” instead of the “wages” on his IRS Form 1040. Although both of these numbers were much higher than the required minimum $81k, and $77k), there was a discrepancy of about $4000. After we noticed that the amount on the W2 did not match the amount on the 1040, we requested that he give us his tax transcripts. But the client advised us to submit what we had.
Upon doing so, the NVC requested that our client provide “ALL W2s” because it wanted proof of the missing $4,000. We responded to NVC and stated that our client had only ONE (1) W2 and we enclosed a letter from our client which explained the discrepancy. We also included an attorney memo that stated that both amounts listed were much higher than 125% of the poverty guidelines therefore the missing $4000 was moot. We called the NVC and spoke with a representative who said that the NVC was “picky” when it came to the wages. This time, we advised our client to obtain and submit his 2017 tax transcripts. Upon doing so, the NVC scheduled the interview.
Upon issuance of the interview, we emailed detailed written instructions on what our client needed to do and what our client needed to bring to the interview, as well as gave her sample questions, and reminded her to review all of our filings.
Today, May 14, 2019, our client informed us that her immigrant visa had been approved. We got her approved more than 2 weeks ahead of her deadline!
Peruvian Foreign National with Criminal History Gets Conditions Removed In Fourteen (14) Months Without An Interview (Case Approved April 26, 2019 – Vermont Service Center).
We submitted a 471-page filing. On April 26, 2019, only 14 months after we filed the petition, our case was approved without an interview and without a request for evidence. This result was significant because it proved that even in this administration, it is possible to obtain an approval without an interview and without needing a second 18-month extension.
Indian Foreign National Gets Conditions Removed Without An Interview Despite Having a Short Marriage, No Children, and Being Involved in A Contested Divorce Where the Ex-Husband Alleged Marriage Fraud (Case Approved April 27, 2019 – Vermont Service Center).
Our client, a native and citizen of India, was referred to our firm by a friend. At the time we took the case, our client resided in New Jersey and was in the midst of a bitter divorce. Her ex-husband filed for divorce after only 3 years of marriage. In his complaint for divorce, he alleged that our client made false representations to persuade him to marry her (this was an arranged marriage). The complaint alleged “extreme cruelty” that “endangered the safety and health” of the ex-husband. We had to do our best to prevent USCIS from seeing this complaint!
The first thing we did was file a 751 waiver based on divorce in January of 2018. This filing, which was 225 pages, contained very limited evidence since it had only been a short time between our client getting her conditional green card and separating from her husband. We also submitted certain family court documents that would inform USCIS that the client was in divorce proceedings without submitting the complaint for divorce. THIS WAS GENIUS and key to our success!
While the 751 waiver was pending, we reached out to and worked with our client’s divorce attorney to negotiate the best possible outcome. After several negotiations with our client, our client’s attorney and his conversations with the ex-husband’s attorney, along with some time, we were able to obtain an amended complaint for mutual consent. Since the divorce was still pending, we informed our client that although her emotions and pride wanted her to contest the marriage, we explained to her that at the end of the day, if she wanted her green card, she would need to follow our lead.
On April 3, 2019, USCIS issued a Request for Evidence (RFE) for ONLY the divorce decree. Through our meticulous filing, we were able to avoid a detailed RFE that requested additional bona fides. We submitted our RFE response on April 9th and the case was approved on April 27, 2019.
The key to winning this case was a combination of knowing when to file what, working with the divorce attorney and knowing enough about family and immigration law to guide him accordingly, knowing how to use immigration law to negotiate in order to obtain the result that we want, counseling our client who was very emotionally involved, and having enough experience to give USCIS enough to satisfy what we know they are looking for, but not too much that would damage our client’s case.
Upon the approval, the client and her entire family were in disbelief. Frankly, so were we!
Indonesian Foreign National Gets Marriage-Based Green Card Despite U.S. Citizen’s Arrest During Pendency of the Interview (Case Approved April 5, 2019 – Baltimore Field Office).
Our client, an Indonesian foreign national, who entered the U.S. on F-1, wished to adjust status through marriage to her U.S. citizen husband. We submitted the immediate relative adjustment of status package to USCIS in July of 2018. The bona fides were a little problematic because the husband used his American “nickname” instead of his legal name. Moreover, the couple did not have a joint lease, joint insurances (health, life, medical), joint credit cards, driver’s licenses that match the lease, joint cell phone bills, children. Yet somehow, our filing was about 230 pages. The next thing we knew, the work authorization was approved on July 23, 2018 and the interview was scheduled on January 2, 2019. But in December of 2018, our client informed us that her husband had been arrested. The client was in a very fragile place so we counseled her and gave her a “pep talk.” We also gave her some advice on her husband’s case and provided the name of a criminal attorney.
The clients elected to go to the interview unrepresented. We ensured she had a copy of our filing for them to review. On April 5, 2019, we received her green card approval notice.
The lesson here is that it is possible to submit “alternate” documentation that proves a marriage is legitimate. Only because of our experience and knowledge of immigration law (we know what USCIS is looking for and find creative solutions to prove a bona fide marriage) were we able to obtain another approval without a request for evidence.
Foreign National from Uruguay Wins DV Lottery and Gets Green Card Just in Time! (Immigrant Visa Granted in Montevideo, Uruguay).
Our client, a citizen of Uruguay, entered the U.S. on a G-4 visa, as an employee of the Inter-American Development Bank. In May of 2016, he received notice from the U.S. Department of State that he had been selected in the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery. He retained our law firm to file for his adjustment of status application. Our client received a relatively low number so we proceeded to prepare his entire application, including his work and travel applications as well the additional forms for those on G status.
However, by the time his priority date became current (a requirement for him to file his green card application), there would not be enough time for him to 1) be scheduled and attend his green card interview; and 2) receive a decision on his green card before September 30th. We informed him that we shouldn’t take the case adjusting status, and instead, we should have him consular process. We quickly “switched gears” to consular process. We filed his immigrant visa application, submitted the required documents to the National Visa Center (NVC), and instructed him on how to obtain all of his police clearances (since he had lived in more than one country). Our client was interviewed on July 6, 2017. The interview went well and the client was approved. He obtained his immigrant visa and re-entered the U.S. His green card was mailed to him after his arrival in the U.S.
Without our knowledge and experience, the client would have proceeded with adjusting status and most likely would not have received a decision on his I-485 before September 30th and he would have lost his chances of getting a green card.
Foreign National from St. Lucia with Theft Encounter Naturalized Without Issue (Case Approved September 13, 2017- Baltimore Field Office).
Our client, a foreign national from St. Lucia, came to us wanting to naturalize, but was concerned about a possible theft charge. We had the option of either disclosing the incident or waiting for USCIS to point it out. We decided to take a forthcoming approach and enclose a declaration that explained our client’s encounter with security. We also included evidence of our client’s good moral character. We filed the case on February 27, 2017. Our client received her interview for September 13, 2017. We told our client how to prep for the interview. She attended the interview without us and was approved the same day.
F-1 Change of Status Approved for Colombian Foreign National Student Who Received a Request for Evidence for Having Unlawful Presence (Case Approved September 12, 2017- Vermont Service Center).
Our client was a 28-year-old student from Colombia who had never violated any immigration law. She enrolled in school and her Designated School Official (“DSO”) filed her change of status case from B-2 to F-1. The client’s tourist status ended in March of 2017. The DSO filed the change of status application on February 14, 2017, about 1 month before her status was to end.
On July 27, 2017, a Request for Evidence (“RFE”) was issued because the school postponed her start date to August, 2017 so since her B-2 status ended in March of 2017, our client had accrued unlawful presence. To make matters worse, the client was out of state when she received the Request for Evidence with a deadline of August 29, 2017. The first day of classes was on August 16th, which meant that our response would have to be sent out on August 14th for delivery on August 15th.
The RFE also requested “a copy of the receipt notice” proving that our client had filed for an extension of her B-2 status. This evidence was impossible to submit since the client had not filed a change of status to bridge the gap between her status ending and the new start date. We also could not e-file the change of status since USCIS no longer allows for e-filing of the I-539. We had to “think outside of the box” in a very short time period. The client met with me on August 14th and signed the Retainer the same day.
First, we decided to include a copy of the I-539 with a check for filing fees to give USCIS the choice of either accepting our argument of “extenuating circumstances” or to process this new I-539. Second, we had to address the “last action” rule, which says that if USCIS approved the B-2 extension after the F-1 change of status, our client would end up in B-2, which is not what she wanted. Third, we had to prove that our client’s failure to file a B-2 extension was through no fault of her own. Lastly, we included a request to expedite the decision so our client would not miss her class.
We prepared an 83-page response in a less than 48 hours. As fast as we requested documents, our client submitted them, sometimes within minutes of our request. One key document we included was the DSO’s letter. Normally, DSO letters explain that it’s not the client fault, but in this case, the DSO boasted about being aware of SEVIS’ rules. We used that letter and other evidence to prove that the DSO gave our client advice that was outdated and wrong. The DSO was unaware of SEVIS new requirements for those on B-2 who are changing status to F-1. We also included a copy of the Retainer to prove that our client acted quickly to find an attorney after receiving the RFE. We also helped prepare our client’s Declaration that addressed all of the issues in the RFE. We included evidence that our client was in Hawaii at the time the RFE was issued. Our response was strongly worded!
The RFE response was delivered on August 15th and USCIS approved the case on September 12, 2017. We had to personally call the client to tell her that her B-2 extension had been approved as well as her F-1 change of status AND that the change of status was approved AFTER the B-2 extension. This was a very complex case. A denial would have required our client to return to Colombia. Now our client is happily enrolled and attending classes. She will not encounter any hardship getting a visa in the future.
Naturalization Application Approved for Ethiopian Foreign National (Case Approved August 28, 2017- Baltimore Field Office).
The client, a national of Ethiopia, received his green card in 1994. Client never tried to naturalize because he was fearful of his conviction in New York for possession of a handgun, and arrests in Indiana for possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, and possession of paraphernalia. We filed the case on March 1, 2017. With the initial petition, we included the certified copies of final dispositions from Indiana and New York; the total number of pages was 115 pages. The key evidence that we submitted was a carefully crafted Declaration which he helped our client prepare.
The client felt comfortable to attend the interview by himself. We emailed the client some tips on how to handle the interview. The morning of the interview we texted him reminders on how to answer the questions and to reassure him not to be nervous, to answer the questions truthfully and if he did so, he would be fine. He attended the interview on August 14, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. His case was not approved that day. We called and asked him how he thought the interview went and asked what questions he was asked and the answers he provided. He told us exactly what happened; we reassured him that the interview went well and to wait to hear back. On August 28, 2017, we received an email that our client’s case has been scheduled for his oath ceremony on September 12, 2017.
For us, we knew the client would get approved based on how he answered our questions at the initial consultation. We prepared and filed an extremely thorough case. But more than that, since the client chose to go by himself, we wanted to build his confidence, reduce his anxiety, and give him the reassurance he needed that we were with him in spirit. Sometimes, our clients need a little “Tender Loving Care” and we are more than happy to give it!
EB-1, Outstanding Professor Approved for Senegal Foreign National (Case Approved August 10, 2017- Texas Service Center – Premium Processing).
Our client was a professor at a University in Alabama. We advised our client to file both an EB-1B and EB-2 National Interest Waiver because the former could get a decision within 15 days but the latter was an easier case to win. We were retained on June 21, 2017 and filed both cases before August 1, 2017 since the priority date for EB-2 was only current for July. The EB-1B was 758 pages and the NIW case was 760 pages. We also filed a concurrent green card application (72 pages) with the EB-2 petition so our client could get an Employment Authorization Document. The EB-1B petition was approved on July 28, 2017 without issuance of a request for evidence.
One misconception that many clients have is that they are not qualified because they do not have the typical type of evidence. One thing to note is that a new case came out that clarified the legal burden (and in my opinion, lightened the legal burden) for the National Interest Waiver cases. The EB-1 Extraordinary Ability, EB-1B Outstanding Professor and Researcher, and EB-2 National Interest Waiver cases are within reach; we are very creative and have a history of getting approvals for clients who do not have the typical type of evidence.
I-130 Approved for Guinea Foreign National with a Prior Removal Order (Case Approved August 2, 2017 – Baltimore Field Office).
Our client was a 62-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Sierra Leone. He had been married twice before and his current wife had been married once before. He married his current wife, a native of Guinea, in Maryland in 2005. The couple had several kids from their previous relationships so it was a large and blended family. His wife had previously applied for asylum; her case was referred to the Immigration. In 2002, the Immigration Judge denied her asylum application and she appealed the case to the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”). In 2004, the BIA affirmed the denial. So this case had a long and complicated history.
We filed the I-130 which was about 100 pages; it was pending for several months before it was transferred to a field office for an interview. The couple was interviewed on August 2, 2017. We prepped both clients, gave them a list of documents to bring to the interview, and went over mock questions. At the interview, the officer questioned our client as to why she had renewed a Pennsylvania Driver’s License when she was working in Maryland. Our client became nervous, but her husband was able to give a plausible explanation. The interview proceeded and the officer approved the case the same day, on August 2, 2017. We are now working on our prosecutorial discretion request to the Dept. of Homeland Security to file a joint motion to reopen and terminate our client’s removal case.
Foreign National from Uruguay Wins DV Lottery and Gets Green Card Just in Time! (Immigrant Visa Approved July 6, 2017 – Montevideo, Uruguay).
This case showcases our expertise in immigration law. Our client was notified that he won the Diversity Visa Lottery on May 22, 2017. Since there are scams going around, we confirmed he was a winner through the website. He was currently in the U.S. on A status, but his contract was ending. We advised him that to qualify for the DV lottery, it was best for him to maintain his status. He was able to extend his contract to maintain lawful presence.
In March of 2017, our client’s number became current. We advised him that he would have to interview before September 30, 2017 and that we were already at the six-month mark and had not even filed the case. We decided to change status mid-stride. We advised our client to consular process instead of adjust status. Our client informed us that he had previously e-filed the DS-260. We notified the Kentucky Consular Center that our client wanted to consular process and informed them that our client wished to interview at Montevideo. Once the change had been made, we guided our client on how to obtain all of his police certificates. We then compiled a filing for him to study and bring to the interview.
Our client interviewed on July 6, 2017; we stayed in contact with our client when he returned to Uruguay for the interview. He appeared for his interview and was approved the same day. He received his visa stamped and arrived in the United States without issue.
This case tested our knowledge with the DV lottery (e.g. what number was assigned to our client and deadline to interview), the Visa Bulletin (e.g. knowing when our client’s number became current), knowing USCIS’ processing times, contacting the KCC to switch from adjustment of status to consular processing, advising the client to maintain his status, reviewing the DS-260 to ensure it was completed properly, and preparing a filing for our client to present to Department of State. Had our client tried to adjust status, he would not have been interviewed by the deadline and would have lost his chance at getting a green card. Immigration law is extremely complicated!
Green Card Approved for Foreign National from Bulgaria Who Overstayed Student Visa (Case Approved June 14, 2017- Baltimore Immigration Court).
Our clients were a U.S. citizen married to a Bulgarian who overstayed her student status. We filed the case, which was 526 pages, on August 11, 2016. Our clients were interviewed on June 14, 2017 without our representation. The case was approved the same day. It is a misconception that there is a negative connotation for an attorney to either file the case, or file the case and not appear at the interview. With the exception of one client who did not have a federal ID to enter the building and attend the interview, every single case we filed but did not appear with our clients at the interview has been approved. This is because the way we prepare the case, from the order of the documents, to the types of documents we include, to how we draft declarations gives the officer the impression that the case is approvable. So when our clients walk through the interviewer’s door, the officer is really only checking to see if our clients are telling the truth. Our filings have actually been complimented on by the interviewing officer.
I-130 Approved for Honduran Foreign National Who is a Beloved Local Celebrity (Case Approved May 30, 2017- Texas Service Center).
We met our client, a foreign national of Honduras, at a social event. The client had entered the U.S. illegally (without inspection) in 2002 and had been working illegally ever since. He had multiple encounters with ICE and also had multiple illegal re-entries. He had been married once before and his U.S. citizen wife had been married twice before. We submitted quite a bit of bona fides; the petition was 159 pages. The case was filed on December 2, 2016 and was approved on May 30, 2017.
H-3 Trainee Visa Approved for Piano Tuner from China (Case Approved May 17, 2017- Vermont Service Center – Premium Processing).
Our client, a Symphony Orchestra in Massachusetts, contacted us to prepare an H-1B petition for a piano tuner who was an apprentice at Juilliard in New York City, NY. However, when I explained that the H-1B was subject to quota and that the employee would have to be a W-2, they knew H-1B was not the best option. We advised the client that we could file a change of status to H-3, which would cover the period they needed without incurring the extra filing fees and could be approved within 15 calendar days. Since our client had never filed an H-3 visa before, we created a Training Program and all supporting documents from scratch. The filing was 323 pages and the fining was an absolute “work of art!” We filed the application on May 4, 2017 via premium processing. We received an approval on May 17, 2017 WITHOUT a Request for Evidence. The I-94 was attached to the approval notice.
H-3 petitions are extremely difficult to prepare, but we believe that they are not only underused, but really valuable!
Fiancé Petition Approved for Same Sex Couple (Case Approved May 5, 2017- California Service Center).
Our client, a physician in Virginia, met his partner while on vacation in the Dominican Republic. Although our client had never been married before, he had one adult son from a prior relationship. His fiancé had been married twice before, both marriages were to females. We filed a fiancé petition, a total of 119 pages, on December 2, 2016. The couple did not have many bona fides, so we helped our client and his fiancé prepare two declarations. The case was approved on May 5, 2017.
Naturalization Application Approved for Bisexual Brazilian Foreign National Who Received Her Green Card Through Her Marriage and Whose Marriage Was Terminated Through Divorce (Case Approved May 2, 2017- Baltimore Field Office).
Our client, a foreign national of Brazil, married a U.S. citizen man in 2006 and received her green card the same year through her marriage to him. The couple divorced in 2010. Our client remarried, this time to a female, in 2016. We filed the naturalization case based on our client being a green card holder for 5 years. The petition was 68 pages. Just prior to the interview, we called the client to do a phone prep. We asked her why her first marriage ended then proceeded to tell her how to answer this question when the officer asked her. We attended the interview and it went as smooth as can be. We were even able to get her into the oath ceremony the SAME DAY! We even visited her restaurant to celebrate Mother’s Day. We love to build lasting relationships with our clients. They truly become part of our “Legacy Immigration family.”
Fiancé Visa Approved for Philippines Foreign National Engaged to Man Who Was 15 Years Older and Met Through Dating Website (I-129F Approved November 17, 2016- California Service Center; Fiancé Visa Approved on April 26, 2017 in Hong Kong).
Our client was a naturalized 53-year old originally from Trinidad & Tobago. He met his fiancé, a native of the Philippines working in Hong Kong, online through a dating website. We filed the fiancé petition on February 12, 2017 with evidence that our client was working in Hong Kong so she could consular process in Hong Kong. We included evidence of the relationship and proof that our client visited his fiancé within the preceding year; the filing was 182 pages. On October 13, 2016, USCIS issued a Request for Evidence that cited IMBRA (International Marriage Broker) and requested evidence. We filed a 140-page response on November 14, 2016. The case was approved on November 17, 2016.
We then proceeded with the consular processing portion of the fiancé visa. We e-filed the DS-160 on February 12, 2017 and our client interviewed on April 26, 2017 in Hong Kong. The client was approved the same day and subsequently entered the U.S. Next, we filed the couple’s green card case, which is currently pending.
What we found particularly interesting is that we received a copy of the approved I-129F, which had the officer’s notations that read, “15-year age difference.” So USCIS does look at the age difference as a factor when approving these types of petitions.
I-130 Approved for Foreign National from Sierra Leone for Couple That Had Almost No Bona Fides (Case Approved July 12, 2016- Missouri Service Center; Immigrant Visa Approved on April 25, 2017 in Freetown, Sierra Leone).
Our client, a U.S. citizen, met his wife while growing up in Sierra Leone. Our client married his wife on February 2, 2016. Although the couple knew each other as children, the couple had virtually no bona fides because he lived in the U.S. and she lived in Sierra Leone. Regardless, we knew our clients had a real marriage so we filed the case with as much documentation as the client could provide. The filing was 79 pages. We filed the case on May 13, 2016 and it was approved on July 12, 2016.
We proceeded to file the consular portion of the immigrant visa. The National Visa Center issued the invoices on August 11, 2016. The client paid the immigrant visa fees on September 4, 2017. We e-filed the DS-260 on September 27, 2016. The visa interview was scheduled for April 25, 2017. We told our client how to prep, what to bring to the interview, what to expect, and how to answer the questions. Our client attended the interview and passed. She has entered the U.S. and received her green card.
Naturalization Application Approved for Jamaican Foreign National Who Got Her Green Card Through Marriage But Was Divorced (Case Approved April 20, 2017- Baltimore Field Office).
Our client, a foreign national of Jamaica, obtained her green card through marriage in 2009. She wanted to naturalize, but was concerned that there would be an issue since she was no longer married. Our client filed a complaint for divorce based on adultery; her divorce was finalized in June of 2015. We filed our client’s naturalization case based on being a green card holder for at least 5 years. In our filing, we included the divorce documentation. The application, a total of 225 pages, was filed on December 2, 2016. Our client was interviewed on April 20, 2017 and was approved; our client took her oath on April 24, 2017.
Green Card Approved for Salvadoran Foreign National Who Entered U.S. as a Tourist (Case Approved April 18, 2017- Missouri Service Center).
Our clients were a mother and daughter from El Salvador. The daughter had naturalized in 2015 and was worried that her mother, who last entered in 2001, was undocumented. While reviewing the case, we noticed that the daughter did not qualify to be a financial sponsor, however, the daughter’s father was a U.S. citizen and his income, combined with the daughter, met the financial sponsorship requirements. On October 7, 2016, we filed the case with all of the required financial documents to avoid the issuance of a Request for Evidence (RFE). The filing was 149 pages. Our client received her Employment Authorization Document (EAD) on December 6, 2016. The case was approved on April 18, 2017 without a request for evidence.
RFEs cause huge delays and give USCIS the opportunity to begin a “fishing expedition.” It is always our goal to avoid RFEs. An RFE is your last chance to get an approval and if the response is insufficient, the case will be denied. If you receive an RFE, please contact us.
Mexican Foreign National Gets Removal Proceedings Terminated Despite Having Multiple DUIs (Removal Proceedings Terminated March 18, 2017- Immigration Court, Baltimore).
Our client had one of the most complicated cases we have ever handled at Legacy Immigration. Our client had been placed in removal proceedings after getting a fourth DUI conviction. We first had to have our client’s I-130 reinstated, since the approval was revoked in error. After client’s I-130 was we had reinstated, we filed a Motion to Terminate Removal Proceedings with the Baltimore Immigration Court on February 28, 2017. The motion itself was seven pages and we attached 41 pages of evidence proving that our client was “rehabilitated.” Prior to filing we contacted the Dept. of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to see if they would consent to terminate our client’s removal proceedings. The attorney informed me to file the motion with the court and that DHS would not oppose the motion. The judge granted our motion on March 16, 2017.
We believe that our motions are more thorough and persuasive than others that we have seen. This is because we care about each and every client and treat our clients’ cases as if it were our family members who need help. We also show that our client is human, has made mistakes, but has learned from those mistakes. Our motions evoke sympathy and help the judge see that our client is deserving of the type of relief that we ask for; everyone makes mistakes, but it is whether you have learned from those mistakes…
Fiancé Visa Approved for Foreign National from Haiti Who Met Fiancé on Facebook (Case Approved March 3, 2017- California Service Center).
Our client, a U.S. citizen, met his fiancé on Facebook. The couple exchanges messages through Messenger for about six months. Our client did not speak Creole and his fiancé did not speak English so the couple used his fiancé’s brother as a translator. The couple fell in love over the phone. Our client flew to visit his fiancé and the next day he proposed and the following morning, he returned to the U.S. We filed the fiancé petition, which was 61 pages, on December 9, 2016 and it was approved on March 3, 2017.
Green Card Approved for Indian Foreign National Who Overstayed H-1B Visa (Case Approved March 4, 2017- Baltimore Field Office).
Our clients were a husband who entered on H-1B status who married his U.S. citizen wife. The wife owned the couple’s home so she was unable to provide a joint lease or joint deed. Since the couple had a private civil wedding, they did not have pictures or affidavits of guests who attended the wedding. The couple did not have any children together (or from prior relationships). We gave our clients a list of documents to obtain to prove their relationship. On August 22, 2016, we filed marriage-based green card case which totaled 343 pages. The couple was interviewed on June 15, 2017 and was approved the same day.
I-130 Approved for Foreign National from Peru Who Was Brought to the United States as a Child and Had a Removal Order (Case Approved February 6, 2017).
Our client, a foreign national from Peru, was brought to the U.S. by her mother when she was a child. She married her childhood sweetheart and had one child with her husband. On November 7, 2016, we filed the I-130 with supporting documentation; the entire filing was 674 pages. The case was approved on February 6, 2017. We are in the process of gathering evidence of INA §245(i) to enclose with a request to reopen and terminate removal proceedings.
Immigrant Visa Approved for a Pakistani Foreign National Living in United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) (Case Approved December 5, 2016- Islamabad, Pakistan).
Our client, a native to U.A.E but of Pakistani origin, had become a U.S. citizen. He had been married once before, but the marriage did not work out. He wanted to bring his wife whom he in Pakistan in 2014. The couple’s twin sons already had U.S. passports since they were born to a U.S. citizen. The couple had lived together in U.A.E. for a couple years, but since he worked for a hotel, the hotel provided free accommodations for him and his family. As a result, our client did not have a single piece of joint documentation. They couple did not own any property together, did not have joint bank accounts, did not have flight itinerary to see each other, did not have joint insurance, or any other bona fides. We presented the case that the best evidence were the couple’s twin sons. We filed the I-130 petition, which totaled 63 pages, on May 13, 2016 and it was approved on July 28, 2016.
Once the case was transferred to the National Visa Center, we proceeded with the consular processing. We filed the DS-260 on September 7, 2016 and client received her immigrant visa interview on December 5, 2016. We prepped the client on what to bring to the interview, what to expect at the interview, how to prepare for the interview, and how to answer the consular officer’s questions. The immigrant visa was approved at the end of the interview and the client picked up her passport. With the change of administration approaching, we told the client to call us if she encountered any issue at the port-of-entry. The client called us and said that she “breezed” through security at the U.S. port-of-entry. Today all four of them are in the U.S. living the American dream. We have stayed in contact with the client and even refer his services out to people we know.
Fiancé Visa Petition Approved for Nigerian Foreign National (Case Approved November 29, 2016- California Service Center).
The client, a U.S. citizen, met his fiancé in 2015. After only one week, the client knew he had met the woman of his dreams. The client had been previously married for ten years. Client had also legally changed his name. We filed the case, which totaled 101 pages, with proof of client’s legal name change. After we filed the case, we noticed that USCIS had made an error on the beneficiary’s date of birth. We wanted to correct this error so the beneficiary would not have any issues at her consular interview. We submitted evidence to USCIS to correct this typo. We received written correspondence that the typo was corrected. A request for evidence was issued on August 29, 2016 to prove the couple’s intent to marry. We submitted a response on November 18, 2016. The case was approved the next day!
Green Card Approved for Mexican Foreign National Despite Not Having any Marital Bona Fides (Case Approved November 14, 2016- Norfolk, Virginia).
Our clients were a U.S. citizen who met his wife in Mexico. There were several problems with this case. First, when the couple came in for the consultation, the U.S. husband did not speak any Spanish and his wife barely spoke any English. USCIS would probably question the couple on how they communicated. Second, the wife had entered the U.S. on a fiancé visa in November of 2014. More than 90 days had passed, the wife had overstayed her visa, AND the couple married two months after her status expired. Third, and most important, the couple had NO documents to prove their bona fide marriage. The couple lived in a trailer with the husband’s grandmother. They had a very small wedding. They did not have utility bills in their names. Since the wife was undocumented, since she did not have any identification no bank would allow her to take out an account. Moreover, they did not pay rent, did not have a lease, did not have medical insurance, and did not have any children. Even though all of this evidence was missing, we came up with some creative types of evidence.
We filed the case in May of 2016; the petition totaled 365 pages. The clients were scheduled for an interview on September 26, 2016 in Norfolk, Virginia. Although the client could not pay our legal fee to travel to Norfolk, we provided a copy of the file to the client and told them how to prepare. The couple attended the interview, but their case was not approved that day. I spoke with the clients and although the interview sounded as though it did not go well, the case was approved on November 14, 2016.
Fiancé Visa Petition Approved After Request for Evidence Issued for Philippines Foreign National (Case Approved November 2, 2016- California Service Center; Fiancé Visa Approved on February 15, 2017 in Manila, Philippines).
Our client, a U.S. citizen, met his fiancé, a Filipina, on Facebook. The couple corresponded briefly before our client flew to the Philippines to meet and propose to his fiancé. The difficulty with this case is that our client only visited his fiancé once and he did not have a lot of proof of correspondence with his fiancé. They had not begun their wedding preparations since they wanted to be together to share that experience. We filed the case on August 19, 2016; the petition totaled 70 pages. A Request for Evidence was issued on October 4, 2016 that requested proof of the couple’s intent to marry. We submitted a 38-page RFE response in October of 2016. The fiancé petition was approved on November 2, 2016.
We then prepared the client’s DS-260 for the consular processing portion of the case. We e-filed the DS-260 on February 8, 2017, and scheduled the client’s interview for February 15th. We told the client what documents to bring to the interview and how to answer the officer’s questions. We were anxious to hear back and within hours of the interview, our client called and told us his fiancé had passed her interview. Now, our client is reunited with his fiancé, they are married, and are currently in the process of getting a green card.
Green Card Approved for Chinese Foreign National Who Received Request for Evidence for Family Census Register (Case Approved January 11, 2017- Baltimore Field Office).
Our clients were a U.S. citizen husband married to a Chinese foreign national. We filed the case, which was 241 pages, on May 10, 2016. We enclosed an Affidavit of Birth from our client’s father which was in accordance with the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance. We received a Request for Evidence that asked for a Family Census Registry. We enclosed a Notarial Certificate of Birth as well as the original medical certificate of birth. Our response was 16 pages and was delivered on September 27, 2016. Our clients appeared for their interview on January 11, 2017 without our representation. The case was approved on the same day.
Violence Against Women Act Petition Approved for Indian Foreign National Man (Approved September 21, 2016 – Vermont Service Center).
Our client, a foreign national from India, had filed a marriage-based case with his wife. Unfortunately, the wife became abusive. We filed a Violence Against Women Act petition and included ONLY a declaration and a psychological evaluation. We worked with the client to edit his declaration and transformed a 1-page draft into a 7-page declaration where we described in detail, all of the incidents of abuse. With only these two documents, an evaluation and a declaration, the VAWA case was filed on March 21, 2016 concurrently with the green card application. On April 4, 2016, we received a favorable prima facie determination. For a few months, our client was anxious and called us for a status because he needed to travel. We advised him to be patient and not to leave the U.S. The VAWA case was approved on September 21, 2016. The client received an interview for April 1, 2017. Our client decided to attend the interview on his own despite our recommendation. After the interview, he told us the interview went well but the officer had to check our client’s sealed medical exam.
A Request for Evidence was issued on May 9, 2017 that stated our client had a communicable disease. Neither our client, nor we, were aware of this. We advised our client to get treatment and try to complete the treatment before the RFE deadline. Our client took our advice. On July 26, 2017, USCIS approved our client’s green card case.
Many clients believe that an applicant needs police reports, restraining or protective orders, medical records, pictures, etc. This is a rumor and misconception. Although cases are more difficult without evidence they are not impossible when you work with Legacy Immigration.
Advisory Opinion Issued for Two Year Foreign Residency Requirement (October 20, 2016).
Our client, a foreign national from Brazil, was unsure if she was subject to INA §212(e), which is the two-year foreign residency requirement. The DS-2019 was issued on December 24, 2014 and stated that our client was subject to INA §212(e), however, the client’s visa specifically stated the client was “not subject to 212(e). We submitted a request for an advisory opinion on September 15, 2016; we received the advisory opinion on October 20, 2016.
Removal Proceedings for Guatemalan Foreign National are Reopened and Terminated (Removal Proceedings Terminated September 6, 2016- Immigration Court, Baltimore).
Our client, a Guatemalan foreign national, was put into removal proceedings for having overstayed his tourist visa. His father, a green card holder, filed an I-130 on behalf of his son in the F-2B category. During the removal proceedings, the father naturalized and the case was automatically converted to the F-1 category. The I-130 was approved on November 19, 2013 in the F-1 category. Since our client’s next Master Calendar was fast-approaching, we noticed that the F-2B category was actually moving faster so we made the request for our client to “opt out” of F-1 (so our client would be put back onto the F-2B category), which was approved on July 1, 2016. We informed the National Visa Center that our client intended to adjust status (as opposed to consular process). We filed a motion to reopen our client’s case which had been administratively closed pending the I-130 decision. At the same time, we filed a motion to terminate our client’s removal proceedings, which was granted on August 22, 2016. We have now filed a green card case for our client and he is awaiting his EAD approval and green card interview date.
This case really required the skill of a knowledgeable immigration attorney. First, as experienced attorneys, we knew we could have our client switch between different categories (from F-2B to F-2 to F-2B), which requires a thorough understanding of the Visa Bulletin. Second, since our client had several years of unlawful presence and unlawful employment, we knew that he had to either file a waiver (to waive the unlawful presence and unlawful employment) or have INA §245i relief. We knew that our client had a Labor Certification filed on April 30, 2001 so this required an understanding of the rules of inadmissibility and INA §245i. Third, we knew that our client should not depart the U.S. or he would trigger the bar so we informed the National Visa Center that he wanted to apply for his green card in the U.S. Lastly, we had to file a thorough motion that convinced an immigration judge that our client could obtain a green card with USCIS. We also took a proactive approach to our client both by watching the Visa Bulletin because we knew our client really needed his work authorization. Whew!
Mexican DACA Recipient Gets Advance Parole Approved (Approved September 6, 2016- Nebraska Service Center).
Our client, a DACA recipient, is a native of Mexico. Since she had entered illegally (without inspection), we wanted to apply for Advance Parole to allow her to depart and return to the U.S. We filed her application for advance parole on September 8, 2016 on the basis that she needed to attend an educational program abroad. We included evidence of the program and evidence that she was eligible for the program. On December 6, 2016, USCIS issued a Request for Evidence for proof that our client had been admitted to the program. We spoke to our client who told us that she had not been accepted. We advised her that we could change our approach from educational to humanitarian. She mentioned that her grandmother suffered from dementia and she had not seen her grandparents for years. On this basis, we included evidence of this. The RFE response was filed on March 3, 2017 and the case was approved on September 6, 2016.
Fiancé Visa Petition Approved in 28 Calendar Days for Ghanaian Foreign National (I-129F Approved October 7, 2016- California Service Center; Fiancé Visa Approved on March 14, 2017 in Accra, Ghana).
The client, a U.S. citizen, met her fiancé at a party while in Ghana. Her fiancé proposed this summer and they were eager to get the process started. We discussed the legal fee and timeframe and answered all of the client’s questions via email and phone. The client let us know that she wanted a New Year’s wedding so we told we would expedite the filing to try and get a speedy approval of the I-129F. The client decided to retain us and we prepared the case remotely.
The client worked extra hard to give us all the documents that we requested. While completing our client’s affidavit of support, it came to our attention that she did not meet the minimum poverty guideline requirement. We informed her that she needed to obtain a co-sponsor. Luckily, the client’s mother stepped in to assist.
We filed the I-129F application on September 9, 2016. It was approved 28 days later! Because of the client’s willingness to give us all the documents that we asked for, we were able to get an approval without issuance of a Request for Evidence, which saved time, effort, and cost.
We proceeded with the consular processing portion of the fiancé visa. We e-filed the DS-160 on February 6, 2017. We scheduled an interview for our client on March 14, 2017. The client passed the interview with flying colors. He arrived in the U.S. and is reunited with his love. They married and we just filed the couple’s green card case. We are awaiting an interview.
French Foreign National Reinstates Previously Approved I-130 That Was Revoked Under INA §203(g) (Case Approved July 27, 2016- Baltimore Field Office).
The client, born in Afghanistan but a citizen of France, came to our office seeking a way to get work authorization. The client had entered the U.S. several times under ESTA and timely departed each time. On June 30, 1998, client’s father, who was a U.S. citizen, filed an I-130 under the F3 category (married son of a U.S. citizen). The relative petition was approved on January 7, 1999. During client’s last attempt to enter, the client was refused entry due to the approved I-130. The client tried to enter at two other ports of entry, but both efforts were unsuccessful. Finally, the client entered illegally through the Canadian border. Because of his illegal entry, the client could not depart the U.S. to consular process because he had accrued more than 1 year of unlawful presence. Any departure would trigger the 10-year bar. The client was “trapped” in the U.S. for more than a decade.
We contacted the National Visa Center (NVC) to confirm that the relative petition had been revoked. We noted the two dates that NVC had notified the client to adjust status as well as the date it notified him that the approval had been revoked. After additional conversations with our client, we found out that his father had passed away after the petition had been approved. Immediately, we examined the timeline and noticed that the petition was actually revoked upon the petitioner’s death, therefore, it had already been revoked by the time NVC sent the first notice. We argued that NVC’s termination under §203(g) was impossible and requested that USCIS reinstate the I-130 for “humanitarian” reasons. The client has now retained us to file his adjustment of status application, using the reinstated I-130 and pursuant to §245(i).
Despite Having Committed SAW Fraud and Two Denials of Her Naturalization Applications, Lawful Permanent Resident from Nigeria Applies for Naturalization a Third Time, Overturns a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) and Gets Naturalized (Case Approved July 21, 2016- Baltimore Field Office).
The client came to us with a complicated immigration history. She had entered the U.S. in the 1980s on a tourist visa. At the time of entry, she was 25 years old. She changed her status to a student so she could go to school. Although she had never worked in agriculture, she was able to find someone who provided false documentation she had been employed as an agricultural worker. By doing so, she was able to obtain a green card through the Special Agricultural Worker (SAW) Program. Over the years, she obtained a medical degree, practiced as a physician, married, and had children.
In 1996, she applied for naturalization without an attorney. At the interview, of her own choice, she decided to tell the truth-that she had never worked under the SAW Program. The officer advised her to withdraw her naturalization application so she signed a statement to withdraw her application. Six years later, she decided to apply for a new green card based on her marriage to a U.S. citizen. This time she filed the case using a well-known attorney. Her marriage-based green card case was denied on the basis that she “was already a lawful permanent resident.”
In 2005, she filed for naturalization a second time, this time with a well-known law firm. She was interviewed, passed the civics and English test, and at the end of the interview, she was given a notice that she would receive a written decision in the mail. Eight months later, she received a Notice of Intent to Deny. Her attorney advised her that he could not respond to the NOID, and instead, advised her to -re-file her marriage-based green card case, and file an I-601, Waiver of Inadmissibility. He advised her to retain an immigration attorney who specialized in waivers. Our client responded to the NOID on her own. She received a denial notice in the mail. Two months later, she received an Oath Ceremony Appointment Notice (it remains unclear why this Oath notice was mailed).
In 2006, she filed Form N-336 to appeal the denial. She appeared for her hearing and at the conclusion, signed a “Record of Sworn Statement” admitting that she did not work as an agricultural worker, was not present in the U.S. during the required period of time, and admitted that she answered “no” to the question on the N-400 that asked whether she had given false information to a government official to obtain an immigration benefit. Afterwards, the officer denied her appeal.
In 2014, client came to Attorney Dawn C. Sequeira to try discuss applying for naturalization a third time. Ms. Sequeira told her that we could either relinquish her green card and start the marriage-based green card case with a waiver, or we could try for naturalization a third time. We all agreed that trying for naturalization would be the best option. Ms. Sequeira filed her case in November of 2014. This time, Ms. Sequeira noted “yes” to the boxes that asked whether my client lied to the government and misrepresented information to obtain an immigration benefit. The application was several inches thick (hundreds of pages). By the time Ms. Sequeira left her old immigration firm, the case had not been decided.
In the first week of August of 2015, USCIS issued a Notice of Intent to Deny that explained how our client committed fraud at the time she obtained her green card and at the time she applied for her 1st and second naturalization applications. Upon the receipt of the NOID, the client’s husband quickly searched the internet to locate Ms. Sequeira and after speaking with her, requested that she resume working on her case. Thrilled at the opportunity, met with the client and spent hours discussing a legal strategy. A NOID response is due within 30 days of issuance so Ms. Sequeira had to act fast.
Under the law, a person who has not obtained lawful permanent resident status lawfully is not eligible to naturalize. Knowing this, Ms. Sequeira used a novel legal strategy. Along with the NOID response, Ms. Sequeira submitted a request for prosecutorial discretion. Ms. Sequeira prepared and filed the NOID response within two weeks. The submission was more than 400 pages and included an attorney memorandum that agreed that our client admitted fraud, but still deserved to naturalize.
In December of 2015, Ms. Sequeira did her first Infopass appointment. The officer said that could expect a decision in February of 2016. In March of 2016, with still no decision issued, Ms. Sequeira did a second Infopass appointment. This time a different officer refused to work on the case since a NOID had been issued and notified the officer that I was requesting a decision. On June 8, 2016, since the case was still pending, Ms. Sequeira contacted the Ombudsman for assistance. On July 14, 2016, the Ombudsman notified us that it had contacted USCIS regarding our client’s case. Finally, on July 21, 2016, we received a personalized email from the adjudicating officer that our client had been scheduled for an Oath Appointment on July 27, 2016.
Ecstatic, Ms. Sequeira personally called our client; her husband answered and she politely informed him that his wife’s case had been approved. Calmly he said, “do you want to tell my wife”? His wife came to the phone asking who it was; Ms. Sequeira stated her name and told her her case had been approved. Before Ms. Sequeira could say tell the client the date of her Oath, the client kept exclaiming “oh my God, oh my God, oh my God…” After composing herself, the client said “my husband is dancing” and a few minutes later, “my husband is still dancing.” Ms. Sequeira told her went over the questions on the back of the Oath Notice and told her how to complete it, question by question.
Our client waited 25 years to become a citizen and it finally happened! This is one of the cases that will remain near and dear to Ms. Sequeira’s heart. We were so grateful that our client took the interest to track Ms. Sequeira down. We commend our client for persevering despite two denials and a NOID and maintaining faith in Ms. Sequeira and Legacy Immigration. This is why we continue to vigorously advocate on behalf of foreign nationals.
Lawful Permanent Resident from Bolivia Overturns Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) and Gets Naturalized (Case Approved June 30, 2016- Washington Field Office).
The client came to us with a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) that had been issued on March 3, 2016. The NOID had a deadline of 30 days (due no later than April 3, 2016). The challenging part of this case was that the client approached (and retained) us on April 28, 2016, well beyond the 30-day deadline. We informed the client that we could either file a NOID response or re-file the case. The client opted for us to file a response to try and get an approval. We requested several documents from the client, including bank statements that had to be mailed to her. Given that the NOID deadline already passed, we believed it was crucial to enclose the bank statements and the extra week.
When we created a timeline, we noticed that we could make an argument for administrative error. We noticed that the NOID had been delivered to our client on April 22, 2016 (22 days beyond the deadline) via certified mail. We knew that it was atypical for USCIS to send a NOID via certified mail; the only reason it might do so is if the mail was returned as undeliverable. We provided evidence that our client received all of the other naturalization-related documents (e.g. receipt notice and biometrics notice). Next we showed that our client had not moved. We proved that our client picked up the envelope within a few days of having received the notice left on her door. We also showed that the client retained our firm within days of receiving the NOID. Finally, we proved that the client worked tirelessly to gather crucial documents.
As we examined the facts of the case, we found out that the client had committed adultery and become pregnant by another man about three months before she received her conditional residence from her marriage to her U.S. citizen husband. A paralegal friend advised her not to disclose her son on her I-751, and not to list her son on her tax returns. The client did so.
When it came time to naturalize, the client listed her son on her naturalization application. USCIS issued the NOID alleging that she committed immigration fraud by not listing her son on her taxes or I-751. With our client’s assistance, we drafted a compelling Declaration. We also drafted declarations for her ex-husband and former mother-in-law. In our client’s documents, we found the Record of Sworn Statement from the first naturalization interview.
We submitted a 9-page brief, which included a section that displayed the Q & A from the Sworn Statement. In that section, we listed each question and answer (over 20 of them), and one-by-one, we proved that each answer our client gave was the truth and provided documentation in support of her answer.
We submitted our 450-page NOID response on May 30, 2016. The officer not only accepted our NOID filing, which was nearly three months late, but also approved the case within 30 days of receiving the NOID response.
The success of this case hinged on being meticulous on every part of the case, which started with noticing USCIS’ administrative error and overcoming it so USCIS would accept a 3-month-late filing.
Since our client was so special to us, we called her to tell her that she was going to be put in line for her Oath Ceremony. She was so emotional over the phone that she began crying. She told us she had such an awful day and was going to quit her job, but this news really made her day. We commend our client for working so hard to give us what we needed. She truly deserves to be a U.S. citizen.
U.S. Citizen’s Relative Petition Approved by USCIS in Thirty Days (Case Approved June 30, 2016- Potomac Service Center).
A U.S. citizen filed a relative petition for her Ghanaian spouse. The couple married in April of 2016. We filed the case in May of 2016. The U.S. citizen had been married before. Neither the U.S. citizen nor her spouse had any children. The petition was filed in May, 2016 and approved the next month, on June 30, 2016. Even though the couple had limited documentation, the documentation that we submitted was compelling enough to obtain an approval without the issuance of a Request for Evidence. The couple will now move onto consular processing.
Jamaican Foreign National Obtains Green Card Without Issue Despite Prior Attorney’s Opinion That She Committed Immigration Fraud (Case Approved June 10, 2016- Baltimore Field Office).
The client, a business professional, has been entering the U.S. on a G visa. She never violated immigration law. During her most recent entry, she obtained a tourist visa. Within less than one month, she married her U.S. fiancé. She wanted to file her green card application before her tourist status expired.
Before coming to our law firm, client visited one attorney who informed her that she had “committed immigration fraud” because she did not enter on a fiancé visa. When client came to our law firm, we asked our client what her intent was at the time she obtained the tourist visa and entered the U.S. She told us it was so she could tour different venues to decide whether to marry in the U.S. or outside of the U.S. We explained that as long as she did not have the intent to immigrate at the time she obtained the tourist visa or arrived at the port of entry, she did not commit immigration fraud.
The point we explained to our client was the 30/60- day rule that by which USCIS and DOS abide. We informed our client that we needed to wait beyond 60 days to file the application. We prepared a thorough application and filed the case. The client decided to attend the interview without our representation. Based on the thoroughness of every application we file, we knew the client would not have a problem. The client called us after the interview and said everything went well. The case was approved the very same day!
Salvadoran Foreign National Obtains Green Card Despite Having Entered Without Inspection and Without Having to Leave the U.S. to Consular Process (Case Approved June 14, 2016- Fairfax Field Office). -PART 2 (See Below for Part 1)
This client has a long immigration history dating back to 2003. Client and her brother paid a coyote to help them enter the U.S. illegally. A coyote helped them enter the U.S. at the Arizona border and advised my client, that if caught by Border Patrol, to give a false name and age. At the time, the client was only 16 years old. Border patrol caught my client, and as instructed, she provided a false name and said she was “18” years old. Border patrol sent both of them back to Mexico. A few days later, my client and her brother re-entered the U.S. illegally for the second time. They eventually settled in Virginia.
Client married a U.S. citizen and veteran. A previous attorney filed the I-130 but neglected to inform our client that she would have to depart the U.S. to consular process, and by doing so, she would trigger the 10-year bar, which would require the filing of waiver application. The I-130 was approved in 2009, but client chose not to depart the U.S.
Client came to us desperate to obtain a green card. She had received a DUI conviction and consequently, was placed into removal proceedings. The first step was to get her out of removal proceedings so they could get off the court’s schedule. Through a prosecutorial discretion request, we terminated removal proceedings.
The next issue was to cure the most recent entry without inspection (EWI). So we made a parole-in-place request, which was approved, despite having the DUI conviction (which is unheard of). The grant of parole-in-place is similar to 245i relief in that it excuses the prior unlawful entry and “paroles” the client into the U.S. Client was extremely nervous about her green card interview. We conducted a thorough phone prep with client and her husband. We advised how she should answer the questions about her two unlawful entries. We advised her to be forthright and answer all questions truthfully. We also advised that she bring her LPR sister along to interpret.
The last step was to ensure our client answered all of the interview questions truthfully but without compromising her case. On the morning of the interview, the client was shaking from nerves. We gave her a piece of gum and told her to relax because “the law was on her side.” Once in the interview, when asked about the method of her “last entry into the U.S.,” we intervened before our client could answer. Due to our intervention, the officer instructed us to remain silent during the questioning. The officer did not revisit the question and proceeded with the rest of the questions. As counsel, we wrote down and question and answer in the event that we had to respond to a Request for Evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny. Client submitted additional documentation.
At the end of the interview, we requested whether the officer would recommend the application for approval. The officer informed us that she had everything she needed and did not see any issues. The case was approved on June 14, 2016. After a 13-year struggle, we called client’s husband, who is in law enforcement, to give him the good news and allowed him to surprise our client by telling her she was now a lawful permanent resident!
Highly Qualified Indian Foreign National Obtains of E-Commerce Position with Multinational, Multi-Million Dollar Employer (Case Approved June 8, 2016- Vermont Service Center).
Upon beneficiary’s request, Employer retained our law firm to file a change of employer petition. After reviewing the position summary and specific job duties, we informed the employer that the proposed title would not qualify for a specialty occupation. We requested authorization (and were granted) wide discretion to revise the title and duties. We amended the title and duties in accordance with the beneficiary’s resume.
As is our procedure with all filings, we took the extra step of conducting an online search and noticed that the employer had an old add that contained the position and duties for the prior position. We informed the employer to either revise the advertisement or remove it in the event that USCIS also conducted an online search.
We prepared and filed the LCA and drafted a strong Employer Support letter that demonstrated the employer’s position in the market as the world’s second largest luggage manufacturer. We advised the employer to file the petition via premium processing. After pending for 12 (twelve) days, the case was approved without issuance of a Request for Evidence. The stakes were high since the beneficiary had already tendered her 2-weeks’ notice. Issuance of a Request for Evidence would not only delay the approval, but could result in a denial, which would leave the beneficiary jobless and would cost the employer an invaluable candidate.
DACA Recipient Becomes a Lawful Permanent Resident Despite Entering the U.S. With a Fake Passport and Fake Visa (Case Approved May 31, 2016 – Baltimore Field Office).
Client, a foreign national from India, first came to the U.S. as a child whose relative presented a fake passport and visa to border patrol agents at the port of entry. Client obtained DACA and traveled under Advance Parole. Client already had an approved relative petition but hired our law firm to file her adjustment of status application, prep her to answer questions at the interview, and attend the interview. We prepped the client for one hour and told her exactly what to say. The officer approved the case the same day.
Salvadoran Foreign National Overcomes Government’s Doubts of a Legitimate Marriage and Naturalizes (Case Approved May 20, 2016- Baltimore Field Office).
Client applied for naturalization without an attorney. After the interview, the officer issued a notice with a 30-day deadline to produce documents of a bona fide marriage. Client retained our firm to file the response. We immediately filed a request for an extension. While the request was pending, we worked tirelessly, on a short deadline, and during the Christmas and New Year holidays to obtain evidence of a bona fide marriage. Client was emailing supporting documentation down to the last minute, before we printed the response, and included the evidence in the filing. We made it to Fed Ex right as the delivery truck pulled up. We also assisted the client in preparing a tailored declaration that explained reasons why certain documentation could not be produced and explained issues within the marriage. Finally, we submitted a legal memorandum that tied together all of the evidence and facts cited in the declaration. The client’s case was approved and took his naturalization oath on June 2, 2016. The interesting point is that due to the urgency of the filing, we actually never met the client in person!
Bolivian Foreign National Who Entered the U.S. Illegally (Without Inspection) Obtains Green Card (Case Approved May 9, 2016- Fairfax Field Office).
Client retained our law firm to file the relative petition and green card application. Foreign national was brought to the U.S. as a child. She later obtained DACA and Advance Parole, then departed the U.S., re-entered using Advance Parole and retained our firm to obtain her green card. The problem in this case was how to have our client answer the officer’s questions about her first, illegal entry. We prepped the client thoroughly and attended the interview. We took diligent notes, writing down every question and answer that was spoken in case of any problems. Foreign national was interviewed on May 9, 2016. Thanks to our 1-hour prep session, the client followed our advice and answered the questions exactly as we advised her to do. The case was approved the same day.
Ghanaian Foreign National, Who Was Allowed Only 30 Days to Remain in the U.S. [By Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)], Successfully Extended Her Stay as a Tourist (Case Approved May 5, 2016- California Service Center).
Client arrived in the U.S. on a tourist visa. At the port of entry, a CBP officer allowed her to remain in the U.S. for only one (1) month, presumably due to her frequent visits to the U.S. on a B-2 visa. Client retained our law firm to file a request to extend her tourist status. We assessed the client’s case and based on her extenuating circumstances, believed that she had a strong case to request an extension. We provided the client with a detailed list of documents to support our legal argument. We also submitted an attorney memorandum explaining our client’s special circumstances that required a 5-month extension. The case was approved without a Request for Evidence just a few weeks before the client wished to depart the U.S. and return to her husband and children.
Panamanian Foreign National Gets Naturalized With Expired Green Card (Case Approved April 22, 2016- Fairfax Field Office).
Client, a Panamanian foreign national, was a Permanent Resident since the 1990s. She was divorced from the U.S. citizen through whom she obtained her green card. This was also her husband’s second marriage. She also had an expired green card. We filed her naturalization application and addressed the expired green card issue. Client attended the interview and her case was approved despite having an expired green card. Client will be sworn on June 9, 2016.
U.S. Citizen Obtains Approval for Indian Foreign National Parents Without a Request for Evidence (Case Approved April 13, 2016- Potomac Service Center).
Client retained our law firm to begin the consular processing cases for both of her Indian parents. We filed the relative petitions on January 19, 2016. Since the cases were filed with all required documentation, both cases were approved on April 13, 2016 without issuance of a Request for Evidence. The cases were transferred to the NVC within less than one (1) month. We are now proceeding with consular processing.
Lawful Permanent Resident Obtains I-130 Approval for Jamaican Spouse in About 4 Months (Case Approved March 7, 2016- California Service Center).
Client retained our law firm to begin the consular processing for his Jamaican wife. We prepared a thorough petition. Client did not have the typical sets of documents (such as joint bank account and joint lease), however, we created a tailored list for his case. Client submitted all of the documents. We filed the case and it was approved without a Request for Evidence. Once the priority date is current in a few months, we will proceed with the consular processing part of the case to obtain a green card for our client’s wife.
Indian Foreign National Gets Naturalized After 21-1/2 Year Struggle (Case Approved in March, 2016- Baltimore Field Office).
Client entered the U.S. with her parents when she was 1-1/2 years old on a B-2 tourist visa. The attorney of client’s mother obtained an employment-based green card for client’s mother, but forgot to file Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status pursuant to the rules of the Child Status Protection Act. As a result, our client was placed into removal proceedings. We first met the client when she was 23 years old and were able to obtain a green card for her through cancellation of removal. We were so touched when the client contacted us to file her N-400, Application for Naturalization. Our client was interviewed in March, 2016. We accompanied her to the interview. Her N-400 was approved and we were requested to have her sworn the same day. We stayed for the entire oath ceremony and took pictures and videos of her since her family could not attend. It was such an emotional day for us since we represented the client from removal proceedings, through the green card stage, and finally through to naturalization. Today she is living the American Dream. Clients like her are the reason that we remain so passionate about our practice of immigration law.
Nepali Foreign National Who Married During Removal Proceedings Obtains Green Card (Case Approved in February, 2016- New York Immigration Court & Baltimore Field Office).
Client entered the U.S. in 2009 on a student visa. In August, 2012, client fell out of valid student status. In March of 2013, client’s previous attorney prepared his Form I-589, Application for Asylum and filed it with USCIS. In February of 2013, the asylum application was referred to Immigration Court in New York. On July 23, 2014, client’s previous attorney filed Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative and Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status with USCIS. On July 29, 2014, the day of the client’s Individual Hearing, client’s previous attorney made an oral Motion for Change of Venue to move the Immigration Court case to Maryland. In May of 2014, client married a U.S. citizen.
After being retained, we sent an email to the client’s previous attorney to request a copy of the file. We received a thorough copy of the asylum application, but the only supporting documentation submitted with the relative petition were the forms, a marriage certificate, and one expired lease. Using the client’s alien number, we called the EOIR automated system and discovered that our client’s next Immigration Court was scheduled for May, 2016. We immediately contacted our client and requested that he and his U.S. citizen wife meet with us. At the consultation, we reviewed the client’s asylum application and advised that it would be best to try and win the marriage-based case. While sifting through the paperwork, we found the green card interview notice, which was scheduled for September 2, 2015. We informed the client that they would most likely have to undergo a “Stokes Interview” where they would be separated and asked detailed marital questions. We also informed them that they needed to gather numerous documents that included photos, joint financials, etc.
The client retained us on August 25, 2015. We worked with the client and his wife and met with them every day to prepare them. At the first prep session, we reviewed the additional documentation that we requested at the consultation. We advised them to gather more documentation. At the second prep session, we gave them several pages of Q &As specifically asked for couples who would undergo a Stokes Interview. We went over each and every question honing their answers and building their comfort level. At the third prep session, we reviewed the documentation a third time. We asked additional questions and this time their answers were concise, direct yet thorough. We knew they would do well at the interview.
We accompanied the client and his wife to the interview. As soon as the client and his wife were seated, we submitted our G-28, Entry of Appearance. Since several of the forms had been completed incorrectly, we submitted revised forms. We also submitted several documents in a neat and organized fashion. The officer questioned our clients thoroughly yet they passed the interview with flying colors. Unfortunately, previous counsel failed to submit the I-693, Medical Exam. In an effort to avoid the issuance of a Request for Evidence, we requested that the officer hold off on issuing the same and informed her we would try and submit a medical exam later that day.
We exited the interview and called several civil surgeons. Unfortunately, the client tested positive for latent TB and had to have a follow-up chest x-ray. The officer later issued a Request for Evidence for the sealed medical exam (RFE). About one month later, the client provided us with the sealed medical exam, which we submitted with the RFE. Our client received his green card in February of 2016. This case was particularly complex because client was in removal, former counsel had filed an inadequate petition fraught with errors on the forms, client married while in removal proceedings (higher presumption of marriage fraud), and we had only five (5) business days to have the client gather several documents and prep them for a Stokes Interview.
Bolivian Foreign National Overcomes Request for Evidence and Gets DACA Renewal and EAD Renewal (Case Approved in February, 2016- Nebraska Service Center).
Client retained us on the evening of January 7, 2016 to file a response to a Request for Evidence with a deadline of January 11, 2016; this left us with one business day to file a response that had to reach Lincoln, Nebraska.
Our client had received an approval of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) with the accompanying Employment Authorization Document (EAD). On Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, our client disclosed that he had received six (6) citations. A Request for Evidence was issued requesting an explanation of these citations and evidence that our client has resolved them.
We had to work extremely fast to obtain the certified copies of final disposition and other supporting documentation. On Friday, January 8th, we obtained certified copies of final dispositions for all of the citations and drafted a memo which addressed each citation and how each citation was non-material to the case. That same day, we sent the response to USCIS, Nebraska Service Center via Fed Ex for delivery on the morning of Monday, January 11th. This case was particularly challenging because we had to obtain the certified copies of final dispositions from Virginia, prepare a legal memorandum, sort through several documents provided by the client, assemble the response, and send it out via Fed Ex all within one (1) day. USCIS received the response on January 11, 2016, and approved our client’s DACA and EAD applications on February 9, 2016.
Latvian Artistic Director of European Repertoire Theatre Approved for O-1B Visa (Case Approved in January, 2016- Vermont Service Center).
We obtained a favorable recommendation from Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) in New York City. Our client, a New York-based performing arts center, filed Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker via premium processing in January, 2016. The case was approved in thirteen (13) days without a Request for Evidence. We filed the DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application and provided the beneficiary with all of the required documents for the consular interview. We provided all of the information to prepare the beneficiary for the consular interview. The beneficiary attended the consular interview in Italy and received an approval on the same day. The beneficiary’s visa was approved the same day and he picked up his passport the next day.
Latvian Support Personnel of European Repertoire Theatre Approved for O-2 Visas- Positions Included: Tour Manager, Light Technician, Sound Operator, Head Stage Technician, Technical Coordinator, Stage Manager (Case Approved in January, 2016- Vermont Service Center).
We obtained a favorable recommendation from The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) in New York City. Our client, a New York-based performing arts center, filed Form I-129 via premium processing in January, 2016. The case was approved in thirteen (13) days without a Request for Evidence. We filed the DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application and provided the beneficiaries with all of the required documents for the consular interview. We provided all of the information to prepare the client for the consular interview (in Italy). The beneficiaries attended the consular interviews in Latvia and received approvals on the same day. The beneficiaries’ passports were ready for pick-up within three days of the approval.
Foreign National Whose H-1B Was Cancelled Taken Out of Removal Proceedings (Case Approved in September, 2015- Baltimore Immigration Court & Baltimore Field Office).
Indian foreign national was placed into removal proceedings in July, 2014 in Maryland. In April, 2015, we obtained an approval of Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative based on marriage to a U.S. citizen. Based on her I-130 approval, we filed a request for prosecutorial discretion, which persuaded DHS to agree to terminate removal proceedings in order to allow our client to adjust status before USCIS. With the government’s consent, we filed a motion to terminate removal proceedings which the Immigration Judge granted in September, 2015. We filed our client’s green card application. Our client recently received work authorization and we are awaiting an interview date.
Salvadoran Foreign National Who Entered Without Inspection (EWI) in 2003 Approved For Parole-in-Place (Case Approved in September, 2015- Fairfax Field Office). -PART 1 (See Above for Part 2)
In 2009, former counsel had obtained I-130 Approval from U.S. citizen spouse but client opted not to file I-601 Waiver of Inadmissibility (which required departure from the U.S. to consular process). In November of 2013, client pled guilty to Driving While Intoxicated in Virginia; this charge led to client being placed in removal proceedings in Virginia. Based on the approved I-130, we filed a Motion to Continue the hearing so we could speak with DHS assigned counsel to agree to administratively close the case. With the government’s consent, we filed a request for prosecutorial discretion which persuaded DHS to agree to administratively close removal proceedings.
When we reviewed the client’s case, we noticed that our client’s U.S. citizen spouse was a retired service member, which made our client eligible for parole-in-place. Since our client entered without inspection, we filed a parole-in-place application in January, 2015. At an Infopass appointment, we spoke to USCIS adjudicating officer who approved the parole-in-place application in September, 2015. With the parole-in-place approval, we avoided having to file the I-601 Waiver of Inadmissibility. Instead, we submitted a request to DHS to agree to terminate removal proceedings since our client was eligible to adjust status. Upon DHS’ agreement, we filed a motion to terminate removal proceedings, which the Immigration Judge granted. This was one of the most complicated cases we handled since we had to overcome unlawful entry, removal proceedings, and a DUI conviction. Client’s green card was approved on June 14, 2016.
Young Indian Foreign National Gets Fiancé Visa Despite Meeting Through Family “Arrangement” (Case Approved in May, 2015- California Service Center).
We filed Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé for our client, a U.S. citizen young professional. Our client visited his fiancé recently and had photos of their relationship, but not much other documentation (joint financials, etc.). We took a “creative” approach and filed the fiancé petition in April, 2015. We received an approval of Form I-129F in less than one month. Within 30 days, we received the notice from the National Visa Center and since had already notified our client of what we would need to submit to the National Visa Center, we submitted the forms and supporting documents within days. Shortly thereafter, we received the interview notice. Our client attended her interview and received an approval of her fiancé visa the same day. She entered the U.S. married our client and is in the process of adjusting her status to lawful permanent resident (LPR). We were thrilled to be able to assist this young couple in building their new life together as a married couple.