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Post image for Marriage Based Green Card Approved for Kenyan Client in Maryland

CASE: Adjustment of Status / J-1 Hardship Waiver

NATIONALITY:  Kenyan

LOCATION: Maryland

Our client came from Kenya in February 1993 on a valid J-1 visa.  He got his J-1 status as a research scholar and received government funding for his research.  His J-1 status made him subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement. Once his J-1 program was completed, he remained in the United States. Later, he married his current U.S. citizen wife and became a father of two U.S. citizen children. Our client would like to file his adjustment of status application along with his wife’s I-130 petition; however, due to the two-year foreign residency requirement, he had to obtain a waiver first.

Unlike our other J-1 clients, our client could not pursue his waiver under No Objection Statement or Interest Government Agency (IGA). As mentioned above, our client also received government funding for his research programs which made his case tougher for the No Objection Statement or IGA waiver route. Our client, though, would like to pursue his J-1 waiver based on exceptional hardship standard. In fact, our client’s U.S. citizen wife is experiencing exceptional medical hardships.

According to 8 C.F.R. Section 212.7(c)(5), “an alien who is subject to the foreign residence requirement and who believes that compliance therewith would impose exceptional hardship upon her spouse or child who is a citizen of the United States… may apply for a waiver on Form I-612.”

Some of the factors in analyzing extreme hardship are as follows: age of the subject, family ties in the U.S. and abroad, length and residency in the U.S., health / medical conditions, conditions in the country of removal – economic and political, financial status – business and occupation, position in / ties to the community. Matter of Anderson, 16 I&N Dec. 596 (BIA 1978).

After he retained our firm, we prepared and filed a waiver request through an exceptional hardship basis. On December 17, 2015, the J-1 Waiver (Form DS-3035) Application was filed to the Department of State.  Thereafter, our office prepared affidavit of our client, extensive brief in support for our client’s J-1 waiver application, and other supporting documents. Our client provided us with extensive medical documents and doctor’s reports for his U.S. citizen wife’s medical conditions.  On December 18, 2015, our office filed I-612 application to the USCIS and asked for them to issue and recommends this waiver based on the fact that our client’s wife would experience exceptional hardship if our client needs to go back to Kenya for two years.

However, on May 11, 2016, the USCIS issued a Request for Evidence (RFE) for our client’s I-612 case. The USCIS asked our client to submit more evidence to demonstrate the extreme hardship to his U.S. citizen wife if he has to go back to Kenya for 2 years.  On August 2, 2016, our office filed the Response to RFE to USCIS along with additional documents to support the claim of financial and medical hardship including income and expenses, plus more recent medical documents of his U.S. citizen wife evidencing the hardship. Eventually, the USCIS approved his I-612 waiver on October 26, 2016.

Once his J-1 waiver was approved, our client retained our office again for his green card application. Our firm prepared and filed I-130 petition and I-485 adjustment of status application on December 6, 2016. Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, fingerprint appointment, and work permits all came on time. Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared our clients through the conference calls. On July 25, 2017, our client was interviewed at the Baltimore, MD USCIS office.

However, on August 4, 2017, the USCIS issued the Request for Evidence for our client after the interview. The USCIS requested our client to submit the certified court disposition of his previous criminal record. Our client submitted the record to the USCIS on October 19, 2017.

Eventually, on November 2, 2017, his green card application was approved.  

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Post image for I-130 and I-485 Marriage Based Petition and Adjustment of Status Approval for Filipina Client in Montana

CASE: I-130 / I-485 Adjustment of Status

NATIONALITY:  Filipina

LOCATION: Montana

Our client came from the Philippines on a J-1 in September 2014 to work as a teacher. Based on her DS-2019, she was subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement.

In August 2016, she got married to her U.S. citizen husband and later on consulted with our firm for her J-1 visa waiver prior to applying for adjustment of status. If someone is subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement, he or she cannot get a green card in the United States until he or she fulfills the requirement or obtains a waiver.

Upon retention, our office promptly prepared a waiver request through a No Objection Statement (NOS) from the Philippine Embassy in the United States and eventually the EVP in the Philippines.

On December 7, 2016, the J-1 Waiver Application (Form DS-3035) was filed to the Department of State.  We also sent a request to the Montana State Government to get authentication for the necessary documents.  Later, these authenticated documents and No Objection Application (for the Philippines Government) were sent to the Philippines Consulate General in Chicago for further authentication.  On March 23, 2017, our office sent our client’s materials to the Waiver Review Committee in Manila, Philippines.  Then, the Waiver Review Committee forwarded the materials and favorable recommendation to the Philippine Embassy in D.C. who eventually issued a No Objection Statement.

On June 22, 2017, the Waiver Review Division issued a favorable recommendation based on the No Objection statement.  Eventually, on July 6, 2017, the USCIS issued an I-612 approval notice for the waiver.

Once her J-1 waiver was approved, our client retained our office again for her adjustment of status application. Our firm prepared and filed the I-130 Petition and Adjustment of Status Application on July 28, 2017.  Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, fingerprint appointment, and work permits all came on time. Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared our clients through conference calls. On November 2, 2017, our client was interviewed at the Helena, Montana USCIS office.  The interview went well, and eventually, on the same day of the interview, her green card application was approved.

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CASE: I-130 / I-485 Adjustment of Status

NATIONALITY:  Filipina

LOCATION: Seattle, WA

Our client came from the Philippines on a J-1 visa in 2008.  She got her J-1 as a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship in the United States and her J-1 status made her subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement. Later, she changed her status from J-1 to F-1 and maintained her non-immigrant visa status.

In 2012, she married her U.S. citizen husband. She would like to file her adjustment of status application along with her husband’s I-130 petition, however, due to her two-year foreign residency requirement, she had to get a waiver or fulfill the requirement before she files an adjustment of status application.  

Unlike our other J-1 clients, our client could not pursue her waiver under No Objection Statement or Interest Government Agency (IGA). Our client also received government funding (Fulbright Scholarship) for her research programs which made her case tougher for the No Objection Statement or IGA waiver route. Our client, though, would like to pursue her J-1 waiver based on exceptional hardship standard. In fact, our client’s U.S. citizen husband is experiencing exceptional medical hardships.

According to 8 C.F.R. Section 212.7(c)(5), “an alien who is subject to the foreign residence requirement and who believes that compliance therewith would impose exceptional hardship upon her spouse or child who is a citizen of the United States… may apply for a waiver on Form I-612.”

Some of the factors in analyzing extreme hardship are as follows: age of the subject, family ties in the U.S. and abroad, length and residency in the U.S., health / medical conditions, conditions in the country of removal – economic and political, financial status – business and occupation, position in / ties to the community. Matter of Anderson, 16 I&N Dec. 596 (BIA 1978).

After she retained our firm, we prepared and filed a waiver request through an exceptional hardship basis. On September 10, 2015 the J-1 Waiver (Form DS-3035) Application was filed to the Department of State.  Thereafter, our office prepared affidavit of our client, extensive brief in support for our client’s J-1 waiver application, and other supporting documents. Our client provided us with extensive medical documents and doctor’s reports for her U.S. citizen husband’s medical conditions.  On September 24, 2015, our office filed I-612 application to the USCIS and asked for them to issue and recommends this waiver based on the fact that our client’s husband would experience exceptional hardship if our client needs to go back to the Philippines for two years.

Eventually, the USCIS approved her I-612 waiver on December 15, 2016.

Once her J-1 waiver was approved, our client retained our office again for her adjustment of status application. Our firm prepared and filed the I-130 Petition and Adjustment of Status Application on January 4, 2017.  Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, fingerprint appointment, and work permits all came on time. Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared our clients through conference calls. On October 26, 2017, our client was interviewed at the Seattle, Washington USCIS office.  The interview went well, and eventually, on the same day of the interview, her green card application was approved.

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Post image for Marriage Based Petition and Adjustment of Status Green Card Approval for Ghanaian Client in Columbus Ohio

CASE: Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status

NATIONALITY: Ghanaian                                                                                                   

LOCATION: Columbus, OH

Our client is from Ghana who worked in the United States under an H-1B status. In August 2016, our client married his current U.S. citizen wife.  He retained our office in September 2016 for his green card application.  Our firm prepared and filed the I-130 Petition and I-485 Adjustment of Status Application on October 3, 2016. Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, fingerprint appointment, and work permits all came on time. Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared our clients via conference call. On January 23, 2017, our client was interviewed at the Columbus Ohio USCIS office.

The USCIS issued a Request for Evidence (RFE) on August 24, 2017 for our client. The RFE letter requested our client to submit more “bona fide” marital documents between him and his U.S. citizen wife. On October 3, 2017, our office filed a Response to RFE to the USCIS with a joint lease, joint bank accounts, joint insurance, joint tax documents, and multiple affidavits from their family and friends regarding the bona fideness of their relationship.  Eventually, on October 14, 2017, his green card application was approved.

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Post image for Marriage Based Petition and Adjustment of Status Green Card Approval for Indian Client in Tennessee

CASE: Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status

NATIONALITY: Indian                                                                                                        

LOCATION: Tennessee

 

Our client is from India who last entered the U.S. on an H-1B visa. In December 2016, our client married his U.S. citizen wife.  He retained our office in January 2017 for his green card application.  Our firm prepared and filed the I-130 Petition and I-485 Adjustment of Status Application on February 14, 2017.  Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, fingerprint appointment, and work permits all came on time. Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared our clients via conference calls. On October 14, 2017, our client was interviewed at the Memphis, TN USCIS Field office. Eventually, on October 20, 2017, his green card application was approved.

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Post image for Marriage Based Petition and Adjustment of Status Green Card Approval for Thai Client in Cleveland Ohio

CASE: Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status

NATIONALITY: Thai                                                                                                    

LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

Our client is from Thailand who came to the U.S. on a B-2 visitor’s visa in October 2006. After his authorized stay period expired, he remained in the United States. In September 2016, our client married his current U.S. citizen wife.  He retained our office on January 31, 2017 for his green card application.  Our firm prepared and filed the I-130 Petition and I-485 Adjustment of Status Application on April 24, 2017. Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, fingerprint appointment, and work permits all came on time. Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared our clients at our office as well. On October 20, 2017, our client was interviewed at the Cleveland Ohio USCIS office. Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu from our office also accompanied our clients as well. Eventually, on the same day of the interview, his green card application was approved.

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Post image for Marriage-Based Petition and Adjustment of Status Green Card Approval for Canadian Client in Ohio

CASE: Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status
CLIENT: Canadian
LOCATION: Ohio

Our client came to the United States as a visitor from Canada.  She married a U.S. Citizen husband in May 2017 and retained our office on June 6, 2017 for her adjustment of status application.  Our firm prepared and filed the I-130 Petition and I-485 Adjustment of Status Application on July 10, 2017.  Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, fingerprint appointment, and work permit all came on time.  Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared our clients at our office.  On October 16, 2017, our client was interviewed at the Cleveland, Ohio USCIS. Attorney JP Sarmiento accompanied them at the interview as well.  On October 18, 2017, her green card application was approved.

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Post image for Successful Adjustment of Status after Motion to Remand with BIA, I-130 Approval, Termination of Removal Proceedings for Moldovan Client in Cleveland Ohio

CASE: I-485 adjustment of status
CLIENT: Moldovan
LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

Our client came to the United States on a valid J-1 visa from Moldova in June 2007. He remained in the United States for a time longer than permitted. Later, he was placed in deportation proceedings due to his overstay and a Notice to Appear was issued. His asylum relief was denied by the Immigration Judge in April 2012, but an appeal was timely filed.  The BIA appeal was pending when our client contacted our office in March 2014.

While the BIA appeal was pending, our client married his U.S. citizen wife in February 2013. His wife filed an I-130 petition for our client on March 7, 2013.  He contacted our office for legal assistance for Motion to Remand and possible adjustment of status if the Motion is granted.  We explained to him that the Motion to Remand procedure and he retained our office on April 8, 2014. On April 17, 2014, we prepared and filed a Motion to Remand for Adjustment of Status Based on a Pending I-130 on behalf our client. You typically want the I-130 to be approved prior to filing the Motion to Remand, but by submitting the actual I-130 application itself and its supporting documents attached to the Motion, you can show that it is approvable.

In Matter of Coelho, 20 I&N Dec. 464, 473 (BIA 1992), the BIA found that a motion to remand must conform to the same standards as a motion to reopen, where the respondent presents new evidence which would likely change the result of the case. In a Motion to Reopen before the BIA, the Applicant must show that the evidence is material, unavailable at time of original hearing, and could not have been discovered or presented at the original hearing. 8 C.F.R. § 1003.2(c)(1). In this case, the adjustment of status relief was not available for our client at his previous hearing since he was not married his U.S. Citizen wife.  

Our office filed a Motion to Remand for Adjustment of Status based on a pending I-130 to the BIA on April 17, 2014. We argued that our client will be eligible for adjustment of status once the I-130 is approved since he had a legal entry to the U.S., has no criminal records, and has no other grounds of inadmissibility. We also attached lots of bona fide marital evidence between our client and his U.S. citizen wife to demonstrate the I-130 petition is approvable.

While his motion was pending before the BIA, he and his wife appeared for the I-130 interview on May 5, 2014. Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared our client at our office.  On the day of our client’s I-130 interview, our attorney accompanied them at the Cleveland, OH USCIS. The interview went well, I-130 petition was approved for our client.

On June 6, 2014, the BIA granted our motion, reopened our client’s case, and the record was remanded for further proceedings.

His case was remanded and scheduled for master calendar hearing on July 12, 2017. With the approved I-130 petition, our office filed a request to join in a Motion to terminate proceedings with the I-485 application and supporting documents on July 3, 2017. The DHS counsel in Cleveland, OH agreed to terminate our client’s proceedings. Ultimately, the Immigration Judge granted the Motion to terminate without prejudice on July 12, 2017 hearing.  

After his removal proceeding was terminated, our client retained us again for his I-485 adjustment of status application.  Our firm prepared and filed the I-485 Adjustment of Status Application on August 2, 2017. Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, fingerprint appointment, and work permit all came on time. Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared our clients. On October 19, 2017, our client was interviewed at the Cleveland, OH USCIS. Attorney JP Sarmiento accompanied our clients as well.  After the interview, his I-485 application was approved.  Now, our client became a green card holder.

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Post image for Marriage Based Petition and Adjustment of Status Green Card Approval for Filipina Client in Southern California

CASE: Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status

NATIONALITY: Filipina                                                                                                        

LOCATION: Santa Ana, CA

Our client is from the Philippines who came to the U.S. on an E-1 dependent visa. Later, she changed her status from E-1 to F-1 to pursue her undergraduate studies. In November 2016, our client married her current U.S. citizen husband.  She retained our office in December 2016 for her green card application.  Our firm prepared and filed the I-130 Petition and I-485 Adjustment of Status Application on January 5, 2017.  Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, fingerprint appointment, and work permits all came on time. Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared our clients via conference calls. On October 13, 2017, our client was interviewed at Santa Ana, California USCIS Field office. Eventually, on October 18, 2017, her green card application was approved.

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Post image for Visa Waiver Green Card Approval Through Marriage for British Client in Dayton Ohio

Case: I-130/I-485
Applicant/Beneficiary – British
Location: Dayton, OH

Our client entered the United States in February 2017 from the United Kingdom under the visa waiver program. As a Visa Waiver Entrant, he was only authorized to remain in the United States only for 90 days.  In October 2016, our client and his U.S. citizen girlfriend married in the United States. Our client went back to the United Kingdom and came back to visit his wife in February 2017.

In March 2017, they contacted our office and consulted with us regarding the adjustment of status. After the consultation, they retained our office on March 21, 2017.  One main issue in his green card application through marriage was the fact that he came to the United States under the visa waiver program.   As our office wrote in our previous success story with a similar issue,  under the visa waiver program, citizens of certain countries can enter the U.S. for 90 days without a visa with the condition that the visitor waives his or her right to contest removal (other than on the basis of asylum).  The “no-contest” provision of the Visa Waiver Program is fundamental; if someone could enter under the VWP and then contest removability, it would defeat the whole purpose of the Program which is to make it easy for certain nationals to come to the United States to visit and then leave without all the red-tape involved in visa issuance.

Since our client resided in Dayton, Ohio, his application had a better chance compared to states under the 9th Circuit (see Momeni v. Chertoff).  However, it was quite foreseeable that the USCIS field office will exercise its discretion to deny his application because of his visa waiver entry.  

Nevertheless, our office filed the I-130 Petition and I-485 Adjustment of Status Application on May 2, 2017.  Our office requested the CIS to exercise favorable discretion in granting adjustment of status and argued that the application was filed before his authorized stay period was expired. Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, the fingerprint appointment, and the work permit all came on time. There was no Request for Evidence.  Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared via conference call. On September 28, 2017, our client was interviewed at the Cincinnati, Ohio USCIS Field Office.  Despite the visa waiver issue, the USCIS officer approved his green card application on the same day of the interview.  Now, our client becomes a green card holder.

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