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Post image for 245i Adjustment of Status Approvals for Filipino Couple in North Carolina

CASE: Adjustment of Status / 245(i)

CLIENT: Filipino

LOCATION: North Carolina

Our Filipino client came to the U.S. on a B-2 visa in March 2015. Later, his authorized status expired and he overstayed his status. In September 2015, his wife came to the United States on a valid B-2 visa and at the time of her adjustment of status filing, she was still in status.

Our client contacted us around September of 2015 for consultation and sought legal assistance for their adjustment of status. After consultation, we determined that he is eligible for adjustment of status under INA 245(i) and the priority date for his case was current in September 2015.

His brother filed an I-130 petition for him back in 1992. As some of you know, priority dates for Philippine nationals under the family-based immigration category F4 are more retrogressed than other countries. The I-130 petition was approved by the INS in 1992.  However, he could not apply for his green card until his priority date became current.  Therefore, he had to wait for more than 20 years in order to even apply for his green card.

Section 245(i) of the INA allows certain foreign nationals to become permanent residents of the United States despite entering without inspection (EWI) or overstaying (if beneficiary of petitions filed not by an immediate relative). Immigrants are barred from adjusting their status if they entered the United States without first being inspected and admitted by a Customs and Border Patrol officer and if they have either failed to maintain lawful status or been unlawfully employed in the country, with certain exceptions. Section 245(i) was first added to law in 1994 to allow certain people who otherwise would not be eligible to adjust their status to be able to do so upon payment of a $1,000 fine.

Four years later, on January 14, 1998, Congress phased Section 245(i) out of law. Immigrants and their families who had already begun the process of changing their status under Section 245(i) by January 14, 1998 were grandfathered into the section’s benefits. However, this left thousands of otherwise qualified persons who had not begun the process unable to adjust status in the United States. They could not return to their countries to begin the legal process of obtaining their permanent residency in the United States also without being subject to either a three- or a 10-year bar upon returning to the United States.

On December 21, 2000, Congress extended the qualifying date for Section 245(i) benefits to April 30, 2001. This law allowed immigrants who had labor certifications or visa petitions filed on their behalf between 1998 and April 30, 2001, to qualify for adjustment of status. Those who were beneficiaries of petitions filed prior to January 14, 1998 could still adjust despite an EWI record, and those people do not have to meet the December 2000 physical presence requirement.

On September 30, 2015, our office filed an I-485 adjustment of status application under 245(i) for our client and his wife. 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 April 18, 2016, our clients were interviewed at the Charlotte, North Carolina USCIS office. After the interview, our client and his wife’s green card applications were approved.

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Post image for I-130 Motion to Reopen Nunc Pro Tunc Approval for Indian Client in California

CASE: I-130 Motion to Reopen Nunc Pro Tunc

CLIENT: U.S. Citizen Petitioner in California / Indian Beneficiaries in India

LOCATION: California

Our client is a naturalized U.S. citizen who resides in California. In August 2004, our client filed three I-130 petitions for her siblings who are in India.  Shortly after the filing of the I-130 petitions, our client received a receipt notice from the USCIS. Since the time that our client filed the I-130s, she has never moved and has never received any Requests for Evidence or decisions in the mail.

After she filed the petition, for the next nine years, she has always called the USCIS Customer Service Center to inquire about the status of the I-130 petitions. The CIS customer service personnel have always told our client that there were all in process. Petitioner has contacted the USCIS Customer Service Center throughout the last 9 years (from 2004 to 2013), and the only answer she got from the USCIS was that the Petition was still pending.

In August of 2013, our client made an Infopass appointment with the local USCIS office and went. When she went to the Infopass appointment, the officer there informed her that one of her cases was denied due to abandonment in 2009 and two of her I-130 petition cases were administratively closed in 2009 as well.

Over the past 9 years, our client and her siblings were waiting for the CIS decision with regard to the I-130 petition. Our client timely filed all requested documents at the time of initial filing of the I-130. There were no Requests for Evidence or denial decisions received in the mail. Despite her efforts, our client never received any succeeding notice about the I-130 petition. Only in August 2013 did she find out about the real processing status of the 3 Petitions when she went for an Infopass.

Our client became so disappointed and sought legal assistance to resolve this matter.

She retained our office on September 18, 2013 and our office promptly prepared and filed a Motion to Reopen to the USCIS the three petitions and asked the Service to exercise its discretion in re-opening nun pro tunc the cases beyond the filing deadline since our client has never been served nor informed by the CIS with regard to the administrative closure of the I-130 petitions.

Moreover, our Motion requested the CIS to summarily approve the I-130 petition for our client’s siblings because our client and her siblings have been waiting for the CIS decision for more than 9 years, without any decision from the USCIS.

The Motion noted that it would be extremely unfortunate and unfair for our client and her siblings if she has to re-file the I-130 petitions again since the priority date will be moved and they would have to wait another ten years.

Our office filed the Motions with Form I-290Bs on September 24, 2013.

On February 17, 2014, the USCIS California Center informed us that the cases are transferred to National Visa Center.

On February 25, 2014, the USCIS moved to reopen the matter, and also approved the two of her three I-130s with the old priority date.

Two of client’s 9-year pending I-130 petitions finally got an approval, and once priority dates become current, her siblings can file an Immigrant Visa in India, without having to re-file another I-130 and wait 10 more years.

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Post image for 245i Adjustment of Status Approval for Filipina Client in Virginia

CASE: Adjustment of Status / 245(i)

CLIENT: Filipina

LOCATION: Virginia

Our Filipina client came to the U.S. on an H-1B visa in February 2000. After August 2003, her H-1B visa expired and she overstayed her status. Currently, she resides in Virginia.

Our client contacted us around October of 2010 for consultation and sought legal assistance for her and her minor son’s adjustment of status. After consultation, we determined that she is eligible for adjustment of status under INA 245(i) and the priority date for her case was current for November 2010. Our client retained us on October 14, 2010.

Prior to retaining our firm, her sister filed an I-130 petition for her back in 1990. As some of you know, priority dates for Philippine nationals under the family-based immigration category are more retrogressed than other countries. The I-130 petition was approved by the INS in 1990.  However, she could not apply for her green card until her priority date became current.  Therefore, she had to wait for more than 20 years in order to even apply for her green card.

Section 245(i) of the INA allows certain foreign nationals to become permanent residents of the United States despite entering without inspection (EWI) or overstaying (if beneficiary of petitions filed not by an immediate relative). Immigrants are barred from adjusting their status if they entered the United States without first being inspected and admitted by a Customs and Border Patrol officer and if they have either failed to maintain lawful status or been unlawfully employed in the country, with certain exceptions. Section 245(i) was first added to law in 1994 to allow certain people who otherwise would not be eligible to adjust their status to be able to do so upon payment of a $1,000 fine.

Four years later, on January 14, 1998, Congress phased Section 245(i) out of law. Immigrants and their families who had already begun the process of changing their status under Section 245(i) by January 14, 1998 were grandfathered into the section’s benefits. However, this left thousands of otherwise qualified persons who had not begun the process unable to adjust status in the United States. They could not return to their countries to begin the legal process of obtaining their permanent residency in the United States also without being subject to either a three- or a 10-year bar upon returning to the United States.

On December 21, 2000, Congress extended the qualifying date for Section 245(i) benefits to April 30, 2001. This law allowed immigrants who had labor certifications or visa petitions filed on their behalf between 1998 and April 30, 2001, to qualify for adjustment of status. Those who were beneficiaries of petitions filed prior to January 14, 1998 could still adjust despite an EWI record, and those people do not have to meet the December 2000 physical presence requirement.

On November 10, 2010, our office filed their I-485 adjustment of status applications under the 245(i) category for our client and her son.  However, the priority date for the F4 category Philippines backlogged. She got work permits though throughout the duration of the 485’s pendency. Our client had to wait until the priority date becomes current. In February 2014, her priority date became current. Eventually, our client and her son’s adjustment application were approved by the USCIS on February 6. 2014.  After a long wait, our client is finally a green card holder.

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Post image for Deceased Petitioner and Substitution Issue PL 111-83 INA 204l Adjustment of Status Approval for Filipina Client in Chicago Illinois

CASE: Adjustment of Status / Public Law 111-83 / INA Section 204(l) Amendment Issue (less stringent humanitarian reinstatement process) / 245(i)

CLIENT: Filipina

LOCATION: Chicago, IL

Our Filipina client came to the U.S. on a B-2 visitor’s visa in May 1993 and overstayed her status

Prior to retaining our firm, her sister filed an I-130 petition for her back in 1990. As some of you know, priority dates for Philippine nationals under the family-based immigration category are more retrogressed than other countries. The wait is more than 20 years!

The I-130 petition was approved by the INS in 1990.  However, she could not apply for her green card until her priority date became current.  Therefore, she had to wait for more than 20 years in order to even apply for her green card. Unfortunately, her sister (I-130 Petitioner) passed away before she was eligible to apply for her green card. 

Before 2009, through the more stringent humanitarian reinstatement process, the INS (USCIS now) allowed the foreign national’s spouse, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sibling, child who is at least 18 years of age, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, or legal guardian to become a substitute sponsor if a family-based visa petitioner dies following the approval of the I-130 petition but before the foreign national obtains permanent residence. Even if the I-130 had been approved, it would be deemed revoked once the petitioner dies. At that time, reinstatement of the revoked petition was not automatic despite a substitute sponsor being available. And the process was still a matter of discretion. The INS had to determine whether “humanitarian reinstatement” was appropriate based on the individual facts of the case.  Thus, the applicant must demonstrate exceptional hardship and request for humanitarian reinstatement if his or her petitioner is deceased before the petition gets reinstated.

Public Law 111-83 (2009) eased this burden for beneficiaries whose petitioners died prior to their adjustment of status application.  The new regulation does not require “humanitarian reinstatement” anymore.  Therefore, as long as they meet certain qualifications such as having physical presence in the U.S. at the time of the petitioner’s death and also having a qualified substitute sponsor for these beneficiaries, the beneficiaries are eligible to adjust.

Our client’s US citizen brother-in-law (husband of deceased petitioner) was willing to become a substitute sponsor and she met the physical presence requirement. On October 19, 2010, our office filed an I-485 adjustment of status application under the 245(i) category. We of course cited PL 111-83. On February 3, 2011, our client appeared at the Chicago CIS office for her adjustment interview.  Attorney JP Sarmiento accompanied her at the interview. Attorney Sarmiento also explained the new regulations and explained to them that the old humanitarian reinstatement standards were not needed anymore.

However, the F4 priority date for the Philippines backlogged. Our client had to wait until the priority date became current. In October 2013, her priority date became current. Eventually, our client’s adjustment application was approved by the USCIS on October 7. 2013.  After a long wait, our client is finally a green card holder.

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CASE: I-130 Motion to Reopen Nunc Pro Tunc
CLIENT: Indian
LOCATION: Ohio

Our client is a naturalized U.S. citizen who resides in Ohio. In April 2001, our client filed an I-130 petition for his brother who is in India.  About a year later, our client received mail from the USCIS requesting him to submit his brother’s birth records.  Upon receipt of the letter, our client timely mailed the requested documents to the Nebraska Service Center.  However, he had not heard from the USCIS with regard to the status of the I-130 petition.

In November, 2003, our client contacted the CIS Nebraska Service Center to ask about the status of the I-130 petition.  In response to his request, USCIS informed him that his records were located at the Cleveland District Office.  Thereafter, he contacted the Cleveland District office.  However, he never got a response from the District office.  While disappointed, he kept sending letters to the CIS Nebraska Center to request the status of the I-130 petition.  Despite his efforts, he did not get any response from the USCIS.  Moreover, from the time he filed the I-130 in 2001 to 2006, he never moved to a different address.

On September 16, 2010, after following up again with the CIS Nebraska Service Center, Petitioner received an email and the Service informed him that the I-130 petition was administratively closed on September 22, 2005 and the petition was no longer pending. Our client became so disappointed and sought legal assistance to resolve this matter.  He retained our office on October 13, 2010 and Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu promptly prepared and filed a Motion to Reopen to the USCIS and asked the Service to exercise its discretion in re-opening nun pro tunc the case beyond the filing deadline since our client has never been served nor informed by the CIS with regard to the administrative closure of the I-130 petition.

Moreover, the Motion requested the CIS to summarily approve the I-130 petition for our client’s brother because our client and his brother have been waiting for the CIS decision for more than 9 years, and since he also responded to the purported Request for Evidence.  The Motion noted that it would be extremely unfortunate and unfair for our client and his brother if he has to re-file the I-130 petition again since the priority date will be moved and he would have to wait another ten years.

After we filed the Motion, his case was transferred to the Nebraska Service Center.  On March 1, 2011, the USCIS Nebraska Center informed us that the USCIS moved to reopen the matter, and also approved the I-130.  Our client’s 9-years pending I-130 petition finally got an approval, and once priority dates become current, his brother can file an Immigrant Visa in India, without having to re-file another I-130 and wait 10 more years.

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