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

CASE: Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status

NATIONALITY: Indian                                                                                                        

LOCATION: South Carolina

Our client is from India who came to the U.S. on an F-1 student visa. In December 2016, our client married his current U.S. citizen wife.  He retained our office in February 2017 for his green card application.  Our firm prepared and filed the I-130 Petition and I-485 Adjustment of Status Application on February 27, 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 via conference call as well. On June 20, 2017, our client was interviewed at the Greer, South Carolina USCIS office. Eventually, on June 23, 2017, his green card application was approved.

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Post image for H-1B Extension Approval With Cap Exempt Research Foundation Petitioner in Washington, DC and French Staff Accountant Beneficiary

CASE: H-1B Visa Petition-Extension

PETITIONER: Research Foundation in Washington, D.C.

BENEFICIARY: French Staff Accountant

ISSUES: Cap-Exempt, Research Organization

Our client is one of the leading research associations for the advancement, health, and sustainability of student affairs in the United States. Its National Headquarters in D.C. contacted our office in August of 2016 to seek legal assistance for their foreign employee’s H-1B Extension. The beneficiary is a Staff Accountant for this organization who has been working for Petitioner under an H-1B status. With our office’s legal assistance, he got his H-1B in January 2014.

The beneficiary is the citizen of France, and has a Bachelor’s degree from the United States. The proffered position for the Beneficiary is a Staff Accountant. We showed that this is a “specialty occupation” because the minimum requirement for this position is a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting or its equivalent.

This H-1B case is exempt from the numerical limitation because our client is qualified for cap-exempt petitions since it is a non-profit research organization as defined in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(h)(19)(iii)(C). Under the provisions of INA Section 214(g)(5), “the numerical limitations contained in paragraph (1)(A) shall not apply to any non-immigrant alien issued a visa or otherwise provided status under section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) who –

(B) is employed (or has received an offer of employment) at a nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization.”

The June 6, 2006 Michael Aytes’ Memo (Published by USCIS) on Guidance Regarding Eligibility for Exemption from the H-1B Cap Based on Section 103 of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21) (Public Law 106-313) outlines the fee and cap exemption for nonprofit research organization as defined in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(h)(19)(iii)(C).  Under 8 C.F.R. 214.2(h)(19)(iii)(C), a non-profit research organization is “an organization that is primarily engaged in basic research and/or applied research. Basic research is also research that advances scientific knowledge, but does not have specific immediate commercial objectives although it may be in fields of present or potential commercial interest.  It may include research and investigation in the sciences, social sciences, or humanities.  Applied research is research to gain knowledge or understanding to determine the means by which a specific, recognized need may be met.  Applied research includes investigations oriented to discovering new scientific knowledge that has specific commercial objectives with respect to products, processes, or services.  It may include research and investigation in the sciences, social sciences, or humanities.”

Thus, our office argued that our client-company is qualified as a non-profit research organization as defined in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(h)(19)(iii)(C) so it is exempt from the numerical limitation.

Once retained, our office filed the H-1B visa extension petition with various supporting documents on November 15, 2016.

Eventually, our client’s H-1B application was approved on June 19, 2017, without any Request for Evidence (RFE).  He can now work for his employer for three more years.

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Post image for I-130 and I-485 Marriage Based Petition and Adjustment of Status Approval for Iranian Client in Atlanta Georgia

CASE: Marriage Based Adjustment of Status (I-130/I-485)

NATIONALITY: Iranian

LOCATION: Atlanta, Georgia

Our client was a citizen of Iran who came to the U.S. on a J-2 Visa in October 2006.  He came with his father who came on a J-1 Visa for his research program in the United States. Both were subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement, meaning they had to go back to their home country for two-years before they can apply for permanent residency or some non-immigrant visa such as the H, L, and O visas.

After our client came to the United States, he has remained in the United States beyond the expiration of his authorized stay period.  He turned 21 in 2011.  Later, our client married his current U.S. citizen wife in September 2015. He would like to get a waiver because he can get a green card based on his U.S. citizen wife’s I-130 petition. However, because of his two-year foreign residency requirement, our client cannot change his status in the United States without the fulfillment of requirement or the waiver.

Although J-2 dependents cannot independently apply for a waiver, in cases where a J-2 child reaches 21, the Waiver Review Division may consider requests for waivers on behalf of the J-2 dependent.  The Department of State’s policy allows for that process in instances where the J-2 dependent obtains a divorce form the J-1 principal, the J-1 principal dies, or in cases where the J-2 dependent turns 21, which is our client’s case. In fact, our client turned 21 in 2011.

Our firm was retained to do his J-2 waiver, and on May 26, 2016, the J-2 Waiver application (Form DS-3035 and supporting documents) was filed to the Department of State. We also sent a request to the DOS to be an interested government agency and recommend this waiver based on the fact that our client reached the age of 21 and was not a dependent of a J-1 visa holder anymore.  Eventually, on June 20, 2016, the DOS recommended to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that our client be granted a waiver.  

Once his J-2 waiver was approved, our client retained our office again for his adjustment of status application. Our firm prepared and filed the I-130 Petition and Adjustment of Status Application on August 23, 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 conference calls. On June 13, 2017, our client was interviewed at the Atlanta, Georgia USCIS office.  The interview went well, and eventually, on June 21, 2017, his green card application was approved.

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Post image for Approved Naturalization and Citizenship through N-336 for Liberian Client in Cleveland Ohio

CASE: N-336 (Citizenship / Naturalization / Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings)
APPLICANT: Liberian
LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

Our client filed an N-400 application in February 2015 to the USCIS. He came to the United States from Liberia and obtained his green card in 2009.  However, in July 2015, the USCIS denied his naturalization application and stated that our client failed to establish that he met the Good Moral Character requirement for naturalization. The USCIS especially questioned our client’s previous marriage and mentioned that it was invalid. The USCIS informed him that if he believes that he can overcome the grounds for the denial, he can submit a request for a hearing on Form N-336 within 30 calendar days of the issuance of the denial decision.  He retained our office and sought for legal assistance of his N-336 application.

The N-336 application was filed on August 21, 2015, with all supporting documents including our client’s affidavit, letters from his family, documents to show that our client has supported his daughter from the previous marriage. Our office prepared him before his N-336 interview, and also accompanied him on October 8, 2015, at the Cleveland CIS office. Our client explained about his previous marital life and submitted all of the requested documents. Eventually, on April 27, 2017, his N-336 application was approved. His oath taking already took place and he became a naturalized U.S. Citizen.

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Post image for J-1 No Objection Statement Philippine Waiver Not Based on Marriage or Children Approved for Filipina Client in Little Rock Arkansas

CASE: J-1 Waiver (No Objection Statement)

NATIONALITY: Philippines

LOCATION: Little Rock, AR

Our client came to the United States as an H-1B visa holder to teach in the U.S. in 2007. Her H-1B status reached the maximum 6 years, but her current employer accepted her for a teaching position on a J-1 status. She changed status from H-1B to J-1 and her current employer was willing to file an I-140 employment petition for her permanent residency. However, 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. Her J-1 is subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement. It is much harder to obtain a no objection statement from the Philippines if you don’t have a US Citizen spouse or child, but we thought there was enough factors in her case to warrant 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 4, 2015, the J-1 Waiver Application (Form DS-3035) was filed to the Department of State.  We also sent a request to the Arkansas 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 January 21, 2016, 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 the Waiver Review Division issued a favorable recommendation based on the No Objection statement.  Eventually, on April 10, 2017, the USCIS issued an I-612 approval notice for the waiver.

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Post image for H-1B1 Visa Extension Petition Approval for Education Consulting Organization and Singaporean Market Research Analyst in Pennsylvania

CASE: H-1B1 Extension

PETITIONER: Education Consulting Organization

BENEFICIARY: Singaporean Market Research Analyst

LOCATION: Pennsylvania

Our client is an education consulting organization located in Western Pennsylvania. They contacted our office in January 2017 to seek assistance from our office for their foreign employee’s H-1B1 extension. The beneficiary is from Singapore and she has bachelor’s degree. The beneficiary has more than 10 years professional work experience in the field of management and marketing. The proffered position for the Beneficiary is a Market Research Analyst which we argued qualified as a specialty occupation. Since she is the Singaporean National, she was eligible to get H-1B1 status in 2016.

After retention, our office promptly filed the H-1B1 visa petition with various supporting documents on February 20, 2017 via regular processing. We also gathered supporting documents from both the Petitioner and Beneficiary and did research on the industry, focusing on similarly sized businesses, to demonstrate that a bachelor’s degree is commonly required for this position.

Moreover, in our brief, our office argued that the degree requirement is common to this industry in parallel positions among similar organizations.  Also, we provided evidence that Petitioner’s competitors normally require degrees in a specific specialty for closely related positions like that of Market Research Analyst.  Moreover, our office asserted that the nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a baccalaureate or higher degree in a specific specialty.

Eventually, our client’s H-1B1 application was approved by the USCIS Nebraska Service Center on June 15, 2017. She can work for her employer until March 2018.  

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Post image for Green Card Approval Based on  NIW Approved for Jordanian Pharmaceutical Science Researcher in Virginia

CASE: I-485 / I-140 / National Interest Waiver

CLIENT: Jordanian

LOCATION: Virginia

Our client contacted us in November 2014 about the possibility of doing a National Interest Waiver self-petition. He is a researcher from Jordan and he is an exceptional scientist in the field of Pharmaceutical science. His research focuses on discovery, design, and development of small molecules therapy or technology to treat various cardiovascular diseases and conditions. He has obtained his J-1 hardship waiver through our office’s legal assistance in 2014 and contacted our office again for his NIW.

His significant contributions have placed him at the pinnacle of the field of pharmaceutical science. He has significantly and extensively contributed to the drug discovery, design, and development aspects of glycosaminoglycans and their structural mimetics to treat various diseases including, but not limited to, thrombosis, inflammation, cancer, and several infectious diseases. His researches were highly evaluated by the reviewers of various journals and by colleagues and experts in the field.

Upon review of his credentials and qualifications, our office determined that he was qualified for the National Interest Waiver (NIW) category. Being qualified for NIW is beneficial since you would not need an employer nor family member to petition for you for green card purposes. You’d be eligible for a self-petition and unless you are from China or India, in which case you’d still have to wait for priority dates to be current, you would be eligible to apply for adjustment of status (green card) immediately without any lag in priority dates.

As a primer, NIW applicants must have a master’s or higher degree. The landmark immigration case that discusses the standards for NIWs is Matter of New York State Department of Transportation, 22 I&N Dec. 215 (Comm.1998). This case held that the qualifying applicant must show the following elements in his or her I-140 NIW petition: First, it must be shown that the alien seeks employment in an area of substantial intrinsic merit. Next, it must be shown that the proposed benefit will be national in scope. Finally, the petitioner seeking the waiver must establish that the alien will serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than would an available U. S. worker having the same minimum qualifications.

Our office prepared a 34-page brief for our client’s NIW filing. Our client also obtained 10 letters of recommendation from his colleagues and internationally-recognized scientists. Our office also included his publication records, presentation records, and conference materials in the NIW application. We demonstrated the intrinsic merit of our client’s research in the United States, the national scope of his research, and asserted that our client would serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than would an available U.S. worker having the same minimum qualifications. His NIW application contained 116 exhibits (Exhibit A to LLLLL).

Our office filed his I-140(NIW) petition to the USCIS Texas Service Center on December 26, 2014. However, on May 29, 2016, the USCIS issued Requests for Evidence and requested our client to submit updated ETA-9089 form. On May 31, 2016, our office filed the Response to RFE. On July 12, 2016, his I-140 was approved by the USCIS.  Our office filed his I-485 application along with his I-140 petition concurrently. On June 15, 2017, the USCIS approved his I-485 application as well. Now, he is a green card holder.

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Post image for J-2 Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement, Post-Divorce Interested Government Agency Approval for Indian Client in India

CASE: J-2 Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement Post-Divorce
NATIONALITY: Indian
LOCATION: India

Our client is a citizen of India who came to the U.S. on a J-2 Visa in September 2012.  She came with her husband who held a J-1 Visa as a researcher.  Both were subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement.

Unfortunately, while they are residing in the United States, her marriage did not work out well. Eventually, she got divorced from her ex-husband in December 2016. Our client had an approved I-140 petition for her, but could not file adjustment of status application or immigrant visa petition unless she fulfills two year foreign residency requirement or obtains a waiver.

In March of this year, our client contacted our office. She retained our firm to do her J-2 waiver. On April 3, 2017, the J-2 Waiver (DS-3035) was filed to the Department of State. We also sent a request to the DOS to be an interested government agency and recommend this waiver based on the fact that our client was divorced from the J-1 visa holder.  Eventually, on April 24, 2017, the DOS recommended to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that our client be granted a waiver. Finally, the USCIS issued I-612 waiver approval notice on May 26, 2017.

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Post image for J-2 Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement, Post-Divorce Interested Government Agency, Approved for Turkish Client in Virginia

CASE: J-2 Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement Post-Divorce
NATIONALITY: Turkish
LOCATION: Virginia

Our client is a citizen of Turkey who came to the U.S. on a J-2 Visa in April 2007.  He came with his wife who held a J-1 Visa as a researcher.  Both were subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement. Since 2008, our client changed his status from J-2 to F-1 and pursued his graduate studies in the U.S.

Unfortunately, while they are residing in the United States, his marriage did not work out well. Eventually, he got divorced from his ex-wife.  Before he divorced with his ex-wife, he changed his status from J-2 to F-1. However, he was still subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement.  Our client wants to be petitioned by his prospective employer. Nevertheless, he cannot change his status to other non-immigrant visa in the United States because of the 2 year foreign residency requirement.

In April of this year, our client contacted our office. He retained our firm to do his J-2 waiver. On May 1, 2017, the J-2 Waiver (DS-3035) was filed to the Department of State. We also sent a request to the DOS to be an interested government agency and recommend this waiver based on the fact that our client was divorced from the J-1 visa holder.  Eventually, on May 19, 2017, the DOS recommended to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that our client be granted a waiver. Finally, the USCIS issued I-612 waiver approval notice on June 2, 2017.

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Post image for Immigrant Visa Approval for Filipino Registered Nurse in Manila Philippines

CASE: Immigrant Visa / I-140 (EB-3 Category) / Schedule A / Old Priority Date Retention

EMPLOYER: Nursing / Rehabilitation Center

BENEFICIARY: Filipino Registered Nurse in the Philippines

LOCATION: Petitioner: Des Plaines, IL / Beneficiary: Manila, Phlippines

Our client’s beneficiary is a registered nurse from the Philippines licensed in the state of Illinois. Currently, he is working at a hospital in the Philippines as a nurse. His prospective employer was willing to petition him for a third-preference employment immigrant visa petition (I-140). Our client also has an approved EB-3 I-140 petition with a priority date of December 2008.

Since he is a registered nurse, she is eligible for “Schedule A” classification. The Department of Labor (DOL) maintains a schedule of occupations in its regulations, Schedule A included, for which the individual permanent labor certification procedure is not required. The schedule of pre-certified occupations is referred to as Schedule A, and is included in DOL regulations at 20 CFR 656.10. Based on an occupation’s inclusion on Schedule A, an employer may file an immigrant visa petition (I-140) directly with the (USCIS) without first going to the DOL for a labor certification. Usually, prior to filing I-140 petitions (EB-2 or EB-3 category), the employer must file a Labor Certification to the Department of Labor. However, for Schedule A cases, the employer does not have to go through the labor certification process. The position of Professional Nurses is included in Schedule A.

Also, under 8 CFR 204.5(e):

“Retention of section 203(b)(1), (2), or (3) priority date. A petition approved on behalf of an alien under sections 203(b)(1), (2), or (3) of the Act accords the alien the priority date of the approved petition for any subsequently filed petition for any classification under sections 203(b)(1), (2), or (3) of the Act for which the alien may qualify. In the event that the alien is the beneficiary of multiple petitions under sections 203(b)(1), (2), or (3) of the Act, the alien shall be entitled to the earliest priority date. A petition revoked under sections 204(e) or 205 of the Act will not confer a priority date, nor will any priority date be established as a result of a denied petition. A priority date is not transferable to another alien.”

As mentioned above, our client’s approved I-140 petition was not denied, was actually approved, and was never revoked at any point. Thus, by virtue of 8 CFR 204.5(e), this succeeding I-140 Petition by our client’s prospective employer for our client is entitled to the previous priority date.

Our client has a nursing degree and has several years of related experience. Our firm told him that his potential employer can petition him as a Registered Nurse under the schedule A category. More importantly, since the priority date of his previous I-140 was current, he can eventually apply for his immigrant visa via consular processing. Our office was retained on September 21, 2016 and started on his Prevailing Wage Request.

We filed the I-140 application on December 18, 2015 via regular processing. We included the job offer letter, the notice of filing, his previous I-140 approval notice, and other necessary supporting documents.  Later, we upgraded our client’s I-140 petition to premium processing. Eventually, on June 2, 2016, the I-140 was approved and it retained our client’s old priority date.  

Once his I-140 was approved, our client retained our office again for his immigrant visa processing. Once we were retained, our office filed the immigrant visa packets to the National Visa Center on October 28, 2016, who in turn forwarded the client’s materials to the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines. An interview notice was set for the client at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines. On June 8, 2017, our client appeared at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines. The interview went well, and the Embassy approved and issued his immigrant visa.

With the approved Immigrant Visa, our client can come to the United States immediately, and he will get his green card within two months of entry.

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