Location: Miami, FL
Our client entered the United States in November 2013 from the United Kingdom under the visa waiver program. He came here to visit his U.S. citizen girlfriend (now his wife). As a Visa Waiver Entrant, he was only authorized to remain in the United States only for 90 days.
Later, in February 2014, our client and his U.S. citizen girlfriend married in the United States. They contacted our office, and retained us after they got married. 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 Miami, FL, 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 February 28, 2014. 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. Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared our clients via conference calls. On August 17, 2014, our client was interviewed at the Miami, FL USCIS Field Office.
After the interview, his adjustment of status application was pending for a while. Later in 2015, the USCIS Miami Field Office scheduled an additional interview for our client. On April 10, 2015, Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu accompanied our client and his wife at the Miami, FL USCIS office his second interview. The interview took more than three hours and the officer thoroughly asked our client and his wife about the bona fide nature of the marriage and some martial issues that the officer had suspicions on.
On January 20, 2016, the USCIS issued a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). The NOID claimed that there was substantial and probative evidence that the marital union between the Petitioner and Beneficiary is not bona fide. Moreover, the NOID points out that the submitted documentation of Petitioner and Beneficiary does not establish a bona fide nature of their marriage.
In response to the USCIS’s NOID, our office helped our clients draft an extensive affidavit. Multiple supporting documents and an affidavit from our client were all included as well as letters from their friends and neighbors, joint utility bills, joint insurance, and several pictures of our client and his wife in several occasions with different people. Several legal authorities were cited based on particular issues discussed, and on February 5, 2016, we filed the Response to NOID prior to the 30-day deadline.
Nonetheless, the USCIS Miami Field Office scheduled additional interview for our client to appear. On January 12, 2017, Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu accompanied our client and his wife again at the Miami, FL USCIS office his third interview. Despite the visa waiver issue and the NOID, the USCIS officer finally approved his green card application on the same day. Now, our client becomes a green card holder.