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Post image for Green Card Approval after Successful Response to RFE for Filipina Client in Cleveland Ohio

CASE: Adjustment of Status / Response to RFE

CLIENT: Filipina

LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

Our client is from the Philippines with K-1 Fiancée Visa. Once she came to the United States with her K-1 Visa, within 90 days of her entry, she married to her boyfriend (now her U.S. citizen husband). Then, she filed I-485 adjustment of status application by herself in 2016. However, on August 26, 2016, the USCIS issued a Request for Evidence. After the issuance of RFE, our client contacted our office and retained us on October 17, 2016.   

Once retained, we helped our client obtain supporting documents for the adjustment of status and prepared the response brief for RFE. We fully explained the basis of her adjustment of status and her husband’s financial ability through Form I-864. On October 20, 2016, we filed the Response to RFE.

On February 17, 2017, our client’s adjustment of status application was approved. Our client finally becomes a green card holder.

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Post image for Approved I-539 J-1 to B-2 Change of Status for Filipina Client in North Dakota

CASE: Change of Status / I-539
NATIONALITY: Filipina
LOCATION: North Dakota

Our client is from the Philippines who came to the U.S. on a J-1 exchange visitors visa to work in the United States. She consulted with our firm a few weeks before the expiration of her J-1 status. She wanted to continue her stay in the United States for six more months to spend more time here for her medical treatment.  We explained to her that CIS has been more stringent on Visitor status changes.

Upon retention, we asked her to prepare a statement on her plans if her change of status request is granted. We asked her to provide as much detail as possible as we reviewed her drafts several times. We made sure all addresses, contact information, and dates on her statements were complete and accurate. We made sure all her plans were supported by corroborating evidence as exhibits to the application to avoid a possible Request for Evidence by the CIS.  Our office submitted financial documents as well. We filed the I-539 Change of Status Application on February 1, 2016.

However, on November 29, 2016, the USCIS California Service Center issued Request for Evidence and requested our client to submit more evidence to demonstrate her intention to go home (Philippines), reasons for her change of status, and her financial ability to stay in the United States if her change of status is granted. Our office prepared the Response to RFE and filed the response to USCIS on December 27, 2016. Eventually, on January 9, 2017, her change of status request (from J-1 to B-2) was granted and she can stay in the United States until July 2017.

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Post image for J2 IGA (Over 21) Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement, Interested Government Agency Approval for Chinese Client in New York

CASE: J-2 Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement / Over 21-year-old dependent child

NATIONALITY: Chinese

LOCATION: New York, NY

Our client is a citizen of China who came to the U.S. on a J-2 Visa in November 1996.  She came with her 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, she was attending a school and her family moved back to Canada after her father’s research scholar period was ended. Our client came back to the United States in 2014.

She turned 21 in March 2009. This year, her employer wants to file an I-129 petition for our client’s H-1B visa. However, because of her two-year foreign residency requirement, our client cannot change her 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 March 2009.

Our firm was retained to do his J-2 waiver, and on December 14, 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 January 23, 2017, the DOS recommended to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that our client be granted a waiver.  On February 15, 2017, the USCIS issued an I-612 approval notice for our client’s waiver request.

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Post image for J-1 Waiver Through No Objection Statement for Korean Researcher in Columbus Ohio

CASE: J-1 Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement, No Objection Statement

NATIONALITY: Korean

LOCATION: Columbus OH

Our client is from South Korea who came to the U.S. on a J-1 Visa in September 2013.  He came to the U.S. for a post-doctoral program, but his J-1 program made him subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement.  He retained our office to seek legal assistance for his I-140 (National Interest Waiver Classification) and I-485 Adjustment of Status applications. Before we file his I-140/I-485 application simultaneously, he has to get a waiver for his two-year foreign residency requirement.

Once retained, our office promptly prepared and filed a waiver request through the No Objection Statement (NOS) from the Korean Embassy in the United States.

Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu from our office contacted the Korean Consulate General Office in Chicago to pursue the waiver for our client.  The Consulate requested six different documents including a statement of reason for the waiver, the applicant’s resume, a J-1 visa waiver confirmation application, and a letter of reason for obtaining the J-1 waiver.  Most of those documents needed to be written in Korean, so Attorney Yu, a Korean himself, assisted our client in completing those documents.

On October 13, 2016, the J-1 Waiver (Form DS-3035) Application was filed to the Department of State.  We also sent a request to the Korean Embassy to issue a No Objection Statement and recommend this waiver based on the fact that our client is eligible to file a National Interest Waiver petition and adjustment of status application.

The Korean Consulate General in Chicago forwarded our client’s documents to the Korean Embassy in DC.  After that, the Korean Embassy issued a No Objection Statement for our client, and sent this letter to the State Department’s Waiver Review Division.  On December 8, 2016, the Waiver Review Division issued a favorable recommendation based on the No Objection statement. Eventually, on February 1, 2017, the USCIS issued I-612 approval notice and waived our client’s 2 year foreign residency requirement.

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Post image for J2 IGA (Over 21) Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement, Interested Government Agency Approval for Vietnamese Client in Honolulu Hawaii

CASE: J-2 Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement / Over 21-year-old dependent child

NATIONALITY: Vietnamese

LOCATION: Honolulu, HI

Our client is a citizen of Vietnam who came to the U.S. on a J-2 Visa in July 2004.  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 completed his high school and was admitted to the University to pursue his bachelor’s degree. He changed his status from J-2 to F-1.

He turned 21 in 2011. He would like to get a waiver because his prospective employer will file an I-129 petition for our client’s H-1B visa. However, because of her 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 December 2011.

Our firm was retained to do his J-2 waiver, and on October 6, 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 November 6, 2016, the DOS recommended to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that our client be granted a waiver.  On February 1, 2017, the USCIS issued an I-612 approval notice for our client’s waiver request.

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Post image for J2 IGA (Over 21) Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement, Interested Government Agency Approval for Korean Client in North Carolina

CASE: J-2 Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement / Over 21-year-old dependent child

NATIONALITY: Korean

LOCATION: North Carolina

Our client was a citizen of South Korea who came to the U.S. on a J-2 Visa in 2007.  He came with his mother who came on a J-1 Visa for her 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 completed his high school and was admitted to the University to pursue his bachelor’s degree. He changed his status from J-2 to F-1.

He turned 21 in 2011. He would like to get a waiver because his prospective employer will file an I-129 petition for our client’s H-1B visa. However, because of her 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 March 2011.

Our firm was retained to do his J-2 waiver, and on July 12, 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 August 1, 2016, the DOS recommended to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that our client be granted a waiver.  On January 25, 2017, the USCIS issued an I-612 approval notice for our client’s waiver request.

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Post image for H-1B Petition Approval for IT Consulting Company Petitioner in Jacksonville Florida and Indian Computer Systems Analyst Beneficiary in Charlotte North Carolina

CASE: H-1B Visa Petition

PETITIONER: IT Consulting Company in Jacksonville, FL

BENEFICIARY: Indian Systems Analyst in Charlotte, NC

Our client is an IT Consulting Company located in Jacksonville, FL.  They contacted our office in the middle of February last year to seek legal assistance for a possible H-1B petition for their foreign employee.

The beneficiary obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology in Belgium. Beneficiary is currently working in the United States under L-1 status. The proffered position for the Beneficiary is a Systems Analyst which we argued qualifies as a specialty occupation.

Upon retention, our office prepared and eventually filed the H-1B visa petition with various supporting documents on March 31, 2016 via regular processing. This H-1B petition was selected after the lottery.

However, on September 29, 2016, the USCIS issued Request for Evidence (RFE) for our client’s H-1B petition. USCIS requested Petitioner to submit additional evidence to establish that the proffered position to the beneficiary qualified as a “Specialty Occupation”, plus additional questions about the “in-house” nature of the employment. Moreover, the RFE requested our client to prove the Beneficiary’s qualification is sufficient to work as a systems analyst.

We 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. We also provided in-house employment proof.

In the response brief, our office argued that the degree requirement is common to this industry in parallel positions among similar organizations.  We provided evidence that the position of Systems Analyst or Computer Systems Analyst is a common position required by similarly sized IT consulting company.  Also, we provided evidence that Petitioner’s competitors normally require degrees in a specific specialty for closely related positions like that of Systems 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. Furthermore, we included several professional evaluation letters for Beneficiary’s degree and previous work experience to demonstrate that he is qualified. Other documents pertaining to an in-house project was also submitted.

Our office filed a detailed Response to RFE brief with many exhibits to the USCIS Vermont Service Center on December 19, 2016.  Eventually, our client’s H-1B application was approved on January 12, 2017. Now, the beneficiary can work for the Petitioner until August 2019.

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Post image for After Three Interviews and a Notice of Intent to Deny, Green Card Approval Through Marriage, Visa Waiver Entry, For British Client in Miami Florida

Case: I-130/I-485

Client: British

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.

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K-1 Fiancé Visa Approved for Nigerian Client

by JP Sarmiento on January 10, 2017

Post image for K-1 Fiancé Visa Approved for Nigerian Client

CASE: Fiancé Visa

PETITIONER: US Citizen in Cleveland Ohio

BENEFICIARY: Nigerian

PETITION FILED: April 27, 2016

PETITION APPROVED: July 22, 2016

K-1 VISA APPROVED: November 14, 2016

Our client, a US Citizen Petitioner, met her Nigerian fiancé online in 2013. They started their relationship, and she visited Nigeria.  In 2016, the beneficiary proposed and our client decided to file a fiancé petition for her fiancé.  She retained our firm to file a fiancé petition for him on April 15, 2016.

After retention, we informed our client about the necessary supporting documents to demonstrate the bona fide nature of their relationship. We helped her and her fiancé draft letters in support of the fiancé petition, and we filed the petition on April 27, 2016.

On July 22, 2016, little after three months of filing, the I-129F fiancée petition was approved. On November 14, 2016, our client’s fiancé appeared at the U.S. Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria for his K-1 visa interview. The interview went well, and on November 14, 2016, the U.S. Embassy issued his K-1 visa.

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Post image for J-1 Waiver Through Exceptional Hardship Approved for Filipina Client in Seattle Washington

CASE: J-1 Waiver of the Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement, Exceptional Hardship

NATIONALITY:  Filipina

LOCATION: Seattle, WA

Our client came from the Philippines on a J-1 visa in 2008.  She got her J-1 status as a recipient of the 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 for her. However, due to her two-year foreign residency requirement, she has to get the waiver or fulfill the requirement before she files the 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 exceptional 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. Now that our client’s two-year foreign residency requirement is waived, she can file her adjustment of status application along with her husband’s I-130 petition.  

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