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Post image for Green Card Approval Through Marriage, Visa Waiver Entry for German Client in Memphis, TN

Case: I-130/I-485
Applicant/Beneficiary – German
Location: Memphis, TN

Our client entered the United States in November 2010 from Germany 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 April 2011, our client and his U.S. citizen girlfriend married in the United States. His wife contacted our office, and they retained our office on July 8, 2011.  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 Memphis, Tennessee, 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 November 8, 2012.  Our office requested the CIS to exercise favorable discretion in granting adjustment of status. 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 our clients. On February 19, 2013, our client was interviewed at the Memphis, Tennessee USCIS Field Office.  Despite the visa waiver issue, the USCIS officer approved his green card application on the same day.  Now, our client is a green card holder.

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For other marriage-based green card success stories, please click here.

For other success stories, please click here.

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CASE: N-400 (Citizenship / Naturalization)
APPLICANT: German
LOCATION: Ohio
ISSUES: Out of Country Travels
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Our client contacted us in September 2010 to inquire about applying for naturalization.  She came to the United States from Germany in the eighties, married her U.S. citizen spouse, and obtained her green card through this. Their marriage was bona fide at inception but it ended in 2009. But the divorce had no adverse effect on her naturalization because she has maintained the marital relationship more than 20 years. The main reason why she never applied for naturalization was because she had a lot of trips abroad, mainly due to her ex-husband’s work which had her travelling with him to Saudi Arabia. She had over 20 trips abroad since she obtained permanent residency.

Under immigration law, an applicant for naturalization must demonstrate continuous residence and physical presence in the United States.  The applicant must have been physically present in the United States for at least one-half of the past five years. Also, the applicant must not be out of the United States for a continuous period of more than one year during the period for which continuous residence is required. Please note that for both continuous residence and physical presence, the requirements are cumulative and not continuous.  A permanent resident can leave and come back to the United States as much as she or he wants as long as the continuity of residence is not broken and the physical presence requirement is met prior to applying for citizenship.

For the past 5 years, our client had four trips abroad.  Nonetheless, she was in the United States more than 2.5 years was thus eligible to file for naturalization.  The application was filed on November 18, 2010 with supporting documents.  We also accompanied her on February 18, 2011 at the Cleveland CIS office.  Our client promptly and clearly answered all questions by the CIS officer and passed her citizenship interview.  However, the officer asked the applicant to submit a notarized affidavit regarding her past travel history, even though a copy of her passport and a listing of her trips were provided in the application. We went back to the office on the same day to comply with this request by the CIS and immediately sent back the notarized affidavit of her trips. On April 19, 2011 her N-400 was finally approved. Her oath taking is scheduled for May 6, 2011 in which she will be a U.S. Citizen.

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