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

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

NATIONALITY: Honduran

LOCATION: Missouri

Our client was a citizen of Honduras who came to the U.S. on a J-2 Visa in August 1991.  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 his father’s J-1 program was completed, his family remained in the United States.

He turned 21 in December 2000. He has a U.S. citizen fiancé who can file an I-130 petition for him after their marriage is entered. However, because of his two-year foreign residency requirement, our client cannot file his adjustment of status application 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 2000.

Our firm was retained to do his J-2 waiver, and on March 10, 2017, 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 March 27, 2017, the DOS recommended to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that our client be granted a waiver.  On April 5, 2017, the USCIS issued an I-612 approval notice for our client’s waiver request.

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Post image for 601A Provisional Hardship Waiver Approved for Honduran Client in Cleveland Ohio

CASE:   I-601A Hardship Waiver of Inadmissibility

APPLICANT / BENEFICIARY: Honduran

LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

Our client came to the United States from Honduras in 2011 without inspection and admission. He married his U.S. citizen wife in June 2013. With our firm’s legal assistance, his U.S. Citizen wife filed an I-130 petition for him in October 2013. This I-130 petition was approved in April 2014.

However, our client cannot file for adjustment of status application due to his ground of inadmissibility (entry without inspection and admission). He needs a waiver of inadmissibility to become a green card holder.

Under current law, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are not eligible to adjust status in the United States must travel abroad and obtain an immigrant visa. Individuals who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence while in the United States must obtain a waiver of inadmissibility to overcome the unlawful presence bars under section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act before they can return to the United States

In 2013, the USCIS announced of new policy called the provisional unlawful presence waiver. Beginning March 4, 2013, certain immigrant visa applicants who are spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens (immediate relatives) can apply for provisional unlawful presence waivers before they leave the United States. The provisional unlawful presence waiver process allows individuals, who only need a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence, to apply for a waiver in the United States.

The new process is expected to shorten the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives while those family members are obtaining immigrant visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States.

INA § 212(i) provides for a discretionary waiver of the entry without inspection inadmissibility ground. To qualify for the waiver, the alien must establish that his or her US Citizen spouse would suffer extreme hardship if the alien were denied admission. INA § 212(i)(1). In addition to the equities presented, the USCIS may consider the nature of the inadmissibility ground.

There is a seminal BIA case that deals with this waiver.  In Matter of Cervantes, 22 I & N Dec. 560 (BIA 1999), the BIA identified the factors to be considered in determining whether a qualifying relative would suffer extreme hardship if the alien were denied admission.  Those factors include: the presence of LPR or USC family ties both within and outside the United States; the conditions in the country to which the qualifying relative would relocate and the extent of the qualifying relative’s ties to that country; the financial impact of departure from the United States; and significant conditions of health, particularly when tied to the unavailability of suitable medical care in the country to which the qualifying relative would relocate.

Our client’s I-601A application had a good chance since our client’s U.S. Citizen wife suffers from a great degree of medical hardship. In the I-601A brief and supporting documents, our office included extensive medical reports of his wife.  We argued that if he was removed from the United States, extreme hardship to his wife is clearly foreseeable and evident.  His wife has ongoing medical hardships and she would not be able to take care of her own needs and the bulk of their family chores, most importantly taking care of their child. Also, it would be extremely difficult for her to get the same level of therapy and satisfactory access to medical services in Honduras in case she joins our client there.

In our brief, we also argued that our client and his wife have maintained strong family ties in the United States, that his wife will have difficulty in finding the same level of employment in Honduras, and that his U.S. citizen child and his wife will face extreme emotional difficulties if he is removed.

On January 27, 2016, we filed the I-601A waiver application which included the brief in support, his wife’s extensive medical examination records, and other documents that demonstrated hardship to his wife if he is removed from the United States. Eventually, his I-601A waiver was approved on October 25, 2016. Now, he can file packet 3 and 4 here in the United States, and would go to Honduras shortly to get his immigrant visa.

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Post image for I-140 National Interest Waiver Approval for Honduran Agriculture & Applied Geographic Information Science Researcher in Washington, D.C.

CASE: I-140 / National Interest Waiver

CLIENT: Honduran

LOCATION: Washington, D.C.

 

Our client contacted us in 2014 about the possibility of doing a National Interest Waiver. He is a researcher in the field of agriculture and geography research, and is currently working as a Research Analyst / Geospatial Analyst at one of the International NGOs in Washington, D.C.

 

His significant contributions have placed him at the pinnacle of the field of agriculture and geography research; specifically, advancement in finding policy solutions for food and nutrition security in developing areas domestically and developing countries through the application of geographical analysis tools and approaches. Throughout his research career, our client has provided innovative solutions for determining measurable geographical features that relates to different levels of West Nile virus transmission and vector abundance. Although our client does not have a Ph. D. degree (He has Master’s Degree), our client’s work has been highly evaluated by the reviewers of various journals and by colleagues and experts in his field of endeavor.

 

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 22-page brief for our client’s NIW filing. Our client also obtained 9 letters of recommendation from his colleagues and internationally-recognized researchers in his field. 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 36 exhibits (Exhibit A to JJ).

 

Our office filed his I-140(NIW) petition to the USCIS Texas Service Center on June 16, 2014. On May 6, 2015, the USCIS approved his I-140 petition without any Requests for Evidence.  Now, with the approved NIW I-140 petition, he can file his adjustment of status application at any time.

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Post image for Rebuttal to I-130 Notice of Intent to Revoke Approved, I-130 on Marriage Reaffirmed, for Honduran Beneficiary and Petitioner from Ohio

CASE: I-130 (Response to Notice of Intent to Revoke)

CLIENT: US Citizen Petitioner; Honduran Beneficiary

LOCATION: Petitioner: Cleveland, Ohio; Beneficiary: Honduras

Our client contacted our office in late January of this year. He is a U.S. Citizen living in Cleveland, Ohio and sought legal assistance for his wife’s case in Honduras. When he contacted our office, his wife already had an immigrant visa interview twice at the U.S. Embassy in Honduras.  However, her interview did not go well, and the Embassy returned the petition to the USCIS for further review and action on January 15, 2014.  Eventually, the USCIS, based on a request from the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, issued a Notice of intent to revoke his I-130 petition on January 24, 2014.

Our client married his Honduran citizen wife back in June 2012. Our client then filed an I-130 petition for his wife in September 2012.  On December 20, 2012, the USCIS approved the I-130 petition and his wife was eventually interviewed at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. However, the U.S. Embassy denied her immigrant visa application, and the approved I-130 petition was subsequently returned to the National Visa Center by the Department of State for further review and action, and as stated above, the USCIS then issued a Notice of Intent to Revoke.

After our office was retained, we filed a Response to Intent to Revoke on February 7, 2014 with the USCIS Cleveland Field Office. Over 75 pages of documents and 7 exhibits were submitted in our response.

In our response brief, we rebutted each and every question that was raised by the USCIS regarding the bona fide nature of our client’s marriage to his wife in Honduras. As a result, on April 9, 2014, the USCIS determined that they will not revoke our client’s I-130 petition.

Now that the CIS has reaffirmed the I-130 petition, our client’s wife will get her immigrant visa, and will be reunited with his husband after almost two years.

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On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of DHS, Janet Napolitano, issued a memorandum on new prosecutorial discretion standards pertaining to certain illegal aliens. She started by stating that immigrants who were illegally brought to the United States as children “lacked the intent to violate the law” and pose few national security risks.  If the individual meets the following criteria, that person will not be deported or removed from the United States as a result of the prosecutorial discretion.

• Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
• Has continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and is present  in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
• Is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
• Has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety; and
• Is not above the age of thirty.

For individuals who are granted deferred action by either ICE or USCIS, USCIS shall accept applications to determine whether these individuals qualify for work authorization during this period of deferred action.

If you have any questions, please fill out the free consultation form below, and we will respond as soon as possible privately. 

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