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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 Immigrant Visa Approval Based on I-140 EB-11 Extraordinary Ability) for Korean Taekwondo Head Coach in Seoul South Korea

CASE: Immigrant Visa / Consular Processing based on Approved I-140 / EB-11 (Alien of extraordinary ability)

CLIENT: Korean

LOCATION: Seoul, South Korea

Our client contacted us in August 2015 about the possibility of getting an immigrant visa through the EB-11 category. He is a world-renowned Taekwondo coach and is currently working as a coach for one of the best Taekwondo teams in South Korea.  Our client was a member of the Korean National Taekwondo Team as a Taekwondo athlete and one of his students won the gold medal at Universiade. Also, he was the head coach for national Taekwondo teams in his career. Upon review of his credentials and qualifications, our office determined that he was qualified for the EB-11 category, an alien of extraordinary ability.

According to the INA Section 203(b) states, in pertinent part, that:

  1. Priority workers – visas shall first be made available… to qualified immigrants who are aliens described in any of the following sub-paragraphs (A) through (C):
  1. Aliens with extraordinary – an alien is described in this sub-paragraph if-
  1. The alien has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletes which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation,
  2. The alien seeks to enter the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability, and
  3. The alien’s entry into the United States will substantially benefit prospectively the United States.

USCIS has consistently recognized that Congress intended to set a very high standard for individuals seeking immigrant visas as aliens of extraordinary ability.  See H.R. 723 101st Cong.2d Sess. 59 (1990); 56 Fed. Reg. 60897, 60898-99 (Nov. 29, 1991).  The term “extraordinary ability” refers only to those individuals in that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor. Id. And 8 C.F.R. § 204.5(h)(2).

The regulation at 8 C.F.R. § 204.5(h)(3) requires that an alien demonstrate his or her sustained acclaim and the recognition of his or her achievements in the field.  Such acclaim and achievements must be established either through evidence of a one-time achievement (that is, a major international recognized award) or through meeting at least three of the following ten categories of evidence:

  1. Documentation of the alien’s receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
  1. Documentation of the alien’s membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;
  1. Published material about the alien in professional or major trade publications or other major media, relating to the alien’s work in the field for which classification is sought.  Such evidence shall include the title, date, and author of the material, and any necessary translation;
  1. Evidence of the alien’s participation, either individually or on a panel, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specialization for which classification is sought;
  1. Evidence of the alien’s original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
  1. Evidence of the alien’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
  1. Evidence of the display of the alien’s work in the field at an artistic exhibitions or showcases;
  1. Evidence that the alien has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
  1. Evidence that the alien has commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services, in relation to others in the field; or
  1. Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disk, or video sales.

After the review of our client’s credentials and qualifications, we determined that our client meets 5 of the 10 categories, which is more than 3 required as an alien of extraordinary ability. Our client has made an original contribution to the sport of Taekwondo; has been awarded numerous national and international coaching awards and his student-players have won numerous national and international competitions including Summer Universiade; has played a critical role for distinguished organizations; has a membership in an organization with distinguished reputation that requires outstanding achievement; and our client’s coaching successes were published in professional and major media.

Our office prepared a 18-page brief for our client’s EB-11 filing. Our client also obtained 7 letters of recommendation from World Taekwondo Federation, Korea Taekwondo Association, former Olympic champions, Taekwondo head coaches from other national teams, etc. Our office also included his coaching records, awards, media coverage, medals, athletic career records, and other materials to show that he is an alien of extraordinary ability in Taekwondo coaching. His EB-11 I-140 application contained 50 exhibits.

Our office filed his I-140 (EB-11) petition to the USCIS Nebraska Service Center via premium processing service on May 9, 2016. On May 24, 2016, the USCIS Nebraska Service Center approved his I-140 self-petition.

Once his I-140 was approved, our client retained our office again for his and his family members’ immigrant visa processing. Once we were retained, our office filed the immigrant visa packets to the National Visa Center on July 28, 2016, who in turn forwarded the client’s materials to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. An interview notice was set for the client at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. On January 10, 2017, our client and his son appeared at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea The interview went well, and on the same day, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea approved and issued his and his son’s immigrant visas.

With the approved Immigrant visas, our client and his son can come to the United States immediately, and they will get their green cards within two months of entry.

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Post image for PERM EB2 Labor Certification Approval for Korean Education Pastor Beneficiary and Church Petitioner in Cleveland Ohio

CASE: PERM Labor Certification    
EMPLOYER: Korean Church
BENEFICIARY: Korean Education Pastor
LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

Our client is a Korean church in Cleveland, Ohio which was willing to petition for an Education Pastor position for a Korean, second-preference category for the I-140.  Our client’s prospective employee has a master’s degree in Divinity. After talking to our client, our firm concluded that this employer can petition him as an Education Pastor. Second preference petitions for Koreans are current, which means that if a PERM Labor Certification for a second preference position gets approved, the I-140 and I-485 could be filed simultaneously. Based on our client’s prospective employee’s education, professional and work background, our office determined that he is clearly eligible for EB-2 classification.  Our client eventually retained us in October 2015.

Prior to filing PERM, our firm prepared the prevailing wage request, job order, advertisements, internal job posting, recruitment report, and all other steps which are important pre-PERM filing. Take note that PERM could be filed at least 60 days from the job posting date or 30 days from the last ad. On October 6, 2015, the prevailing wage request was filed.  After we obtained a foreign degree evaluation report, our office filed the job order on January 12, 2016.  On April 8, 2016, we filed PERM.  Eventually, on July 19, 2016, the PERM Labor Certification was approved – an EB2 position for the Korean beneficiary. Now our client can file the I-140 petition.

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Post image for Immigrant Visa Based on Taekwondo EB-11 Alien of Extraordinary Ability I-140 Immigration Approval for Korean Taekwondo Coach in Seoul, South Korea

CASE: Immigrant Visa / Consular Processing based on Approved I-140 / EB-11 (Alien of extraordinary ability)

CLIENT: Korean

LOCATION: Seoul, South Korea

Our client contacted us in September 2014 about the possibility of getting an immigrant visa through EB-11 category. He is a world-renowned Taekwondo coach and is currently working as a coach for a university Taekwondo team in South Korea.  Our client was a coach for the Great Britain’s Taekwondo Team in preparation of its Summer Olympic competitions. Also, he wrote one of the first Taekwondo guidance books for the Taekwondo instructors. Moreover, he has multiple patents after he invented an effective exercise band for Taekwondo training. Upon review of his credentials and qualifications, our office determined that he was qualified for the EB-11 category, an alien of extraordinary ability.

According to the INA Section 203(b) states, in pertinent part, that:

  1. Priority workers – visas shall first be made available… to qualified immigrants who are aliens described in any of the following sub-paragraphs (A) through (C):
  1. Aliens with extraordinary – an alien is described in this sub-paragraph if-
  1. The alien has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletes which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation,
  2. The alien seeks to enter the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability, and
  3. The alien’s entry into the United States will substantially benefit prospectively the United States.

USCIS has consistently recognized that Congress intended to set a very high standard for individuals seeking immigrant visas as aliens of extraordinary ability.  See H.R. 723 101st Cong.2d Sess. 59 (1990); 56 Fed. Reg. 60897, 60898-99 (Nov. 29, 1991).  The term “extraordinary ability” refers only to those individuals in that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor. Id. And 8 C.F.R. § 204.5(h)(2).

The regulation at 8 C.F.R. § 204.5(h)(3) requires that an alien demonstrate his or her sustained acclaim and the recognition of his or her achievements in the field.  Such acclaim and achievements must be established either through evidence of a one-time achievement (that is, a major international recognized award) or through meeting at least three of the following ten categories of evidence:

  1. Documentation of the alien’s receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
  1. Documentation of the alien’s membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;
  1. Published material about the alien in professional or major trade publications or other major media, relating to the alien’s work in the field for which classification is sought.  Such evidence shall include the title, date, and author of the material, and any necessary translation;
  1. Evidence of the alien’s participation, either individually or on a panel, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specialization for which classification is sought;
  1. Evidence of the alien’s original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
  1. Evidence of the alien’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
  1. Evidence of the display of the alien’s work in the field at an artistic exhibitions or showcases;
  1. Evidence that the alien has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
  1. Evidence that the alien has commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services, in relation to others in the field; or
  1. Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disk, or video sales.

After the review of our client’s credentials and qualifications, we determined that our client meets 5 of the 10 categories, which is more than 3 required as an alien of extraordinary ability. Our client has made an original contribution to the sport of Taekwondo; has been awarded numerous national and international coaching awards and his student-players have won numerous national and international competitions; has played a critical role for distinguished organizations; has a membership in an organization with distinguished reputation that requires outstanding achievement; and our client’s participation as a panel or judge of the elite Taekwondo athletes.   

Our office prepared a 16-page brief for our client’s EB-11 filing. Our client also obtained 6 letters of recommendation from World Taekwondo Federation, Korea Taekwondo Association, a former Olympic champion, Taekwondo head coaches from other national teams, etc. Our office also included his coaching records, awards, media coverage, medals, athletic career records, and other materials to show that he is an alien of extraordinary ability in Taekwondo coaching. His EB-11 I-140 application contained 50 exhibits.

Our office filed his I-140 (EB-11) petition to the USCIS Nebraska Service Center via premium processing service on July 23, 2015. However, on August 12, 2015, the USCIS Nebraska Service Center issued the Request for Evidence (RFE). In the RFE, the USCIS claims that our client only meets 2 of the 10 requisite statutory categories of EB-11. In the response brief, our office demonstrated that our client indeed meets 5 of the 10 categories and provided more recommendation letters from independent experts, copies of his publication records, copies of his patent certificate, copies of coaching awards, and media coverage. Our office filed the response to RFE on October 28, 2015. Eventually, on November 10, 2015, the USCIS Nebraska Service Center approved his I-140 self-petition.

Once his I-140 was approved, our client retained our office again for his and his family members’ immigrant visa processing. Once we were retained, our office filed the immigrant visa packets to the National Visa Center on January 26, 2016, who in turn forwarded the client’s materials to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. An interview notice was set for the client at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. On May 24, 2016, our client, his wife, and their three sons appeared at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea The interview went well, and on the same day, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea approved and issued his and his family members’ immigrant visas.

With the approved Immigrant visas, our client and his family members can come to the United States immediately, and they will get their green cards within two months of entry.

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Post image for EB-3 PERM Labor Certification Approval for Korean Taekwondo Coach Beneficiary and Taekwondo (Martial Arts) School Petitioner

CASE: PERM Labor Certification
EMPLOYER: Taekwondo (Martial Arts) School
BENEFICIARY: Korean
LOCATION: Cleveland, Ohio

Our client is a former Taekwondo athlete, and currently studies in the United States. He has a Taekwondo school which was willing to petition him for a third-preference petition (I-140).  Our client has a bachelor’s degree in a related field. After talking to our client, our firm concluded that his potential employer can petition him as a Taekwondo Coach.  Second preference petitions for Koreans are current, which means that if a PERM Labor Certification for a second preference position gets approved, the I-140 and I-485 could be filed simultaneously. Based on our client’s educational, professional and working background, our office determined that he is eligible for EB-3 classification for his I-140 petition.  Our client eventually retained us on January 20, 2015.

Prior to filing PERM, our firm prepared the prevailing wage request, job order, advertisements, internal job posting, recruitment report, and all other steps which are important pre-PERM filing. Take note that PERM could be filed at least 60 days from the job posting date or 30 days from the last ad. On February 25, 2015, the prevailing wage request was filed.  After we obtained the foreign degree evaluation report, our office filed the job order on April 21, 2015.  On July 15, 2015, we promptly filed PERM.  Eventually, on January 19, 2016, the PERM Labor Certification was approved – an EB3 position for the Korean beneficiary. Now our client can file the I-140 petition.

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Post image for J-1 Waiver Through No Objection Statement for Korean Client in Los Angeles California

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

NATIONALITY: Korean

LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA

Our client is from South Korea who came to the U.S. on a J-1 Visa in December 2013.  He came to the U.S as an intern, and his J-1 program subjected him to the two-year foreign residence requirement.  Later, in July 2014, he married his current U.S. citizen wife. His wife was willing to file an I-130 petition for our client’s permanent residency; however, our client has to get a waiver for his two-year foreign residency requirement before the filing the I-130/I-485 applications.

They retained our office on September 22, 2015.

Once retained, our office prepared a waiver request through a 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 Los Angeles to pursue the waiver for our client.  The Consulate office 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 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.

His previous immigration counsel already filed the DS-3035 application to U.S. Department of States, but wasn’t able to get a no objection statement. So after retention, on September 25, 2015, our office filed 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 adjust based on his marriage to his U.S. citizen wife.

The Korean Consulate General in Los Angeles promptly 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 October 28, 2015, the Waiver Review Division issued a favorable recommendation based on the No Objection statement. Eventually, on December 2, 2015, the USCIS issued an I-612 approval notice and waived our client’s 2 year foreign residency requirement. Now our client can file an adjustment of status application along with his wife’s I-130 petition.

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Post image for I-140 National Interest Waiver Approval for Korean Radio Frequency Researcher in Dallas Texas

CASE: I-140 / National Interest Waiver

CLIENT: Korean

LOCATION: Dallas, Texas

Our client contacted us in July 2014 about the possibility of doing a National Interest Waiver. He is a research professor in the field of electrical engineering and radio frequency research, and is currently working as a research professor in Dallas, Texas.

His significant contributions have placed him at the pinnacle of the field of radio frequency research. He is a leading researcher and engineer in the field; specifically, Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit (RFIC) design and microwave research.  Our client’s research on RFIC has led to important innovations in his field of endeavor. Throughout his career, our client has provided innovative solutions and contributions for various areas of microwave engineering from semiconductor device modeling and measurements to complex system-on-a-chip design which 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 19-page brief for our client’s NIW filing. Our client also obtained 6 letters of recommendation from his colleagues and internationally-recognized scientists. Our office also included his publication record, presentation record, 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 46 exhibits (Exhibit A to TT).

Our office filed his I-140(NIW) petition to the USCIS Texas Service Center on May 6, 2015. On November 30, 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.

For free consultations, feel free to email Glen Yu at glen@sarmientoimmigration.com or call at (216) 573-3712.

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Post image for J-1 Waiver on No Objection Statement for Korean Chemist in Wilmington, DE

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

NATIONALITY: Korean

LOCATION: Wilmington, DE

Our client is from South Korea who came to the U.S. on a J-1 Visa in February 2015.  He came to the U.S as a visiting scholar, but his J-1 program made him subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement.  He retained our office to seek legal assistance for his I-140 (National Interest Waiver Classification) and I-485 Adjustment of Status.  Before we can file his I-140/I-485 application simultaneously, he has to get a waiver of his two-year foreign residency requirement first.

Once retained, our office prepared and filed a waiver request through a 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’s Office in New York to pursue the waiver for our client.  The Consulate office 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 July 6, 2015, 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 adjust based on NIW.

The Korean Consulate General in Chicago promptly 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 September 3, 2015, the Waiver Review Division issued a favorable recommendation based on the No Objection statement. Eventually, on September 16, 2015, the USCIS issued an I-612 approval notice and waived our client’s 2 year foreign residency requirement.

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Post image for Adjustment of Status Approved for Korean Client in Houston Texas

CASE:  I-485 Adjustment of Status with step-father’s I-130 petition

CLIENT: Korean

LOCATION: Houston, TX

Our client is from South Korea who came to the U.S. in 1999 with a B-2 visitor’s visa when he was a young child. Since that time, he never left the United States.

In 2011, our client’s mother married our client’s step-father (U.S. citizen) and later she got her green card through the marriage. However, our client was not properly advised by his previous immigration counsel and thought that he was not eligible for adjustment. He was eligible to file an adjustment of status along with his step-father’s I-130 petition for him since his mother and his step-father’s marriage occurred prior to our client’s 18th birthday and he was under 21 years old when he contacted our office.

Our client contacted us around April of 2014 for consultation and sought legal assistance for his DACA case initially. After consultation, we determined that he is eligible for adjustment of status along with his step-father’s I-130 petition. Our client retained us on May 6, 2014.

Once retained, our office filed the I-130 petition and I-485 his adjustment of status application, together with other supporting documents. Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices and fingerprint appointment all came on time.  We thoroughly prepared our client prior to his green card interview.  On September 3, 2015, our client was interviewed at the Houston USCIS office. Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu accompanied him at the interview as well. Due to the complexity of the case, we made sure the officer was clear about our client’s eligibility. On the same day, our client’s I-485 application was approved.  He finally became a green card holder.

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Post image for H-1B Extension for Korean Church Petitioner in Virginia and Korean Pastor Beneficiary

CASE: H-1B Visa Extension

PETITIONER:  Korean Church in Virginia

BENEFICIARY: Korean Pastor

Our client is a Korean church in Virginia, serving the Korean community at a campus town. They contacted our office in late July of 2015 to seek legal assistance for its foreign beneficiary’s H-1B extension.

The beneficiary is Korean and obtained his Master of Divinity Degree in South Korea.  The proffered position for the Beneficiary was for a Pastor which we argued qualified as a specialty occupation. We argued that the minimum requirement for this position is a Master of Divinity Degree or its equivalent. He has been working for the Petitioner on a valid H-1B visa.

Once retained, our firm prepared and eventually filed the H-1B visa petition with various supporting documents on August 21, 2015 via premium processing. Eventually, without any RFE, our client’s H-1B extension was approved on September 2, 2015. Now, the Beneficiary can continue to work for the Petitioner on an H-1B status until September 20, 2018 (until his duration of H-1B status reaches the 6th year mark).

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