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Post image for Naturalization and Citizenship N400 Approval for Egyptian Client in Cleveland, OH

CASE: N-400 (Citizenship / Naturalization)

APPLICANT: Egyptian

LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

Our client contacted us in June 2014 to seek legal representation for his naturalization and citizenship N-400 application. He came to the United States from Egypt and obtained his green card in August 2009 through the marriage to his U.S. Citizen ex-wife. He has since divorced his wife but it had been almost five years since he got his green card. He retained our office on June 13, 2014.

The N-400 application was filed on June 24, 2014 with all supporting documents. Prior to his citizenship interview, our office prepared him for his naturalization interview at our office. On September 9, 2014, our client appeared at the Cleveland, OH USCIS office for his naturalization interview. Our client answered all questions correctly and passed his naturalization and citizenship interview. Eventually, his application was approved on December 1, 2014. His oath taking is scheduled in which he will become a naturalized U.S. Citizen.

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Post image for Immigrant Visa Approval for Filipina Based on Marriage I-130 for Petitioner in Cleveland Ohio and Beneficiary in Manila Philippines

CASE: I-130 and Consular Processing (Immigrant Visa) – Marriage-Petition

CLIENT: US Citizen Petitioner; Filipino Beneficiary in the Philippines

LOCATION: Petitioner: Cleveland OH; Beneficiary: Manila, Philippines

Our client is a U.S. citizen who married his Filipina girlfriend in the Philippines in 2013.  He had his marriage ceremony with his wife in the Philippines in June 2013.  When he came back to the United States, he wanted to bring his wife over here.

He contacted our office in late November 2013 and retained our office to help bring his wife to the States. Since the client’s wife was not in the United States, and their marriage occurred in the Philippines, our office filed an I-130 first on December 17, 2013.

After the I-130 was filed, everything went smoothly and the receipt notices came on time. The I-130 Petition was approved by the USCIS on February 13, 2014.

After the I-130 approval, we filed the immigrant visa packets to the National Visa Center on August 22, 2014, who in turn forwarded the client’s materials to the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines. An interview notice was set for the client at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. On December 4, 2014, our client’s wife appeared at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, The interview went well, and on the same day, the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines approved and issued her immigrant visa.

With the approved Immigrant visa, our client’s wife can come to the United States immediately, and she will get her green card within two weeks of entry.

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Post image for NACARA Suspension of Deportation Approved for Guatemalan Clients in Cincinnati Ohio

CASE: NACARA Suspension of Deportation

CLIENT: Guatemalans

LOCATION: Cleveland Immigration Court (EOIR)

Our clients came to the United States in 1989 with their parents from Guatemala. They were not inspected and admitted when they came to the United States. Our clients were very young children when they came to the United States. In 1989, their father filed an asylum application. Our clients were derivative applicants of the asylum application and the asylum application is classified under ABC benefits. Ever since, our clients have lived in the United States. The Order to Show Cause were issued against our clients and remaining members of their family in the 90s. Their deportation proceedings (later removal proceedings) were initiated against. Our clients were riders of their mother’s NACARA case until 2013 when she passed away.

They contacted our office in 2013 after they appeared at their master calendar hearings which took place after their mother’s death.  After careful review of their cases, we determined that they are eligible for NACARA Suspension of Deportation relief at the immigration court.

Under immigration law, a Guatemalan who is in either of the two categories described below, and who has not been convicted of an aggravated felony, is eligible for NACARA benefits:

1)      Category 1:

  • Entered the U.S. on or before October 1, 1990;
  • Registered for ABC benefits on or before December 31, 1991; and
  • Has not been apprehended at time of entry after December 19, 1990.

2)      Category 2:

  • Filed an application for asylum on or before April 1, 1990.

Moreover, to qualify for NACARA suspension of deportation, the applicant must merit a favorable exercise of discretion, in addition to proving the following:

  • Continuous physical presence in the United States for seven years before the application for suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal is filed;
  • Good moral character during the seven year period; and
  • Removal would cause extreme hardship to the applicant or the applicant’s USC or LPR spouse, parent, or child.

Our clients’ case sufficiently meets the eligibility requirement and we determined that they will likely receive favorable exercise of discretion from the Court. After the Master Calendar Hearing, the Court scheduled an individual hearing date on November 4, 2014.

Our firm worked with our clients and their friends and family members for the application and supplemental documents. We gathered a lot documents regarding their good moral character and continuous residency. Our clients did not have any criminal convictions. We also contacted our client’s friends for supporting documents and letters of support.

In preparing our client for the Individual Hearing, Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu from our office talked to our clients through conference calls. Our firm eventually was able to gather supporting documents and prepared supplemental evidence with multiple exhibits, and arranged them pursuant to the specific elements of NACARA Suspension of Deportation.

At the Individual Hearing on November 4, 2014, Attorney Yu represented our clients at the Cleveland Immigration Court. Prior to the hearing, Attorney Yu, DHS counsel, and the Immigration Judge had a pre-trial conference. Based on the extensive record and our clients’ background, the DHS agreed that our clients met all of the requisite elements of NACARA relief and deferred their decision to the Court. As a result, on December 1, 2014, the Cleveland Immigration Court granted our clients’ NACARA Suspension of Deportation relief. They have been here since 1989 and suffered a lot in the past. They finally are green card holders.

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Post image for I-130 and I-485 Marriage Based Petition and Adjustment of Status Approval for Filipino Client in Cleveland, OH

CASE: Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status

CLIENT: Filipino

LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

Our Filipino client came to the United States on an E-2 investment visa in November 2010. Later, he married a U.S. Citizen in July 2013. His U.S. citizen wife filed an I-130 petition and our client filed adjustment of status application in 2013, but his applications were denied due to an issue regarding the petitioner’s previous divorce decree.

Our client retained our office on February 14, 2014 for the re-filing of his petition and adjustment of status application. We made sure we obtained the proper divorce decree from Hawaii.

Our firm prepared and filed the I-130 Petition and Adjustment of Status Application on February 21, 2014.  Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, fingerprint appointment, and work permits all came on time. Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared our clients at our office. On June 16, 2014, our client was interviewed at the Cleveland, OH USCIS office.  Attorney JP Sarmiento from our office also accompanied our client as well. The interview was took time, but our clients answered the questions well and demonstrated the bona fide nature of their marital life. Eventually, on November 19, 2014, his green card application was approved.

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Post image for I-751 Waiver of Joint Filing Requirement  (Divorce) Approval for Ukrainian Client in Cleveland Ohio

CASE: I-751 / Waiver of the Joint Waiver Requirement

APPLICANT: Ukrainian

LOCATION: Cleveland, Ohio

Our client contacted our office in early December of 2013 regarding her potential I-751 filing. She came to the United States as a J-1 exchange visitor from Ukraine and she married a U.S. citizen (her ex-husband) in November 2011.

Through her marriage, she was able to obtain a 2-year conditional green card in August of 2012. Thus, her conditional residency purportedly expires in August 2014.

Unfortunately, their marriage ended in January 2014. Our client experienced a lot of difficulties during her marriage with her ex-husband. Thus, our client could not file the I-751 application jointly with her ex-husband.

Our client had compelling reasons for getting separated and eventually divorced. We requested a waiver because our client entered into the marriage in good faith, but the marriage was terminated through divorce or annulment before they can file a joint petition. We focused on the supporting documents that she can show and helped her draft an extensive affidavit about their marriage, and why it ended the way it did.

On March 26, 2014, our office filed the I-751 application with various supporting documents (over 15 exhibits and an affidavit over 6 pages) to demonstrate our client’s bona fide marriage with her ex-husband.  We also attached numerous notarized affidavits from our client’s friends.

However, on June 23, 2014, the USCIS issued a Request for Evidence (RFEs) to demonstrate the bona fideness of our client’s marriage with her ex-husband. We filed an extensive Response to RFE to the USCIS with more bona fide marital documents on August 13, 2014.

In September 2014, the USCIS scheduled an I-751 interview for our client.

Prior to the interview, our office thoroughly prepared our client at our office and informed her of potential issues at the interview.

On October 16, 2014, our client was interviewed for her I-751 application at the USCIS Cleveland, OH Field Office.  Attorney Glen Sung Hee Yu from our office accompanied our client.  The interview was very extensive.  Nevertheless, the USCIS approved our client’s I-751 application on October 30, 2014. Now, she has her ten-year green card.

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Post image for I-140 National Interest Waiver Approval for Korean Biomedical Engineering Researcher in Cleveland, OH

CASE: I-140 / National Interest Waiver

CLIENT: Korean

LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

Our client contacted us in February 2014 about the possibility of doing a National Interest Waiver. He is a post-doctorate researcher and scientist in the field of biomedical engineering and cardiology research, and is currently working as a post-doctorate researcher in an academic institution in Cleveland, Ohio.

His significant contributions have placed him at the pinnacle of the field of biomedical engineering and cardiology research. He is a leading scientist with an excellent reputation in the area of the mechanism of atrial fibrillation. Our client’s research work has provided fundamental understanding of atrial fibrillation in an animal model of atrial fibrillation, and has advanced the development of an algorithm for future clinical treatment of atrial fibrillation by targeting critical epicardial and endocardial sites for ablation for many atrial fibrillation patients in the United States. Throughout his research career, our client has provided significant scientific contributions relevant to understanding mechanisms of atrial fibrillation 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 7 letters of recommendation from his colleagues and internationally-recognized scientists. 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 29 exhibits (Exhibit A to CC).

Our office filed his I-140(NIW) petition to the USCIS Nebraska Service Center on June 10, 2014. On November 18, 2014, the USCIS approved his I-140 petition without any Requests for Evidence. When he filed his I-140 petition, he simultaneously filed his adjustment of status application (I-485). Since his I-140 petition is approved, his adjustment of status application will likely be approved soon.

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Post image for Thailand J-1 Waiver on No Objection Statement Approval for Client in Ohio

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

 NATIONALITY: Thai

 LOCATION: Ohio

Our Thai client came to the U.S. on a J-1 Visa in August 2008.  She came to the U.S. for research training, and her J-1 visa made her subject to the two-year foreign resident requirement.

In February 2014, our client married his U.S. Citizen husband and she wanted to apply for permanent residency. However, due to the two-year foreign residency requirement, she had to obtain a waiver first.

After she retained our firm, we prepared and filed a waiver request through a No Objection Statement (NOS) from the Thai Embassy in the United States.  On April 15, 2014 the J-1 Waiver (Form DS-3035) Application was filed to the Department of State.  We also sent a request with supporting documents to the Thai Embassy to issue a No Objection Statement and recommend this waiver based on the fact that our client would have been eligible to file a marriage based adjustment of status application but for the waiver.

The Thai Embassy eventually issued a No Objection Statement for our client, and sent this letter to the State Department’s Waiver Review Division.  On October 10, 2014, the Waiver Review Division issued a favorable recommendation based on the No Objection statement. The CIS then issued a receipt and an I-612 approval notice on October 27, 2014.  Now that our client’s two-year foreign residency requirement is waived, she can file an adjustment of status application with her husband’s I-130 petition.

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Post image for 601A Provisional Hardship Waiver Approval for Mexican Client in Ohio

CASE:   I-601A Hardship Waiver of Inadmissibility

APPLICANT / BENEFICIARY: Mexican

LOCATION: Ohio

Our client came to the United States from Mexico in July 2003 without inspection and admission. When he made his entry to the U.S., he was only 16 year old.

He married his U.S. citizen wife in 2011 and they have a U.S. citizen child together. Through our office’s assistance, his U.S. Citizen wife filed an I-130 petition for him on July 19, 2013. This I-130 petition was approved on January 15, 2014.

However, our client cannot file for adjustment of status application due to his ground of inadmissibility. 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

Last year, 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. Also, his U.S. citizen son has medical hardships as well (can’t me the qualifying relative, but still an argument that could be imputed to his US Citizen wife).

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 husband 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 young child. Also, it would be extremely difficult for her to get the same level of therapy and satisfactory access to medical services in Mexico 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 Mexico, that our client has good employment in the United States, and that his U.S. citizen child and his wife will face extreme financial and emotional difficulties if he is removed.

On August 14, 2014, we filed the I-601A waiver application which included a 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 22, 2014. Now, he can file packet 3 and 4 here in the United States, and would go to Mexico shortly to get his immigrant visa.

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Post image for Approved Naturalization N-400 for Israeli Client with multiple DUI Convictions in Cleveland Ohio

CASE: N-400 (Citizenship / Naturalization)

APPLICANT: Israeli

LOCATION: Ohio

Our client contacted us in 2013 to seek legal representation for his naturalization and citizenship N-400 application. He came to the United States from Israel and obtained his green card in June 2002. He retained our office for his naturalization and citizenship N-400 application. He was concerned about his multiple DUI convictions and disorderly conduct charge. He also had a drug case which was dismissed. Nevertheless, our client had a clean record since 2008, so he we told him we can use this as argument for his good moral character (5 years is the rule, but CIS can go past 5 years to make this good moral character assessment).

The naturalization and citizenship N-400 application was filed on January 6, 2014 with all supporting documents. Our office prepared him before his naturalization interview, and also accompanied him on June 2, 2014 at the Cleveland CIS office. Our client passed his naturalization and citizenship N-400 interview. However, his N-400 case remained pending due to his former criminal convictions. The USCIS officer asked our client to submit a certified copy of his criminal records and an affidavit from his former spouse. We filed the RFE response to the Cleveland USCIS Field Office in July 7, 2014.

Eventually, his naturalization application was approved on October 6, 2014. His oath taking is scheduled in which he will become a naturalized U.S. Citizen.

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Post image for Pharmacist H-1B Case – Successful Motion to Reopen (I-290B) after H-1B Denial, No License, But with Deficiency Letter, H-1B Approval for Healthcare Staffing Company in Ohio and Pharmacist Intern Filipino Beneficiary

CASE: Motion to Reopen (I-290B) / H-1B Visa Petition

PETITIONER: Healthcare Staffing Company

BENEFICIARY: Filipino Pharmacist Intern

Our client is one of the leading healthcare staffing firms in Northeast Ohio, serving the general staffing needs of regional hospitals and clinics. They contacted our office in early March to seek legal assistance from our office for their foreign employee.

The beneficiary is a licensed pharmacist in the Philippines who obtained his Doctor of Pharmacy degree in the Philippines. The proffered position for the Beneficiary is a Pharmacist Intern because he does not have any U.S. Pharmacist license. Still, we showed that this is a “specialty occupation” because the minimum requirement for this position is a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree.

When our client contacted us, the numerical cap of H-1B visas for fiscal year 2014 was not available. Also, since the Petitioner is a staffing firm, their foreign employee will be placed at different hospitals (off-site employment issue).

We told our client that we can argue that they are qualified for some of the exemption provisions for the H-1B cap. We explained that we can argue the nonprofit exemption, as well as cite some CIS memorandums regarding eligibility for H-1B petitions despite off-site employment.

We showed that the main reason for cap-exemption is that the foreign employee will be placed at two hospitals which are non-profit research organizations as defined in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(h)(19)(iii)(C).

Our office argued that this H-1B petition is exempted from the H-1B numerical limitations (cap-exempt) because the Petitioner will employ the beneficiary to perform job duties at non-profit research organizations (two hospitals) as defined in 8 C.F.R. 214(h)(19)(iii)(C) that directly and predominately furthers the normal, primary, or essential purpose, mission, objectives, or function of the qualifying institution (nonprofit research).

We also argued that these two hospitals are clearly qualified as non-profit research organizations as defined in 8 C.F.R. 214(h)(19)(iii)(C). These two organizations are primarily engaged in basic research and/or applied research. Moreover, the beneficiary’s job duties, which will be performed on-site at qualifying non-profit research organizations, will be similar to those performed by actual employees (Pharmacist Interns) of the two hospitals in the furtherance of the qualifying entities’ mission.

Furthermore, we explained that the Petitioner will comply with the statutory and regulatory requirements of the H-1B non-immigrant classification for the placement of the beneficiary at the two hospitals during the period of employment.  We mentioned that the beneficiary will be paid higher than the prevailing wage for the pharmacist position by the Petitioner, and Petitioner-Employer will maintain an employer-employee relationship with the beneficiary. The Petitioner has the right to control the work of the beneficiary on a day-to-day basis as well. We explained that the Petitioner has a sole right to hire, pay, and has the ability to fire the beneficiary as well.

Once retained, our office filed the H-1B visa petition with various supporting documents on May 7, 2013 via premium processing.

However, the USCIS California Service Center issued Requests for Evidence (RFE) on May 22, 2014 and requested Petitioner to demonstrate that the prospective places of employment for Beneficiary are truly non-profit organizations under the definition of cap-exempt purposes. Also, the USCIS requested additional information regarding the qualifications of Beneficiary for the proffered position.

The USCIS requested the Petitioner to submit evidence regarding his lack of license – in particular, further proof that he could not get a license in Ohio due to what we claimed on the initial application as a lack of social security / status.

Once we received the RFE request, our office prepared the response for the RFE and argued that the prospective places of employment for Beneficiary are non-profit medical research organizations and Beneficiary’s work will be similar to Pharmacist Interns in those hospitals.

We submitted the name, address, and contact information of supervisors of each Pharmacy where Beneficiary will be placed.  We also included why he could not take the Board exam (since he does not have a social security number) and did not get a license.We filed this Response to the RFE on May 29, 2014.

Unfortunately, the USCIS denied this case in June 2014. They agreed with our position on the “cap-exempt” issues, however, they did not accept the Ohio Pharmacy Board requirements proof that we submitted showing that they needed a social security number, and that our client did not have one. They instead wanted a deficiency letter.

So our client applied for a license with knowledge that they won’t give it to him, just so that the CIS will be satisfied with the evidence. He indeed got a deficiency letter from Ohio, which we submitted in a Motion to Reopen.

We also argued in light of the Donald Neufeld March 21, 2008 Memorandum. According to the memo and adjudicator’s Field Manual Section 31.3(d), “adjudicators are instructed to approve the petition for a one-year validity period, provided that the sole reason why the alien beneficiary does not possess such license is that the appropriate licensing authority will not grant such license to an alien absent evidence that the alien has been granted H-1B status.” We argued that beneficiary’s status would allow him to obtain a social security number which will lead him to get his license.

Our office filed a Form I-290B (Motion to Reopen) and a detailed brief with exhibits to the USCIS California Service Center on July 9, 2014.  Eventually, our client’s Motion to Reopen was granted by the USCIS on September 15, 2014. Subsequently, his H-1B application was approved on October 1, 2014. Now, the beneficiary can work for the Petitioner from October 1, 2014 for one year.

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