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CASE: Marriage Based Adjustment of Status / 245(i)

CLIENT: Mexican

LOCATION: Ohio

Our Mexican client came to the U.S. without inspection and admission by crossing U.S./Mexico border in October 1999. She has stayed here ever since. She got married to a US Citizen and in 2001 and her husband filed an I-130 for her in March 2001. She gave birth to a U.S. Citizen child thereafter. However, her first husband left her while pregnant, and the I-130 was denied. Yet she remained in the United States. Thereafter, she married her second U.S. husband in July 2008.

Our client contacted us around June of 2014 for consultation and sought legal assistance for her adjustment of status. After consultation, we determined that she is eligible for adjustment of status under INA 245(i), if we can only show physical presence in December 2000. Our client retained us on June 11, 2014.

Prior to retaining our firm, her U.S. citizen ex-husband filed an I-130 petition for her back in March 2001. Therefore, she was a beneficiary of an immigrant petition filed after January 15, 1998 and before April 30, 2001. Though the I-130 was denied, we explained that the I-130 petition was “approvable when it was filed” because they had a child together.

Section 245(i) of the INA allows certain foreign nationals to become permanent residents of the United States despite entering without inspection (EWI) or overstaying (if beneficiary of petitions filed not by an immediate relative). Immigrants are barred from adjusting their status if they entered the United States without first being inspected and admitted by a Customs and Border Patrol officer and if they have either failed to maintain lawful status or been unlawfully employed in the country, with certain exceptions. Section 245(i) was first added to law in 1994 to allow certain people who otherwise would not be eligible to adjust their status to be able to do so upon payment of a $1,000 fine.

Four years later, on January 14, 1998, Congress phased Section 245(i) out of law. Immigrants and their families who had already begun the process of changing their status under Section 245(i) by January 14, 1998 were grandfathered into the section’s benefits. However, this left thousands of otherwise qualified persons who had not begun the process unable to adjust status in the United States. They could not return to their countries to begin the legal process of obtaining their permanent residency in the United States also without being subject to either a three- or a 10-year bar upon returning to the United States.

On December 21, 2000, Congress extended the qualifying date for Section 245(i) benefits to April 30, 2001. This law allowed immigrants who had labor certifications or visa petitions filed on their behalf between 1998 and April 30, 2001, to qualify for adjustment of status. They have to prove physical presence in December 2000.

The USCIS has a list of “possible” documents to prove physical presence. However, our client did not have any of these. “Employment records” typically mean pay stubs, or W2s, or any official government document pertaining to work. She had none of those because she just got paid in cash. She cleaned houses when she first came. Thus, we argued that a letter from her ex-employer should suffice as “employment record”. We also wrote that the fact that she got married early in 2001 means that she met her husband in the US at or prior to December 2000. It was a gray area argument but our client was willing to go forth with it.

On November 19, 2014, our office filed their I-485 adjustment of status applications under the 245(i) category.  Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices and fingerprint appointment all came on time. There was no RFEs even.  We thoroughly prepared our client prior to her interview as well.

On February 23, 2015, our client was interviewed at the Cincinnati, Ohio USCIS Field Office. Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu, Esq. from our office accompanied our clients as well. The interview went well, and her adjustment of status application was approved on February 26, 2015. After a long wait, our client is finally a green card holder.

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Post image for Naturalization and Citizenship N-400 Approval for Chinese Client in Ohio

CASE: N-400 (Citizenship / Naturalization)

APPLICANT: Chinese

LOCATION: Ohio

Our client contacted us in October 2014 to seek legal representation for her naturalization and citizenship N-400 application. She came to the United States from China and obtained her green card in September 2009. She retained our office for her naturalization application on October 20, 2014.

The N-400 application was filed on October 20, 2014 with all supporting documents. Our office prepared her before her naturalization interview via conference calls.

On January 12, 2015, our client appeared for her interview at the Cleveland CIS office.  Our client answered all questions correctly and passed. Eventually, her naturalization application was approved. Her oath taking is scheduled in which she will become a naturalized U.S. Citizen.

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Post image for Approved I-485 on I-140 National Interest Waiver Approval for Korean Biomedical Engineering Researcher in Cleveland, OH

CASE: I-485 Based on Approved 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 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). Eventually, on February 14, 2015, his adjustment of status application was approved by the USCIS Nebraska Service Center. Now, he is a green card holder.

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Post image for Despite Marriage Shortly After Entry, Marriage to US Citizen Based I130 and 485 Green Card Approval for Chinese Client in Cleveland, OH

CASE: Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status

CLIENT: Chinese

LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

Our client came to the United States in May 2014 with a B-2 visitors visa from China. She married a U.S. Citizen in June 2014 and retained our office for her petition and adjustment of status application.

She also asked us to file her son’s (Petitioner’s step-son) adjustment of status application.

Once retained, our firm prepared and filed the I-130 petition and I-485 adjustment of status application on October 1, 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 in our office. On January 16, 2015, our clients were interviewed at the Cleveland USCIS office. Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu from our office accompanied them at their interview as well. On January 30, 2015, our client and her son’s green card applications were approved.

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Post image for Overcoming “Immigrant Intent” Potential Issue, I-130 and I-485 Marriage Based Petition and Adjustment of Status Green Card Approval for Pakistani Client in Cleveland, OH

CASE: Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status

CLIENT: Pakistani

LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

Our Pakistani client came to the United States on a B-2 visitor visa in June 2014. She married her U.S. citizen husband in April 2014 in Pakistan, before she came on a visitors visa.

Our client and his husband first planned to file her immigrant visa through consular processing, but after she came to the United States, they changed their mind.

Our client consulted with us and retained our office in November 11, 2014 for her adjustment of status application.  Our firm prepared and filed the I-130 Petition and Adjustment of Status Application on November 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, in particular focusing on the lack of immigrant intent.  On January 29, 2015, our client was interviewed at the Cleveland USCIS office. Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu from our office accompanied them as well. On the same day, her green card application was approved.

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Post image for I751 Waiver of Joint Filing Due to Divorce Approval for Indian Client in Cleveland Ohio

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

APPLICANT: Indian

LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

Our client contacted our office in early April of 2014 regarding his pending I-751 filing. He came to the United States from India and he married a U.S. Citizen (her ex-wife) in November 2010.

Through his marriage, he was able to obtain a 2-year conditional green card in May of 2011. Thus, his conditional residency terminated in May 2013.

Before his 2 year green card expired, our client filed an I-751 application with his ex-wife in 2013. However, while the I-751 application was pending, their marriage started to fall apart. Our client experienced a lot of difficulties in his marital life with his ex-wife. Unfortunately, their marriage ended in September 2014.  Thus, our client’s jointly filed application was denied by the USCIS.

He retained our office in September 2014 to file an I-751 with a waiver of the joint filing requirement. We requested a waiver because our client entered into the marriage in good faith, but the marriage was terminated through divorce or annulment. We focused on the supporting documents that he can show and helped him draft an extensive affidavit about their marriage, and why it ended the way it did.

On September 30, 2014, our office filed the I-751 application with various supporting documents (over 16 exhibits and an affidavit over 3 pages) to demonstrate our client’s bona fide marriage with his ex-wife.

In December 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 him of potential issues at the interview.

On January 8, 2015, our client was interviewed for his I-751 application at the USCIS Cleveland, OH Field Office.  Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu from our office accompanied our client.  The interview was very extensive.  Nevertheless, the USCIS approved our client’s I-751 application. Now, he has his ten-year green card.

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Post image for I140 NIW National Interest Waiver Approval for Nepalese Nuclear Scientist in Cleveland Ohio

CASE: I-140 / National Interest Waiver

CLIENT: Nepalese Nuclear Scientist

LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

Our client contacted us in April 2014 regarding the possibility of doing a National Interest Waiver self-petition for him. He is a post-doctorate researcher and scientist in the field of Physics and Nuclear research, and is currently working as a post-doctorate researcher in an academic institution in Kent, OH.

His significant contributions have placed him at the pinnacle of the field of physics and nuclear science. He is a leading scientist with an excellent reputation in his field of endeavor and his research work involved a very complex, simultaneous, and constrained analysis of partial-wave amplitudes for multiple channels produced in pion-nucleon scattering. His work has confirmed the state of low-lying states involving S- and P- wave amplitudes and has also predicted some new states. Overall, his research has yielded important information about excited states of nucleons thereby producing a clearer picture of the baryon spectrum.

Upon review of his credentials and qualifications, our office determined that he has a good chance of meeting 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 14-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 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 19 exhibits.

Our office filed his I-140(NIW) petition to the USCIS Nebraska Service Center on June 4, 2014.  However, on October 6, 2014, the USCIS issued a Request for Evidence for his I-140 petition. In response to the RFE request, our office prepared a brief which included notes from scientists in the field regarding updates of his work and the importance of his past work in nuclear and physics research. We also emphasized our client’s past accomplishments and the benefits of his work. Our Response to RFE was filed on December 5, 2014.  Eventually, on December 24, 2014, the USCIS Nebraska Service Center approved our client’s I-140 petition.

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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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