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Post image for I-539 Change of Status Approval from H-1B (with Gap from Last Day of H-1B to First Program Day on I-20) to F-1 after Successful Response to RFE for Chinese Client in Cleveland, OH

CASE: Change of Status from H-1B to F-1 / Response to RFE

 

CLIENT: Chinese

 

LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

 

Our client has been on H-1B status for many years and has worked in the United States. In late 2014, she decided to study further in the United States and got admitted. She filed her I-539 Change of Status application to change status from H-1B to F-1 to USCIS.

 

However, she received a Request for Evidence for her application and the RFE letter was very extensive and involved multiple issues. In order to receive legal assistance from us, she contacted our office in early April of this year for the response to RFE. Eventually, she retained our office on April 7, 2015.

 

Once retained, we helped our client obtain supporting documents for the Change of Status and prepared the response brief for the RFE. We fully explained her financial ability to pursue her studies in the U.S., her ties to her home country, and maintenance of status.

 

The start date of her program on the I-20 was AFTER her last day at work on H-1B, but it was within 30 days of it. Plus, she filed the change of status before her last day at H-1B.

 

On April 21, 2015, we filed the Response to RFE for her I-539 Change of Status with an extensive response brief and numerous supporting documents.

 

On May, 1, 2015, the Change of Status was approved. Our client is now on F-1 and can start her accounting program soon.

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Post image for Adjustment of Status (Green Card) Approval Based on K-1 Visa for Chinese Client in Columbus Ohio

CASE: Adjustment of Status Based on Approved K-1 Visa
CLIENT: Chinese
LOCATION: Columbus, OH

 

Our client came to the United States in March 2014 as a K-1 visa entrant from China.  Our client is a beneficiary of an approved I-129F petition and came to the United States as a K-1 Fiancée of a U.S. Citizen whom she married within 90 days of entry.  By law, if you married your petitioner-fiancé within 90 days of your K-1 visa entry, you are eligible for adjustment of status.   

 

Our client contacted our office initially in the middle of May 2014 and consulted with us for her adjustment of status application.  Eventually, she retained our office, and our firm quickly prepared and filed the I-485 Adjustment of Status Application on June 6, 2014 a few days before her K-1 authorized stay period expired.  Things went smoothly and the receipt notices, and the fingerprint appointment all came on time.  Her Work Authorization Card was issued as well.

 

It is not mandatory for having an adjustment interview for an adjustment applicant based on K-1 visa entry.  However, the USCIS may require an interview to test the validity and bona fide nature of marriage between the Petitioner and Beneficiary.  Fortunately, the USCIS did not ask for an adjustment interview for our client.  On December 4, 2015, her green card application was approved.

 

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Post image for Approved J-1 Waiver Through No Objection Statement for Korean Dentist in Cleveland Ohio

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

NATIONALITY: Korean

LOCATION: Ohio

 

Our client is from South Korea who came to the U.S. on a J-1 Visa in December 2002 as a visiting scholar. His J-1 program made him subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement.  He retained our office to seek legal assistance for his H-1b visa.. Before his H-1b gets approved, he has to get a waiver of 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 January 28, 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 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 March 25, 2015, the Waiver Review Division issued a favorable recommendation based on the No Objection statement. Eventually, the USCIS issued an I-612 approval on May 1, 2015.

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Post image for Green Card Approval Based on Approved I-360 Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Petition for Guatemalan Client in Cleveland OH

CASE:  I-485 Adjustment of Status / I-360 Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Petition

 

CLIENT: Guatemalan

 

LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

 

Our client came to the United States in September 2012 from Guatemala. He came to the United States without inspection and admission and was caught at the border. After that the DHS released him, but he was placed in removal proceedings. He came to Cleveland, OH to be reunited with his older brother who resides in the Cleveland area.

 

He retained our office in April 2013 for representation at his deportation proceedings. On June 4, 2013, our client appeared at the Cleveland Immigration Court for his master calendar hearing. Attorney Yu from our office represented him, did pleadings and sought asylum relief. After the hearing, our office also sought other options for our client since he was a minor.

 

Section 203(b)(4) of the INA allocates a percentage of immigrant visas to individuals considered “special immigrants” under section 101(a)(27) of the INA, including those aliens classified as special immigrant juveniles under Section 101(a)(27)(J). “Special Immigrant Juvenile” includes only those juveniles deemed eligible for long-term foster care based on abuse, neglect, or abandonment.  To be eligible as a SIJ, the DHS’ express consent to the juvenile court’s dependency order is required. Then, the approved SIJ petition (Form I-360) makes a minor petitioner immediately eligible to adjust status by filing an adjustment of status application.

 

Our client was 17 years old when he contacted our office. In fact, our client was not supported by his parents and had to work in farms to support himself since he was 8 years old in Guatemala. Our client’s sister-in-law, who is a U.S. citizen and lives with our client, would like to be a legal guardian of our client. With our help, she filed a complaint for him to be deemed a neglected child to Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court on October 10, 2013.

 

The Juvenile court hearing was scheduled on November 26, 2013. Attorney JP Sarmiento represented our client and his sister-in-law at the hearing. Eventually, on the same day, the court found that our client is neglected and dependent and our client’s sister-in-law was appointed legal guardian.

 

After that, our office filed an I-360 application on December 2, 2013 to the USCIS. The application was supported by a court order declaring dependency by the juvenile court, court order deeming the juvenile eligible for long-term foster care due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment, determination from the juvenile court that it is in our client’s interest not to be returned to Guatemala, and his birth certificate.

 

Our client appeared for his I-360 interview on January 10, 2014 at the Cleveland USCIS Field Office. Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu from our office also accompanied our client as well. However, after the interview, the USCIS issued the Notice of Intent to Deny.  Specifically, the USCIS alleged that the juvenile court’s order was not sufficient enough to adjudicate his I-360 petition because the juvenile court did not expressly declare that it is in our client’s interest not to be returned to Guatemala.

 

After the issuance of the NOID, our office contacted the juvenile court and sought for possible amendment of the judge’s decision. In response to our request, the juvenile court issued an amended decision and held that the sentence regarding the child’s best interests was omitted. The court found that it is not in the best interests of our client to be returned to Guatemala. Our office filed the response to the NOID on February 3, 2014 along with juvenile court’s new decision. Nevertheless, the USCIS approved our client’s I-360 petition on February 19, 2014.

 

Once his I-360 petition was approved, our office prepared and filed a request to join in a Motion to Terminate to USICE-DHS in Cleveland Office in April 2014. The DHS agreed with our motion, and on December 17, 2014, the Immigration Judge granted our Joint Motion to Terminate proceedings.

 

After his removal proceedings were terminated, our firm prepared and filed an I-485 adjustment of status application on March 3, 2015. Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, fingerprint appointment, and work permit all came on time. Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared our clients through conference calls. On April 27, 2015, our client was interviewed at the Cleveland USCIS Field Office. The interview went well, and on April 28, 2015, the USCIS approved our client’s adjustment of status application. Now, our client is a green card holder. 

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Post image for Despite Divorce and Remarriage, I-751 Removal of Conditions Approval for Ghanaian Client in Cleveland Ohio

CASE: I-751

APPLICANT: Ghanaian

LOCATION: Cleveland, Ohio

Our client contacted our office in early July 2014 regarding his I-751 application.

He is from Ghana and married a U.S. citizen in 2011. Through his marriage, he obtained a 2-year conditional green card in October of 2012.  His conditional residency terminated in July 2014.

What was unique in this case was that after our client obtained his green card, their marriage suffered and they eventually got divorced. However, after a few months, they got remarried again. Those set of facts typically would raise red flags with immigration, but we got their story and obtained documents about their relationship and filed the I-751.

To comply with immigration requirements, our client and his wife had to file an I-751 Joint Petition to Remove Conditions. He retained our office on July 7, 2014 and our office prepared an I-751 application for our client with other supplemental exhibits. We made sure the application was extensive as their situation, post conditional residency application, was unique.

On August 19, 2014, our office filed an I-751 application to the USCIS with multiple affidavits from his friends and family members, joint tax filing records, joint bank statements, utility bills, insurance policies, and photos of our client and his wife to demonstrate the bona fideness of their marriage. The divorce decree plus new marriage certificate were also submitted. The beneficiary even had a domestic violence case which was brought down to disorderly conduct.

Once the application was filed, the fingerprint notice was issued two weeks later. However, USCIS issued a Request for Evidence (RFE) on December 3, 2014. The USCIS requested our client to submit more documentary evidence to prove the bona fide nature of his marriage with his wife. In response to the RFE, our office prepared the response and gathered more joint documentary evidence to demonstrate the bona fide nature of their marriage We filed the RFE response on February 5, 2015.

As expected, the USCIS scheduled an interview for our client’s I-751 application. On April 2, 2014, our client and his wife were requested to appear for their interview at the USCIS Cleveland Office.  Prior to the interview, our office prepared them thoroughly. We also accompanied them at the interview as well. The interview went well, and as a result, on the same day of the interview, the USCIS approved our client’s I-751 application and our client received his 10-year green card which removed the conditions

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Post image for Naturalization and Citizenship N400 Approval for Chinese Client in Cleveland Ohio

CASE: N-400 (Citizenship / Naturalization)

APPLICANT: Chinese

LOCATION: Cleveland, OH

Our client contacted us in December 2014 to seek legal representation for his naturalization and citizenship N-400 application. He came to the United States from China and obtained his green card in March 2012 through marriage to his U.S. Citizen wife. He retained our office on January 2, 2015.

The N-400 application was filed on January 12, 2015 with all supporting documents. Prior to his citizenship interview, our office prepared him in our office. On March 27, 2015, our client appeared at the Cleveland, OH USCIS office for his naturalization interview. Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu from our office accompanied our client. Our client answered all questions correctly and passed his naturalization and citizenship interview. Eventually, his application was approved on April 3, 2015. 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 After I-601A Provisional Hardship Waiver Approval for Mexican Client in Ohio

CASE:   Immigrant Visa / I-601A Hardship Waiver of Inadmissibility

APPLICANT / BENEFICIARY: Mexican

LOCATION: Ohio / Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (Visa Interview)

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 due to his ground of inadmissibility. He needs a waiver of inadmissibility to become a green card holder – a 601A provisional waiver.

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. 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 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 22, 2014.

Once his I-601A waiver was approved, he retained our office again for his immigrant visa processing. Our office prepared and filed his immigrant visa application on November 26, 2014. In February 2015, the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico informed our office that they scheduled an immigrant visa interview for our client. Our client went back to Mexico to appear at his interview on March 5, 2015. On March 5, 2015, our client appeared at his immigrant visa interview at the Consulate, and the Consulate officer approved his immigrant visa on the same day.

Now, our client is back in the United States with an approved immigrant visa and he will get his green card in the mail within two weeks.

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Post image for EB-1C I-140 Petition Approval for Korean Executive and Multinational Tire Company Petitioner in Ohio

CASE: I-140 (EB-1C Category: Executives and Managers of Multinational Organizations)

EMPLOYER: Multinational Tire Corporation

BENEFICIARY: Korean

LOCATION: Ohio

Our client is a vice president of a multinational tire corporation in Ohio.  He is from Korea, and has worked for its parent company for 12 years in positions of increasing responsibility including that of Research and Development team manager. He came to the United States in February 2013 with an E-2 visa to work for current petitioner company (wholly-owned subsidiary of his previous employer).  He contacted our firm in December 2013, and discussed us his chances of getting a green card.  Based on our client’s educational and professional background and his current position at the worksite, our office determined that he was clearly eligible for the EB-1C classification for his I-140 petition. Our client eventually retained us for his I-140 and subsequent I-485 adjustment of status application.

An employer can petition for its foreign employee under INA § 203(b)(1)(C) if it demonstrates the following: (C) Certain multinational executives and managers – An alien is described in this subparagraph if the alien, in the 3 years preceding the time of the alien’s application for classification and admission into the United States under this subparagraph, has been employed for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation or other legal entity or an affiliate or subsidiary thereof and the alien seeks to enter the United States in order to continue to render services to the same employer or to a subsidiary or affiliate thereof in a capacity that is managerial or executive.

According to the INA §101(a)(44), 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(44) and 8 C.F.R §204.5(j)(2), “executive capacity” means an assignment in an organization in which the employee primarily: (1) Directs the management of the organization or a component or function; (2) Establishes goals and policies; (3) Exercise wide latitude in discretionary decision making; and (4) Receives only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, board of directors or stockholders.

Also, “managerial capacity” is defined as an assignment with the organization in which the employee personally: (1) Manages the organization, department, subdivision, function or component; (2) Supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees, or manages an essential function within the organization or department or subdivision of the organization; (3) Has authority to hire and fire or recommend personnel actions (if another directly supervises employees), or if no direct supervision, functions at a senior level; and (4) Exercises discretion over day-to-day operations of the activity or function.

After our office was retained, we prepared a thorough cover letter and obtained all necessary supporting documents from our client and the petitioning company. In our brief, we clearly demonstrated that our client met the requirements set forth in the INA §203(b)(1)(C).  First, the prospective U.S. employer (Petitioner-Company) has been doing business for at least 1 year.  Second, the prospective employer (Petitioner) in the United States is the same employer or a subsidiary or affiliate of the firm or corporation or other legal entity by which the alien was employed abroad.  Third, if the worker is already employed in the United States, he or she was employed outside the United States for at least 1 year in the 3 years preceding admission as a non-immigrant in an executive or managerial capacity by the petitioner or by its parent branch, subsidiary, or affiliate. Last, the alien is to be employed in the United States in a managerial or executive capacity.

In this case, the Petitioner-company has been doing business for 23 years in the United States. In addition, Petitioner-Company is the wholly-owned subsidiary of its Korean parent company where our client was employed for 12 years. Moreover, our client was employed outside the U.S. for at least 1 year in the 3 years preceding admission as a non-immigrant in an Executive or Managerial Capacity by the Petitioner’s parent company in South Korea.  Our client served as a team manager and later became general manager for the parent company.  He personally supervised and controlled the work of other researchers and engineers for new types and models of tire developments, and was primarily responsible for the company’s various new tires.  Lastly, our client is to be employed in the United States as a vice president for the petitioner.

On the application package, we included a detailed job offer letter, employment verification letter from our client’s previous employer (parent company), an organization chart, and a dispatch order.  Also, we included evidence regarding the relationship between the Petitioner-Company and its Parent company in South Korea.  The evidence included a copy of the certificate of ownership, a copy of the articles of incorporation, a copy the business registration certificate, a copy of the approval for overseas investment, a copy of the annual report and consolidated financial statements.  The I-140 Petition was filed on September 8, 2014.  On March 5, 2015, the I-140 was approved with no Requests for Evidence.  Now, our client can file the I-485 adjustment of status application based on the approved I-140 petition.

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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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