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Post image for After Two Denials, Successful BIA Appeal and Green Card Approval Through Marriage For Chinese Client in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

Case: I-130/I-485, BIA Appeal

Client: China

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Our client entered the United States in May 2012 from China with a B-2 visitor visa.  Later, he married his U.S. citizen wife in September 2012. He retained our office on September 12, 2012 for his and his sons’ (petitioner’s two step-sons) adjustment of status applications.

Our office prepared and filed the I-130 Petition and I-485 Adjustment of Status Applications on October 9, 2012.  Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, fingerprint appointment, and work permits all came on time. Prior to the interview, our attorney thoroughly prepared our client via conference calls for their USCIS adjustment of status interview.

On December 19, 2012, our client, his two sons, and his U.S. citizen wife appeared at the Pittsburgh, PA USCIS office for their adjustment interview. The interview was extensive, and the officer was suspicious regarding the bona fideness of our client’s marriage.

On January 14, 2014, the USCIS issued a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID).  The NOID claimed that there was substantial and probative evidence that the marital union between the Petitioner and Beneficiary is not bona fide.  Moreover, the NOID points out that the submitted documentation of Petitioner and Beneficiary does not establish a bona fide nature of their marriage.

In response to the USCIS’s NOID, our office helped our clients draft an extensive affidavit. Multiple supporting documents and an affidavit from our client were all included as well as letters from their friends and neighbors, joint utility bills, joint insurance, and several pictures of our client and his wife in several occasions with different people.  Several legal authorities were cited based on particular issues discussed, and on February 10, 2014, we filed the Response to NOID prior to the 30-day deadline.

However, the USCIS denied our client’s adjustment of status cases in April 2014. Our clients were frustrated. Their marriage was bona fide. Nevertheless, they decided to re-file their adjustment of status applications. Our office filed the applications again on May 13, 2014.

The USCIS scheduled another interview for our clients. On October 29, 2014, our client, his two sons, and his U.S. citizen wife appeared at the Pittsburgh, PA USCIS office for their adjustment interview again. Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu from our office accompanied our clients as well. The USCIS claimed that the relationship between our client and his U.S. citizen wife is not bona fide and was suspicious regarding the purpose of this marriage. The NOID was issued again after the interview, and despite our extensive response, the USCIS denied our clients’ cases again.

After two denials, our client decided to file the appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Our office was retained again, and we filed the appeal to the BIA on March 24, 2015. In our appeal brief, we extensively argued that our client’s marriage to his wife was not entered for immigration purpose. We included several documentations to show that they have maintained their marital life well since the inception of their marriage.

Moreover, our office also filed the I-130/I-485 applications once again on January 8, 2016 before we filed the BIA appeal.

On April 12, 2016, the BIA sustained our appeal and approved the I-130 petition for our client. The BIA disagreed with the USCIS that “the evidence of the record reflects that the Petitioner did not establish that the marriage on which the visa petition is based is genuine. Rather, on the whole, the record contains sufficient evidence of a joint life, and, in general, discrepancies and inconsistencies were satisfactorily explained.”

Eventually, on August 25, 2016, the USCIS approved our client’s I-485 adjustment of status application without the additional interview. The USCIS also approved our client’s two sons’ adjustment of status applications. Now they are green card holders.

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Post image for Termination of Proceedings on Approved I-130 Approved for Pakistani Clients in Philadelphia Pennsylvania

CASE:  Termination of Proceedings after Joint Motion to Reopen
CLIENT: Pakistanis
LOCATION: Philadelphia, PA

Our clients are Pakistani citizens who currently reside in Philadelphia, PA. They were on Withholding of Removal status. Their U.S. Citizen sons were US Citizens. Our client entered to the United States on a valid L-1 and L-2 visa in November 2000.  Later, they were granted withholding of removal in July 2006 by the Philadelphia Immigration Court.

In November 2013, our clients’ son became a naturalized U.S. citizen. However, for them to get a green card, their case should first be reopened in the Immigration Court for them to apply for adjustment of status either with the Court, or with the CIS should proceedings be terminated after reopening.

In May 2015, our clients contacted our office and sought legal assistance for their immigration matter. Our client retained us on May 14, 2015.  Upon retention, we first prepared and filed their U.S. citizen son’s I-130 petitions for them. We filed the I-130 petitions to the USCIS on May 20, 2015 and the USCIS approved the I-130s on October 5, 2015. Once the I-130s were approved, we filed a Request to Join in a Motion to Reopen for our client to USICE-DHS office in Philadelphia.  Our cover brief explained how they got their withholding of removal status, approval of I-130, and their prima facie eligibility to apply for adjustment of status.

After the long review period, the DHS office in Philadelphia finally agreed to join in our Motion to Reopen and an assigned counsel signed on the Motion on April 11, 2016.  Once we received the Joint Motion to Reopen, we filed a Motion to the Philadelphia Immigration Court to request reopening of our clients’ cases so that they can apply for adjustment of status. Eventually, on April 28, 2016, the Philadelphia Immigration Court terminated our clients’ removal proceedings. Now, with the termination order and approved I-130 by their U.S. citizen son, our client can file the adjustment of status applications to the USCIS.

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Post image for Request to Join in a Motion to Reopen and Terminate Proceedings Approved for Pakistani on Withholding of Removal in Philadelphia Pennsylvania

CASE:  Request to Join in a Motion to Reopen and Terminate Proceedings
CLIENT: Pakistanis
LOCATION: Philadelphia, PA

Our clients are a Pakistani couple who currently reside in Philadelphia, PA. They were granted withholding of removal years ago.  Our client entered the United States on a valid L-1 and L-2 visa in November 2000.  Later, they were granted withholding of removal in July 2006 by the Philadelphia Immigration Court.  They have remained in the United States thereafter.

In November 2013, our clients’ son became a naturalized U.S. citizen. However, for them to get a green card, their case should first be reopened in the Immigration Court for them to apply for adjustment of status either with the Court, or with the CIS should proceedings be terminated after reopening.

In May 2015, our clients contacted our office and sought legal assistance for their immigration matter. After consultation, our client retained us on May 14, 2015.  Upon retention, we first prepared and filed their U.S. citizen son’s I-130 petitions for them. We filed the I-130 petitions to the USCIS on May 20, 2015 and the USCIS approved the I-130s on October 5, 2015. Once the I-130s were approved, we filed a Request to Join in a Motion to Reopen for our client to USICE-DHS office in Philadelphia.  Our cover brief explained how they got their withholding of removal status, approved of I-130, and their prima facie eligibility to apply for adjustment of status.

On April 11, 2016, the DHS office in Philadelphia agreed to join in the Motion to Reopen and Terminate Proceedings. The Joint Motion was then filed to the Philadelphia Immigration Court and upon reopening and termination, their adjustment of status applications can then be filed to the USCIS.

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Post image for Marriage Based I-130 and I-485 Green Card Approval for Pakistani Client in Philadelphia Pennsylvania

CASE: Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status

CLIENT: Pakistani

LOCATION: Philadelphia, PA

Our client came to the United States when he was a minor as an H-4 visa holder. Later, he changed his status from H-4 to F-1 once he was enrolled in college. After he completed his undergraduate degree, he got a job and was petitioned for his H-1B status in the United States. In August 2015, he married a U.S. Citizen and retained our office for his petition and adjustment of status application.

Once retained, our firm prepared and filed the I-130 petition and I-485 adjustment of status application on December 11, 2015. Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, fingerprint appointment, and work permits all came on time. There were no requests for evidence.

Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared our clients via conference calls. On March 10, 2016, our clients were interviewed at the Philadelphia Pennsylvania USCIS office. However, after the interview, the USCIS issued a Request for Evidence (RFE) and asked our client to submit more bona fide marital documents with his wife.  Our office prepared and filed the Response to RFE on March 21, 2016. Eventually, on April 11, 2016, the USCIS approved our client’s case. Now he is a green card holder.

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Post image for Marriage Based I-130 and I-485 Green Card Approval for Jamaican Client in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

CASE: Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status

CLIENT: Jamaican

LOCATION: Pittsburgh, PA

Our client came to the United States in November 2013 with a B-2 visitor’s visa from Jamaica. Later, she married a U.S. Citizen in May 2015 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 September 28, 2015. Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, fingerprint appointment, and work permits all came on time. There were no requests for evidence.

Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared our clients via conference calls. On February 24, 2016, our clients were interviewed at the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USCIS office. Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu from our office accompanied them at their interview as well. After the interview, our client and her son’s green card applications were approved.

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Post image for Marriage Immigration I-130 and I-485 Petition and Adjustment of Status Green Card Approval for Nigerian Client in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

CASE: Marriage-Based Green Card

CLIENT: Nigerian

LOCATION: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Our client came to the United States from Nigeria on an F-1 student’s visa in August 2012. He married a U.S. Citizen in October 2014 and retained our office on November 16, 2014 for his green card application.  Our firm prepared and filed the I-130 Petition and I-485 Adjustment of Status Application on May 26, 2015.  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 as well. On October 21, 2015, our client was interviewed at the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania USCIS office. Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu from our office accompanied our clients as well. Eventually, on the same day of the interview, his green card application was approved.

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Post image for Motion to Reopen and Terminate from BIA after Request to Join in a Motion to Reopen and Terminate with DHS Based on Approved I-130 for Moldovan Client in Philadelphia, PA

CASE: Joint Motion to Reopen and Termination of Removal Proceedings with an Approved I-130 Petition

CLIENT: Moldovan

LOCATION: Philadelphia, PA; Baltimore, MD (DHS)

Our client is from Moldova who came to the U.S. on a J-1 visa in June 2009. She has remained in the United States past her authorized period of stay.  Later, she filed for asylum and withholding of removal in December 2009, but the Immigration Judge at the Baltimore Immigration Court denied all applications for relief.

She filed an appeal with the BIA, but in 2012, the Board affirmed the Immigration Judge’s findings and dismissed the appeal. She then proceeded to appeal her case at the Federal Circuit Court, but was denied.

Our client remained in the United States with the final order of removal.

She married her current U.S. citizen husband in February 2014. After she married her husband, they consulted our firm. They wish to know if she has any viable options for her immigration status.

After careful review, our office determined that we can file a Request to the DHS to join in a Motion to Reopen based on an I-130 approval (if the I-130 petition is approved) and Bo Cooper’s May 17, 2001 Memorandum. After consultation, our client retained our office.

Once retained, our office prepared and filed the I-130 petition. The I-130 petition was filed on July 3, 2014. Her I-130 petition was scheduled for an interview, and they appeared at the USCIS Philadelphia USCIS Field Office on February 12, 2015. Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu from our office accompanied our clients as well. The interview went well and the I-130 petition was subsequently approved by the USCIS on February 18. 2015.

Once the I-130 petition was approved, our office prepared and filed a Request to Join in a Motion to Reopen and Terminate to the Baltimore DHS office on March 19, 2015. Our office prepared an extensive brief along with multiple supporting documents to request a favorable exercise of DHS’s discretion on this case.

We argued that DHS should consider the following factors as set forth in Bo Cooper’s May 17, 2001 Memorandum: (1) whether adjustment of status was available at the prior hearing; (2) whether the alien is statutorily eligible for adjustment of status; and (3) whether the alien merits a favorable exercise of discretion. Bo Cooper, Motions to Reopen for Consideration of Adjustment of Status (May 17, 2001). In considering these factors, as delineated in William J. Howard’s October 24, 2005, Memorandum, “Where a motion to reopen for adjustment of status… is filed on behalf of an alien with substantial equities, no serious criminal or immigration violations, and who is legally eligible to be granted relief except that the motion is beyond the 90-day limitation contained in 8 C.F.R. § 1003.23, strongly consider exercising prosecutorial discretion and join in this motion to reopen to permit the alien to pursue such relief to the immigration court.” William J. Howard, Prosecutorial Discretion (October 24, 2005).

Our office argued that if our client’s case is reopened, she will be prima facie eligible to adjust her status. Our client has been living in the United States since 2009, has no criminal record, and has an approved I-130 petition based on her marriage to a U.S citizen spouse.

Eventually, the DHS office agreed to join in our Motion to Reopen and Terminate on June 1, 2015. The DHS filed the joint motion to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and the BIA issued a decision on July 30, 2015 and reopened and terminated our client’s case. Now, our client can file her adjustment of status application to the USCIS directly at any time.

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

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

 

NATIONALITY: Chinese

 

LOCATION: Pittsburgh, PA

 

Our client was a citizen of China who came to the U.S. on a J-2 Visa in March 2007.  He came with his mother who came on a J-1 Visa for her research program in the United States. Both were subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement, meaning they had to go back to their home country for two-years before they can apply for permanent residency or some non-immigrant visa such as the H, L, and O visas.

 

After our client came to the United States, he completed his high school and was admitted to a University to pursue his bachelor’s degree. He went back to China and got his F-1 student visa at the U.S. Embassy in China and came back to the United States with his F-1 student visa.

 

He turned 21 in 2011. This year, his employer filed an I-129 petition for our client’s H-1B visa. However, because of her two-year foreign residency requirement, our client cannot change his status in the United States without the fulfillment of requirement or the waiver.

 

Although J-2 dependents cannot independently apply for a waiver, in cases where a J-2 child reaches 21, the Waiver Review Division may consider requests for waivers on behalf of the J-2 dependent.  The Department of State’s policy allows for that process in instances where the J-2 dependent obtains a divorce form the J-1 principal, the J-1 principal dies, or in cases where the J-2 dependent turns 21, which is our client’s case. In fact, our client turned 21 in March 2011.

 

Our firm was retained to do his J-2 waiver, and on March 25, 2015, the J-2 Waiver application (Form DS-3035 and supporting documents) was filed to the Department of State. We also sent a request to the DOS to be an interested government agency and recommend this waiver based on the fact that our client reached the age of 21 and was not a dependent of a J-1 visa holder anymore.  Eventually, on April 27, 2015 the DOS recommended to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that our client be granted a waiver.  On May 21, 2015, the USCIS issued an I-612 approval notice for our client’s waiver request.

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Post image for Employment Green Card Approval for Korean Taekwondo Head Coach in Erie, PA

CASE: I-485 (adjustment of status) / I-140 (EB-2 Category)

EMPLOYER: Taekwondo (Martial Arts) School

BENEFICIARY: Korean

LOCATION: Erie, PA

Our client is a prominent Taekwondo master who is working as a Taekwondo coach. He had a Taekwondo school willing to do a second-preference petition (I-140) for him.  Our client has a Bachelors and Masters degree in a related field and has coaching experience. Although he had maintained his status as an O-1 visa holder in the United States, his previous green card application (Based on the EB-11 category) was denied.

After talking to our client, our firm decided that his potential employer can petition him as a Taekwondo Head 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 clearly eligible for EB-2 classification. Our client eventually retained us for his PERM labor certification in January 2013.

As we stated in a previous success story, his PERM Labor Certification was approved on May 13, 2014 despite the issuance of an Audit request.  After the PERM approval, our client retained us again for the I-140 petition.

We then proceeded with the I-140 Petition filing. One of the main requirements for the I-140 is that the petitioning company must show that it has the ability to pay the proffered wage for the beneficiary’s position.

The adjusted gross income was not enough. The current wage of the beneficiary was not enough. The net current assets were also not enough.

Thus, we attached the tax return schedule that showed the net current assets of the Petitioner and combined it with his wage to argue that this combination establishes Petitioner’s ability to pay the prevailing wage. A combination of the net current assets and our client’s current salary was over and above the prevailing wage and the proffered wage.

We included the job offer letter, employment verification letters from our client’s previous employers, and other necessary supporting documents.  The I-140 Petition was filed on June 2, 2014 via premium processing.  Eventually, on June 17, 2014, the I-140 EB2 Petition for our Korean client was approved.

Once his I-140 petition was approved, he retained our office again for his I-485 adjustment of status application. Once retained, our office filed an I-485 adjustment of status application for our client on June 3, 2014. However, on November 22, 2014, the USCIS Texas Service Center issued a Request for Evidence (RFE) and asked us to submit more documents to show whether our client has maintained his lawful status in the United States.

Our office promptly filed the Response to RFE to the USCIS on December 1, 2014 along with his previous I-129 approval notices. Eventually, on December 12, 2014, 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 I-601 Hardship Waiver Approval for Mexican Client in Mexico

CASE:   I-601 Hardship Waiver of Inadmissibility

 

APPLICANT / BENEFICIARY: Mexican

 

LOCATION: I-130 petitioner is in Pittsburgh, PA and I-601 beneficiary is in Juarez, Mexico

 

Our client came to the United States from Mexico in February 2002 without inspection and admission. Later, he married his U.S. citizen wife in April 2012. In July 2012, his U.S. Citizen wife filed an I-130 petition for him and his biological children (Petitioner’s step-children) who were residing in Mexico. These I-130 petitions were approved on March 7, 2013. At the time of I-130 petition filing, they did not receive legal assistance from lawyers. Therefore, our client went back to Mexico to appear at his immigrant visa interview despite the fact that he had entry bar because of his unlawful presence and illegal entry to the U.S.

 

In February 2014, our client and his two children had an interview at the U.S. Consulate Office in Mexico. The step-children’s immigrant visas were approved. However, for our client, he was asked to file a 601 waiver of inadmissibility, due to his illegal entry in 2002 and illegal stay in the United States.  To get legal assistance for this I-601 waiver for our client, our client’s wife contacted our office in February and retained our office on February 27, 2014.

 

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

 

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 type of 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-601 application had a good chance since our client’s U.S. Citizen wife suffers from a great degree of financial, medical, and psychological hardships. In the I-601 brief and supporting documents, our office included extensive documentation to support her hardship. We argued that if he was removed from the United States, extreme hardship to his wife is clearly foreseeable and evident.  His wife has ongoing hardships and she would not be able to take care of her own needs and the bulk of their family chores. Also, it would be extremely difficult for her to get the financial ability 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 wife will face extreme financial and emotional difficulties if he cannot come back to the United States.

 

On April 16, 2014, we filed the I-601 waiver application which included a brief in support and supporting documents that demonstrated hardship to his wife if our client is not able to come back to the United States.  However, on August 11, 2014, the USCIS issued a Request for Evidence (RFE) to our client and requested more supplemental documents to demonstrate the hardship that our client’s US citizen wife will face if he is barred to come back to the United States.  In response to the RFE, our office prepared a detailed Response to RFE brief along with our client’s affidavit and other documents to show his wife’s hardships. Our office filed the Response to RFE to the USCIS on October 20, 2014.

 

Eventually, his I-601 waiver was approved on October 25, 2014.

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