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Post image for J-1 Waiver Through No Objection Statement for Korean Researcher in Blacksburg Virginia

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

NATIONALITY: Korean

LOCATION: Blacksburg, VA

Our client is from South Korea who came to the U.S. on a J-1 Visa in 2001 to work as a term appointed, non-paid Guest Scientist. His J-1 program made him subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement. After his J-1 program was completed, he went back to South Korea and got his F-1 student visa. With his F-1 status, he finished his Ph.D. degree and started to work as a post-doctoral researcher. He retained our office to seek legal assistance for his I-140 (National Interest Waiver Classification) and I-485 Adjustment of Status applications. However, our client completely forgot about his J-1 status in the past and was not fulfilled the 2-year foreign residency requirement. Thus, before we file his I-485 application, he has to get a waiver for his two-year foreign residency requirement.

Once retained, our office promptly prepared and filed a waiver request through the No Objection Statement (NOS) from the Korean Embassy in the United States.

Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu from our office contacted the Korean Consulate General Office in Chicago to pursue the waiver for our client.  The Consulate requested six different documents including a statement of reason for the waiver, the applicant’s resume, a J-1 visa waiver confirmation application, and a letter of reason for obtaining the J-1 waiver.  Most of those documents needed to be written in Korean, so Attorney Yu, a Korean himself, assisted our client in completing those documents.

On November 17, 2016, the J-1 Waiver (Form DS-3035) Application was filed to the Department of State.  We also sent a request to the Korean Embassy to issue a No Objection Statement and recommend this waiver based on the fact that our client is eligible to file a National Interest Waiver petition and adjustment of status application.

The Korean Consulate General in Chicago forwarded our client’s documents to the Korean Embassy in DC.  After that, the Korean Embassy issued a No Objection Statement for our client, and sent this letter to the State Department’s Waiver Review Division.  On February 15, 2017, the Waiver Review Division issued a favorable recommendation based on the No Objection statement. Eventually, on March 22, 2017, the USCIS issued I-612 approval notice and waived our client’s 2 year foreign residency requirement.

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Post image for Green Card Approval Based on Approved EB-2 I-140 for Korean Pastor in Virginia

CASE: EB-2 Green Card Approval Based on Approved I-140 (EB-2)    
EMPLOYER: Korean Church
BENEFICIARY: Korean Pastor
LOCATION: Virginia

Our client is a senior pastor of a Korean church in Virginia, who currently does his ministry at this church under an H-1B status.  This church was willing to petition him for a second-preference petition (I-140).  Our client has a master’s degree in Divinity. After talking to our client, our firm concluded that his employer can petition him as a Pastor.  Second preference petitions for Koreans are current, which means that if a PERM Labor Certification for a second preference position gets approved, the I-140 and I-485 could be filed simultaneously. Based on our client’s educational, professional and working backgrounds, our office determined that he is clearly eligible for EB-2 classification for his I-140 petition.  Our client eventually retained us on December 15, 2014.

Prior to filing PERM, our firm prepared the prevailing wage request, job order, advertisements, internal job posting, recruitment report, and all other steps which are important pre-PERM filing. Take note that PERM could be filed at least 60 days from the job posting date or 30 days from the last ad. On March 4, 2015, the prevailing wage request was filed.  After we obtained foreign degree evaluation report, our office filed the job order on May 4, 2015.  On July 29, 2015, we promptly filed PERM.  Eventually, on January 28, 2016, the PERM Labor Certification was approved – an EB2 position for the Korean beneficiary.

We then proceeded with the I-140 Petition filing. We submitted the “ability to pay” letter for the I-140 petition application. We included the job offer letter, employer’s financial records, and other necessary supporting documents. The I-140 Petition was filed on June 14, 2016 via premium processing service. However, the USCIS issued Request for Evidence (RFE) on June 29, 2016 and requested the Petitioner’s audited balance sheet to demonstrate whether Petitioner has sufficient net current asset to pay proffered wage of beneficiary. On September 8, 2016, our office filed the Response to RFE to USCIS along with Petitioner’s 2015 audited balance sheet. Eventually, on September 16, 2016, the I-140 EB-2 Petition for our Korean client was approved.

Once the I-140 petition was approved, our client retained our office again for his I-485 adjustment of status application. Our office filed an I-485 adjustment of status application for our client on November 28, 2016. Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices and fingerprint appointment came on time.

Eventually, on March 9, 2017, the USCIS Texas Service Center approved our client’s adjustment of status application. Now, he finally is a green card holder.

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Post image for Marriage Based I-130 Petition and I-485 Adjustment of Status Green Card Approval for Client from Congo in Washington DC

CASE: Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status

NATIONALITY: DR Congo                                                                                                        

LOCATION: Washington DC

Our client is from the Democratic Republic of Congo who came to the U.S. on an F-1 Student Visa in July 2013.  In January 2016, our client married her current U.S. citizen husband.  She retained our office in February 2016 for her green card application.  Our firm prepared and filed the I-130 Petition and I-485 Adjustment of Status Application on August 15, 2016.  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 via conference calls as well. On January 12, 2017, our client was interviewed at Fairfax Virginia USCIS office. Eventually, after the interview, her green card application was approved.

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Post image for I-140 EB2 for Korean Pastor Beneficiary and Church Petitioner in Virginia Approved

CASE: I-140 (EB-2)    
EMPLOYER: Korean Church
BENEFICIARY: Korean Pastor
LOCATION: Virginia

Our client is a senior pastor of a Korean church in Virginia, and currently does his ministry at this church under the H-1B status.  This church is willing to petition him for a second-preference petition (I-140).  Our client has a master’s degree in Divinity. After talking to our client, our firm concluded that his employer can petition him as a Pastor.  Second preference petitions for Koreans are current, which means that if a PERM Labor Certification for a second preference position gets approved, the I-140 and I-485 could be filed simultaneously. Based on our client’s educational, professional and working backgrounds, our office determined that he is clearly eligible for EB-2 classification for his I-140 petition.  Our client eventually retained us on December 15, 2014.

Prior to filing PERM, our firm prepared the prevailing wage request, job order, advertisements, internal job posting, recruitment report, and all other steps which are important pre-PERM filing. Take note that PERM could be filed at least 60 days from the job posting date or 30 days from the last ad. On March 4, 2015, the prevailing wage request was filed.  After we obtained foreign degree evaluation report, our office filed the job order on May 4, 2015.  On July 29, 2015, we promptly filed PERM.  Eventually, on January 28, 2016, the PERM Labor Certification was approved – an EB2 position for the Korean beneficiary.

We then proceeded with the I-140 Petition filing. We submitted the “ability to pay” letter for the I-140 petition application. We included the job offer letter, employer’s financial records, and other necessary supporting documents. The I-140 Petition was filed on June 14, 2016 via premium processing service. However, the USCIS issued Request for Evidence (RFE) on June 29, 2016 and requested the Petitioner’s audited balance sheet to demonstrate whether Petitioner has sufficient net current asset to pay proffered wage of beneficiary. On September 8, 2016, our office filed the Response to RFE to USCIS along with Petitioner’s 2015 audited balance sheet. Eventually, on September 16, 2016, the I-140 EB-2 Petition for our Korean client was approved. Our client can file his I-485 adjustment of status application once his priority date becomes current in October 2016.

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Post image for I-140 National Interest Waiver Approval for Jordanian Researcher in the field of Pharmaceutical Science in Virginia

CASE: I-140 / National Interest Waiver

CLIENT: Jordanian

LOCATION: Virginia

Our client contacted us in November 2014 about the possibility of doing a National Interest Waiver. He is a researcher from Jordan and he is an exceptional researcher and scientist in the field of Pharmaceutical Sciences; specifically, his research focuses on discovery, design, and development of small molecules therapy or technology to treat various cardiovascular diseases and conditions. He obtained his J-1 hardship waiver through our office as well in 2014 and contacted our office again for his NIW.

His significant contributions have placed him at the pinnacle of the field of pharmaceutical science. He contributed to the drug discovery, design, and developmental aspects of glycosaminoglycans and their structural mimetics to treat various diseases including, but not limited to, thrombosis, inflammation, cancer, and several infectious diseases. His research were highly evaluated by 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 34-page brief for our client’s NIW filing. Our client also obtained 10 letters of recommendation from his colleagues and internationally-recognized scientists. Our office also included his publication record, presentation record, and conference materials in the NIW application. We demonstrated the intrinsic merit of our client’s research in the United States, the national scope of his research, and asserted that our client would serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than would an available U.S. worker having the same minimum qualifications. His NIW application contained 116 exhibits (Exhibit A to LLLLL).

Our office filed his I-140(NIW) petition to the USCIS Texas Service Center on December 26, 2014. However, on May 29, 2016, the USCIS issued Requests for Evidence and requested our client to submit an updated ETA-9089 form. On May 31, 2016, our office filed the Response to RFE. Eventually, on July 12, 2016, his I-140 was approved by the USCIS.  When we filed his I-140, he concurrently filed his I-485 adjustment of status application. His adjustment of status application will be approved soon as well.

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Post image for Pastor for Korean Church Labor Certification PERM Approval for Korean Beneficiary and Church Petitioner in Blacksburg Virginia

CASE: PERM Labor Certification
EMPLOYER: Korean Church
BENEFICIARY: Korean Pastor
LOCATION: Virginia

Our client is a senior pastor of a Korean church in Virginia, and he currently does his ministry work at this church under an H-1B status.  This church was willing to petition him for a second-preference petition (I-140).  Our client has a master’s degree in Divinity. After talking to our client, our firm concluded that his employer can petition him as a Pastor.  Second preference petitions for Koreans are current, which means that if a PERM Labor Certification for a second preference position gets approved, the I-140 and I-485 could be filed simultaneously. Based on our client’s education, professional and working background, our office determined that he is eligible for EB-2 classification.  Our client eventually retained us on December 15, 2014.

Prior to filing PERM, our firm prepared the prevailing wage request, job order, advertisements, internal job posting, recruitment report, and all other steps which are important pre-PERM filing. Take note that PERM could be filed at least 60 days from the job posting date or 30 days from the last ad. On March 4, 2015, the prevailing wage request was filed.  After we obtained his foreign degree evaluation report, our office filed the job order on May 4, 2015.  On July 29, 2015, we promptly filed PERM.  Eventually, on January 28, 2016, the PERM Labor Certification was approved – an EB2 position for the Korean beneficiary. Now our client can file the I-140 petition and I-485 Application.

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Post image for G4 Derivative I-360 Special Immigrant and I-485 Green Card Approval for Belgian Clients in Virginia

CASE: I-360 Special Immigrant Derivative and I-485 Adjustment of Status

 CLIENT: Belgian

 LOCATION: Virginia

Our clients’ mother is a G-4 visa holder from Belgium who is working for an international organization in the United States.  She has a daughter and a son who came to the United States with him and sought legal assistance from our firm for her children’s permanent residency in the United States based on the special immigrant provisions under the INA.

INA 101(a)(27)(I)(i) defines such an alien as “an immigrant who is the unmarried son or daughter of an officer or employee, or of a former officer or employee, of an international organization described in paragraph (15)(G)(i), and who:

  • While maintaining the status of a G4 nonimmigrant, has resided and been physical present in the United States for periods totaling at least one-half of the seven years before the date of application and for a period or periods aggregating at least seven years between the ages of five and 21 years
  • Applies for adjustment of status no later than his or her twenty-fifth birthday…

Based on this provision, we advised our client that her children will be eligible for adjustment of status. They have been physically present in the U.S. for a period totaling at least one-half of the seven years before this date, aggregating at least seven years between the age of 5 and 21.

Our client’s mother retained our office on September 18, 2015.  Our firm prepared and filed the I-360 Petition and I-485 Adjustment of Status Application on September 24, 2015.  We included a letter from their mother’s international organization for verification purposes and their school transcript as well. Once the applications were filed, everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, fingerprint appointment, and work permits all came on time.

Eventually, on December 24, 2015, the USCIS approved both the I-360 and I-485 applications for our client’s children.  They now are green card holders.

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Post image for J-1 Exceptional Hardship Waiver Approved for Egyptian Client in Virginia

CASE: J-1 Waiver of the Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement, Extreme Hardship

 NATIONALITY:  Egyptian

 LOCATION: Virginia

Our client came to the U.S. on a J-1 Visa in December 2009 from Egypt.  He came to the U.S. for his research program, and his J-1 visa made him subject to the two-year foreign resident requirement. Our client would like to file an I-140 self-petition under the National Interest Waiver Category, and eventually file an Adjustment of Status (Green Card) Application.  However, due to the two-year foreign residency requirement, he had to obtain a waiver first.

Unlike our other J-1 clients, our client could not pursue his waiver under the No Objection Statement or Interest Government Agency (IGA). Our client received government funding for his research program which made his case tougher for a No Objection Statement or IGA waiver route. Our client, though, would like to pursue his J-1 waiver based on exceptional hardship. The argument was that our client’s U.S. citizen son is experiencing exceptional medical hardships.

According to 8 C.F.R. Section 212.7(c)(5), “an alien who is subject to the foreign residence requirement and who believes that compliance therewith would impose exceptional hardship upon her spouse or child who is a citizen of the United States… may apply for a waiver on Form I-612.”

Some of the factors in analyzing extreme hardship are as follows: age of the subject, family ties in the U.S. and abroad, length and residency in the U.S., health / medical conditions, conditions in the country of removal – economic and political, financial status – business and occupation, position in / ties to the community. Matter of Anderson, 16 I&N Dec. 596 (BIA 1978).

After he retained our firm, we prepared and filed a waiver request through the exceptional hardship basis. On February 12, 2015 the J-1 Waiver (Form DS-3035) Application was filed to the Department of State.  Thereafter, our office prepared an affidavit for our client, an extensive brief in support for our client’s J-1 waiver application, and other supporting documents. Our client provided us with extensive medical documents and doctor’s reports for his U.S. citizen son’s medical condition.  On February 26, 2015, our office filed the I-612 application to the USCIS and asked them to issue and recommend this waiver based on the fact that our client’s son would experience exceptional hardship if our client needs to go back to Egypt for two years.

Eventually, the Department of State recommended a waiver for our client on October 7. 2015. Subsequently, the USCIS approved his I-612 waiver on October 14, 2015. Now that our client’s two-year foreign residency requirement is waived, he can file an I-140 NIW application along with his adjustment of status application in the United States.

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Post image for Marriage to US Citizen I-130 and I-485 Approvals for Russian Client in Virginia

CASE: Marriage-Based Green Card / J-2 Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement Post-Divorce

NATIONALITY: Russian

LOCATION: Virginia

Our client is a citizen of Russia who initially came to the U.S. on a J-2 Visa in February 1995. He came with his ex-wife who held a J-1 Visa as a visiting researcher. Both were subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement. Later, both of them started to work at International Governmental Organizations in the United States under G-4 visas. However, they were still subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement.

Unfortunately, their marriage did not work out and he eventually got divorced from his ex-wife. He remained in the United States and has continuously worked for his employer under the G-4 visa.

In September 2011, our client married his U.S. citizen wife. She wanted to file an I-130 petition for him, but he could not file for adjustment of status application because of the two-year foreign residency requirement.

He contacted our office, and our firm was retained to do his J-2 waiver on February 12, 2014.

On February 19, 2014 the J-2 Waiver 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 was divorced from the J-1 visa holder.

On March 17, 2014, the DOS sent a recommendation to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for our client be granted a waiver. On April 1, 2014, the USCIS issued the I-612 waiver approval.

After he obtained the waiver of his 2 year foreign residency requirement, he retained our office again for his adjustment of status application. Our firm prepared and filed the I-130 Petition and I-485 Adjustment of Status Application on September 30, 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 via conference calls. On May 5, 2015, our client was interviewed at the Fairfax, Virginia USCIS office. Eventually, on September 8, 2015, his green card was approved.

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

CASE: H-1B Visa Extension

PETITIONER:  Korean Church in Virginia

BENEFICIARY: Korean Pastor

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

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

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

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