In the process of filing an I-485 Employment Based Adjustment of Status Application for the derivative spouse of a principal applicant, our lawyers discovered that the spouse had been issued by the US Embassy a 5 year visa for H-4 status instead of a visa for H-4 status through the duration of the principal applicant’s H-1B status. When the derivative spouse entered the U.S. with the H-4 visa, the CBP Officer at the airport mistakenly granted H-4 status through the expiration date of the incorrect visa of 5/15/2015. We wanted to ensure that the I-94 card was correct prior to filing the adjustment of status application so we sent the spouse to the Philadelphia International Airport with proof of the principal applicant’s H-1B status to request that the CBP correct the I-94 card and provide an expiration date the same as the expiration date of the Principal Applicant’s H-1B status. The CBP made the I-94 correction nunc pro tunc and upon receipt of the corrected I-94 card our law firm filed for adjustment of status for both the principal applicant and derivative spouse.
We represent a U.S. citizen client who sponsored his wife for permanent resident status. At the consular interview, the consular officer asked many questions about the relationship and how often the U.S. citizen spouse had traveled overseas to see his wife. The couple talked with each other on the phone nearly every day but the U.S. Citizen spouse was solely responsible for caring for his sick mother who cannot live independently on her own and therefore had not been able to visit his wife overseas as often as he wanted. The U.S. Citizen spouse could not leave the U.S. as there was nobody to provide his mother the care that she needed. The consular officer refused to accept any information about the mother’s illness and unfairly denied the immigrant visa application on the basis that the couple were not in a bona fide marriage because the husband had not traveled to see his wife. The consular officer returned the I-130 Petition to USCIS and USCIS issued a Notice of Intent to Revoke the I-130 Petition. In response to the Notice of Intent to Revoke, we submitted Affidavits regarding the reason why the husband had not been able to travel overseas to visit his wife, detailed medical records of the mother’s condition, and extensive documentation of the bona fide nature of the marital relationship. Following the submission of our response, USCIS affirmed the approval of the I-130 Petition and sent the Petition back to the U.S. Consulate for another immigrant visa interview. Consular Officers can make incorrect decisions. It is important to continually fight for justice and to overcome any obstacles that may arise in the immigration process.
When an individual receives a green card through a marriage that is less than 2 years old, the individual receives a conditional green card that is valid for a period of 2 years from the date of issuance of the green card. It is necessary to file an I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence prior to the expiration date of the green card. When the couple remains in a marital relationship they jointly file the I-751 Petition within the 90 day period prior to the expiration date of the green card documenting the bona fide nature of the marital relationship. If there are difficulties in the marital relationship, the green card holder may file for a waiver of the I-751 joint filing requirement. The most common waiver ground is showing that a divorce is finalized and that the marriage was entered into good faith at the time of its inception. We represented a client in an I-751 waiver petition who had experienced marital difficulties with his wife because he wanted children and she was infertile but had not disclosed this to him prior to their marriage. The two had met and work, had lived together for 3 years, and had extensive documentation of the bona fide nature of their relationship. In support of the petition we included joint tax returns, bills, leases, insurance, bank statements, photographs, and Affidavits regarding the relationship including an Affidavit fro the U.S. Citizen wife regarding the bona fide nature of the marriage and the reasons why the marriage did not work out. As a result of our efforts the I-751 Petition was approved without an interview and our client received his permanent green card.
The immigration law allows an individual who is working in H-1B status for a cap-exempt H-1B employer to apply for and obtain authorization for additional part-time H-1B employment with a cap-subject H-1B employer without being subject to the H-1B cap. So long as the H-1B employee is maintaining the H-1B cap exempt employment, the individual can be authorized to work for both employers. Our Philadelphia immigration lawyers were asked to file such a petition for a researcher who had discovered a new drug that was being developed by a start-up pharmaceutical company. The start-up pharmaceutical company wanted to employ the researcher directly for 10-15 hours per week in addition to his full-time University researcher position. We filed the petition explaining that it should not be subject to the H-1B cap and the petition was approved.
In order to obtain approval of an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative filed by a father on behalf of a child born out of wedlock, it is necessary to show that the father was actively engaged in the welfare, maintenance and support of the child prior to the child turning 21 years of age. A client came to us who had won the visa lottery but could not bring his child to the United States at the time he immigrated due to financial reasons. His 12 year old child had been born out of wedlock but he was very much involved in the child’s life. In support of the Petition we provided correspondence between the father and child, family photographs, Affidavits from the child’s mother and other relatives, and copies of Western Union Money Order receipts for funds sent by the father overseas to support the child. The I-130 Petition was approved by USCIS.
Our law firm was contacted by a Company that provides physical therapy services in the State of Washington that found us on the Internet. The Company is a rapidly growing start-up Company located in an assisted living facility. The Company wished to hire a physical therapist who was already in the United States in H-1B status working for another employer. We filed an H-1B change of employer petition with the Immigration Service. In support of the H-1B petition we included extensive documentation of the viability of the employer’s business and the bona fide nature of the job offer. Additionally, the physical therapist’s visa screen certificate had expired but a physical therapist may change H-1B employers even with an expired visa screen certificate as a change of employer is not considered an “admission” which would require a valid visa screen certificate. We cited the appropriate regulations to the Immigration Service regarding the expired visa screen certificate issue. The H-1B Petition was filed via premium processing and was approved.
Our Philadelphia immigration lawyers represent researchers at prestigious Universities and Hospitals throughout the United States. When filing EB-1B outstanding researcher petitions and EB-1A extraordinary ability alien petitions we generally utilize the premium processing service and wait for an approval prior to filing the I-485 Green Card Application. This strategy ensures that time and money will not be wasted filing the I-485 Green Card Application in the event the I-140 Petition is not approved. We successfully processed an EB-1B outstanding researcher petition for a researcher performing statistical analysis of disease outcome research for one of the most prominent children’s hospitals in the United States. Following approval of the I-140 Petition, we filed the I-485 green card application which was approved by USCIS in a very short time period.
Our law firm had filed an EB-3 Labor Certification for a client. The labor certification was approved, the I-140 Petition was approved and the client remained with the same employer that filed the labor certification application. The client was able to extend H-1B status past the 6 year maximum in 3 year increments while waiting for the priority date to become current. The priority date became current in January 2011 and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, which actively monitors priority dates, approved the green card application for our client and the derivative beneficiaries. While immigration waiting times can be long and the wait can be frustrating, all priority dates are eventually reached.
On June 6, 1993, the Golden Venture, a cargo ship carrying 282 immigrants being smuggled from China, crashed at Rockaway, New York, near New York City. The passengers paid about $5,000 each to their smugglers and promised to work off an additional $30,000 when they reached the U.S. They were given one ration of rice and peanuts a day and were kept in dirty storage containers. As the ship crashed, many of the immigrants fell into the ocean. They had been at sea for 112 days with little food or water, and lots of abuse from vicious snakeheads. The water was cold, and many of the immigrants were very weak due to the length of their trip and their mistreatment and lack of food. Ten of them were unable to survive in the cold and rough water, and drowned that day. Those who survived were arrested by immigration officials and sent to immigration jails. Most of them applied for political asylum, but many lost their cases and spent many years in jail awaiting their deportation. About 140 were deported to China and about 50 more were sent to other countries that accepted them. Some won their asylum cases in immigration court, and others lost their cases, but were eventually released from jail by order of President Clinton in 1997. A client of ours who was smuggled on the Golden Venture came to us about 4 months ago, recommended to him by a friend who had been smuggled to the United States on a different ship and who had already received his green card. This new client from the Golden Venture explained that he had been released from jail and had been reporting his address to immigration as required by law for many years. He had received a letter ordering him to go to the Deportation Office at the Immigration Service’s headquarters at 16th and Callowhill Street in Philadelphia and was afraid that he would be arrested. He was married to a U.S. citizen and they had children together, but a previous attempt to reopen his court case had been denied. Our client’s previous lawyer had not understood the current law regarding green card applications for immigrants with deportation orders. A new Board of Immigration Appeals that we reported on late last year allows certain immigrants with final orders of deportation to apply for a green card directly to the immigration service without reopening their court cases. There are too many factors to discuss in this article, but this client qualified. We sent him to his deportation office appointment with a legal memorandum explaining that he was eligible to apply for a green card according to an appeals court decision and provided a copy of the decision for the officer to read. Our client was relieved when the officer let him go home and he returned to our office to begin working on his green card application. We filed his green card application soon after the appointment and his interview was scheduled only two and a half months later. Our client received his green card after the interview and has now become one of the only, or possibly the only person to survive the Golden Venture and get a green card even after a final order of deportation. Shortly after he received his green card, we received a call from his Congressman’s office which informed me that they were unaware of any other immigrants from the Golden Venture receiving green cards after losing their appeal. We explained how the law applies to this particular situation, and the Congressman’s assistant thanked me and said that she was very surprised. Unfortunately, for the many immigrants who came on the Golden Venture who were already deported, and for the 10 that drowned, it is too late. Hopefully, there are other survivors who are still in the U.S. who will be able to get their green cards as our client did.
Any immigrant with a deportation order from an Immigration Court could be arrested and deported even if married to a U.S. citizen. Under certain circumstances, an Immigration Court may reopen such a case, but motions to reopen are often denied. Further, certain people with deportation orders can apply directly to the Immigration Service for a green card, but their applications could be denied due to their deportation order, or due to use of a fraudulent passport, or a fraudulent asylum application. If their application is denied, they could be arrested and deported. Situations like this are very dangerous, and many immigrants get bad advice from non-attorneys and bad attorneys who promise them they can get green cards, and who often make mistakes that get their clients arrested and deported. We have seen many such cases over the last decade. Certain spouses of U.S. citizens who have been deported can return to the U.S. Unfortunately, the process is very long and complicated. If someone has been deported, they are not allowed to reenter the U.S. for ten years unless they apply for a waiver, which is basically an application for forgiveness, and if that waiver is approved by the Immigration Service. We recently had a waiver approved for a man who was deported a few years ago, and we are now waiting for his final interview in Guangzhou so that can return to the United States to take care of his wife and children who have been separated from him since his deportation. Certain people have other problems in their cases that may make it even more difficult to return to the U.S., such as fraud charges, and findings by an Immigration Judge that they lied to the Court in their asylum application. Still, the situation is not always hopeless as many people believe if you have a good attorney that knows the process, and does a good job of preparing the application for a waiver. The husband and family of a woman who was deported in 2006 came to us three weeks ago and handed us a decision denying her waiver which she needed to return to the U.S. Their previous lawyer, from a well known law firm, had not been careful in preparing the waiver. The waiver application was based on hardship to the U.S. citizen husband due to his mother having cancer. His mother had surgery for breast cancer in 2007 and the doctor had told her that the cancer was gone. By the time the waiver application was submitted, she had started to feel sick again, but had not been diagnosed by a doctor, so there was no proof that the cancer had returned. Our client’s previous lawyer should have explained to the family that they needed to get medical evidence that the cancer had returned before filing the waiver, but instead, he simply filed the case with the old medical evidence from 2007. Also, the lawyer helped our client’s husband write a statement, but the statement did not explain how our client had helped to take care his father in 2005 when he was sick and died of cancer. This was an important factor because it showed how our client would continue to help the family through difficult times and care for her husband’s mother while she was undergoing cancer treatment. After our client’s previous lawyer filed the waiver application, his mother’s illness became worse and her physical condition became much weaker. She lost weight and eventually, her doctors found cancer in her liver. When a waiver case is still pending, a lawyer should always submit new evidence if it makes the case better. Our client’s lawyer did not do anything after filing the waiver even though the case could have been much stronger if he had submitted new evidence including medical records and reports regarding medical treatment in our client’s country which is far worse than the U.S. We immediately obtained a current report from the doctor treating the cancer, and lab reports proving that the cancer had spread to the liver. We also submitted evidence from college medical journals explaining the specific type of cancer and the chances that someone with this type of cancer would survive. We prepared a lengthy statement for our client’s husband explaining how important it was for our client to be in the United States to help care for his mother and to help him through his depression as well as his financial problems. We provided evidence that he had filed for bankruptcy by getting a letter from his bankruptcy lawyer. On Thursday, we submitted this and other evidence to the U.S. consulate in Vienna, Austria, requesting that the waiver be reopened. By Monday, we received an email from the consulate informing us that the waiver had been granted. Our client was told that she would be scheduled for another interview in about two weeks and we expect her to be back to the U.S. within one month. Many people in her situation would have given up after the first denial, but with immigration, you never know what the final result will be. With some hard work and attention to detail, the odds can be in your favor.
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