We recently received an approval for one of our H-1B clients in Newport Beach. The employee is a real estate analyst for a
Adjustment of Status and Green Card Approved for Newport Beach Client Without Having to Pay INA 245i Penalty Fee
We recently received an approval for one of our adjustment of status clients in Newport Beach. He entered the US legally using a valid visitor visa in the 1990s. However, he hired a notario to help him adjust his status many years ago. The notario took his money and all his documents and vanished when the California Attorney General began investigating him. So, my client had no proof that he entered the US legally.
My client was eligible for INA 245i relief, but we decided to file the case as a standard adjustment of status so he could avoid paying the $1000 penalty fee associated with INA 245i.
When my client's US citizen son turned 21 years old, we filed a form I-102 (for a replacement I-94) along with the I-130 visa petition and I-485 adjustment of status.
A few months later, we received a request for evidence asking us for proof that our client had entered the US legally. At that time, we had not received the I-102 approval. Luckily, we received the I-102 approval a month later. After that, the case was approved without an interview, and my client received his green card just a few days ago.
The overall processing time for the case was over one year, which is much longer than in past years. Many of our adjustment cases are taking much longer to process over the last year. It appears USCIS is short-staffed because of many of President Obama's new administrative actions - I-601A waivers and DACA - and the processing times are lengthening.
If you are the parent of a US citizen child who is 21 years old, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand your options and whether you are eligible to adjust status to lawful permanent resident.
One of our longstanding clients was recently approved for an immigrant visa based on her marriage to her US citizen husband. She entered the United States illegally many years ago. She married her husband four years ago. When she hired us, we originally planned to file an I-601 extreme hardship waiver case; however, while we were preparing the case, President Obama created the new I-601A provisional waiver process.
The case was approved without a request for evidence. This was one of our strongest I-601A cases - the husband has a chronic health problem that affects his nervous system and will require constant medical attention for the rest of his life. He has children from a previous marriage as well. USCIS was easily convinced that he would experience extreme hardship if his wife is not permitted to live in the United States permanently.
From my experience (and talking to many of my colleagues) USCIS has taken a very narrow interpretation regarding what constitutes "extreme hardship," but I never had a doubt that we would get this case approved. After the I-601A was approved, our client returned to Colombia with her husband to attend the consular interview. Everything went smoothly and she received her immigrant visa about a week later.
If you are considering the I-601A process, contact The Nunez Firm to discuss your situation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you during a confidential consultation to help you better understand the requirements, timeline and chances for success.
The daughter of one of our longtime domestic violence clients was approved for a visa at the US Consulate in Manila, Philippines. The mother received her VAWA approval and green card in 2014. Her teenage daughter still lived in the Philippines.
The daughter qualified as a derivative beneficiary on the approved VAWA case, so we filed to have a consular case opened for the daughter. It took some time to transfer the file from USCIS to the Department of State, but we recently received the good news that her visa was approved by the consulate in Manila. The mother flew to the Philippines to accompany her daughter to the interview and they just arrived in the US today. They have been separated for several years, and now they are reunited. The daughter is excited to start attending school in the US.
If you require assistance with your immigration case, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a confidential consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the process, your options, and how we can help.
Save Jobs US has filed a complain in the District Court of D.C. to prevent President Obama's executive action that would allow H-4 visa holders to apply for employment authorization under certain circumstances.
The California based group argues that foreign workers are displacing American workers, and allowing the derivative beneficiaries of H-1B visa holders to work in the US would further harm American workers.
We recently received an approval for an H-1B case. The employer is an Irvine-based firm that hired an Applications Engineer who was already in H-1B status for a company based in the Midwest. The employee's previous position was similar to his intended position in Irvine and we documented his work experience and education carefully to show that he well-suited for the job as a specialty occupation H-1B.
Because the employer was eager to have the employee start as soon as possible and because the employee was leery about starting work for his new employer before his H-1B was approved, we filed the case using premium processing. The case was approved within 11 days and the employee started work within a few days of the approval. Everything went smoothly with no requests for evidence issued.
The employee is permitted to work on H-1B status for the next three years and during that time the employer can determine whether to pursue PERM processing so the Applications Engineer may obtain permanent residency.
If you are considering hiring an alien worker but are not sure about the process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will help you better understand the process and which employment visa options - L-1 visa, H-1B visa, etc. - are viable for your situation.
We recently received an approval for one of our MPIP cases. The husband is a veteran Marine and his wife entered the United States many years ago without inspection.
Military parole in place has been available for active duty members of the armed forces and their undocumented spouses (and children and parents) for many years as a way to keep the armed forces families together and benefit those that serve our nation. Until November 2013, MPIP was not available to veterans.
The program acknowledged that servicemen (and women) face stress and anxiety because of the immigration status of their family members in the United States. By allowing their immediate family members to legalize their status, some of the stress and burden on these service-members can be lessened.
The new policy as of November 2013 allows veteran service members to benefit from the program as well. Under MPIP, the undocumented immediate relatives of active duty or veteran armed forces members can adjust their status without the need of an I-601A or I-601 waiver and without having to return to their home country for consular processing.
In this case, we filed for MPIP with the local Santa Ana office of USCIS and within a couple months we had an approval. Next, we will file for adjustment of status so that the wife can receive her lawful permanent resident status.
If you are married to an active duty or veteran member of the armed forces (including Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve) contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you during a confidential consultation to determine whether you are eligible for MPIP benefits.
Appeals Court Hears Oral Argument Regarding Injunction Against Obama's proposed DAPA and DACA II Programs
Today the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral argument regarding President Obama's proposed DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans) and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) II programs.
The Fifth Circuit will not make a decision today, but will take the case under advisement.
The DAPA and DACA II programs were scheduled to take effect on May 19, 2015, but a federal district court judge in Texas placed an injunction on the proposed programs in February of this year.
Today's Fifth Circuit panel was comprised of three judges. Judges Jennifer Elrod, a George W. Bush appointee, and Stephen Higginson, an Obama appointee, often interrupted the legal arguments with queries. Judge Jerry Smith, a Ronald Reagan appointee, was the third judge on the panel.
During oral argument, protesters gathered outside the courthouse and chants and drums could be heard by those inside the building.
Click here for more information on the hearing.
Currently, DACA is limited to aliens who were under the age of 31 years old as of June 15, 2012. As part of Obama’s most recent announcement on immigration policy, the age cap will be removed and those aliens who meet all other requirements will be allowed to apply for deferred action and receive work authorization.
Categories: DACA, immigration reform, Presdient Obama, work authorization
As part of President Obama’s new immigration policy, the I-601A provisional waiver process will be expanded to include spouses and children of LPRs. Additionally, the definition of extreme hardship will be expanded and clarified.
Categories: extreme hardship, I-601A, immigration reform, provisional waiver
Go to comments Leave a comment Parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (of any age) who have been continuously present since 1/1/10, and who pass background checks and pay taxes, will be eligible to apply for deferred action, which will be granted for a 3-year period. The goal is to have this program up and running within 180 days (for applications to be accepted). Note that parents of DACA recipients are not eligible.
Categories: extreme hardship, I-601A, immigration reform, provisional waiver
One of my Los Angeles clients was recently approved for naturalization. I began representing her five years ago when she was stopped at the airport and put into removal proceedings because she had two crimes involving moral turpitude from ten years prior. When she was a teenager she was convicted of writing bad checks – misdemeanors. When she tried to enter the US after a trip abroad, she was deemed inadmissible and put into removal proceedings.
We did a motion to change venue from Texas to Los Angeles. Then, for the next four years we pursued cancellation of removal, which was approved by an immigration judge earlier this year. After the deportation case was finished, we began the naturalization case. Everything went smoothly at the interview. The officer asked some questions about the prior convictions, but the general tone of the interview was cordial and friendly. My client will take her naturalization oath in the next month.
If you are considering the naturalization process, contact The Nunez Firm. Especially if you have a criminal conviction, you need to consult an experienced immigration attorney before filing. Otherwise, you could end up in removal proceedings, which can take many years and cost a lot of money to defend. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you and help you understand your position and chances for success with naturalization.
Categories: cancellation of removal, crime of moral turpitude, deportation, immigration lawyer, Los Angeles, motion to change venue, naturalization, Orange County
We recently received an approval for a marriage-based adjustment of status for an Irvine client. She entered the US on a K-1 fiance visa earlier this year and the couple married shortly after that. We filed the adjustment of status packet with substantial evidence to prove the marriage was entered into in good faith.
The couple met through friends a few years ago. She was living in Mexico, and my client would visit her every few months. Eventually they decided to take the next step and get married. I advised that the K-1 fiance visa was the best option for them and we started the process. About eight months later, she entered the US on the fiance visa. Per regulations, the couple married within the first ninety days of her arrival.
At the interview in Santa Ana, the USCIS officer asked several questions about the couple’s relationship, past marriages, time spent together, etc. I had prepared my clients regarding what to expect at the interview, and they did a great job answering the questions. The interview went smoothly and was over within thirty minutes.
Because the marriage is less than two years old, my client will receive a conditional resident green card valid for two years. She will need to file to have the conditions removed during the ninety days immediately preceding the expiration date of the green card. I advised my clients to collect as much documentation to prove good faith marriage as possible over the next two years. I explained that if they collect enough evidence the case could be approved without an interview. If they don’t provide enough documentation, USCIS will call for an interview and question the bona fides of their marriage.
If you are considering marriage and one of you is not a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the options available and whether any hurdles exist that could complicate the process.
Categories: adjustment of status, conditions, fiance visa, good faith marriage, I-485, I-751, immigration attorney, Irvine, k-1 visa, Mexico, Orange County, Santa Ana
We recently received an approval for one of our Huntington Beach clients. She was married to a US citizen and obtained her conditional resident status through the marriage. The couple was married for over three years when the husband became more controlling and emotionally abusive. He objected to his wife working and going to school. He expected her to be his sexual pet that would succumb to his every whim. Eventually, she left and moved out. She came to me after she separated from him.
Because she left in a hurry, she did not have many documents to prove good faith marriage. Additionally, we did not have any police records regarding abuse – in fact, he was never physically abusive. He was emotionally abusive. He would manipulate her psychologically, constantly pointing out the sexual abuse she suffered when she was younger as a reason she could not satisfy him sexually.
We decided to file the I-751 petition to remove conditions with all three waiver categories checked – good faith marriage, victim of extreme cruelty, and extreme hardship.
For good faith marriage, we provided marriage counseling records, email correspondence between our client and her in-laws showing they had a close relationship, and letter and cards from in-laws. We also provided a deposition transcript from a car accident in which both spouses were involved. The evidence was unconventional and sparse, but it was all we could gather.
To prove emotional abuse victimization, we provided a psychological evaluation and correspondence between the spouses to show how the husband manipulated her.
To prove that our client would suffer extreme hardship if she was deported to her home country we argued that she was sexually abused by her brother, and if she returned home she would be forced to live near him again.
When we received the approval notice, it did not tell us which basis for the waiver was approved. However, the client was overwhelmed with happiness. We received the approval within a couple weeks of sending the response to the request for evidence.
If you are a conditional resident and your expiration date is approaching within the next six months, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you understand the process and how we can help. We have experience with all types of I-751 cases: joint petitions, good faith marriage waivers, domestic abuse waivers, and extreme hardship cases. We have represented several clients in having denied I-751 cases reviewed in immigration court as well.
I just attended an adjustment of status interview with clients from Costa Mesa. The interview was held in the Santa Ana field office of USCIS. The couple met each other while the husband, a US citizen, was vacationing in Mexico with his family. The wife was working in a restaurant and the two of them began talking. After his vacation ended, they stayed in contact and he visited her in Mexico several more times.
In the fall of 2012, they began discussing the long-term plans for the relationship. In early 2013, he proposed and their two families had an engagement party in Mexico. The husband hired us to help with the fiance visa process, which we started in Spring 2013 when we filed the I-129F. In early 2014, the K-1 visa was approved by the US consulate in Mexico, and the wife arrived in the US shortly thereafter. The couple married within the first 90 days of her arrival, and we filed the I-485 application for adjustment of status shortly thereafter.
The Santa Ana field office is processing adjustment of status cases very quickly these days. Within three months of our filing the I-485, the interview went forward. We provided the USCIS officer will substantial evidence to prove that the marriage was entered into in good faith including bank statements, travel itineraries and photos of the large wedding celebration (150 guests).
The interviewing officer asked many questions about how the couple met, started dating and decided to get married. After reviewing the evidence and interviewing both spouses, the officer was satisfied that the marriage was entered in good faith by both parties, and he approved the case. The interview lasted about 45 minutes. The wife was granted conditional resident status for a period of two years, which means that she will need to file the I-751 to have the conditions removed two years from now.
If you are married or engaged to a non-US citizen and want to help your loved one obtain permanent resident status, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will help you better understand the process and how we can assist you in making everything proceed smoothly. Every year we represent dozens of married or engaged couples and help them decide on which process will best accomplish their goals.
Tags: adjustment of status, Costa Mesa, fiance visa, green card, I-129F, I-485, I-751, immigration lawyer, marriage-based, Mexico, Orange County, permanent resident, Santa Ana, USCIS
EOIR has reordered its priorities in the immigration courts to address the current border situation.
The Department of Justice recently announced new priorities in light of the ongoing migrant children crisis along the southern border. The Executive Office of Immigration Review (“EOIR”), which includes the immigration courts and Board of Immigration Appeals, has reordered its priorities in the immigration courts. EOIR has set as its top priority the adjudication of cases that fall into the following four groups:
adults with children released on “alternatives to detention”
other individuals in detention.
As EOIR prioritizes these cases of individuals who recently crossed the border, and continues to hear cases of those who are detained, the cases of individuals that do not fall into those priority categories may take longer to resolve. This could involve continued immigration proceedings for many aliens currently in immigration court.
Additional information is available in the DOJ press release and the fact-sheet.
Categories: BIA, border security, deportation, detention, DOJ, EOIR, immigrant child, immigration court
I recently attended an adjustment of status interview for one of my Mission Viejo clients. He entered the US on a visitor visa more than ten years ago. Then, he changed status to an F-1 student visa. In 2009, he met his future wife while registering for classes. The couple dated for almost a year before deciding to get married. Four years later they came to see me seeking help with the adjustment of status process.
We collected documentation to prove that their relationship was entered into in good faith. Three months after we filed the I-130 visa petition and I-485 application to adjust status packet with USCIS, our interview went forward. The interview was handled by a veteran officer that I’ve worked with on several occasions. He was friendly and efficient and asked a handful of questions about how the couple met and how the relationship progressed. Everything went smooth, and, by the end, we received an approval notice. Our client should receive his green card within the next few weeks.
Because the couple had been married for over two years at the time of the interview, the husband will receive a permanent resident card without conditions. This means he will not need to file an I-751 petition to remove conditions in two years. He will be eligible to naturalize in three years.
If you are considering a marriage-based green card case, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Every year we help a dozen or more couples navigate the complicated marriage-based visa process whether the foreign-born spouse lives in the US or abroad. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the process and how we can help.
Categories: adjustment of status, green card, I-130, I-485, immigration lawyer, marriage to US citizen, Mission Viejo, Orange County, The Nunez Firm, USCIS, visa petition
Immediate Relatives of Armed Services Members (Active and Veterans) May Be Eligible for Adjustment of Status Despite Illegal Entry Into The United States
The Military Parole in Place process has been in effect for many years. Under the MPIP system, the spouses, children and parents of active duty armed forces members were eligible to adjust status to lawful permanent residency despite illegal entry into the US. As a general rule, any individual who illegally entered the US is ineligible for adjustment of status unless he is 245i eligible. The MPIP program was put in place to help active duty military members keep their families united.
For years the MPIP program was limited to active duty armed forces, selected reserve and ready reserve; however, in November 2013 the program was expanded to veterans as well. The USCIS memo states that “our veterans, who have served and sacrificed for our nation, can face stress and anxiety because of the immigration status of their family members in the United States. We as a nation have made a commitment to our veterans, to support and care for them. It is a commitment that begins at enlistment, and continues as they become veterans.”
This is a huge change that could effect many undocumented aliens. If you entered the US illegally and your parent, child or spouse is a veteran of the armed forces, selected reserve or ready reserve, you might be eligible to adjust status to lawful permanent resident (assuming you are otherwise eligible for a green card). “Absent a criminal conviction or other serious adverse factors, parole in place would generally be an appropriate exercise of discretion for such an individual.”
The parole in place program can help an alien avoid the I-601 or I-601A extreme hardship waiver process which can be more expensive and require travel to the alien’s home country for consular processing. If you are in the US illegally and are married to an active duty or veteran armed forces member, or if your son or daughter is an active duty or veteran armed forces member, contact The Nunez Firm to discuss the possibility of parole in place and adjustment of status. The process is complicated and we will need more information before we can assess your eligibility, but managing attorney Jay Nunez will meet with you during a confidential one-on-one consultation to evaluate your position.
Categories: 245i, adjustment of status, I-485, i-601, immigration lawyer, marriage, Military, military parole in place, spouse, waiver
We just received an approval for one of our VAWA domestic violence cases. This was the fastest approval I’ve received in the last several (maybe five) years. We filed the VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) I-360 with the Vermont Service Center in late March 2014, and we received the approval less than four months later. In most cases, it takes USCIS a year to adjudicate an I-360 case.
For a VAWA case, the self-petitioner must prove that she was marred a US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse in good faith and she was the victim of domestic violence or extreme emotional abuse.
In this case, our client had a child with her ex-husband, so we felt confident that good faith marriage would not be an issue. The abuse was more difficult to prove. The ex-husband was never arrested for his abuse, and she did not get a restraining order against him. He had a history of domestic abuse with a previous wife, so we used that as probative evidence. We also had written statements from our client’s co-workers explaining that the ex-husband would often spy on her while she was at work. He would get drunk at her work as well. She filed one police report regarding his abuse, but the report did not say much. The ex-husband also used her immigration status as leverage as a way to manipulate her into obeying his demands.
We helped her draft a written statement explaining how they met, when the abuse started, and how it progressed. We also had her evaluated by a psychiatrist and he issued a report on how the abuse has affected her.
I was surprised we received the approval so soon. The client, who resides in Mission Viejo, was thrilled by the good news. The next step will be an adjustment of status interview in Santa Ana. Because we filed the I-485 adjustment of status application concurrently with the I-360, USCIS should transfer the file to Santa Ana soon. The interview should be rather straightforward because my client does not have any inadmissibility bars that would prevent her from obtaining a green card. Even though she entered the US without inspection or admission, that will not bar her from obtaining a green card because this is a VAWA case. I expect the interview to move forward in the next 2-4 months.
If you are the victim of domestic violence, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez works with male and female victims of domestic violence so they can secure their immigration status in the United States, and we would be happy to help you better understand the process.
Categories: adjustment of status, domestic abuse, domestic violence, good faith marriage, I-360, I-485, Mission Viejo, Santa Ana, USCIS, VAWA, Vermont Service Center
I recently attended an interview for a marriage-based adjustment of status for an Irvine client. He entered the US on an F-1 student visa in 2008. He graduated and received his Bachelor’s degree, then pursued a Master’s degree. In 2012, he met his future wife and the couple began dating. They moved in eight months later. Earlier this year, the couple married and came to see me about the adjustment of status process.
We helped them collect the necessary evidence to prove good faith marriage including utility bills, apartment leases and joint insurance among other things. We filed the I-130 visa petition and I-485 adjustment of status application concurrently along with the other required forms and evidence. Within four months, the interview in Santa Ana was scheduled. I prepared them for the interview beforehand and advised them on what to expect. We brought additional evidence to prove good faith marriage when we attended the interview. Everything went smoothly at the interview. My clients knew which questions would be asked and they were calm and prepared. At the conclusion of the interview, the USCIS officer approved the case.
Because the marriage was less than two years old at the time the green card was approved, my client will receive a conditional resident card that is valid for two years. He will need to file the I-751 petition to remove conditions in two years.
The couple was very pleased with the result. They plan to travel to my client’s home country and have a large wedding in the Catholic Church in a few months. They’re even more excited about the honeymoon.
If you are considering the marriage-based green card process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Every year we represent more than a dozen marriage-based green card cases at the Santa Ana, Los Angeles and San Bernardino offices of USCIS. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to assess whether your case is eligible for adjustment of status or consular processing.
Categories: : adjustment of status, good faith marriage, green card, I-130, I-485, Irvine, marriage, Santa Ana, USCIS, visa petition
One of our clients from Idaho re-entered the United States today as a lawful permanent resident after years of living here in unlawful immigration status. He has lived with his wife and children in Idaho for over a decade. They contacted us a couple years ago asking how they might legalize his status. He entered the US without inspection (EWI) over a decade ago. He married his wife many years ago and they had children together.
At the time I advised him that we could pursue the I-601 process if we could prove that it would cause his US citizen wife “extreme hardship” if he were not allowed to live in the US. When they were finally ready to start the process, the new I-601A waiver had become available. We filed the I-130 visa petition for him and it was approved. Then, we filed the I-601A unlawful presence waiver with USCIS. In our waiver packet, we argued that his wife, who has had medical problems for many years, would not be able to care for their children without him. She would not be able to care for herself without him. We provided substantial evidence. The I-601A was approved by USCIS.
Then, we proceeded to file for the immigrant visa through the Department of State. Our client went to Ciudad Juarez to process the immigrant visa and he returned to the US within a week. Everything went smoothly at the consulate and he re-entered the US at El Paso, Texas today. He will fly back to Idaho later today.
If you are in the US illegally and are married to a US citizen of lawful permanent resident, contact The Nunez Firm to see if we can help. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you and help you better understand your options.
Categories: ciudad juarez, El Paso, EWI, extreme hardship, i-601, I-601A, Idaho, immigration lawyer, marriage-based, Orange County, permanent resident, USCIS, waiver
Video link to Senate Hearings
Catefories: border, border enforcement, immigration reform, Senate
I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence Approved for Clients in Orange County; No Interview Requested by USCIS
The clients had known each other for decades. They were family friends for many years and they both grew up in another country together. The husband became a US citizen several years ago through naturalization. After years of being friends, their relationship progressed and they got married. We represented them during the adjustment of status process. The wife was living in the US. She entered legally, and, after the couple got married, we filed for her to adjust status to permanent resident while living in the US. Everything went smoothly with the process and she was approved for a conditional permanent resident card. For the last two years the couple has lived in Aliso Viejo.
Because the marriage was less than two years old at the time of approval of the green card, she was granted conditional resident status. This meant that she was given a permanent resident card for a two year period. During the ninety days preceding the expiration date of the card, she had to file to have the conditions removed from her lawful resident status. With the I-751 process, USCIS has the option of approving the case without calling for an interview. If USCIS is convinced that the evidence provided is sufficient, they can approve the case without an interview in the Santa Ana office of USCIS.
In this case, we provided a substantial packet of evidence to prove the marriage was entered in good faith. Approximately four months after filing the I-751, the case was approved without an interview. As the spouse of a US citizen, she will be eligible to naturalize in about eight months.
If you or your spouse is a conditional permanent resident and the expiration date is less than six months away, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the process and how we can help. Every year we handle at least a dozen I-751 cases so we know what USCIS wants to see.
Categories: adjustment of status, Aliso Viejo, conditional green card, I-751, interview, Orange County, removal of conditions, Santa Ana, The Nunez Firm, USCIS
Jay authors these blog postings. Please contact Jay with any questions.