Who is a Qualifying Relative for the I-601 Unlawful Presence Waiver

April 18th, 2014 No comments
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Beginning in March 2013, the I-601A provisional waiver has helped many families avoid long separations from loved ones and obtain much-needed green cards for alien relatives. Under the old system of the I-601 extreme hardship waiver, and alien relative who entered the United States without inspection (illegally), would need to travel to his/her foreign country and apply for the waiver of unlawful presence while abroad. The wait time for a decision could last a few hours or many months, and during that time, the alien would stay outside the US and oftentimes separated from the family in the United States.

Under the I-601A unlawful presence waiver, the alien can apply for the waiver while in the United States. If the waiver is approved, the alien attends an interview in the foreign country and returns to the US within a week or so.

We have represented many I-601A clients over the last year, and I’ve met with several more that I determined we’re ineligible for the I601A. As is the case with many aspects of immigration law, rumors and inaccurate information circulate throughout immigrant communities, and one of the biggest misconceptions regards who can qualify as a qualifying relative for I-601A purposes.

To successfully apply for an I-601A unlawful presence waiver, the applicant must convince US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that it would cause the alien’s qualifying relative extreme hardship if the alien is not permitted to live in the United States as a permanent resident. Under the I-601A provisions, a qualifying relative must be a spouse or parent of the alien seeking to obtain permanent residency. The qualifying relative must be a permanent resident (green card holder) or US citizen. Therefore, if alien has a US citizen son (over 21 years old) who wants to petition for the alien to obtain permanent residency, the alien cannot file an I-601A based on extreme hardship to the US citizen son. The alien would need to have a permanent resident or US citizen spouse or parent to act as the qualifying relative.

The rules for the I-601 waiver, which is filed at the consulate, has different rules for who qualifies as a qualifying relative. Under some circumstances a child may act as the qualifying relative. This subtle discrepancy is the likely cause of the confusion.

If you are considering an I-601A waiver and want an experienced immigration attorney to assess your case’s viability, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you during a confidential appointment and help you better understand the process, your options, and likely chances for success.

Deferred Action (DACA) Approved for Santa Ana Client; Next Step Filing for Advance Parole

April 10th, 2014 No comments
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We just received an approval for one of our DACA clients in Santa Ana. We filed the case at the end of 2013, and we received the approval almost exactly three months later.

In order to be eligible for deferred action for childhood arrivals, the applicant must meet many requirements and be able to prove it. He must show he arrived in the US before he turned 16 years old. He has lived in the US continuously since June 15, 2007. He was in the United States on June 15, 2012. He graduated or is currently in high school or he has taken or is preparing to take the GED. He cannot have a significant criminal history either. There are several other baseline requirements that all DACA applicants must meet before deferred action will be approved by USCIS.

Our client arrived in the United States when he was nine years old, and we were able to prove his continuous presence since that time by providing school immunization records and other public school attendance records. We provided W2s and other tax documents to prove continuous presence for the last five years. We gave USCIS bank records to show he was in the United States on June 15, 2012.

Our client also received work authorization which will allow him to work legally in the United States for the next two years. We intend to file for advance parole so our client can visit his ailing grandfather in Mexico. He has not seen his grandfather for many years, and, unfortunately, the grandfather will likely pass away some time soon. DACA approved immigrants are eligible for advance parole in certain limited circumstances, and we hope that having a terminally ill grandparent will qualify.

If you are considering the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals process, 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 whether you have a viable case.

Naturalization Approved for Irvine Client; Next: Petitioning for Parents in Mexico to Receive Immigrant Visas

April 7th, 2014 No comments
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I recently attended a naturalization interview for an Irvine client. He had been a permanent resident for almost a decade when he decided to pursue naturalization. He came to me in late 2013 asking about the naturalization process. I explained that he was eligible for naturalization because he had been a permanent resident for over five years and he had no moral character issues during the last five years. He told me he wanted to naturalize so he could petition for his parents who still lived in South America. They had retired and he hoped to have them move to the US so they could help take care of my client’s young children.

We helped him gather the necessary documents in order to naturalize. We prepared all the forms and evidence and filed the case in December 2013. Everything processed smoothly without any delays or requests for evidence. The interview was scheduled about four months after we filed the N-400. The interview went forward in the Santa Ana office of USCIS. the officer was new, and I had never worked with her before. She conducted a relaxed and efficient interview and we were well prepared with all the necessary documents. My client passed the naturalization exams including the civics, reading and writing tests. The total time for the interview as just over a half hour.

We anticipate receiving the oath ceremony notice within the next few weeks. Once my client takes the naturalization oath, we will file I-130 visa petitions for his mother and father. We have already started putting together the necessary evidence and information so we are ready to file as soon as we have proof of my client’s US citizen status. I expect the total processing time for the I-130 visa petitions and consular interview will be around 8 months. Hopefully, his parents can arrive in the US before the end of the year.

If you are considering the naturalization process or want to petition for your parents to become permanent residents, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the process, what to expect and which options are best for you.

I-485 Adjustment to Permanent Resident Approved for Newport Beach Client Based on Marriage

March 31st, 2014 No comments
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I just attended an adjustment of status interview at the Santa Ana office of USCIS. Everything went smoothly and the conditional permanent resident green card was approved at the interview.

My client, who originally met her husband in 2011, came to the United States on a J-1 visa in 2007. She met her future husband through an online dating website in 2007 and the couple started dating shortly thereafter. About a year after they started dating, they moved into his house in Newport Beach. One year later, they married after he naturalized and became a US citizen.

When we filed for adjustment of status we concurrently filed the I-130 visa petition. We included evidence of their good faith marriage such as joint bank account statements, travel itineraries, joint car insurance, health insurance, utility bills, cards from family members, and many photos of the couple with family and friends. We provided over a hundred pages of evidence to support the case.

The USCIS officer, with whom I had worked before, was polite and professional as she conducted the interview. She asked how the couple met, when they started dating and how they came to get married. I had prepared my clients well for the interview so they knew what to expect. They answered the questions openly and honestly, and the total interview time was about 30-45 minutes.

After the officer informed us that she was approving the case, we asked if my client could receive a temporary I-551 stamp in her passport to prove her lawful permanent resident status. My clients have a wedding reception planned in South America in two weeks; however, the conditional green card won’t arrive for another 2-4 weeks. The USCIS officer provided us with a referral so my client could receive the temporary stamp that will prove to Customs and Border Protection that she is a lawful permanent resident when she re-enters the US after her trip.

The clients were very pleased with the outcome and how smoothly the process worked out. I advised them that because their marriage is less than two years old, she will receive a conditional green card valid for two years. I advised that they will need to file the I-751 petition to remove conditions on permanent residency in approximately one year and nine months. I further advised that she will be eligible to naturalize in three years.

If you are married to a US citizen and considering the marriage based adjustment of status process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you during a confidential consultation to help you better understand the options and which path will work best for you.

Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status Approved for Irvine Client Married to US Citizen

March 28th, 2014 No comments
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I recently attended a marriage-based adjustment of status interview at the Santa Ana USCIS office. My clients were a married couple from Irvine. The couple has been dating since they were in high school in Huntington Beach. They decided to marry earlier this year.

At the interview, we provided evidence of their relationship including previous lease agreements, car insurance, and a joint bank account. The couple did not have many bills in the husband’s name because he did not have a social security number at the time. We provided numerous photos to show that the couple had been together for many years prior to the wedding.

The officer was satisfied that the couple was involved in a good faith marriage and the husband was admissible. She approved the husband’s green card on the spot. The approval included the I-485 application to adjust status and I-130 visa petition. The couple was extremely happy that they will be able to move forward with their lives without worrying about the husband living in the shadows and working illegally.

I explained to the couple that because their marriage is less than two years old, they will need to file an I-751 application to remove conditions in two years. I advised them to collect as many documents to prove good faith marriage as possible over the next two years.

If you are considering the marriage-based green card process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you during a free consultation in order to better explain the process and help you understand whether you are eligible.

Joint Motion to Terminate Removal Proceedings Granted by Immigration Judge for Client in Mission Viejo

March 25th, 2014 No comments
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United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agreed to a join in a motion to terminate removal proceedings for an Orange County client living in Mission Viejo, Orange County. The client was in removal proceedings in Los Angeles; however, she married a US citizen several years ago. The couple has an 13 month old son.

Due to an USCIS error, the couple’s adjustment of status was denied in 2011 and the wife was placed in removal proceedings. This occurred before the couple hired me. The husband filed a visa petition for his wife and it was approved in June 2013. Based on the approved I-130 visa petition, I requested that ICE join in terminating the removal proceedings against my client. This would allow her to adjust her status out of court.

The ICE attorney agreed and we filed a joint motion to terminate in December. We just received the court order approving termination. Now, the couple can handle the case through USCIS in Santa Ana rather than driving to Los Angeles for immigration court.

If you are in removal proceedings in Los Angeles, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will discuss your case with you and help you determine your options and likelihood of success.

I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions Approved for Conditional Resident Client in

March 21st, 2014 No comments
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We just received the good news that our client’s I-751 petition to remove conditions was approved. She was originally from China and married to her husband after entering on a B-1/B-2 Visitor visa. We helped them adjust her status to conditional permanent resident through marriage. Since then the couple has lived together in Irvine. They do not have any children together.

We filed the I-751 jointly during the 90-day window. Soon after, we received the receipt notice which extended our client’s conditional resident status for one year while she waited for a decision. We included substantial evidence to show the couple’s marriage was entered into in good faith and not to circumvent the immigration laws of the United States. We included travel itineraries, car loan documents and lease agreements among other things. The packet of evidence was over 100 pages.

USCIS was satisfied that we met the burden of proof, and they approved the case approximately 4 months after filing. USCIS did not call for an interview.

The client was very pleased with the outcome, and is happy that she will be able to stay in the United States as a permanent resident indefinitely. She plans to naturalize as soon as she is eligible later this year.

If you are a conditional resident and need to file the I-751 petition, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation with managing attorney Jay Nunez. Every year we help many conditional residents obtain their ten-year green card either through joint petitions or based on one of the waivers (domestic violence, extreme hardship, or good faith marriage).

For more information on the I-751 process, click here.

Adjustment of Status Approved and Green Card Processed for Wife of US Citizen in Irvine

March 11th, 2014 No comments
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I recently attended an interview with one of our Irvine clients, and the USCIS officer conducting the interview approved the case on the spot. The I-130 visa petition and I-485 application to adjust status were both approved, and our client should receive her conditional lawful permanent resident card (green card) within a few weeks.

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The couple has known each other for six years, and they first met while attending school in the Midwest. They were friends for a few years, then they began dating. The husband was a US citizen and the wife was from South Korea. They had a long distance relationship for many years. In late summer 2013, the wife came to visit the US, and the couple decided they were done with long distance. They came to see me and we discussed the options available to them. They originally planned to pursue a fiance visa, but I advised that since the wife was already in the US, we could help with adjustment of status and avoid the added cost and time of the fiance visa process. I explained that, every year, we handle several adjustment of status cases involving visa waiver entrants.

We advised them on the process – when to do what, and which documents we would need. We filed the paperwork in late October and the interview in Santa Ana took place in early March.

At the interview, the officer asked many questions about their relationship. I had prepped them thoroughly before the interview, so they knew what to expect. The process went smoothly and the interview took less than ninety minutes. The couple was excited to have the case approved, and they look forward to moving forward with their life together.

If you are considering the marriage-based green card process, contact The Nunez Firm. Each case is different and there are several options available for couples planning to marry and live in the US. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you and help you better understand which path will work best for you.

Zuckerberg’s Pro Immigration Reform Group Begins Running Ads Pushing Congressional GOP to Act

March 5th, 2014 No comments
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The Council for American Job Growth, an affiliate of the Zuckerberg-founded and financed Fwd.us group, has released a new ad blasting House Republicans for slowing the path to immigration reform.

Fwd.us is controversial in Silicon Valley, where its tactics have caused a stir. After the group financed advertising praising the Keystone XL Pipeline, it lost Elon Musk as a supporter. The efficacy of the group’s methods is also open for question.

The Council for American Job Growth will spend $500,000 on the ad buy, running the spot in all 50 states, TechCrunch confirmed. The ad lays out a simple message: Immigration reform is a legislative must, both teams in Congress agree, and action now is better than action later. The spot began running today.

Fwd.us was founded by Zuckerberg and a cadre of technology elites, including Bill Gates, Ron Conway, Reid Hoffman, and Sean Parker. It has two affiliates, the aforementioned Council for American Job Growth, and Americans for a Conservative Direction, which are used as vehicles to push both parties toward Fwd.us-blessed goals.

Why should you care that technology money is being funneled into the realm of political advertisement? High-skill immigration was rolled into comprehensive immigration reform, meaning that it can’t pass without a larger immigration package passing. And given that American technology firms are keen to increase the number of H1-B visas, making it easier for them to hire, they have a stake in the larger immigration question.

Green Card Approved Based on Marriage to US Citizen for Huntington Beach Client

March 5th, 2014 No comments
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One of our marriage based green card cases was approved this week after a nine month wait. We successfully represented the couple in the fiance visa process in 2012. The husband arrived in the US and the couple got married. After we filed for adjustment of status but before the USCIS interview in Santa Ana, the husband was arrested. The District Attorney decided not to press charges and the case was dismissed. At the interview, we provided USCIS with evidence that the case had been dismissed and our client was eligible to adjust status; however, because the District Attorney is allowed one full year to pursue a conviction, USCIS decided not to approve the adjustment of status at that time. They kept the case in pending status.

Over the next several months, we contacted USCIS requesting that they approve the case. Finally, after nine months of continuous pressure from our office, USCIS approved the case. Our client should receive his green card within the next few weeks. Because the marriage is less than two years old, he will receive a conditional green card that will expire in 2016. He will need to file an I-751 to remove the conditions on permanent residency at that time. The couple is excited that this stage of the process is complete. They look forward to raising their daughter in Huntington Beach knowing that their future in the US is secure.

If you are considering the adjustment of status process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the marriage based green card process and how we can help.

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