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Posts Tagged ‘Orange County’

O-1 Visa Approved for Rock Musician in Orange County, California

October 7th, 2013 No comments
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An O-1 visa was approved for a musician client of our who is originally from England, and now resides in Huntington Beach. We filed the I-129 and O-1 packet with USCIS in August and utilized premium processing. We received an approval within two weeks, and scheduled the visa application interview in England shortly thereafter.

Prior to filing the visa petition with USCIS, we obtained a no objection letter from the American Guild of Musical Artists in New York.

For O-1 visas, the alien may not self-petition. A US employer or agent must file the petition. If the beneficiary alien will work concurrently for more than one employer during the same time period, each employer must file a separate petition with the service center having jurisdiction over the area where the alien will perform services, unless an established agent files the petition. If the O-1 changes employers, the new employer must file a petition with the service center having jurisdiction over the new place of employment. In this case, our client had his US booking agent sign the Form I-129 petition. The regulations specify required documentation when an agent acts as the petitioner for the O-1. With musicians and other performers, it is common to have the US agent act as the petitioner, because they arrange the short-term employment for the artist.

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In order to obtain an O-1 approval, we must provide USCIS with evidence that the musician possesses sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in his or her particular field and that the alien is coming to work in that field. Generally, USCIS wants to see major awards given to the beneficiary, significant critical acclaim, good reviews, recommendations from experts and colleagues in the field, record of high salary, and other evidence that shows the alien’s ability is extraordinary. USCIS wants to see that the alien has sustained international and national acclaim and a demonstrated record of high level accomplishment, achievement or distinction.

The maximum time period for an approved O-1 is three years, and we received the full three years in this case. The beneficiary is permitted to enter the US up to 10 days before the validity period begins. One year extensions are available as well.

Once the case is approved by USCIS, it is forwarded to the appropriate consulate for processing. In this case, London. The client attended the consular interview in London and everything went smoothly. He plans to start performing in the US later this month.

If you are considering an O-1 petition, contact The Nunez Firm. We have helped musicians, dancers and other artists obtain O-1 visas, and we can assess whether the O-1 petition is a viable option for you. Managing attorney Jay Nunez has a well deserved reputation for helping his clients achieve their immigration goals.

Naturalization Approved for Huntington Beach Client Under INA 319(a) Based on Spouse of US Citizen for Three Years

October 5th, 2013 No comments
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We recently received the good news that one of our Huntington Beach clients was approved for naturalization. Although the client has been a permanent resident for ten years, we filed the N-400 under INA 319(a). The client had a criminal conviction that occurred four years ago, and we wanted the statutory time period to be three years as opposed to five years.

Under INA 319(a), a lawful permanent resident may apply for naturalization if he has been married to a US citizen for at least three years, and the couple has been living in marital union for three years. The permanent resident must be a lawful permanent resident for at least three years. The benefit of the INA 319(a) is that it shortens the continuous residency requirement and good moral character requirement to three years.

There is more work involved in a 319(a) case because we must prove the couple has been living together. USCIS officers scrutinize these cases more than normal N-400 cases.

The interview went relatively smooth. We provided substantial evidence regarding the marriage. The officer asked many questions about the criminal conviction and we provided the necessary conviction records; however, I had to explain to the officer why my client was eligible to naturalize under INA 319(a). Eventually, I asked to speak to a supervisor who I had worked with many times previously. She agreed with my assessment and the officer eventually approved the case.

If you are considering the naturalization process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. We handle many naturalization proceedings every year including complex cases involving criminal convictions and routine naturalizations involving clients that want to ensure that everything will go smoothly. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to discuss the facts involved with your case and whether naturalization is a viable option for you.

Form I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver Approved by USCIS for Orange County Client

October 1st, 2013 No comments
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We just received an approval notice for the I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver that we filed a few months ago. The client currently lives with his wife and two children in Costa Mesa, California. He hired us several years ago to handle the I-601 process; however, due to family complications and economic factors, they held off on moving forward with the I-601 for a long time. When the new I-601A process was announced, we decided that would be a better choice. The new I-601A process went int effect earlier this year, and a few months later we filed for our client’s I-601A provisional unlawful presence waiver.

At the time of filing, we knew this would be a strong case. The US citizen wife had a serious medical condition. The couple had two US citizen children together. The wife could not take care of the the two children without the support, emotional and financial, of the husband. Our client had never been in trouble with the law, and the facts of the case were sympathetic. Our goal was to accurately convey the seriousness of the wife’s situation and explain why she would experience extreme hardship if her husband was not allowed to live in the United States.

The I-601A process was implemented by President Obama to reduce the time that families are separated due to consular processing. With the I-601 process, the alien would travel to his home country to process at the consulate. The consular officer might take weeks or months to review the case, and the alien would remain out of the US during that time. If the case was denied, the alien would stay in the home country for ten years. Under the I-601A process, the alien can apply for the waiver while in the United States. If the I-601A is approved, the alien travels to the home country to process the immigrant visa and likely remains separated from his family for a week or so. Then, he comes back to the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

There are several differences between the I-601A process and the I-601 process, and it is important to fully understand the intricacies of each before deciding which path to pursue. With our client, he will now move forward with the visa application process and coordinating his trip to Ciudad Juarez for the consular interview. If you are considering the I-601A process and consular processing, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you during a confidential consultation so you can better understand the process and decide which options are best for you.

Adjustment of Status Approved for Asylee Client in Fountain Valley

September 23rd, 2013 No comments
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We received an I-485 approval for a Fountain Valley client of ours. He was granted asylum in 2010 based on his fear of returning to his home country. In order for an asylee to adjust status to permanent residency, he must show that he has accumulated one year of continuous physical presence. There is no longer a cap on adjustment approvals for asylees and refugess. Asylees must 1) apply for adjustment; 2) be physically present in the US for at least one year after being granted asylum; 3) continue to be a refugee with the meaning of INA 101(a)(42); 4) not be firmly resettled in another country; and 5) be admissible to the US as an immigrant under the Act upon examination for adjustment.

Certain grounds of inadmissibility do not apply for asylees including public charge, labor certification and immigrant documentation requirements under INA 212(a)(7)(A). Drug trafficking, national security and terrorism grounds cannot be waived. Other grounds such as criminal convictions can be waived, and the asylee should apply for the waiver using Form I-602.

The spouse of an asylee and children under 21 years of age are eligible for derivative asylum status. They may adjust status to permanent residency independent of the principal asylum applicant provided the principal continues to qualify as a refugee and the spouses remain married.

If political conditions in the asylee’s home country during the pendency of the adjustment application so that the person no longer fears persecution, adjustment may be denied, and the denial is not appealable. However, the applicant can have the application renewed in subsequent removal proceedings.

During the pendency of an adjustment application, the asylee may travel abroad, however he should not travel back to his home country.

In this case, our client did not have any grounds of inadmissibility that applied, and the political conditions in his home country were still hostile. He feared returning to his home country. The case was approved without an interview, and our client is now a lawful permanent resident.

If you are contemplating an asylum application or adjustment of status, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the process.

I-485 Application to Adjust Status Approved for VAWA Client in Anaheim; Green Card Issued

September 13th, 2013 No comments
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I recently attended an adjustment interview at USCIS Santa Ana with a VAWA client of mine. Her I-360 was approved earlier this year when the Vermont Service Center found that she was victim of domestic abuse after entering into a good faith marriage with a US citizen. When we filed the I-360 with the Vermont Service Center, we also filed the I-485 application for adjustment of status to permanent resident. After the I-360 was approved, the file was transferred to the local Santa Ana office because Anaheim Hills, where my client resides, is located in Orange County.

At the interview, the officer asked questions about my client’s immigration history, criminal history, etc. I had prepared my client well for what she should expect at the interview, and, although she was somewhat nervous, she did great. Because the issue of domestic violence and good faith marriage had already been determined, the officer did not ask any questions in that regard. The officer approved the case on the spot. The green card will be sent to our office because, as is the case with most VAWA cases, USCIS does not want to send important documents to the applicant’s residence.

If you are foreign born and the victim of domestic violence, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. We handle many VAWA cases every year, and managing attorney Jay Nunez can help determine whether the U visa or the VAWA process is the better option for you.

List of U Visa Crimes that Qualify Under Immigration and Nationaly Laws

September 11th, 2013 No comments
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Here is a list of crimes that will qualify a foreign born alien for a U visa provided the individual meets all other U visa requirements:

Abduction
Abusive Sexual Contact
Blackmail
Domestic Violence
Extortion
False Imprisonment
Genital Female Mutilation
Felonious Assault
Hostage
Incest
Involuntary Servitude
Kidnapping Manslaughter
Murder
Obstruction of Justice
Peonage
Perjury
Prostitution
Rape
Sexual Assault
Sexual Exploitation
Slave Trader
Torture
Trafficking
Witness Tampering
Unlawful Criminal Restraint
Other Related Crimes

The other related crimes option should not be disregarded. It is possible to argue that a crime is substantially similar in severity and therefore should qualify the applicant for a U visa.

Joint I-751 Approved for Santa Margarita Conditional Resident Despite Living Apart From Her Husband

September 9th, 2013 No comments
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We were surprised to receive an approval for our Santa Margarita client’s joint I-751 petition to remove conditions on permanent residency. We filed the case in mid-June 2013 and expected that we would be called for an interview because the couple was not currently living together at the time of the filing. I had helped this couple navigate the I-130 visa petition and adjustment of status process two years earlier. Although I knew this couple was involved in a good faith marriage, circumstances arose that forced the couple to live apart against their will, and I knew USCIS would look at the case critically.

In our I-751 packet we did not hide the fact that the couple was living apart. We explained the circumstances thoroughly and included substantial documentation to support our statements. Although I was confident that we would eventually win the case, I did not think we would receive an approval within two months of filing. I certainly did not expect to receive an approval without an interview.

In general, when filing a joint I-751 petition to remove conditions, USCIS wants to see evidence that the couple is living together, commingling assets and conducting themselves as one might expect of a married couple. Within the 90-day period immediately preceding the second anniversary date on which the alien obtained permanent residence, the alien and the petitioning spouse must file a Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (Form I-751) with the Service Center having jurisdiction over the alien’s place of residence. USCIS wants to see evidence such as:

- Documentation showing joint ownership of property

- Lease showing joint tenancy of a common residence

- Documentation showing commingling of financial resources

- Birth certificates of children born to the marriage

- Affidavits of third parties having knowledge of the bona fides of the marital relationship

Failure to file the I-751 before the expiration date on the conditional green card shall result in automatic termination of the alien’s permanent resident status and the initiation of removal proceedings against the alien. USCIS has three options when deciding an I-751 case: waive interview and approve, waive interview and deny, or call for an interview prior to deciding the case. In cases in which the adjudicator believes an interview would be useful, the adjudicator forwards the case to the district director along with an assigned fraud level of A, B, or C.

Fraud Level C means there are no technical problems with the case and there is no indication of fraud. Fraud Level B means there are no technical problems but there is something that creates a suspicion about the bona fides of the marriage. Lack of evidence can result in a Fraud Level B classification. Fraud Level A cases involve a strong suspicion of fraud and can result if the petitioner fails to sign the petition, there is insufficient evidence, a large age disparity, married couple not living together, a prior I-751 was denied, or the petition was filed untimely without good reason.

In the current case, our couple was living separately, which caused me to believe that we would need an interview. I felt like we had sufficiently addressed the reason for them living apart, but I thought USCIS would want to speak with them at a minimum before approving the case. The client was thrilled when I told of the good news. I had told her we would definitely be called for an interview, so she was amazed when she found out there would be no interview.

If you need to file the I-751 petition to remove conditions, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you and help you better understand the process. For more in depth information about the I-751 process, click here.

 

How Does an Immigrant Investor Prove the Establishment of and Investment in a New Commercial Enterprise Under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

September 5th, 2013 No comments
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The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program presents foreign national investors and entrepreneurs and their qualifying relatives with an opportunity to live and work permanently in the United States through investment in a new commercial enterprise or restructured existing business. In order to obtain conditional resident status, the immigrant investor bears the burden of proof in showing that he or she meets the numerous requirements of the EB-5 program. Two of the more important evidentiary requirements involve proving the establishment of the new commercial enterprise and the investment in the new commercial enterprise.

To show that a new commercial enterprise has been established, the immigrant investor must provide USCIS with articles of incorporation, business trust agreement, joint venture agreement, certificate of limited partnership, partnership agreement, or certificate of merger or consolidation. Other investors will provide a certificate evidencing authority to do business in a state or municipality for the new commercial enterprise. Other evidence that the required amount of capital has been transferred to the existing business and has resulted in a substantial increase in the net worth or number of employees will suffice. This can include agreements, payroll records, financial reports, investment agreements or stock purchase agreements.

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Along with proving that the new commercial enterprise has been established, the immigrant investor must prove that he has committed the required amount of capital to the new commercial enterprise. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to, bank statements showing the amounts deposited in the US business account. Apart from cash investments, immigrant investors may invest assets and/or equipment in the new commercial enterprise. In that case, the immigrant seeking and EB-5 green card should provide invoices, sales receipts, purchase contracts, US Customs commercial entry documents, bills of lading, and/or transit insurance policies. If the investor transfers capital in exchange for stock (voting or nonvoting, common or preferred), evidence of such transfers should be included. Such stock may not include terms requiring the new commercial enterprise to redeem it at the holder’s request. Other evidence may include loan or mortgage agreements, security agreements or promissory notes, or other evidence of borrowing which is secured by assets of the petitioner, other than those of the new commercial enterprise, and for which the petitioner is personally and primarily liable.

If you are considering the EB-5 process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will help you better understand the process and whether the EB-5 program is a viable option for you.

 

Marriage Based Adjustment of Status Approved for Huntington Beach Couple

August 26th, 2013 No comments
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One of our clients from Huntington Beach was approved for lawful permanent residence based on his marriage to his US citizen wife. The couple met in 2005 while they were both working at a resort in Europe. They began dating shortly thereafter, and after four years, he proposed marriage. The couple married in Italy, and the majority of her family flew over to attend the wedding. He visited the United States on the Visa Waiver Program in late 2012, and the couple came to see me to discuss the process for the husband to obtain permanent residency in the US.

I explained that because their marriage was less than two years old, he could obtain conditional permanent resident status through adjustment of status. I gave them a list of documents and information we would need in order to file. Once we had evidence of their good faith marriage, including photos of their various travels, joint bank account, and shared insurance among other things, we filed the adjustment of status packet, which contained the I-130 visa petition, I-485 adjustment of status application, G-325As, I-765, I-131 and a few other forms, with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in Chicago, IL. Within a month, he attended his biometrics appointment. His employment authorization card arrived within a few months.

At the interview everything went smoothly. The officer asked questions about how the couple met, when they started dating, who proposed marriage, who attended the marriage and many others. I had prepared my clients well beforehand and they were not nervous at the interview. The officer approved the case on the spot, and advised that my client would receive his conditional permanent resident card in the mail within a month or so.

After the interview, I explained the next step of the process when they will need to file the I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on his permanent residency. I advised that they would need to collect joint documents over the next couple years so that we can prove that the couple has stayed in a valid marriage since the husband obtained his green card. The couple was very excited by the approval. 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 and your spouse to help you better understand the options and whether adjustment of status is viable in your case.

Defining “New Commercial Enterprise” Under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

August 18th, 2013 No comments
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The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is a promising mechanism for creating jobs in and injecting foreign capital into the US economy. Congress established the EB-5 program in 1990 to promote the immigration of people who invest their capital in a new commercial enterprise. One question that many prospective foreign investors want to know is what constitutes a new commercial enterprise.

The EB-5 regulations define the term “commercial enterprise” broadly as any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business. 8 CFR 204.6(e) provides examples of qualifying commercial enterprises, but the list is not all inclusive. The EB-5 regulation lists sole proprietorships, partnerships, holding companies, joint ventures, corporations and business trusts. If the commercial enterprise is a holding company and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, each such subsidiary must be engaged in a for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of a lawful business. The commercial enterprise must be for-profit. Charitable organizations are not included. Likewise, owning and operating a private residence does not qualify.

Under the EB-5 immigrant investor program, the definition of “new” is defined broadly as well. A commercial enterprise established after November 29, 1990 will qualify as new under 8 CFR 204.6(e). The immigrant investor can invest the required amount of capital in a commercial enterprise that was established after November 29, 1990 to qualify for the EB-5 program.

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If the commercial enterprise was established before November 29, 1990, it still might qualify as “new” if the enterprise will be restructured or expanded through the immigrant investor’s investment of capital. In Matter of Soffici, the BIA held that an investor who purchased a hotel (that was established before November 29, 1990) and continued running it under the same name did not meet the “new” requirement because apart from some cosmetic changes to the decor and a new marketing strategy, it was the same business as before and insufficient restructuring occurred. USCIS has offered examples of what would qualify as sufficient restructuring – a restaurant converted into a nightclub, or a plan to add substantial crop production to an existing livestock farm.

Additionally, a substantial change in the net worth or number of employees resulting from the investment of capital will qualify as an expansion of the existing business. Under 8 CFR 204.6(h)(3), substantial change is defined as a forty percent increase either in the net worth, or in the number of employees, so that the new net worth, or number of employees amounts to at least 140 percent of the pre-expansion net worth or number of employees. Investment in this manner does not exempt the immigrant investor from meeting the requirements related to the amount of capital ($500,000 or $1 million) that must be invested and the number of jobs that must be created.

A new commercial enterprise can support more than one immigrant investor, meaning two or more immigrant investors can join together to create a new commercial enterprise for EB-5 green card purposes. Each investor must invest the required amount of capital and each must create the required amount of jobs. The new commercial enterprise can have owners who are not seeking to benefit from the EB-5 program; however, even those owners must identify the source of their funds and prove that the invested capital was obtained through lawful means. 8 CFR 204.6(g).

If you are considering the EB-5 immigrant investor process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will help you better understand the process and whether the EB-5 program is a viable option for you.

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