We finally received an I-485 approval for one of our clients in Virginia. She entered the US on the Visa Waiver Program in late 2012. Once she arrived, her daughter decided that due to her age and increasing medical complications she should not return to her home country. The daughter contacted us to help with the adjustment of status process. We began preparing the packet for filing, but, because we still needed some documents we were unable to file the adjustment of status application and visa petition before the mother’s visa waiver authorized stay expired.
We filed the I-485 packet with USCIS within a month of the expiration of her authorized stay. In Orange County and Los Angeles, adjusting status for the immediate relative of a US citizen is not problematic even if the alien has overstayed on the visa waiver program. In San Diego, it is problematic. Because I had never handled a VWP overstay adjustment in Virginia, I was unsure how the local USCIS office would proceed with the issue. I spoke with several local attorneys and most of them admitted that they had never dealt with a VWP overstay adjustment. Others said it could be problematic.
For the interview, we hired local Virginia counsel to attend. I found an AILA Infonet document that discussed the reasons why VWP overstays should be eligible to adjust status at any time before removal proceedings and asked the local counsel to bring it with him. Additionally, I had him bring medical records for the mother to show that her medical problems were serious and forcing her to return to her home country could have serious adverse health effects.
At the interview, the officer did not question the VWP overstay issue and advised that he intended to approve the case; however, he did not provide an approval notice. This worried me to some degree, because I’ve had several officers tell me everything was fine and they just needed to get the supervisor to sign off on the case before officially approving it. Then, we receive a denial. I think some officers want to avoid a debate so they say they intend to approve just to get us out of the office.
In this case, we received the approval notice about six weeks after the interview. My client and her daughter were very pleased with the outcome. They are relieved that the mother will not need to return home to process the case at the consulate. The daughter can care for her mother and make sure she is happy and safe.
If you are considering the adjustment of status process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will help you better understand the process and assess your options.