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Waivers (J-1, I-601)

I-601 Hardship Waiver Approved for Spouse of U.S. Citizen
Location: Hilton Head, South Carolina
Client's Country: Honduras

Our client was a U.S. citizen and approached our office for help to bring her husband to the U.S. from Honduras.  Our client's husband had entered the U.S. without inspection in 2005 across the border of Mexico.  He was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and detained.  He was granted volutnary departure in lieu of deportation in October 2011 and had to leave the country. 

Our client filed an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative in June 2009, and it was approved in December 2009.  She then prepared the Immigrant Visa application on behalf of her husband and submitted the documents to the National Visa Center.  The case was scheduled for interview in Honduras in November 2012.  It was denied because our client was inadmissible because he had more than one year of unlawful presence in the U.S. and had a 10-year bar to returning, which was triggered once he left the U.S. for Honduras.  He was instructed by the U.S. consulate to file an I-601 hardship waiver if he wanted to return to the U.S. prior to serving the 10-year bar.

Our client approached our office for help to prepare and file the I-601 hardship waiver.  Our client's husband was eligible to file the I-601 hardship waiver if he could show that his U.S. citizen spouse would suffer extreme hardship if he was forced to remain in Honduras.  We prepared extensive documentation showing the extreme financial, physical, mental, and emotional hardship our client ws undergoing because of her husband's absence.  Our client had two U.S. citizen children, one of whom was diagnosed with developmental delays because she was born prematurely.  We submitted documentation to show what kind of hardship our client was undergoing in order to provide for her daughter's special needs.  We prepared the application and filed it with USCIS on December 11, 2012.

The waiver application was approved on July 2, 2013.  Our client can now live together with her husband and two children.

I-601 Hardship Waiver & I-212 Application Approved for Client with Final Order
Client's Country: China

Our client retained our office for help to bring his father to the United States from China.  We had previously helped our client get a green card after reopening his case and removing his final order.  We had also helped our client bring his mother to the U.S. from China on an immigrant visa.  The last member of the family left in China was our client's father, but the problem with his case was that he had a final order of deportation from 1997, and he stayed in the U.S. for an additional 10 years before leaving voluntarily in 2007.  Our client had a bar of returning for at least 10 years.

We first filed an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative.  Our client's sister could petition for our client's father because she was a U.S. citizen.  The I-130 Petition was filed on September 19, 2011 and approved on April 6, 2012.  Next, we prepared an Immigrant Visa application along with an Affidavit of Support and all other supporting documents on behalf of our client to the National Visa Center (NVC).  The NVC reviewed all the documents and transferred the file to the U.S. Embassy in Guangzhou, China. 

Our client was scheduled for his interview on August 28, 2012.  At the interview, our client was informed that he would have to file for an I-601 Waiver because he was inadmissible based on the grounds that he had been ordered removed and because he had been unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than a year.  We also had to file an I-212 Application for Permission to Reenter the U.S. After Removal. 

We prepared both applications and filed them with USCIS in the U.S. in September 2012 based on the hardship that his lawful permanent resident wife would experience if she were forced to be separated from her husband.  We provided proof of why our client would undergo hardship in the U.S. and why she could not return to China.

We received a Request for Evidence in January 2013 asking for more evidence to demonstrate that our client would experience extreme hardship.  We followed up with additional medical evidence to demonstrate that our client experienced serious physical symptoms due to stress along with depression. 

The response was submitted in April 3, 2013, and the applications were approved on May 6, 2013.  Our client is in his 60s and can be finally reunited with his wife and three adult children.  Our client's family has experienced more than 20 years of hardship and suffering due to separation from each other as they all tried to obtain legal status in the U.S.  They can finally be together as one family and enjoy the rest of their lives with each other.

I-601 Waiver Approved for Client with Criminal Issues
Client's Country: Lebanon

In 1991, our client's mother filed an I-130 petition when she was a lawful permanent resident for her son in the preference category of unmarried son over 21.  The I-130 was approved two months later.

While our client was in the United States he was charged with a lesser degree felony offense. The state court deferred adjudication of guilt in his case because it was his first offense. The charges were later dismissed after he served several years of community supervision.

Afterwards, our client voluntarily left the U.S. and established his life, family, and career overseas. He became a successful businessman and married and had children.  He wanted to return to the U.S. to be close to his elderly parents who were sick. Since the approval of the I-130 petition our client's mother had become a U.S. citizen and our client married.  In 2007, our client's former attorney helped him to start the consular processing of his case so he could apply for an immigrant visa.  The former attorney argued that our client was now eligible to file because he now belonged in the preference category of married sons of U.S. citizens and his priority date from 1991 was current for that preference category. 

Our client's former attorney requested that his I-130 petition be cabled overseas so that he could apply for an immigrant visa.  Our client appeared for his interview at the embassy.   While the case was pending, he received a notice that his I-130 petition was under review with the Deparment of State.  Then, he received a notice that his I-130 petition was automatically revoked because he was now married.  It appeared that our client had been married twice and that his first marriage occurred PRIOR to his mother becoming a U.S. citizen.  Therfore, pursuant to the Regulations, his I-130 petition should have been automatically revoked because he was married while his mother was still a lawful permanent resident.  There are no preference categories for married sons of lawful permanent residents.

Our client approached our office for help in February 2012.  We reviewed the case and found out that our client's first marriage was annulled.  We filed a Motion to Reopen/Reconsider his case with Immigration arguing that Immigration did not give retroactive effect to the annulment of his marriage.  We found some decisions issued by the Board of Immigration Appeals that held that when there is an annulment, Immigration should relate back to the date of the marriage and find that no marriage ever existed for immigration purposes unless doing so would result in a gross miscarriage of justice, for example, in the case where a marriage was entered into fraudulently for immigration purposes.

Our client had no physical proof that his marriage was bona fide, but we provided his affidavit explaining the unstable mental health condition of his ex-wife and the events that led to the annulment.  We also pointed out that the annulment was initiated by our client and not his U.S. citizen spouse.  We also provided evidence that the I-130 petition should be reinstated in the interests of justice and as a matter of discretion. We provided evidence that our client's parents had serious illnesses and pointed out that our client would have to wait at least 10 more years before being eligible for another immigrant visa. 

The I-130 petition was successfully reaffirmed, and our client could now proceed with his Immigrant Visa application.  The U.S. embassy notified our client that he next needed to file an I-601 Waiver Application because he was inadmissible due to criminal grounds.  We filed the waiver application with USCIS in the U.S. and argued that our client was rehabilitated and was no longer a danger to society.  We did not have to show hardship to any U.S. citizen relatives because it had been more than 15 years since the date of the criminal activities. 

The I-601 Waiver Application was filed on November 2, 2012, and it was approved a little more than 4 months later on March 8, 2013.  Our client and his family will be issued their immigrant visas and will receive green cards after coming into the U.S. It has been more than 22 years since our client first took action to become a lawful permanent resident and now he will be able to live freely here in the U.S. with his family.

I-601 Hardship Waiver Approved for Client in Ukraine- 10-Year Bar for Unlawful Presence Waived
Location: Miami, Florida
Client's Country: Ukraine

Our client was issued a Notice to Appear in Immigration Court because he was in the U.S. illegally. He approached our office in summer 2010 to help him with his case.  Our client entered the U.S. with a D-1 crewman visa in 2001.  He overstayed his visa and fell out of status.

Our client married a U.S. citizen in 2004, and they had a son together. This was his first marriage.  His wife had been married several times before.  He retained an attorney who misinformed our client that he could apply for his green card in the United States.  Although our client was married to a U.S. citizen he was ineligible to file for a green card because of the visa he used to enter the U.S. People who enter with crewman visas are specifically banned from applying for green cards in the U.S. if they have fallen out of status. There is no waiver that can cure the problem of entry.  But, despite this, our client's former attorney incorrectly filed an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, an I-485 Application for the Green Card, and an I-601 Hardship Waiver to waive the problem of his entry. 

The I-130 Petition based on the marriage was approved.  But, our client encountered a problem because he found out that his wife was not legally divorced from one of her ex-husbands.  Therefore, his marriage to his wife was not valid.  Our client's former attorney filed a 2nd I-130 Petition after our client's wife's divorce was finalized and after our client and his wife remarried.  USCIS issued a request for evidence indicating that there was already an approved I-130 Petition in the file.  Instead of withdrawing the 1st petition and moving forward with the 2nd I-130 petition based on the valid marriage, our client's former attorney withdrew the 2nd I-130 Petition.

The I-485 and I-601 applications were denied by USCIS based on the fact that the client was not eligible to file for his green card in the U.S.  The denials of these applications put our client into removal proceedings, and he was issued a Notice to Appear.  He approached our office for help.  We informed him that he had one of two choices: 1) he could leave the country voluntarily and apply for an immigrant visa overseas or 2) he could apply for asylum based on his fear that he would be persecuted if he returned to the Ukraine.  We informed our client that if he did leave the country, he would automatically trigger a 10-year bar because he had been in the U.S. illegally for more than one year.  We would have to file an I-601 Hardship Waiver of the unlawful presence in addition to the Immigrant Visa applications otherwise the Immigrant Visa application would be denied. 

Our client weighed his options and decided to file for asylum because of his fear that he would be harmed upon his return.  We prepared his asylum application, and the final hearing was scheduled for October 2011.  In addition, we helped our client file a 3rd I-130 Petition notifying USCIS about the problems with the first I-130 Petition.  The I-130 Petition was approved in February 2011.

Several weeks before the hearing, our client indicated that he did not want to proceed with his asylum case and wanted to take a risk and apply for an Immigrant Visa outside the U.S. His wife had serious medical problems and had to undergo surgery for thyroid cancer. She also suffered from depression because of her medication.  Our client and his wife did not believe that the Judge would grant his case and did not want to have to fight his case through appeals. The stress of their case was placing a great emotional toll on both our client and, especially, his wife.  We informed the government attorney about our client's decision, and she informed us that she would not object to our request.  At the hearing, the judge granted voluntary departure and gave our client 4 months to leave the U.S.  As the date was approaching to leave, our client asked if we could help him get an extension of his time in the U.S. because he wanted to support his wife while she was undergoing radiation treatment.  We contacted the Miami ICE office who granted our request and allowed him to stay an additional 2 months.

Our client returned to the Ukraine in December 2011.  We prepared his immigrant visa application with the National Visa Center and prepared the I-601 waiver.  To succeed on an I-601 waiver we have to prove that his wife would suffer extreme hardship if our client is forced to remain outside of the country.  We provided medical reports and prepared a detailed brief with other supporting documents to demonstrate the hardship his wife would undergo.  Our client was scheduled for an interview in January 2012.  He submitted the I-601 waiver on the day of the interview and was informed that his case would be sent to Moscow, Russia for processing.  We contacted the Embassy in Moscow requesting that his case be expedited for medical reasons. 

Our client's I-601 waiver was approved in a little over a month.  Our client's case was sent back to Ukraine. Our client no longer has a ten-year bar to returning to the U.S. and will receive his immigrant visa in 2-3 weeks.  Once he returns to the U.S., he will receive his green card in the mail.  Our client has spent the last 11 years in anxiety because of his immigration problems, and now he can enjoy life in the U.S. and take care of his wife and family.

J-1 Hardship Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residence Requirement Approved for Medical Doctor
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Client's Country: Palestine

Our client from the UAE came to the United States with a J-1 visa to pursue his residency at a U.S. hospital in order to further his education and training.  He was accompanied by his wife and children.  Our client was granted a J-1 visa, however he was subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement and would have to return to his country of nationality before he could change his status or apply for permanent residence in the U.S. Our client was born and raised in the UAE, but he was considered a national of Palestine, specifically the Gaza Strip, because of his parents' nationality and heritage.   Our client and his family had never lived in Palestine. Our client's spouse gave birth to a child in the U.S. and was due to give birth to a second child when he approached our office for help. Our client feared for the well-being and safety of his family if he were forced to return to Palestine for two years because of the increasingly unsafe political situation and because of the poor living conditions.  Our office filed a J-1 hardship waiver showing that his U.S. citizen children would face exceptional hardship if they were forced to return to Palestine with the rest of their family.  We pointed to several factors including the threats to physical safety because of the ongoing warfare between Hamas and the Israel Security Forces. We also provided extensive evidence of  the way Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip has resulted in deterioriating living conditions, medical care, and educational opportunities.  We filed the waiver application in August 2010, and the waiver was approved in three months.

Deborah Lee, Esq.
1350 W. 5th Ave., Ste. 314
Columbus, OH 43212

Phone: 614-725-5804
Fax: 614-725-5805

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