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ARCHIVES OF RECENT NOTABLE CASES

2016 MARCH – The U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China grants a 10-year B1/B2 visitor visa to the 61-year-old Chinese mother of a legal permanent resident. The applicant-mother is a divorced retiree and lives and cares for her 89-year-old mother. The applicant’s daughter is her only child and pregnant with her first child. The applicant applied for the visa so that she can visit her daughter and son-in-law before the birth of their child and provide some childcare guidance after the birth. The consular officer asked whether she only has one child and if she has an invitation letter.

2016 FEBRUARY - The U.S. Embassy in Kuwait grants a 10-year B1/B2 visitor visa to the Chinese wife of an American citizen. The Chinese wife has been living in Kuwait for more than 10 years and has been a housewife (unemployed) since the couple got married in 2014. The Chinese wife applied for the visa so that she and her husband can attend his family’s reunion this summer. The consular officer asked whether she was marriage, duration of her marriage and if she has an invitation letter.

2016 FEBRUARY - The USCIS of Oakland Park, FL approves the Application for Naturalization (N-400) of an applicant who was unable to provide child support payment for one of his two children. The applicant had two prior marriages and a child from each marriage. He had a son from his first marriage and did provide child support until his son turned 18-years-old. He had a daughter from his second marriage, who was 2-years-old at the time of divorce. His second ex-wife had plans to remarry and requested that he no longer contact them as her future husband wants to adopt the daughter. It was a difficult decision and after much thought, he decided it would be best for his daughter that she never knows he was her father.

2016 JANUARY - The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India grants a K-1 fiancé visa to the male applicant who delayed his interview, for personal reasons, for 7 months after the USCIS approval. The couple met in 2011 on a dating website when they both were living in New York and the male applicant had a work visa. After their first date, they decided to not pursue a romantic relationship and remain friends. The male applicant returned to India in 2012 and they continued to remain in contact as friends. In 2014, they evaluated their relationship, saw a future together and got engaged in January 2015 in the presence of their parents.

2015 DECEMBER - The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine grants a 10-year B1/B2 visitor visa to the mother of a K-1 fiancée visa applicant who obtained her K-1 visa approval two weeks prior to her mother’s visitor visa interview. The wedding of the K-1 visa applicant is scheduled for January 2016 and the mother applied for the visitor visa to attend her daughter’s wedding. The K-1 fiancée visa applicant’s younger brother, aunt and cousin applied for visitor visas in January 2016, but were denied because they were unable to provide sufficient evidence of their intent to return back to Ukraine.

2015 DECEMBER - The U.S. Consulate in Shanghai, China grants 10-year B1/B2 visitor visas to the parents of a K-1 fiancée visa applicant who obtained her K-1 visa in November 2015. The wedding of the K-1 visa applicant is scheduled for February 2016 and the parents applied for the visitor visa to attend their daughter’s wedding. The K-1 visa applicant’s younger sister, brother-in-law and nephew (all French citizens) will also be attending the wedding in the U.S. and will travel together with the parents.

2015 DECEMBER -The USCIS office in Baltimore, MD approves the application for adjustment of status of a Canadian applicant who entered the U.S. on a K-1 fiancée visa in 2004, was still married to her U.S. citizen petitioner and was unable to file the application for 10 year because of series of events which made them financial unable to pay the application fee. To help prevent any further delay on filing the adjustment of status application, we helped them pay for half of the application fee. The Canadian applicant is looking forward to visiting her family in Canada after more than 10 years.

2015 DECEMBER - The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine grants a K-1 fiancée visa to a couple with a 22-year age difference and in which the American fiancé is older than the Ukrainian fiancée's mother. The couple met through common friends and filed the K-1 visa application less than 2 months since their initial communication. From the time of initial filing to the time of the Embassy interview, the processing time took 2.5 months.  

2015 NOVEMBER - The. U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines grants a K-1 fiancée visa to a couple who were introduced by the American fiancé's landlord, who is the sister of the Filipino fiancée. The couple spent 6 days (single trip) together before the Embassy interview. From the time of initial filing to the time of the Embassy interview, the processing time took 3 months.

2015 NOVEMBER - The U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China approves the K-1 fiancée visa (along with K-2 visa) to a couple in which the Consulate denied their first K-1 visa application less than 5 months ago in June 2015. The couple filed their first K-1 visa application themselves, without legal counsel. They didn’t realize some of the weak points to their case and the Chinese fiancée was not able to clearly address some of the Consulate’s concerns at her first interview. The couple met on Match.com when the Chinese fiancée joined the website a month after she entered the U.S. on a visitor visa for a business trip. Also, they were engaged about a month after they met. 

2015 OCTOBER - The U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China approves the K-1 fiancée visa to a couple in which the U.S. fiancé had four prior divorces and the Chinese fiancée had three prior tourist visas denials (two of the denials were from 2015). The couple met through common friends and met on two separate occasions in 2015.

2015 OCTOBER - The U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia grants an IR-5 visa (parent of U.S. citizen) to an applicant who previously entered the U.S. on a tourist visa twice in the 1980s and 1990s, overstayed her visa and departed the U.S. about 20 years ago. The U.S. citizen-child immediately petitioned for his mother after he turned 21-years-old and they will soon be reunited after last seeing each other about 9 years ago.

2015 OCTOBER  The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine grants a 10-year B1/B2 visitor visa to the mother of a U.S. legal permanent resident and mother-in-law of a U.S. citizen. The mother is retired and was denied a visitor visa earlier this year when they apply for the visa themselves.

2015 OCTOBER  The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand grants a K-1 fiancée visa to a couple with a 18-year age difference, who met online 6 months before the interview and who spent 12 days together during a single visit before the interview. Also, the Thai fiancée’s divorce was finalized 3 weeks prior to filing the K-1 petition. From the time of initial filing with USCIS, to the time of the Embassy interview, the processing time took less than 3 months.

2015 OCTOBER – USCIS approves the Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (I-751) for an applicant and her child who filed the application based on a hardship waiver. USCIS approved the petition without any request for additional evidence and without an interview. The hardship waiver was based on a good-faith marriage, the marriage terminated through divorce and he subject of extreme cruelty by her U.S. citizen spouse. The applicant and her ex-husband met when they worked for the same company. After she immigrated to the U.S. on a K-1 fiancée visa, they continued to work for the same company. During a company-wide reorganization, the applicant were laid-off. Her then-husband immediately said that if she couldn’t soon find another job, divorce would be their only option as he could not handle the potential financial stress. She was not willing to give-up on their four-year relationship and stayed positive. When she was looking for new jobs, her husband’s mood varied, depending on whether she had job interviews. From the pressure of job hunting and trying to maintain a harmonious relationship, the applicant suffered significant hair and weight loss and had to seek medical attention. To give them some breathing room, the applicant went to her home country for a two-week visit while her teenage child remained in the U.S. for school. While she was away, her then-husband dated other woman and tore all her personal notebooks written in her native language. After she returned, he began physically abusing her and made false recordings, stating that she was abusing him. She immediately called the police so that they can see the evidence of the false recordings. Her husband then moved out and filed for divorce. They were divorced a year and a half after they were married.  

2015 AUGUST - The U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China grants a K-1 fiancée visa to a couple with almost a 19-year age difference. Also, the U.S. citizen fiancé had previously filed a CR-1 spousal visa for his Chinese ex-wife, and then later withdrew the visa application after a 5-month marriage. The couple met on a dating website when the U.S. citizen was working in Hong Kong. When they first met 3 years ago, there wasn’t a strong connection, and they keep in contact as friends. When they met again 3 years later, they found a strong connection.

2015 AUGUST - The U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia grants a K-1 fiancée visa to a couple with a 30-year age difference and in which the U.S. citizen fiancé had previously filed three prior K-1 fiancée applications. The couple met through mutual friends and spent three trips together before the Embassy interview. From the time of initial filing with USCIS, to the time of the Embassy interview, the processing time took less than 4 months. The couple look forward to starting a family together in the near future. 

2015 AUGUST - The U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China approves the CR-1 spousal visa for an applicant who is a non-meaningful member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). We filed the I-130 application with the USCIS office in Guangzhou as the U.S. citizen spouse held a Chinese Residence Permit. The Chinese applicant was accepted into a U.S. university and must arrive in the USA by August 21, 2015 to receive a scholarship and begin school (offer of admission is only valid for fall 2015 and cannot be deferred). We tried to expedite the case in every aspect we can. The spousal visa petition ready to be filed with USCIS within 2 weeks after we were retained. The USCIS officer told the U.S. citizen that he was impressed with the length and thoroughness of the petition. We requested that USCIS expedite the case and USCIS approved the case in 4 days. The Consulate interview was 5 weeks after USCIS approved the case. The Consulate approved the case on the day of the interview, pending the administrative processing required as a result of the applicant’s CCP membership. After 2 months of administrative processing, the Consulate informed us to submit the applicant’s passport, which the applicant immediately did. We were 2.5 weeks away before the applicant would need to arrive in the U.S. or lose her admission offer and scholarship. The couple lived in Yunnan province, so I suggested that they travel to Guangzhou to pick-up the passport and this would shave a few days off the wait time. They did fly to Guangzhou, waited 2 days before the visa was available and flew to the U.S. the next day. They arrived in the U.S. 2 days before their deadline. 

2015 JULY – The U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines grants a K-1 fiancée visa after the Embassy initially issued a denial in March 2015. The U.S. citizen petitioner was previously divorced three times, but mistakenly told us that he was only divorced once. A week before the interview date, we discovered the Petitioner’s additional divorces when we spoke to the Beneficiary, and she mentioned that the Petitioner’s children are from his first two marriages. We immediately contacted the Petitioner for an explanation and he admitted that he made a silly error. We requested that the Petitioner provide the undisclosed divorce decrees and a written explanation and we submitted them to the Embassy a couple of days prior to the interview. When the Embassy issued a denial for the lack of undisclosed divorces, we requested the Embassy to reconsider its decision. The Embassy’s initial response was that that they had to deny the visa as USCIS did not review the divorce decrees before the petition was approved. However, a month later, the Embassy contacted the Beneficiary to submit her passport. Two months after submitting the passport, the Embassy issued the K-1 visa this month. It appears that after we contacted the Embassy to reconsider its decision, the Embassy took a second review of the case and concluded that the case should be approved.

2015 JUNE – The U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic grants a B2 visitor visa to the mother of a U.S. legal permanent resident and mother-in-law of a U.S. citizen. The mother is unemployed, doesn’t have any assets and was denied a visitor visa about two years ago. Her purpose of applying for a visitor visa is to help her daughter and son-in-law pack their belongings and relocate to the Dominican Republic. Her son-in-law is a disabled army veteran who suffers from PTSD, is unable to care for himself and doesn’t have any other family members who can care for him in the U.S. besides his wife. The consular officer asked for the purpose of her visit and then asked to see various supporting documents prepared for the interview. We accepted this case as a pro bono matter.

2015 JUNE – The U.S. Consulate in Shanghai, China grants a 10-year B1/B2 visitor visa to the Chinese wife of an American citizen. The couple have a daughter together (born in China, American citizen) and the purpose of applying for a visitor visa is to visit the parents of the American husband. The Chinese wife previously sought the assistance of Chinese brokers and was denied three visitor visas. Those prior denials appear to be the result of inadequate advice and preparation from the Chinese brokers. With three denials, the Chinese wife felt that her chances of approval were slim. Prior to the interview, we gave her some tips, helped boost her confidence and advised her that she had a good chance of being granted a visa. The consular officer only asked for the purpose of her visit and to see proof of her husband’s employment in China (worked in China for over a decade). The interviewer also commented that she didn’t understand why the prior visa applications were denied.

2015 MAY – The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine grants an IR-5 visa (parent of U.S. citizen) to an 80-year old applicant. The USCIS, NVC and Embassy accepted our request to expedite the case as the 80-year old applicant did not have any other family members in Ukraine and lives in the Luhansk region, near the heart of the violent clashes between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists. The U.S. citizen accompanied her mother to the interview and the consular officer only asked whether an attorney helped with their case and commented that the case was well-presented and approved the visa. 

2015 APRIL – After five months of administrative processing following the interview at the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, the Embassy grants a K-1 fiancé(e) visa to an Iranian citizen who is 24 years younger than his Iranian-born American fiancée.  The couple met via their Iranian hometown Facebook page and their casual friendship blossomed into a loving relationship over the last three years.  The American fiancée is widowed and has two young children, whom met the Iranian fiancé twice.   At the November 2014 interview, the Embassy raised the issue that there age difference is unusual in Iranian society and his response addressed the specific nature of their relationship and how the age difference is not an issue for them.  

2015 APRIL - The U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China grants F2A (spouses and children of legal permanent residents) visas to the wife and two step-children of a legal permanent resident (LPR). The LPR is also Chinese citizen. They met in 2011 when the LPR went shopping for a gift at the store his future wife worked at. While shopping, it began to rain heavily and was still raining after he made his purchase. His future wife gave him an umbrella, stating that he didn’t need to return it. A few days later, he returned the umbrella and they began dating, which is prior to his immigration to the U.S. in 2011 (entered on F4 visa – brother of U.S. citizen). They both had one prior marriage, him being divorced for years prior to their encounter and she being widowed for a year before their encounter. They got married in late 2012 and after waiting for almost 2-years for their case to become current, the consular interview was scheduled. The consular officer asked a few questions regarding the petitioner (LPR husband), their relationship and joint sponsor. The consular officer didn’t request to see any updated evidence of their relationship. The LPR was unable to accompany his wife to the interview, but arrived in China a day after the interview to accompany his wife and step-children to the U.S. 

2015 MARCH – USCIS – Chicago approves the adjustment of status (Form I-485) application of an applicant who last entered the U.S. in 2014 on her F-1 OPT status after visiting family in South Korea, along with her then American fiancé (now husband). In 2007, the couple began dating when they attended the same college in Boston. After dating for 6 years, the American boyfriend proposed. The applicant’s parents are traditional Asian parents and were against the relationship until they met their future son-in-law in 2014. Her parents absolutely loved him and welcomed him into their family. At the USCIS office, the couple were the last to be interviewed, but the interview only took a couple of minutes. The officer asked for their birth certificates, asked how they met, asked when they moved to Chicago and informed them that the case is approved. The couple can finally focus on planning their wedding reception in South Korea.      

2015 FEBRUARY – The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine grants a CR-1 spousal visa to an applicant the Embassy previously denied about a year ago when the applicant applied for a K-1 fiancée visa (same American petitioner). The Embassy previously denied the K-1 fiancée visa based on “inaccurate information.” We reached out to the Visa Office of the Department of State for additional clarification. The response we received indicated that the Embassy returned the case to USCIS “with a recommendation for review and possible revocation because new information, unavailable to DHS at the time of petition approval indicates that the beneficiary may not be entitled to the approved status.” We were well-aware that USCIS wasn’t going to review the returned case since the I-129F approval by USCIS is only valid for four-months and USCIS was simply going to close the case because by the time they received the returned file, the four-month validity period would have expired.

Both the American petitioner and Ukrainian beneficiary have each filed two prior fiancée and/or spousal visa applications with other individuals. We reviewed the information and documents submitted on the K-1 fiancée application and could not pinpoint any inaccurate information. FOIA requests were submitted, but almost a year of waiting and follow-ups, we were informed that the responses most likely won’t be issued until May 2015, after the CR-1 interview. The couple proceeded to get married in Ukraine. With the initial CR-1 filing with USCIS, we had the American husband submit a thorough explanation of their prior visa applications and their 7-year relationship. The American husband was present for the consular interview. The consular officer only asked for the wife’s passport, her medical exam and photos of them together. The consular officer only asked one question about their wedding photos and informed them that the visa is approved. The Embassy somehow resolved the “inaccurate information” and/or realized they hastily denied the K-1 fiancée visa without good reasoning.

2015 FEBRUARY – USCIS – Newark approves the adjustment of status (Form I-485) application of an applicant who entered the U.S. in 2011 on the Visa Waiver Program from Slovakia. She entered the U.S. to visit her newly-born niece, her mother, step-father, half-brother, two sisters and their families. During her visit, her step-father became terminally-ill (later passing away) and she remained to provide emotional support to her mother and half-brother. In 2013, she met her current husband and after a year of dating, they got married. Before she obtained employment authorization, she worked as a caregiver for over six months. After two-hour of waiting, her and her husband’s interview with the USCIS officer took only about 5 minutes. The officer asked her to answer some of the questions on Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) and asked each of them to provide the other spouse’s name, details regarding the other spouse’s prior marriages and children and ask how they met. The officer then congratulated her on the approval of her I-485 application.   

2015 JANUARY - The U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China grants a K-1 fiancée visa to a Chinese fiancée who is 18 years younger than her American fiancé. The couple met via a dating website in late 2012. The American fiancé was then widowed 3 years prior and the Chinese fiancée was divorced 15 years ago. After a one and a half-year courtship and three trips together, they became engaged. At the start of their courtship, the Chinese fiancée spoke minimal English. After a year of daily English classes, she became an intermediate English speaker by the time of the interview. At her interview, she confidently answered the consular officer’s six questions in English, showed photographs of them together and walked out of the Consulate with an approval.

2015 JANUARY - The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India grants F-4 visas (brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children) to a derivative child over the age of 21 and his parents. The principal applicant, his wife and derivative child were waiting for their case to become current at the National Visa Center when the child turned 21-years-old. The child's name was then removed from the list of eligible visa applicants. The application was filed over 10 year ago and we estimated that when the priority date becomes current, the child's "immigration age" would be well under age 21. Thus, he would be eligible to immigrate with his parents. Six months prior to our predicted interview date, we already began preparing the family for their final interview. Once the January 2015 Visa Bulletin was published in early December 2014 and indicated that the priority date would be current in January, we immediately contacted the National Visa Center. An interview date was already scheduled for the principal applicant and his wife, but not for the child. With the interview date only a month away, we immediately contacted the U.S. Embassy to make the determination that the child is eligible for a visa and requested to add his name on the interview list. A week before the interview, the Embassy confirmed that the child is eligible for a visa and the child was able to attend the interview with his parents and their visas were approved. 

2015 JANUARY - The U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China grants a CR-1 spousal visa to a young lady whose mother immigrated to the U.S. a couple of years ago on a K-1 fiancée and whose aunt also immigrated to the U.S. on a K-1 fiancée visa a month prior to her interview. The couple’s parents are family friends and the young lady’s mother asked her future son-in-law to tutor her daughter in English as he helped international students at his college with improving their English. After three months of English lessons, the young lady applied for two student visas for English courses and was denied. The couple continued with their English lessons and developed a friendship and chemistry. Eight months after their initial introduction, the young man arrived in China for a 3-month visit. Prior to his arrival, he implied that he was interested in proposing marriage, but wanted to spend some time in person to confirm that they are in fact compatible. After a month in China, he was confident that the young lady was the right person for him and they got married. By the time of the consular interview, the couple haven’t seen each other for eight months.  He was unable to revisit as he graduated college and started a new job. The couple are excited to begin their life together as the new year starts.

2014 DECEMBER - USCIS approves a Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (Form I-751) without an interview for a conditional resident who was previously in divorce proceeding, but then reconciled with her US-citizen spouse and terminated the divorce proceedings.  When the conditional resident retained our services, it was 3 months into her divorce proceedings and 4 months until her resident status expires .  The conditional resident has strong documentation to support a bona fide marriage and physical abuse from her US-citizen spouse.   We spent three months preparing the I-751 waiver application as a waiver case and the US-citizen spouse pleads to the conditional resident for forgiveness.  Despite the negative history, the conditional resident still loves her husband and after much consideration, she decides to forgive him for his wrongdoings and give the marriage another chance.  We switch course to file the I-751 application as a joint petition and disclose the prior divorce proceedings that are terminated prior to filing.  USCIS approves the case without any Request for Evidence or interview.  The couple continues to improve on their marriage and are happy that they've reconciled. 

2014 OCTOBER - Since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Windsor vs. United States on June 26, 2013, our first same-sex K-1 fiancé visa was granted.  The couple met through mutual friends on Facebook and share the common languages of English and French.  The foreign fiancé is a citizen of Algeria, a country that legally prohibits homosexuality and whose society is hostile towards gays.  After months of correspondence, they decided to meet and the Algerian fiancé applied for a U.S. tourist visa, which was denied.  Algerian citizens can only travel visa-free to a handful of few countries outside of Africa. The couple chose to meet in Malaysia, a country that legally prohibits homosexuality, but has a more accepting attitude in large cities.  Despite a 30-plus-year age difference, the couple found common ground and their partner in life.  Sensitive to the case, the US Embassy interviewed the Algerian fiancé after all the other visa applicants.  After a series of 10-plus questions, the consular officer told the Algerian fiance that the visa will be issued.  In disbelief, the he asked the officer whether she was sure.  The answer was YES!

2014 JUNE - The U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China approves a K-1 fiancée visa application of an elderly couple who were previously married to each other. The couple’s journey began in the mid-1950s when they were young 20-year-olds and met while attending university in Moscow, Russia. After 5 years together in Russia, they returned to China, immediate got married, had two children and taught at the same university for over 30 years. In 1988, the husband had an opportunity to conduct research at an American university. The wife decided to remain in China to care for her elderly mother and as the years went by, they became distant and got divorced after a 45-year marriage. In 2007, a year after he was divorced, the husband married an American-naturalized Chinese lady. After 5 years of marriage, the marriage started to break down and heading for divorce. Meanwhile, the couple daughter was living in Canada and they visited their daughter at the same time. Having not seen each other for years, the reunion brought back all their old memories and decided to give their relationship another chance. About a year after their reunion in Canada, the filed the fiancée visa application and the visa was approved. Now in their late 70s and early 80s, we wish them many more decades together.



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