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Articles Posted in Denials

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the top five reasons K-1 visas are denied and what you can do to avoid these common pitfalls.

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Overview


Imagine this, you have just finished your K-1 visa interview and the Consular officer hands you a letter stating your K-1 visa has been refused. You leave the interview asking yourself, what do I do now?

The good news is you’re not alone. In the majority of cases, applicants may cure any defects in their applications and continue with visa processing. However, it is important to know the application process ahead of time to avoid finding yourself in this situation.


Top Reasons for K-1 Visa Denial  


#1: Not having enough evidence of bona fide relationship

The most common reason for K-1 visa denial is where the couple does not provide enough evidence of a bona fide relationship.

A bona fide relationship is one that was entered in good faith and not with an intention to deceive. A fiancé visa applicant does not have a bona fide marriage if he or she entered the marriage solely to receive an immigration benefit from USCIS. Immigration officers are trained to identify fraudulent or “sham” marriages where either party or both parties have entered the marriage simply for the green card applicant to obtain his or her permanent residence in the United States, without any sincere intention to live together in the same household or form a marital bond.  Immigration officers search for inconsistencies in any answers provided by either party to the marriage, and carefully scrutinize supporting documentation provided by the couple with the initial I-129F filing.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick answers a hot topic that has been frequently asked by our followers: what are the top reasons for CR/IR-1 immigrant visa denials and what can you do about it.

Want to know more? Keep on watching for more information.


Overview


What is a CR-1/IR-1 visa?

A CR-1 or IR-1 visa is an immigrant visa for a spouse of a United States Citizen who is residing abroad. The term “CR” in CR-1 stands for “conditional resident” and is issued to foreign spouses who have been married for less than 2 years. By contrast the term “IR” in IR-1 stands for “immediate relative” and is issued to foreign spouses who have been married for more than 2 years. Those who receive a CR-1 visa will eventually receive a 2-year conditional green card after entering the United States, while those who receive an IR-1 visa will receive a 10-year green card (without condition).

The first step to apply for a CR-1/IR-1 visa is for the U.S. Citizen spouse to file a Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the foreign spouse. This petition initiates the immigration process to the United States. Once Form I-130 is approved by USCIS, the petition is transferred to the National Visa Center for pre-processing. At the National Visa Center stage, the applicant must complete the immigrant visa application and provide civil documentation. After sending all required documents to the National Visa Center, the NVC will forward the case to the U.S. Embassy near the foreign spouse and the applicant will wait to be scheduled for an Embassy interview. The Embassy interview is often a make it or break moment for couples who must prove that they have a “bona fide” marriage to be approved for their visa.


What are the top reasons for CR/IR-1 denials?


#1 Not meeting the income requirement for the affidavit of support

The number one reason for spousal visa denials is failing to meet the income requirement for the affidavit of support. As part of the spousal visa application process, the U.S. Citizen spouse must sign the I-864 Affidavit of Support, which is a legally enforceable contract between the U.S. Citizen and the government wherein the U.S. Citizen must sign under penalty of perjury that they have the adequate means to financial support the alien and the alien will not rely on the U.S. government for financial support.

What is the income requirement?

The minimum amount that the U.S. Citizen must make depends on his or her household size. In general, petitioners must make at least 125% of the federal poverty guidelines. However, exceptions exist for petitioners who are on active duty in the U.S. armed forces. Petitioners who do not satisfy the income requirement must apply with a joint sponsor, who must also sign a separate I-864 Affidavit of Support and provide evidence of financial ability. If the petitioner and joint sponsor do not qualify, the spousal visa application will be denied.

To prevent this situation from happening petitioners must make sure well in advance of filing the I-130 application, that they either meet the income requirement, or that they can obtain a joint sponsor who is willing and able to sign the affidavit of support and provide the necessary documentation.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a frequently asked question: can someone who is in the process of getting divorced overseas re-marry in the United States before that divorce is final?

Overview:

In many foreign countries the process of getting divorced is a very long and tedious process with many divorces taking many years to come to a final conclusion.

Many clients are left wondering whether they can lawfully re-marry in the United States while their divorce process is pending overseas, so that they can move on with their lives and apply for adjustment of status based on their marriage in the United States.

Unfortunately, you may not lawfully re-marry in the United States until all prior marriages have been terminated. A prior marriage is terminated when divorce proceedings come to a conclusion. A prior marriage is terminated by a government order or decree of dissolution of marriage issued by the appropriate authority in the country where your divorce proceedings took place. If you have not received a final order or decree of dissolution from such an authority, your prior marriage has not been terminated.

Filing a petition for adjustment of status while you remain married to someone else, even in a foreign country, carries with it very serious legal consequences.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we discuss whether you can file an application to extend your stay on a tourist visa if you have overstayed.

Disclaimer: We do not recommend overstaying your duration of stay on any visa classification, because serious immigration consequences could result. However, this post discusses the options you may have, if you find yourself in the precarious situation where you have already overstayed, and you have a good faith reason for having overstayed.

Overview:

Typically a person is given up to a 6-month period to remain in the United States on a tourist visa. At the end of those 6 months, the foreign national must depart the United States. The question is: are there any special circumstances in which a person may be allowed to extend their stay, where they have overstayed their visa?

In this case, the person stayed past the 6-month period of time allowed in the United States, and did not depart the United States. However, the person had a good faith reason for remaining in the United States. Toward the end of their stay, the individual had just given birth in the United States, and unfortunately some medical complications occurred that kept the individual in the United States past the 6-months authorized by their tourist visa. Because of these complications, the individual could not fly outside of the United States.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we have some bad news for H1B visa holders, some very very alarming statistics. If you want to know what they are watch this video.

H1B Visas and Rate of Denials

Based on a recent statistic, between 2015 through 2019 there has been a significant increase in H1B visa denials. H1B visa denials have quadrupled in denial rates.

Similarly, the volume of requests for evidence issued to H1B petitioners have increased by 60 percent.

The H-1B season for fiscal year 2021 will bring some important changes. Firstly, USCIS has imposed a new online electronic registration requirement for H1B petitioners to streamline the H1B lottery process.

When we see a quadrupling in the rate of H1B visas denied for strong H1B petitions, it is apparent that the government is trying to send a message, which is that they want to limit the amount of people who can actually file for H1B visas. In the requests for evidence we have received for H1B extensions and transfers, we see a trend in which USCIS is using the most narrow interpretation of what a “specialty occupation,” is which by definition limits the pool of candidates eligible to receive an H1B visa.

We are seeing almost automatic denials for our marketing and business positions because USCIS is being so restrictive in how they interpret and define a “specialty occupation.” USCIS is taking the position that marketing and business positions are not “specialty occupations.”

USCIS has time and time again refused to accept the complexity of these positions, legal arguments in support of a finding that these positions are in fact specialty occupations, and ignored expert opinions supporting such positions as “specialty occupations.”

From what we have seen in our own filings and from conversations we have had with other attorneys and law offices, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get H1B visas approved for positions and occupations are were normally approved without difficulty in the past.

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Welcome back to Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this post, we discuss the status of the Presidential Proclamation signed by President Trump on October 4, 2019, that sought to suspend the entry of immigrants who would financially burden the United States health care system.

Firstly, let’s discuss what this Presidential Proclamation is about.

Effective November 3rd, the Presidential Proclamation required persons seeking to immigrate to the United States to provide proof, within 30 days of their entry to the United States, of approved health care coverage, or adequate financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs.

Immigrant applicants who failed to provide such evidence would be considered a financial burden on the U.S. healthcare system and would be inadmissible to the United States.

More on the Proclamation here.

What’s happened?

In response to a lawsuit filed by seven U.S. Citizens and a nonprofit organization, on Sunday November 2, 2019, U.S. District Judge Michael Simon issued a temporary restraining order blocking the President’s Proclamation from going into effect as planned on November 3rd.  Judge Simon’s order applies nationwide meaning that the government cannot enforce any parts of the proclamation until the court reaches a decision on the merits of the case.

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What’s the difference between someone who is undocumented in the United States and someone who is here illegally?

What does it mean to be “undocumented”?

When someone is in the United States “undocumented,” that means that the person entered the United States without inspection (without the proper documentation), and as a result are currently living in the United States without the proper documentation, hence the term “undocumented.”

What does it mean to be in the U.S. “illegally”?

On the other hand, someone who came to the United States on a valid visa (such as a student visa, tourist visa, etc.) and then lost their status, either because they did not renew their visa, or their visa expired, or for some other reason, are in the United States “illegally.” These individuals were legally in the United States at some point but are now in the United States “illegally” because they are now out of status. This is also referred to as a visa overstay.  That is because the individual has now stayed in the United States past the time authorized by their initial visa.

In both cases, the individual is in the United States without authorization because they do not have the proper visa.

Path to Residency

A person who is “undocumented” meaning that they entered the United States without proper inspection, cannot adjust their status to permanent residency so easily even where married to a U.S. Citizen. Undocumented parties married to U.S. Citizens must file a waiver of inadmissibility and in some cases will have to leave the United States before applying for residency.

By contrast, a person who entered the United States with proper inspection, but who is now in the United States illegally because of an overstay, can apply for permanent residency more easily, where married to a U.S. Citizen. These individuals do not have to leave the United States before applying for residency.

The key difference between the two is in whether the person entered the country with inspection. If you entered without inspection, you would be undocumented. If you entered with inspection, but have overstayed your visa, you are in the country illegally.

If you have questions about relating to your status and legalization, please contact us.

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Can I lose my green card if my citizenship application is denied after the interview?

A person typically acquires a green card based on employment or an underlying family petition. As part of the process of becoming a permanent resident, an applicant must pass a background check, and meet all other eligibility requirements to become a permanent resident.

During the citizenship application process, USCIS is given another opportunity to further vet the applicant and ensure that the applicant meets all of the criteria required to become a United States Citizen, as well as ensuring that the applicant has not committed fraud or any other immigration violations to obtain an immigration benefit.

If during your citizenship application process, USCIS finds that there was an inaccuracy or inconsistency during the process of obtaining your green card, it is possible that such a finding might adversely affect the outcome of your citizenship application, depending on the type of defect.

USCIS may or may not decide to investigate further depending on the inaccuracy or inconsistency involved. If USCIS decides to investigate any inaccuracies or inconsistencies involved in your prior green card case, they may decide to not only deny your citizenship application, but also to rescind your permanent resident card. Typically, this occurs where there is an instance of fraud or an individual gained a green card through misrepresentation.

An applicant who is denied for other reasons, such as failing the Civics or English examination, failing to prove good moral character, or failing to meet the continuous residence requirement, is typically not at risk of losing their green card.

If you have any concerns that are specific to your case, please feel free to contact our office to schedule a consultation.

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In this live stream, attorneys Jacob Sapochnick and Marie Puertollano discuss recent topics in immigration including the new USCIS policy giving immigration officers ample discretion to deny an application or petition filed with USCIS without first issuing a RFE or NOID, suspension of premium processing, fraudulent H-1B schemes, and more.

Overview:

RFE/NOID Policy

Beginning September 11, if you do not provide sufficient evidence to establish that you are eligible for the immigration benefit you are requesting, USCIS may exercise their discretion and deny your petition without first issuing a request for evidence or RFE. This new policy applies to all applications and petitions filed after September 11th, with the exception of DACA renewal applications.  The decision to deny your application or petition without issuing a RFE or NOID will ultimately be up to the discretion of the officer reviewing your petition. An officer may in his discretion continue to issue a RFE or NOID according to his best judgement.

If you are filing for a change of status or extension of your status, we recommend that you file early, so that you are not out of status in the case that USCIS denies your request for an immigration benefit. This will give you the opportunity to either re-file or to consider changing your status to another visa type. In addition, if you have the ability to apply for premium processing service, you should take advantage of that service.

Suspension of Premium Processing

At the moment premium processing services have been temporary suspended for cap-subject petitions until February 19, 2019, with the exception of cap-exempt petitions filed exclusively at the California Service Center, because the employer is cap-exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap exempt institution.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick covers the top ten tips to help you overcome the marriage fraud interview also known as the “STOKES” interview. A foreign national applying for permanent residence based on marriage may be required to attend a second interview. This typically occurs in cases where the officer, who interviewed the couple during the initial marriage interview, does not believe that the couple has a bona fide marriage, because of red flags that arose during the initial interview.

1. Be Honest

Our first tip to avoid being scheduled for a second interview also known as the STOKES interview is simple. Be honest with yourself, with your partner (the U.S. Citizen or LPR spouse), and your attorney if you have one. Before walking into your initial I-485 interview you should be careful not to misrepresent the facts in your relationship and ensure that you and your partner are both being honest and truthful regarding all aspects of your marriage. If you or your spouse misrepresent any facts about your relationship, the immigration officer will presume that you do not have a bona fide/genuine marriage, and it will be very difficult to overcome this presumption at the second interview.

2. Preparation

The second tip to avoid the STOKES interview is to be well prepared. You and your spouse should prepare all of your documentation proving bona fide marriage well in advance of your I-485 interview, so that you have enough time to review your documentation with your spouse and your attorney in preparation of your interview. This well make you feel more confident and prepared when it comes time to your I-485 interview.

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