Articles Posted in Interviews

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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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses some new developments regarding the government’s planned implementation of a final rule that would have made certain individuals inadmissible to the United States on public charge grounds.

On October 11, 2019, judges in three separate cases before U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of New York (PDF)Northern District of California (PDF), and Eastern District of Washington (PDF) granted court orders to stop the government from implementing and enforcing the terms of the public charge rule proposed by the Trump administration. As a result, the final rule has been postponed pending litigation until the courts have made a decision on the legality of the rule on the merits. These court orders have been placed nationwide and prevent USCIS from implementing the rule anywhere in the United States.

What would the public charge rule have done?

The public charge rule was set to be enforced on October 15, 2019. The rule would have expanded the list of public benefits that make a foreign national ineligible to obtain permanent residence and/or an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa to enter the United States.

A person would have been considered a “public charge” under the rule, if they received one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate, within any 36-month period.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick talks about your options, as a U.S. Citizen, if you have just discovered that your foreign spouse used you to obtain a green card.

When such a case arises, and we are representing the U.S. Citizen who has just discovered that they have been defrauded, we advise our client to seek outside counsel. We cannot advise our client on how to proceed if we have filed the case because providing such advise creates a conflict of interest.

If our office did not file the green card petition, then it is possible for us to assess the U.S. Citizens options by having a consultation and discussing the situation at hand.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses what happens at an employment-based green card interview. Employment-based green card interviews became mandatory pursuant to USCIS policy in March of 2017.

It was not until the President issued an executive order on March 6, 2017 that USCIS began to require in person interviews for employment-based green card applicants.

The President’s executive order broke the agency’s long-standing policy of waiving in-person interviews for employment-based green card applicants, who were previously considered low risk applicants.

In keeping with the executive order, all applicants who have filed for adjustment of status, on or after March 6, 2017, on the basis of employment, must attend an in-person interview with USCIS. Derivative family members must also be present at the interview.

Employment-based adjustment of status is where an individual qualifies to apply for permanent residence based on an underlying employment visa category such as EB-2 or where the foreign national has an approved National Interest Waiver.

What happens during these interviews?

At the interview, the immigration officer will review the foreign national’s job description as it appears on the original Form I-140, to determine whether the applicant is still doing the same work or whether there has been a significant change in employment.

If the applicant is no longer working in the same or a similar position, the applicant must explain why.

Immigration officers are also closely scrutinizing federal income tax returns filed by applicants to determine whether the foreign national has engaged in unauthorized employment. Engaging in unauthorized employment will likely result in a denial of the adjustment of status application.

National Interest Waiver

In the case of adjustment of status based on an approved national interest waiver, the immigration officer will want to know whether the applicant has done what they promised to do in keeping with the original Form I-140 to ensure that the applicant has not engaged in fraud to obtain immigration benefits.

Please contact us at jacob@h1b.biz if you have any questions.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses how you can obtain permanent residence if your U.S. Citizen spouse has passed away, and you are still in the process of applying for permanent residence.

Overview:

What happens if you and your spouse have filed the I-130/485, and your US Citizen spouse tragically passes away during the process?

SCENARIO ONE: If the couple married but did not have the opportunity to file the I-130/485 applications with USCIS, before the death of the US Citizen spouse, the surviving spouse can still obtain permanent residence by filing form I-360 as a widow(er), provided the couple had a bona fide marriage. Once the I-360 petition is approved by USCIS, the surviving spouse can proceed on their own in filing the I-485 application for permanent residence.

SCENARIO TWO: In cases where the I-130/485 applications have already been filed with USCIS, but the couple did not have the opportunity to go to their I-485 interview before the passing of the US Citizen, USCIS may still adjudicate the foreign national’s application for permanent residence, even if the US Citizen spouse is now deceased. At the interview, the surviving spouse must provide the US Citizen’s death certificate, as well as evidence of bona fide marriage.

If you have any questions regarding this process, please email jacob@h1b.biz, or contact our office.

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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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Learn more about the new 90-day presumption of fraud rule in this video and how it affects the adjustment of status of foreign nationals living in the United States.

0:24 – New Rule Changes

0:52 – What is 90-day Rule Do?

1:37 – Our advice or suggestions for this new rule

Overview: 

WHO:

In September 2017 the Department of State released an amended version of the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), which is a manual used by governmental agencies and other federal agencies that directs and codifies information that must be carried out by respective agencies “in accordance with statutory, executive and Department mandates.”

WHAT:

The new amended version of the manual expands the definition of misrepresentation, the types of activities that may support a presumption of fraud, and establishes changes to existing policies that federal agents must follow in making assessments of fraud or material representation.

According to the amended FAM: If a foreign national engages in any of the following activities, and applies for an immigration benefit, the FAM directs immigration officers to apply a presumption of fraud or material misrepresentation when the foreign national seeks adjustment of status:

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In this segment Attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. discusses the stokes interview otherwise known as the infamous “fraud interview” for the green card application. A stokes interview may occur during the marriage based green card application process, and refers to an interview where the husband and wife are questioned separately, and their answers are compared by an immigration officer to determine whether the marriage was entered into in good faith. A stokes interview (also known as “marriage fraud interview”) is usually a second interview, after the first interview, when the husband and wife were interviewed together, raised some questions about the bona fides of their marriage.

The stokes interview is typically scheduled when couples do not provide enough evidence of bona fide marriage and cohabitation, when the testimony provided by the couple during the first interview contains discrepancies and/or is inconsistent, or the marriage is of short duration. Couples may also be scheduled for a stokes interview if USCIS is concerned about something that came up during the foreign spouse’s background screening process. In every case, the immigration officer is trying to determine whether the applicant’s marriage is bona fide or not. If the immigration officer is still not satisfied that the marriage is a bona fide one after the stokes interview, USCIS may send a field officer to the applicant’s house.

To learn more about the consequences of entering a “sham” marriage please click here.

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Attorney Charles Ward has been a long time attorney at the Law Offices of Jacob J. Sapochnick. Charles received his Doctorate in Jurisprudence from Southern Methodist University graduating Cum Laude. He has been a California licensed attorney since 1997 and is also licensed to practice before the Federal Court system. His area of expertise includes Immigration and Family Law. Charles Ward is a stand-out member of our team and is known for his professionalism, compassion, infectious laughter, and colorful personality.

At the Law Offices of Jacob J. Sapochnick Charles handles cases that are in removal proceedings, including Asylum, Adjustment of Status, and Voluntary Departure. Mr. Ward also helps clients prepare for courtroom hearings, trials, green card interviews, fraud interviews, citizenship interviews, and much more. Mr. Ward is an active member of the San Diego County Bar Association and served as President of the “Small Firms & Solo Practitioners” section.

Outside of the office, Charles enjoys swimming in the ocean, hiking, traveling, and going to sporting events.

To learn more about the dedicated staff members serving and supporting our clients here.

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In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses the adjustment of status interview for permanent residence. What happens when a denial is issued? To hear the answer to this question just keep on watching.

Overview: 

As part of the application process for permanent residence based on marriage, you and your spouse are required to attend an in person interview before your green card may be issued. In this video we focus on the marriage visa interview. So what happens when things go wrong?

Typically couples prepare for the green card interview by bringing all of the necessary documents to verify to the immigration officer that they have a bona fide marriage (such documents may include photographs of the couple together and with friends and family, evidence of joint accounts, evidence of commingling of finances, evidence of cohabitation, and joint responsibility of assets and liabilities). In some cases, however the immigration officer may not be convinced by a couple’s particular situation. The immigration officer sometimes finds issue with something the client said, or there may be some inconsistencies that capture the attention of the immigration officer, etc. In these cases, at the conclusion of the interview the immigration officer will notify the couple that they will not able to make an immediate decision. They will send the couple home and tell them to wait for a decision in the mail. If the couple does not receive an approval notice in the mail within 30 days, what will likely happen is that USCIS will send a notice of intent to deny (NOID). In most cases this notice is issued within 30 days of the green card interview.

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