Chat Transcript April 13, 2011


Moderation starts.

laurel(P) Good morning

laurel(P) Looks like we averted a governmnet shutdown. So everything will continue as normal. We are still experiencing problems with the changes in procedures in Ciudad Juarez. There a lot of problems with their online appointment system, their DS-260 and their new system for sending and receiving correspondence by DHL. For now we just have to bear with them while they work at resolving these problems.

laurel(P) My daughter is out of school today with pinkeye, so I am doing the chat from home. Katherine is on the chat from the office. Let's start with the questions.

TSK(Q) Zomorod15: I am from El Salvador and EWI in 98 and granted TPS on 2001. I re-new TPS every year since then. I am married with US citizen for 3 years and have approved I-130. I have to go back to El Salvador for AOS and I don’t want to do that. I got 2nd letter from Visa center that if I don’t submit fees and docs they will remove my name from the list. What would happen if I don’t submit anything to visa center for few years? Do I have to start all over gain in future? What do they mean by expiring my application? I am hoping for a reform and at mean time I will re-new TPS. Please advice?

laurel(A) First, just a little correction of terminology. Adjustment of status is something that is only done from within the US. If you are going abroad, you are applying for an immigrant visa at the consulate, not adjusting status. Sorry to be so picky, but these are legal terms with very particular meanings. As for your situation, you accumulated unlawful presence starting on April 1, 1997 until the date you were granted TPS. Even though your unlawful presence ended over ten years ago, the 10-year bar doesn't start until you depart. So since you've never departed, the ten year clock hasn't started and if you leave you will need a waiver, presuming you entered before April 1, 1997 and weren't granted TPS until at least six months after that date. If you decide you don't want to enter into this process at this time, you just tell the NVC that you are not ready to continue, but you want to keep your case open. That's all you need to do for now. They will then keep it over at NVC for another year.

TSK(Q) from Tropical: With the anticipated changes to USCIS/waiver processing abroad (be concurrent filing or centralized processing)...are you still recommending non-Mexico filers to proceed with consular processing if they are looking at 2 years for waiver adjudication (El Salvador consulate)?

laurel(A) I'm disappointed that no announcement has yet been made regarding changes to procedure. I get more concerned with each passing day that it might not be imminent. But for at least the next few weeks I would recommend postponing your anticipated departure from the US. I think if we have no news by the end of the month, we should move forward with all cases.

TSK(Q) Anna: Hi Laurel. We applied for the i-602 waiver for my bf who has been convicted of conspiracy grand theft, exceeding $10,000. Sentenced for 6 months..now has been incustody of immigration for 1 year already. Is an asylee.Court date after court date, trial attorney keeps appealing and we dont under stand why. Now my question is...if we get married will that change or help anything at all? Will that give him a bigger chance of them letting him stay in America? And now be deported.

laurel(A) His crime is considered very serious in an immigration context. The standard for approving an I-602 for an asylee is quite low - humanitarian concerns or family unity. While the marriage to a US citizen may improve his chances of approval somewhat, in all liklihood it's a lost cause. Because an asylee cannot be deported, an asylee who commits a serious offense like that may find himself in immigration detension for many years.

TSK(Q) from marval: Does USCIS review I-601 waivers in order of receipt generally or do they prioritize the waivers internally based on reasons for inadmissability, factors and strength of case, etc.? Thanks!

laurel(A) In the order in which they are received.

TSK(Q) from coolgen: Coolgen: Wife is a successful I-601 waiver/K-1 applicant. Now w/green card. In prior marriage, she had 2 kids. We're returning to Venezuela to see the kids father, who partook in the same 3 1/2 yr overstay that required the I-601 for my wife. It's been 10 yrs since they left the US. The father wants a tourist Visa so he can see the kids in the US. In his 1st B1/B2 visa interview, was quickly denied as untrustworthy to not overstay again. Anything he can do to overcome this and get a B1/B2 visa other than the usual docs to prove his ties to VE? Seems they didn't care about the docs he provided. Should I (the USC) write a letter in his support? Anyway to get the interviewer to pay attention to his docs and not just deny the visa due to the overstay? Or is it the luck of the draw based on the mood of the visa interviewer the next time he applies. Next time he'll be able to add that he has new VE child of a different mother to strengthen his case for his ties to VE.

katherine(A) Well, we really do primarily family-based immigration, so the application process for visitor visas is outside our area of expertise. My thoughts are that it's going to be really hard for him to obtain a B1/B2, based on the overstay. It is somewhat a "luck of the draw" situation. Generally, strong business ties to one's home country, strong family ties, strong financial ties (home ownership and investment, for example) can all help to establish non-immigrant intent.1

TSK(Q) from Bebeau: I am very confused after waiting for two years, I thought I had an appeal but it turned out that I had MTR, MTR was denied and I thought it was going to turn into an appeal automatically.Do I have an appeal or the decision on MTR is final? Can this case he reopened

laurel(A) It does not necessarily automatically turn into an appeal. I think you can appeal a denied MTR within 30 days of the denial, but I've never tried and I'd have to review the regulations on that. Whether you can re-open or re-file depends on the facts of the case. To get it re-opened you would have to have substantially new facts.

Nihad(Q) Dear Ms Scott, nice job your doing and helping us in this dream. As for my Q? I believe at somepoint this year simultaneous filing for I-130 and I-601 is to be allowed. Is that possible soon> if not is it in any immigration reform we can track?

laurel(A) As I said earlier in the chat, I get more concerned with each passing day that this chance is not imminent after all. No, it is not something we can track. I seriously think it is going to happen at some point - it's just a question of when. I think if an announcement hasn't been made by the end of the month, we should all move on with the cases presuming it may be a while before it happens.

TSK(Q) from kareninna: My sister US citizin she is going to get married to her boyfreind who's in the country illegaly, he was brought into the country when he was 2 from Mexico he is 18 he will turn 19 in two months, he doesn't have any criminal record only driving tickets no DUI. They are having (my sister) a baby next month and haven't deceided to get married yet. She doesn't have any really hardships but the baby, does he has a chance of getting approved on the same day since he came in when he was young, his still 18 if he was to leave the country right now will it prevent him from being ban for 10 years and if they get married in Mexico would this be a better option. Thank you

katherine(A) Unfortunately, from the facts you are telling me it sounds as though he will face the 3 year bar (but not the 10-year bar) for unlawful presence. Once an individual turns 18, he begins accruing unlawful presence. Once he accrues 180 days of unlawful presence and departs the US, he triggers a 3-year bar. Once he accrues one-year and departs, he triggers a 10-year bar. So, it certainly may be in his best interest to depart2 before hitting the 10-year bar, assuming there are no grounds of inadmissibility that you haven't mentioned and he and your sister do plan on marrying. You should definitely consult with an attorney. Although he wil need a waiver, adjudicators are very sympathetic to applicants who entered the US as young children.

TSK(Q) from Martinezmia: My fiance and i are fixing to start the I-129 the problem is i enterd the USA as EWI at the age of 2 i then left the united states after i gratuated high school a bit after my 18th brithday. would i still have to file a wavier for my unlawful presence in the US?

laurel(A) First a correction. The form I-129 is a petition for alien worker. The I-129F is a petition for alien fiance(e). I apologize for being picky, but it improves effective communication when everyone knows the correct forms and correct terms. In answer to your question, as long as you left less than 180 days after your 18th birthday and you only had one entry in your lifetime and no prior removals, you are very probably NOT going to need a waiver.

Nihad(Q) My son is 20 and we intent to file I130 and I-601 when 21. IS there anything you suggest us need/can do in meanwhile. What document required to file petition and at consulate interview?

laurel(A) Are you saying that your US citizen son plans to petition for you, his illegal immigrant parents, when he turns 21? He can petition for you (i.e. file the I-130), but he is not a qualifying relative for the waiver (I-601), so this is not a solution.

TSK(Q) from slvjm922000: hi laurel My husband has the lifetime ban with a chance after 10yrs. we have been in mexico for 4yrs and 3months. My question is can we go ahead and start filing the I 212 just so we have that ahead and already filed to see if we can get that approved or do we have to wait till the 10yrs are up? Also when someone files the I212 do they usually get approved or denied. I know we still have a little ways ahead before he can try for his visa but we just want to start preparing for wait we need to do. thank you

katherine(A) I'm not sure what you mean by "the lifetime ban." There are multiple lifetime bans. I'm assuming that he is 9(c) inadmissible, [From Laurel: Original response deleted in the transcript to avoid confusion. The I-212 is the form to apply for a waiver for 9C after ten years abroad. It cannot be filed until the ten years are up. 9C waivers are uncommon, which means there are not enough statistics for anyone to be able to indentify trends in approval/denial rates.]

Nihad(Q) Ms Scott: I hope your daughter will be OK. You I have four daughters and they all lovely and caring.

laurel(A) It's just pinkeye. The schools go nuts over pinkeye, a highly contagious but very minor condition. She'll be fine.

jakovac(Q) Sponsorship of Canadian citizen into US -can it be for a job that is on a commission bases?

laurel(A) No idea. We don't do employment-based cases.

luigee2k3(Q) Hi ladies, in terms of the 1-601 waiver packet, I would like to know what makes a waiver clearly approvable? What does that mean?

laurel(A) Generally, it means there are no complications, the packet is well organized and easy to navigate, and there is at least a minimal showing of extreme hardship to a qualifying relative. The first of those is the most important: no complications. "No complications" generally means: no arrests, no removal proceedings, no more than one voluntary return (catch and release), no fraud.

TSK(Q) from Salvimami, for a friend: Her husband is waiting waiver approval and comes to MExico not to cross but gets caught with other men that ARE trying to cross, he gets caught, fills out paperwork in Mexico and also gets fingerprinted. The mexican police are the ones that arrested him.He is currently in el salvador waiting. He does not have any other previous deportations, arrests, etc.. no other criminal record. Can this affect their case when they start to look at his case for the waiver approval. Does the Mexican police share this information with the US or can the US find out if he was deported from MExico to El Salvador.

katherine(A) I'm thinking that this isn't your entire question, as it seems rather incomplete. Nonetheless, I'll try my best to answer it. It is unclear whether the Mexican police will share news of the arrest with USCIS - probably not. However, when your friend's husband attends his new visa appointment (assuming the waiver is approved), he will be asked about all arrests, and would need to disclose this arrest (assuming it was really an arrest at all - it really depends on Mexican immigration / criminal law.) While it could be a complication, it doesn't sound - from what you are saying - as though it will constitute another ground of inadmissibility, so hopefully all will be ok.

Rod(Q) Hello Laurel, I didn"t get an answer last week, so I'm hoping for one today. My wife came to US with a K-1 visa with a different pettitioner that refuse to marry her after she had arrived sayins he's met someone else. She overstayed her I-94 and has been here for 10 years. We"ve been married for 6 years, have 2 children and 1 on the way, and I'm a USC born with a stable goverment job.. question is Can a I-601 waiver filed abroad help our case?, even with the aggravation factor of her not marriying her original pettitioner?, and unlawful presence?; and if it does, what are chances / rate for approval?; should we file before our child is born or should we wait?, What can we do in your opinion??? Thanks a lot.

laurel(A) It is possible to get it approved, but her relationship with the K1 petitioner is likely to be called into question. I would very strongly recommend proving that the relationship with the K1 petitioner was 'real'. This can be very difficult after ten years have passed. The reason the relationship didn't work out is relevant, but it's more important to prove that it was a real relationship, e.g. produce lots of photos, emails back and forth, proof of cohabitation, proof of comingling of funds, proof that the petitioner visited her multiple times in her home country before she entered, etc.

nrod(Q) Hello. Is a USC able to petition for a stepchild over the age of 21? Marriage to the natural parent took place before the children's 18th birthday. USC was also naturalized citizen before the children's 18th birthday. Thank you.

laurel(A) Yes, as long as the marriage occurred before the child turned 18 (as you correctly realized). You can petition, but the child will be placed in a preference category, as opposed to being an immediate relative. If the child is present in the US and has overstayed a visa, he/she would not be able to adjust status from within the US as an immediate relative would.

Nihad(Q) Dear Ms Scott: I meant my son is USC, he files I-130 for me and for I-601 my mother is also USC can file. Is this possible

laurel(A) Yes.

Mari7(Q) Continue.I didnt meant to press enter. Is it worth filing a motion to reopen or it is better to apply for K1 visa(since my US citizen boyfriend and i want to get married.)

katherine(A) Inabsentia removal orders create a 5 year bar, during which you are ineligible to obtain a fiance or immigrant visa. While maybe (possibly?) you could overcome this since you left the country prior to the order, I don't believe it's a given. A Motion to reopen is going to be an inappropriate course of action, given that you are now out of the country, but possibly you can fight the finding with the consulate. You will definitely need to do a formal consultation, as your case is rather complicated.

jakovac(Q) How could you recommend I talk to re: employment based sponsorship for canadian citizens- I have been to the USCIS and State websites but can

laurel(A) You need to pay for a consultation with an immigration attorney who does employment-based cases.

English(Q) Please, am trying to fill the 601 form but one of Question # 10a is confusing, the second to the last box that asks if a person has been ordered removed and etc but with a bracket (for NACARA,HRIFA, and VAWA. Other applicants, file Form I-212). Does it mean if all in bracket dont apply to me and I know I need I-212, then I dont have to check this box. Am from Africa (Nigeria).

laurel(A) In the chat we usually try to avoid answering very particular questions about how to fill in the forms because so much of that is very fact specific for the case and the chat is not a good forum for us to collect all the requisite information. We also have not committed the details of all the forms to memory and would have to review them, which is not practical in the chat.

Teresa(Q) I have been in the US for 20 years illegaly, entered EWI, I have US citizen children and I don't have any problems with police or immigration. Can I put myself into removal of cancellation and based on my children's hardships be able to get some sort of visa or permanent residence?

katherine(A) Perhaps, although it's rather difficult to just "place" oneself into removal proceedings. You can't just show up at immigration court or USCIS and say, "OK, I'm here, please put me into proceedings." The government has a priority list of people to deport, and it sounds like you aren't on it. Nonetheless, if you CAN get yourself placed into proceedings, you may be a candidate for cancellation if you can prove that your deportation would cause exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to your US Citizen children. Bear in mind, though, that if your application for cancellation is denied and you are deported, your children are NOT qualifying relatives for I601 waiver purposes, so it's a risk.

Sweetcheeksss(Q) I have one CIMT (theft under 5k) in my background, it did not make me inadmissible when I was approved for my IR-1 visa. I am getting close to being able to file for naturalization, does your office usually suggest getting something from my probation officer saying that I completed my probation successfully? Or would they just know that after seeing that my criminal background check comes back as clear?

laurel(A) I would supply proof that probation is complete. Please note that for naturalization you have to show five years of good moral character, even if you are applying under the '3 year rule' through marriage to a citizen. Even if the crime did not make you inadmissible, it may still be evidence of bad moral character, and you would have to wait until its been five years since the crime.

luigee2k3(Q) Thank you for answering my previous question. In an earlier chat, you had released some statistics regarding waivers. When will you be releasing more statistics?

laurel(A) I don't have a schedule for releasing such info.

Danny(Q) Does my spouse still needs to file the affidavit of support for K1 visa eventhough I have prooof that I can support myself with enough funds and property?

laurel(A) This varies by consulate. Most of them require an I-134.

4629slv(Q) My husband has an approved waiver and has received his visa, but has not yet come back to the US. If I ask him not to move back in with me and the kids when he comes back, will that present a problem later on for him (immigration wise)? Our marriage was valid by the way. We've been married over 6 years, and have children together. Everything I said in the hardship letter was also true. I'm also not trying to screw up his case, by the way. I want him here for the children. Will it cause him problems moving forward?

katherine(A) Probably not, as - since you've been married 6 years - he will enter as a full LPR, not a conditional LPR.

Nihad(Q) I have intention to consulte with u as I am ready, I am preparing complete and comprehensive profile of my case for your email consultation reviewing, this feasible?

katherine(A) Yes, it is feasible.

don20710(Q) I am out of the country on an epired advance parole. Wife usc me foreigner. In 2007 i had a strokes interview at the uscis. The I.O said she suspects fraud and asked my wife to sign a form which she refused to sign. My question is can i fill a new application at a cosular office in my country

laurel(A) Why would you let your advanced parole expire while you are out of the country? That doesn't help your real marriage issues, unless your wife is out of the country with you. I presume your I-130 was denied? You would need to file a new one, but you will have a high burden of proving real marriage. If your wife has been with you this whole time while you've been out of the US, then you might have a chance.

Mari7(Q) Thank you so much for your help,ladies. What is an average fee for both i-601 and i-212 waivers and a k1 visa filing?

laurel(A) It depends on the unique facts of the case, but our fees for waivers start at $7980.

laurel(P) I'd like to take this opportunity to let everyone know that we usually have a deluge of cases in the summer and sometimes have to stop taking cases. April and May are the calm before the storm. If you are thinking of hiring, now would be a good time as we are currently better able to give you are full attention than we will be in the summer.

don20710(Q) I was out of the country because i am recovering from a kidney transplant

laurel(A) So I presume your wife went with you to take care of you during this difficult time. That will help.

Nihad(Q) Ms Scott: recalling from last chat question on issue to move to Mexico (CJ) for improving chance of waiver success; you have once a Libanise client that done this way. Is possible I can reach him for this purpose as I also live in Jordan...neighbor of Libanon.

laurel(A) I'm afraid that won't be possible.

nrod(Q) Hello, another question for you. If a person was catched and released (sent back to Mexico after being detained for a couple of hours after illegal entry) and has since reentered the US, can they still apply for a waiver?

katherine(A) Yes, assuming that the "catch and release" wasn't really an expedited removal and there are no other grounds of inadmissibility that prevent him from filing a waiver.

nrod(Q) Laurel and Katherine, any idea (or theory) of what would happen to the I-601 waivers that are currently in process and waiting for adjudication if the concurrent filing of I-601 and I-130 is approved in the near future? Do you think this would also expedite the processing of those currently waiting? Thanks again.

laurel(A) Based on past experience when there have been changes in procedure ... no. But don't get upset about something that has not even occurred or been announced. There are plenty of things that are currently happening for one to be upset about.

Joe(Q) My fiance made a little error while filling out the form I-129f regarding my place of birth and it was already submitted long time before I realized sh made the mistake, does that have any impact on my application eventhough I have all my proove and birth certificate with the name and location of the hospital I was born. (the mistake was on the city name only)

katherine(A) Probably not. If USCIS doesn't notice the error (and ask for clarification), then when you attend the visa interview, you'll want to bring an amended form I129F to the consulate.3

Mari7(Q) thank you for answering previous ?. Is it anywhere possible to get a waiver for F1 visa after an order of removal in absentia?

laurel(A) A (d)(3) nonimmigrant waiver can theoretically waive 'anything' for temporary entrance. But these nonimmigrant waivers can be tough to get, especially for anyone who has been unlawfully present in the past.

laurel(P) I think Katherine may have a question pending (I can't see her queue after I forward the question to her), but there are currently none in the Master queue

laurel(P) Oh, I spoke too soon.

kathy_kim(Q) canadaian married to US citizenfor 7 years with 1 child entered US as F1 student in 2000. in 2004 she got married and discontinued studies but failed to adjust visa status. she left the US on 3 occasions and reentered fine on first 2 occasions, but in 2009 was denied entry from toronto. we proceeded with a immigrant visa application, and had the visa interview on feb 1, 2011 in Montreal. interviewing officer cited 365 days unlawfully present and denied a visa. he told us to do an I601 waiver. our attorney insisted that canadians do not acrue unlawful presence and did a advisory opinion. the advisory opinion was that the cbp officer erronously inputed canadians name in to lookout data base and issued 10yr bar. he was suppose to just input that canadian overstayed in the past. would your firm be able to remove my name from the database look out list or help us do the waiver?

katherine(A) Unless you were given an I94 at the border then Canadians are generally treated as though they are in "duration of status" and thus do not ordinarily accrue unlawful presence toward the bars. I might, however, have some concerns about misrepresentation. If you were given an I94, it coud be different re. the unlawful presence. It's hard to know - from what you described - what type of list you are. A terror watch list? Getting people removed from these lists really isn't our area of expertise, but waivers are, so if you end up needing a waiver, we could possibly help.4

25flores25(Q) Hello. Is there a problem if I filed a ds160 on 2009 for my mom and in the form I stated address for brother and sisters which they are not applying and now we submited a new form and i did not put any address for my brother and sisters??? It had an option that said do not know.. But when i did the new form i did not had the address, but on the first application I did put that info...

laurel(A) Probably not an issue, but I'd have to review the unique facts of the case to be sure.

Mari7(Q) Mrs.Scott: so does it mean that nonimmigrant waivers are harder to obtain than immigrant waivers?

laurel(A) That has been our experience.

laurel(P) If there are no more questions, I will close the chat early this week.

25flores25(C) Thank you ladies..

laurel(P) Ok, I will see you all next week. Same time. Same place.

Mari7(Q) Thank you Katherine. But if a person waits the number of years (5year ban) will he still need a waiver when a consulate will find out about an order of removal?

katherine(A) For deportation orders issued by a judge (rather than at the border, in the form of an expedited removal), then yes, for 10 years (from the date of the order) you would require an approved I212 to reenter.

1He has a prior 3+ year overstay and multiple US citizen children, which are a tremendous motivation to overstay again. It will be extremely difficult for him to EVER overcome the immigrant intent issue to get a visitor's visa. There is really nothing that you, as the step parent, can do about this. If he wanted to hire us to assist him with his B visa application, I would probably decline the case as having too low a chance of success. If he wants to see his children, they would need to visit him abroad.

2Always consult with an attorney before departing the country or taking action on your case!! The chat is NOT a substitute for a consultation. Your blurb does not have all of the facts that we would need in order to determine whether he really has to depart or whether he would be eligible for a waiver if he does go abroad.

3I wouldn't bring an amended petition to a consular interview. Just make sure the information is correct on the DS-156. It's an inconsequential error, unlikely to cause problems.

4You were flagged as inadmissible. The consulate has to work with CBP to have that resolved prior to issuing the visa. Once you have an immigrant visa, it's essentially resolved. It's really something that the consulate has to do. Generally speaking, fixing errors in the CBP computer is something very few attorneys have success with.