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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Fraud Waiver APPEAL SUSTAINED BY AAO For Our Client

In an unpublished decision received on behalf of our clients, the AAO (Administrative Appeals Office) sustained our appeal that we filed for the denial of our clients I-601, Waiver for Fraud, Application. Our client had previously filed a fraud waiver on his own without an attorney with the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania. The U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania denied his fraud waiver, claiming that the applicants did not show that the U.S. citizen spouse would suffer extreme and unusual hardship if her husband cannot re-enter the U.S. or if she is forced to move to Albania to join her husband.

Our client, an Albanian national, had entered the U.S. with a fraudulent passport that did not belong to him. He applied for asylum in the U.S. but the Immigration Judge denied his case and granted him voluntary departure requiring him to leave the U.S. During his many years in the U.S. while his case was pending, our client met his current wife, a U.S. citizen. They now have a child together.

When he left the U.S. and applied for his green card to re-enter the U.S., the U.S. Embassy in Tirana denied the fraud waiver citing that the U.S. citizen spouse was already living with her husband in Tirana. They reasoned that she could remain there, if she did not want to be separated from her husband. As noted above, our client was required to file a fraud waiver because of his previous use of a fake passport to enter the U.S.

Because our client was not represented by an attorney and filed the fraud waiver on his own, his case was not as strong as it could have been and the Officer(s) were able to deny his case. His wife had submitted substantial research on the country conditions in Albania, proof of their marriage etc. but the Officer was not satisfied.

When I took over the case, I immediately filed an appeal with the Office in Vienna, Austria, which has jurisdiction to review the case from the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania. The case was then transferred to the AAO in Washington, D.C. The AAO decision, which we just received, held that the U.S. citizen would suffer extreme and unusual hardship if her husband is not allowed to re-enter the U.S.

The Immigration Appeals Officer(s) based their favorable decision on the arguments and research we presented on behalf of our clients. Notably, they noted that the U.S. citizen does not speak Albanian, and that she did live in Albania for a year or so, but that she had to return to the U.S. because she could not adjust to living in Albania. Further, we had conceded that our client’s use of the fake passport was wrong. We did not try to rationalize his breaking of U.S. laws. We did however point out individual details of the couple’s life to convince the AAO to allow them to be reunited here in the U.S.

We are pleased to have worked on this case and to be a part of this family’s reuniting, especially given that they now have a child together. Our client, the U.S. citizen spouse, has given her express permission for me to use the details of her case in this blog. Her name has been kept confidential.

CBP has issued a Practice Pointer for TN Visas available to Canadians

CBP is short for Customs and Border Patrol. CBP has recently issued a practice pointer useful for Canadians wanting to enter the U.S. with a TN visa under NAFTA. NAFTA, which is the North American Free Trade Agreement, allows Canadians and Mexicans to be eligible for a TN nonimmigrant visa, if they have an employer willing to sponsor them for a professional position.

Citizens of Canada can make an application for a TN visa at a U.S. class port of entry, at a U.S. pre-clearance or pre-flight station, or a U.S. airport handling international traffic. Usually the applicant must submit the filing fee, copies of all relevant degrees showing he or she is eligible for the professional position, and an offer of employment letter from his or her sponsoring employer on original company letter. The Offer of employment letter must specify the offered job, rate of pay, and basic duties required under that offered job. The letter must also state the length of admission requested. Usually proof that the applicant will NOT immigrate to the U.S. permanently should be provided as well.

A TN visa can be issued for a maximum of three years. However, the length of the visa cannot exceed the applicant’s passport validity date. In other words, if the applicant wants a three year visa, then his or her passport must be valid for three years or more to qualify.

If the Canadian national is already in the U.S. and has not overstayed his or her visitor visa (up to 6 moths allowed), then he or she can file a change of status request with USCIS instead of traveling in order to obtain a TN visa.

Some positions that qualify for a TN visa include engineers, accountants, architects, economists, social worker, and many other professional level positions.

TPS has been extended for Salvadorans

USCIS has recently announced that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) has been extended for nationals of El Salvador. The extended period is from March 10, 2012 until Sept. 09, 2013, which is an 18 month extension of time.

Current nationals of El Salvador that have TPS have only a 60 day window within which to extend their status. The deadline is through March 12, 2012. USCIS is NOW accepting applications, so please file as soon as possible if this applies to you. TPS applicants will also receive employment authorization as well that will be valid until September 09, 2013.

To re-register, applicants must file form I-821 and I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Both forms must be filed together. People who are extending their status do not need to repay the filing fees for the I-821 form, but they must submit the biometrics fee or fee waiver form if they are over 14 years of age. They also must pay the employment authorization filing fee or a fee waiver form if they are eligible for that fee waiver. The fee waiver form is Form I-912.

All of these forms can be downloaded at www.uscis.gov.