Client Approval: 212(d)(3) Non-Immigrant Waiver Approved for 10 Year Unlawful Presence Bar

Client Approval: 212(d)(3) Non-Immigrant Waiver Approved for 10 Year Unlawful Presence Bar

We recently received approval for a 212(d)(3) non-immigrant waiver prepared on behalf of a Russian client who was subject to the 10 year “unlawful presence” bar pursuant to INA Section 212(a)(9)(B)(i)(II).  She entered the U.S. on a B-1/B-2 visitor visa in 1997 and overstayed the terms of her visa until 2007 when she voluntarily left the U.S. on her own initiative. 

We prepared a comprehensive 212(d)(3) non-immigrant waiver  in the form of a legal brief discussing the three legal factors set forth by Matter of Hranka, 16 I&N Dec. 491 (BIA 1978).

In the case, Matter of Hranka, 16 I&N Dec. 491 (BIA 1978), the Board of Immigration Appeals reversed a district director’s denial of a waiver application filed by a Canadian woman who had been deported for engaging in prostitution and admitted to previous heroin use.  She filed her application only two years after having been deported.  She requested entry to visit relatives and engage in various tourist activities.

In overturning the district director’s decision to deny the application, the BIA accepted as proof of rehabilitation letters from the applicant’s mother, and the principal of the high school the applicant had attended, who is a psychologist.  It held that the applicant’s reasons for entering the United States need not be compelling.  The BIA articulated three criteria for granting a waiver under INA 212(d)(3)

1.      The risks of harm in admitting the applicant;

2.      The seriousness of the acts that caused the inadmissibility; and

3.      The importance of the applicant’s reason for seeking entry.

Both Department of State and the Foreign Affairs Manual specify that any nonimmigrant may request a waiver as long as his or her presence would not be detrimental to the United States.  They provide that “while the exercise of discretion and good judgment is essential, generally, consular officers may recommend waivers for any legitimate purpose such as family visits, medical treatment (whether or not available abroad), business conferences, tourism, etc.” See 22 CFR 40.301 Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) 40.301 N3.  Furthermore, the Admissibility Review Office has confirmed that it will follow and adhere to Matter of Hranka in adjudicating requests for INA 212(d)(3) waivers.

In our client’s case, we addressed each of the factors laid out by Matter of Hranka emphasizing the importance of our client’s reason for entering the U.S.: namely, to be a caregiver and parent over her three U.S. citizen children as they obtain a U.S. education as is their birth right.

We emphasized that her husband would remain back in their country of residence while she and the children travel to the U.S. during the academic school year.  We also showed that the family intended to return to Europe during the children’s summer vacations and outlined extensive ties to their country of residence including business operations, property ownership, familiar connections, and financial assets.

We highlighted a number of factors demonstrating the extenuating circumstances of our client’s initial overstay in the U.S., her good moral character and rehabilitation, and concrete proof that she poses no risk of harm should she be allowed to re-enter the U.S.

These factors included the political and economic turmoil in Eastern Europe that caused her to remain in the U.S. beyond the period of her authorized stay; her voluntary exit from the United States to continue a life with her husband back in Europe; her productive career as a nursing assistant since her departure from the U.S.; and her role as a loving mother to her U.S. citizen children together with her heightened concern for their education and future.

Based upon these factors, my client was approved for the 212(d)(3) non-immigrant waiver by the Admissibility Review Office in Washington D.C., and subsequently, for the B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa.  These types of cases are difficult to get approved due to the tendency of US consular officers to attribute “immigrant intent” to non-immigrant visa applicants and consequently, refuse recommendation of the 212(d)(3) waiver.

Due to our extensive preparation of the waiver and steps taken to ensure its adequate consideration and review by the U.S. consulate, our client is now able to enter the United States with her three U.S. citizen children.

With careful planning, she will be able to remain lawfully in the U.S. while her children obtain a U.S. education during the academic school year.