212(d)(3) Non-Immigrant Waiver Approved for B-1/B-2 Visa Applicant Charged with Fraud/Misrepresentation and Conviction of Crimes involving Moral Turpitude

212(d)(3) Non-Immigrant Waiver Approved for B-1/B-2 Visa Applicant Charged with Fraud/Misrepresentation and Conviction of Crimes involving Moral Turpitude

We recently received approval for a 212(d)(3) non-immigrant waiver prepared on behalf of a South Korean client who was subject to a life-time bar from entering the United States due to being charged with fraud/misrepresentation pursuant to INA Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) and multiple convictions of Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude under INA Section 212(a)(2)(A)(i).

Our client previously attended middle school, high school, and university in the United States before returning to his native country of South Korea. He recently attempted to re-enter the United States as a temporary visitor to visit his family members and long-time friends, as well as pursue an entrepreneurial venture in partnership with a U.S.-based company.

He was denied entry due to being charged with fraud/misrepresentation under INA Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) and multiple convictions of Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude under INA Section 212(a)(2)(A)(i). He subsequently contacted my office for assistance in obtaining a waiver of both INA Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) and 212(a)(2)(A)(i) , as well as approval of a B-1/B-2 visa to temporarily visit the U.S. in the future.

We prepared a comprehensive 212(d)(3) non-immigrant waiver in the form of a fourteen-page legal brief discussing the three legal factors set forth by Matter of Hranka, 16 I&N Dec. 491 (BIA 1978). We also submitted twelve separate exhibits supporting all of the factors set forth in our memorandum including: numerous affidavits; financial documentation; police reports and court records; military service records; business presentations and documentation; along with other vital evidence we have found necessary to secure approval of the 212(d)(3) waiver.

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, the vital importance of allowing a prior student of the United States educational system to re-visit the U.S. and visit his long-time friends; allowing our client to visit his U.S. citizen relatives who he has not seen for over 7+ years; and to facilitate the growth of the U.S. economy and promote international trade by allowing our client to meet with a U.S. company that he has entered into a contractual business agreement with.

We emphasized the non-existent risk of our client overstaying or violating the terms of a B-1/B-2 visa, given his ownership and operation of a South Korean company that requires his day-to-day managerial and operational presence; his prior lawful presence in the United States as a foreign student on a valid F-1 visa; our client’s intimate support and long-term commitment to his parents, who rely upon our client for their overall care and payment of household expenses; and our client’s legitimate business need to meet with a U.S. company, with whom he has entered into a contractual agreement.

Based upon these factors, our client was first recommended for the 212(d)(3) waiver by the interviewing consular officer at the U.S. embassy; then later approved for the 212(d)(3) non-immigrant waiver by the Admissibility Review Office in Washington D.C.; and finally, 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.  This was especially so in this case because our client had multiple grounds of inadmissibility which he was subject to.

Due to our extensive preparation of the waiver and lobbying undertaken to ensure its adequate consideration and review by the U.S. consulate, our client is now able to enter the United States, visit his family members and long-time friends, and further the success of his entrepreneurial venture.

I-601 Waiver Pursuant to INA 212(h) Approved for South Korean Applicant

I-601 Waiver Pursuant to INA 212(h) Approved for South Korean Applicant

Our office received approval of the I-601 Application of Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility for a client who was subject to a lifetime ban from being admitted to the United States pursuant to  INA 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I).  Our client was charged and convicted of misappropriating monies from the bank account of another individual in 1998, for which offense she was fined the equivalent of USD$2000, which fine she has paid. That conviction triggered the lifetime inadmissibility bar pursuant to INA 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) “Crimes involving moral turpitude.”

The U.S. citizen sibling petitioner contacted me after her sister was denied admission to the U.S. following her consular interview at the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea.  A comprehensive waiver package was subsequently prepared by our office based on the fact that more than 15 years have passed since she was convicted of criminal offense in her home country of South Korea; the clear evidence that her admission would not be contrary to the national welfare, safety or security of the United States; and that she has been fully rehabilitated.

Legal Requirements of the § 212(h) Waiver

Section 212(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a discretionary waiver for the following criminal grounds of inadmissibility:

  • Crimes involving moral turpitude (subparagraph 212(a)(2)(A)(I))
  • Multiple criminal convictions (212(a)(2)(B))
  • Prostitution and commercial vice (212(a)(2)(D))
  • Certain aliens who have asserted immunity from prosecution (212(a)(2)(E))
  • An offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana (212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II))

INA 212(h)(1)(A) provides that certain grounds of inadmissibility under section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I)-(II), (B), and (E) of the Act may be waived in the case of an alien who demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that:

  • the activities for which she is inadmissible occurred more than fifteen years before the date of the alien’s application for a visa, admission, or adjustment of status;
  • the admission would not be contrary to the national welfare, safety, or security of the U.S.; and
  • the alien has been rehabilitated;

INA 212(h)(1)(B) provides that certain grounds of inadmissibility under section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I)-(II), (B), (D)-(E) of the Act may be waived in the case of an alien who:

  • has a parent, spouse, son, or daughter who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States; and
  • the parent, spouse, son, or daughter would suffer “extreme hardship” on account of the alien’s ineligibility to immigrate

Waiver applicants must also show that their application should be granted as a matter of discretion, with the favorable factors outweighing the unfavorable factors in his or her case.

In support of my client’s I-601 waiver application, I prepared a comprehensive legal brief going over how the facts and circumstances of her situation met the legal standards of INA 212(h)(1)(A).

I thoroughly demonstrated that my client was rehabilitated and her admission not contrary to the national welfare, safety, or security of the U.S., based upon her long-history as a successful small business owner; her membership and participation in various church and charitable programs; as well as her selfless dedication to the education of her children, which played an integral role in allowing her son to attend medical school after the death of his father.

I showed that following her conviction and later, after the death of her husband, she reached a profound “turning point” in her life.  She was baptized into the Christian faith and became a devout and ardent member of her church.  She committed herself to a number of charitable activities while also working tirelessly to support her children and their education.   Her conduct as well as a myriad of affidavits by friends, colleagues, and family proved that she posed absolutely no risk to the safety or welfare of the U.S., and in fact, would contribute to it if admitted as a permanent resident.

It is often important in waiver applications to demonstrate (when possible) an important turning point in an applicant’s life, which provides a marker that the USCIS officer can point to and remember has having effected a fundamental change in the applicant’s outlook and conduct.

An extensive table of exhibits also listed a variety of evidence in support of a showing of good moral character and rehabilitation.

As a result of our efforts, our client was approved for the 601 waiver and subsequently, received her lawful permanent residence to join her family in the United States.

Client Approval: I-601 Waiver for Crime Involving Moral Turpitude Approved in 11 Days

Client Approval: I-601 "Extreme Hardship" Waiver for Crime of Moral Turpitude Approved in 11 Days After Responding to Request for Evidence

Our office received approval of the I-601 Application of Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility for a citizen of South Korea who was subject to a life-time bar from being admitted to the United States for conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude under INA Section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I).  Our client was previously convicted of a crime involving insurance fraud and sentenced to one-year probation.

Our office was contacted after the South Korean wife and her U.S. citizen husband prepared and filed for the I-601 Waiver on their own after the applicant was deemed inadmissible at her consular interview which took place at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.  Their “self-prepared” I-601 Waiver triggered a comprehensive “Request for Evidence” from the USCIS stating that the couple had failed to adequately establish and prove “extreme hardship.”

This was a particularly difficult case because the U.S. citizen husband already resides in South Korea with his wife, thus requiring us to overcome the assumption that any hardship he is suffering is not extreme since he has already re-located outside of the U.S.

The Request for Evidence from the USCIS specifically stated the following:

This office may approve a waiver of the inadmissibility ground(s) under section 212(h) of the INA, if you can show that either:

• You have a qualifying relative who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States; and
• Your qualifying relative would suffer extreme hardship on account of your ineligibility to immigrate; and
• Your application should be granted as a matter of discretion, with the favorable factors outweighing the unfavorable factors in your case.

In addition to the above requirements, if an applicant has been convicted of a violent or dangerous crime, USCIS will not waive the inadmissibility as a matter of discretion unless the individual can show an extraordinary circumstance, such as:

• One involving national security or policy considerations; or

• If the denial of your admission would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.

Your application does not include sufficient evidence to establish that your qualifying relative spouse, your U.S.-born husband, [Name Withheld], would suffer extreme hardship if you are refused admission to the United States. Also, it has not yet been established that it would be an extreme hardship if your husband were to remain in the United States apart from you. And, it has also not yet been explained or established by your husband why it would be an extreme hardship for him to relocate outside of the United States to be with you and your infant daughter in South Korea.  “Extreme hardship” is beyond that which normally does occur in any visa denial. Family separation and the loss of support, while undoubtedly difficult, are not, in and of themselves an “extreme hardship.”

Extreme hardship is not a term of”fixed and inflexible meaning”; establishing extreme hardship is “dependent upon the facts and circumstances of each case.” Matter of Cervantes-Gonzalez, 22 I&N Dec. 560, 565 (BIA 1999). The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in Matter of Cervantes-Gonzalez lists the factors it considers relevant in determining whether an applicant has established extreme hardship. The factors include :

• Presence of a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen spouse or parent in this country;
• Qualifying relative’s family ties outside the United States;
• Conditions in the country or countries to which the qualifying relative would relocate and the
extent of the qualifying relative’s ties in such countries;
• Financial impact of departure from this country; and
• Significant conditions of health, particularly when tied to an unavailability of suitable medical
care in the country to which the qualifying relative would relocate. ld. at 565-566.

The BIA indicated that these factors relate to the applicant’s “qualifying relative.” ld. at 565-566.  In Matter of O-J-0-, 2 1 I&N Dec. 38 1, 383 (BIA 1996), the BIA stated that the factors to consider in determining whether extreme hardship exists “provide a framework for analysis,” and that the “[r]elevant factors, though not extreme in themselves, must be considered in the aggregate in determining whether extreme hardship exists.” It further stated that “the trier of fact must consider the entire range of factors concerning hardship in their totality” and then “determine whether the combination of hardships takes the case beyond those hardships ordinarily associated with deportation.” (citing Matter of lge, 20 I&N Dec. 880, S82 (BIA 1994 ).

Beyond simply responding to the Request for Evidence, we prepared an entirely new I-601 “extreme hardship” waiver, including a thorough legal and factual discussion of the extreme hardships relevant to this case.  A detailed table of exhibits providing objective proof of every crucial assertion made in our waiver was also included, as it is with all of our waiver applications.  Our I-601 waiver was subsequently approved in 11 days to the enormous relief of our clients.

In order to overcome the initial opinion of the USCIS, I initiated our firm’s comprehensive process for preparation of powerful and effective immigration waiver applications.  I forwarded our Extreme Hardship Worksheet to my clients, which contains questions designed to elicit extreme hardships and other persuasive factors.  I also recommended the couple to a clinical psychologist well-versed in preparing psychological evaluations for immigration waivers and who offers a significantly discounted fee for my clients (please refer to my post on the elements of a powerful psychological evaluation for I-601 waiver applications for more details).

We made sure every single facet of their case was documented and that the objections raised by the USCIS in their Request for Evidence was fully addressed to maximize the chances of approval.

Once we identified the most important factors of the case, we prepared a comprehensive legal brief going over how the facts and circumstances of my client’s situation met the legal standards used to define “extreme hardship.”

We focused on the medical conditions of the U.S. citizen husband and his U.S. citizen mother, and how the U.S. citizen’s husband’s physical and psychological state would worsen in two scenarios: if he remained in the U.S. without his wife; or if he permanently re-located to South Korea to be with his wife, abandoning his ill U.S. citizen mother who has no one else to help care for her.

I also discussed and presented evidence of my client’s rehabilitation, good moral character, and her overall dedication as a wife and mother who is integral to the daily care of her ill U.S. citizen husband and their infant daughter.

The favorable factors in this case included the following:

  • The U.S. citizen husband suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Dysthymic Disorder, both major mental disorders recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition
  • There is a long history of mental illness in the U.S. citizen husband’s family, especially with regard to his mother who has struggled with depression, manic depression, and anxiety most of her life.
  • The U.S. citizen husband developed two medical conditions, allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis, due to the high levels of air pollution in South Korea.
  • The U.S. citizen husband’s mother suffers from Stage 3 Lyme’s disease, as well as severe pain caused by fibromyalgia and degenerative disc disease of her spine.  She also suffers from hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s disease, a serious autoimmune disease. She has no one else to help take care of her aside from her son.
  • The U.S. citizen husband’s mother desperately needs to take strong antibiotics to treat the Lyme disease that continues to spread throughout her body, but cannot risk the side effects from the drugs without her son living nearby to aid her should the side effects incapacitate her.
  • The U.S. citizen husband and his South Korean wife do not earn enough to meet their monthly financial expenses.  The U.S. citizen husband is thus unable to afford visits to the U.S. to take care of his mother as her physical and psychological state deteriorates.

As a result of our assistance, this I-601 waiver was approved and the family can now reside together in the U.S.

Fiance Visa with IMBRA Waiver Approved

Fiance Visa - IMBRA Waiver

Our office received approval for a K-1 fiance visa petition that I prepared and filed on behalf of a U.S. citizen and his South Korean fiance.  I prepared and submitted the initial I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance together with a comprehensive array of supporting documents including proof of U.S. citizenship of the petitioner; affidavits of intent to marry; explanation of how the couple met and how the relationship has developed over time; proof of the couple having met in person within the last 2 years; and evidence of continued relationship.

The U.S. citizen had previously filed a K-1 fiance visa petition on behalf of a different person.  That relationship ended due to personal differences.  However, the International Marriage Broker Regulations Act requires a general waiver to be filed in the following circumstances:

1. When the U.S. citizen filed K-1 fiancee visa petitions for two or more beneficiaries or

2. When the U.S. citizen previously had a K-1 fiance visa petition approved, and less than 2 years have passed since the filing date of the previously approved petition.

Consequently, I also prepared a general waiver pursuant to Section 832 of the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, Subtitle D of Title VIII (Sec.831-834) of United States Public Law 109-162.  The waiver consisted of a persuasive brief presenting the background of the U.S. citizen; an explanation of why the previous relationship ended before issuance of the K-1 fiance visa; a summary of the genuine and loving nature of the current relationship; re-iteration of their firm intent to marry within 90 days of the fiance’s entry into the United States; and documents to support the statements made in the waiver.

Both the I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance and general IMBRA waiver were approved by the USCIS.  I then prepared all of the consular forms required by the Dept. of State.  I also helped the clients gather the supporting documentation required for consular processing and conducted an interview prep via telephone to go over the types of questions that may be asked.

As a result of our concerted effort, the fiance was approved for the K-1 visa at the U.S. embassy in Seoul.  This couple can now begin a life together in the U.S. as husband and wife in the near future.