We have represented some of our institutional/corporate clients for over 30 years. As a result of these long-term relationships, years later, we sometimes see an employee whom we assisted in obtaining permanent residency. This time around, however, he/she is the manager, Department Chair, or business owner/entrepreneur asking us to start the permanent residency process for a new employee.
In addition to serving businesses and individuals from all countries and walks of life, we have had the privilege to assist many foreign nationals who later benefit the U.S. in extraordinary ways, including the following:
- An automotive designer whose design was chosen for the Chevy Volt.
- An internationally recognized physician/scientist who became the head of a major Michigan medical center.
- A human rights activist who became a Nobel Laureate.
- A violin maker who was awarded a MacArthur grant—often called the "genius" grant—15 years after becoming a permanent resident of the United States.
Following are stories of some unusual and outstanding cases we have successfully handled over the years.
AAO Victory for Olympic Fencing Coach
Mr. R worked as a fencing coach at a major Michigan university. In his home country, he had twice coached teams that had won silver medals in the Olympics. We filed a petition requesting that he be classified as an alien of extraordinary ability in athletics, specifically, fencing. This category requires that a foreign national be one of the small percentage who has risen to the top of his/her field.
Initially, Citizenship and Immigration Services denied the university's petition. It reasoned that because Mr. R had not coached a team that had won a gold medal, he had not risen to the top of his field. We appealed the decision, and the Administrative Appeals Office ordered that the petition be approved.
Seamless Transition for "Spin-Off" Supplier
A major U.S. automotive manufacturer was "spinning off" its components’ division. We represented the new entity in obtaining approval of its own L-1 Blanket petition.
Even more challenging was ensuring that all L-1 and H-1 employees who would be employed by the new entity were maintaining legal nonimmigrant statuses as of the time the new entity was established.
We contacted the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (then known as Immigration and Naturalization Service) headquarters in Washington, DC and established a specific USCIS office and supervisor to whom we would send the 100+ petitions for processing. All petitions were approved within 30 days.
From Out of Status to U.S. Citizen in a Matter of Months
Referred by a nonprofit agency in Flint, Michigan, Ms. K was a lawful permanent resident. However, her children had been living in the U.S. out of status for years, and her daughter, who was nearly 21, was in danger of "aging out" and missing an opportunity to obtain legal status.
We were able to expedite Ms. K's naturalization case, through the intervention of then-U.S. Senator Carl Levin's office. Ms. K became a U.S. citizen, and on that day, her children were able to benefit from the protection of the Child Status Protection Act, a law that locks in a child's age for purposes of permanent residency. Ultimately, Ms. K's daughter became a lawful permanent resident. And based on the Child Citizenship Act, on the day her son became a lawful permanent resident, he became a U.S. citizen as well.
New Law Benefits Widow of U.S. Citizen
R entered the United States from Lebanon on a K-1 fiancée visa. As required by law, she married her U.S. citizen fiancé within 90 days of entry and became eligible to apply for permanent residency. Unfortunately, two months after they were married, her husband died.
At the time that R contacted us to assist with her permanent residency case, the law did not give the widow of a U.S. citizen the ability to pursue permanent residency—unless the couple had been married two years before the U.S. citizen's death—which they had not. We told her we were very sorry, but could not be of help.
Six months later, the law changed. We remembered R and her difficult situation. We contacted her with the good news that the law had changed. She became a permanent resident of the United States six months after we contacted her.
Grandparent Passes on Citizenship to Grandchildren
Mrs. J was born in the U.S. but left the U.S. as a young child. Later, she returned to the United States at the age of 21, worked as a legal secretary for ten years, and then married a foreign national. Mrs. J then left the United States to live in Israel.
Mrs. J had three children born in Israel, none of whom lived in the U.S. as children. One of her children married in Israel and had four children. We assisted these four children in proving that they acquired citizenship at birth through their grandmother. Mrs. J's grandchildren obtained U.S. passports based on their grandmother's citizenship. Regardless of where Mrs. J's grandchildren choose to live in the future, they are U.S. citizens.
Expedited Naturalization for Spouse of U.S. Citizen Employed Abroad
An executive for a major U.S. corporation that we represent married a Canadian citizen. Soon after their marriage, he was going to be transferred by his employer to work in Germany. We assisted Mrs. S in her permanent residency procedures.
Based on expedited naturalization (citizenship) procedures, the day after Mrs. S became a permanent resident, we submitted a naturalization application for her. She was interviewed by Citizenship and Immigration Services, took the oath of citizenship on the same day, and became a U.S. citizen 30 days after she had become a permanent resident.
Church's Need for Specialty Chef Fulfilled
A church in Livonia, Michigan had a large banquet facility and needed a Middle Eastern chef. The church completed the Labor Certification process. Because the position required only two years of experience as a banquet chef, Mr. A was classified as an employment-based third-preference immigrant.
Unfortunately, the employment-based third preference had an extremely long waiting list. Though it took seven years for Mr. A's turn to be reached on the waiting list, he, his wife, and four children happily arrived in the United States, and he went to work as a chef at the church's banquet center.
Hospital Patient Gets Permanent Residency Through Registry
K was a patient at a local Ann Arbor hospital and did not have a legal immigration status. The hospital contacted us to see if we could help K resolve her immigration status. Legal immigration status was required for her to receive dialysis. We needed to prove that K had been in the United States continuously since January 1, 1972 to qualify for Registry. K had entered the United States legally in 1971 and had worked, gotten married, and had children.
We were able to submit documents that satisfied USCIS and support that K had been in the United States since 1971. Her application for Registry was approved. K became a lawful permanent resident.
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