Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC is a full-service immigration law practice that provides legal advice and representation to people and companies in the United States. The firm has over 80 years of combined legal experience among its attorneys and serves its clients from offices in Cleveland, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Nashville, Columbus, Minneapolis, and Raleigh. Contact us here to schedule a consultation to discuss your needs.
USC Marriage Chinese Colleague
Arguing Against Marriage Fraud
Marry USC in Puerto Rico
Adjust from Student to Spouse
Irish Man Fear Affect of DUI
"Notice of Intent to Deny"
Conditional Status 2-Month Spouse
K-1 Fiance Separates- Remarried
FBI Charge of Marriage Fraud
I-130 Denied- MWW Approves
Doma Green Card Approval
GC Approved, Travel Openly
Chinese LPR from Wife’s GC
Ukrainian Wife with Criminal Record
US Citizen Marries Chinese Work Colleague, Petitions for Her Green Card
Our client Mr. G visited our office so we could assist his wife in obtaining a legal permanent resident status. Mr. G had traveled to China to work where he meets Ms. W, a lady colleague. The two got acquainted. With time, Mr. G moved back to the United States. Not long after his return, Ms. W got the opportunity to travel to the United States to study. Upon her arrival, the friendship was rekindled and the two got engaged. The couple got married and Mr. G needed his wife to obtain a permanent legal status so she would not have to return to China and thus be separated. Our office gladly and quickly assisted Mr. G and his wife, filing an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and I-485 application to register permanent resident. Within two months of filing, our client was scheduled for an interview. The couple were prepped and accompanied to the interview by Attorney Francis Fungsang. The interview proceeded smoothly and within a month after the interview, the applications were approved. We congratulate our client and his wife on successfully on her becoming a Legal Permanent resident as well as Attorney Francis Fungsang and the entire team that worked hard to make our client’s dreams a reality. (Back to Top)
Woman From China Denied Entry Due to Marriage Fraud; We Showed Her Marriages Were Not Fraud; She Now Enjoys Legal Permanent Residence
Mrs. K, a citizen of China, appeared for an interview with the US Consulate in Guangzhou for her immigrant visa based on a petition filed by her current spouse. She was thereafter issued a notice of intent to deny due to fraud or misrepresentation. Furthermore, CIS alleged that the previous marriage she entered into with her previous spouse was not bona fide (not in good faith) but entered into for immigration purposes. A notice of intent to revoke the I-130 was therefore issued. Our client was in addition asked to file an I-601, waiver of grounds of inadmissibility. Our office filed a brief in support of the case arguing that the previous marriage was not fraudulent and also filed an I-601 waiver. The application was approved. Our client obtained her immigrant visa and is now back in the US as a Legal Permanent Resident.(Back to Top)
Chinese Man Arrives Without Inspection, Marries US Citizen in Puerto Rico, and Uses I-601A Waiver to Get Green Card
Mr. X a national and citizen of China entered the United States in May 2000 at San Juan Puerto Rico without inspection. He married a US Citizen in 2013 in Puerto Rico. In August 2013 his wife filed an I-130, Petition for Alien Relative that was approved in December 2013. However, he could not file I-485 Application to Adjust Status in the United States due to his entry without inspection and due to his unlawful presence. Mr. X hired our office to assist him with the I-601A application for provisional unlawful presence waiver. Our qualified staff filed his I-601A which was approved in a timely manner. Mr. X departed the United States and he already obtained the Immigrant Visa in China. He came back to the United States as a legal permanent resident. Attorney Fabiola Cini and our supporting staff handled this case.(Back to Top)
India Man Visits US, Adjusts to Student, Then Marries, and Adjusts to Spousal Green Card
Client is a 26-year old native and citizen of India. He entered the U.S. with a visitor visa. We helped him do a change of status from his visitor visa to student visa. He and his childhood friend, who is a U.S. citizen, from India began dating just before he did the change of status. When they finally decided to marry, his wife filed the I-130 Petitioner and I-485 Application concurrently. To prepare them for the interview our attorney had to carefully go through the development of their relationship, his immigration history and travel schedule since their relationship. This was done to avoid any “immigrant intent” issues that may arise during the interview. Also due to the fact that were not married long, we submitted a package at the interview with additional supporting documents. The officer at the end of the interview stated he needed time to review the file before making a decision. Client’s adjustment of status was approved within 1 week of the interview.(Back to Top)
Irish Man Fears Australian DUI Will Prevent His Spousal Green Card
Client came to our office in early 2015 seeking help. They were marrying and he wanted to become a Permanent Resident in United States. Attorney Joseph Fungsang met with the client and his U.S. Citizen fiancé. The client is from Ireland and met his fiancé in Africa working for a non-governmental organization. The only issue was that our client had a 2000 DUI conviction in Australia and he says he did not disclose the conviction in his ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization Application). Attorneys Joseph Fungsang and Mrs. Wong decided how to address this. They filed an I-130 spousal petition, I-131 Application for Travel Document, I-485 Adjustment of Status Application, and I-765 Application for Employment Authorization. We received the receipt notices for all applications in few months from filing. The I-485 adjustment of status application was approved and the client received the Green Card in the mail seven months after they hired us. They came back to our office to thank Attorneys Joseph Fungsang and Mrs. Wong who helped the husband become a Permanent Resident in the U.S.(Back to Top)
Kenya Divorcee Remarries in USA, Receives "Notice of Intent to Deny"
Mr. O, a divorcee from Kenya with five children, came to the United States on an F-1 visa to attend graduate school. He graduated with a Master’s degree, and continued to take classes in preparation for a second U.S. degree. Last year he married a United States citizen, who also had a child of her own. The couple filed the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residency or Adjust Status. They attended their required interview at the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office, and were questioned extensively about their relationship. The USCIS also sent investigators to their home to ask additional questions. The USCIS issued a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) for their case, at which point they hired our law firm. We prepared the response to the NOID within the 30-day deadline, and just over two months later, their case was approved and he received his Green Card. Now Mr. & Mrs. O can begin the process of petitioning to bring his children to the United States.(Back to Top)
I-751 Removal of Conditional Status Approved after Living only Two Months with Spouse
Ms. X is a sweet, shy young women from China. Her family introduced her to an older man, Mr. Y, who was also from China but who was a naturalized American citizen. Ms. X would be his third wife. She was hesitant, but he seemed to come from such a good background and was so highly recommended by relatives. He swept her off her feet with European vacations and promises of a good life in America, and she quickly forgot her concerns. Mr. Y and Ms. X were quickly married in China. He applied for her immigrant visa, and several months later she arrived to live with her husband in the U.S. The fairy tale was complete (or so everybody thought).
Fast forward two years. Ms. X approached the Law Offices of Margaret Wong and Associates to assist in removing the conditional status of her green card. She explained to us that her marriage had not lasted long. After arriving in the U.S., Ms. X quickly found out that Mr. Y (who had seemed so charming to her family and to her on their honeymoon) was a violent, possessive, and emotionally abusive man. She left less than two months after arriving in the U.S. When we met her months afterwards she still seemed dazed, depressed, thin and pale. She’d been receiving emotional counseling and physical therapy for stress-induced ailments.
In Ms. X’s case, we filed a “self-petition” I-751 based on her having entered the marriage in good faith. Note that this was a better solution than presenting Ms. X as a battered spouse, since there were no police or medical reports corroborating Ms. X’s sad story. We prepared what scarce evidence we could find (when Ms. X left, Mr. Y didn’t allow her to bring anything with her but some clothes in a suitcase) and submitted our petition.
Ms. X was called in to the local USCIS office for an interview. She was accompanied by Attorney Rebecca Tseng. Attorney Tseng reports that the interview took nearly three hours. The USCIS officer claimed that Mr. Y had called immigration to complain that Ms. X had married him only for her green card, then abandoned him (whether this alleged phone call was real or not, we’ll never know). The officer also stated that agents had been sent to “check out” Ms. X’s home and work, looking for evidence against her. Ms. X and Attorney Tseng held fast and made a convincing case. In the end, the USCIS officer approved her I-751. He said he had been doubtful at first, but after seeing pictures of Ms. X taken both before and after the short and stressful marriage, and comparing her physical state then and now, his mind was made up. He even offered her vitamins for help in improving her health. We wish Ms. X the best.
We discourage any person, man or woman, from staying in an abusive situation simply for immigration reasons. Whether an employee is being exploited by an employer, or one spouse is being abused by another, nothing is more important than your physical and emotional safety. USCIS is aware of the vulnerability of immigrants in situations like this, and a good lawyer can help you find the right relief.(Back to Top)
Woman Enters as K-1 Fiancé, Separates, Marries Another USC, Obtains Immigrant Visa With Hardship Waiver
D. Zh. , a national and citizen of China, entered the United States in 2000 on a K-1 visa. However, when she came to the United States she and her US Citizen fiancé did not get married within 90 days as required and their relationship deteriorated due to culture difference. They separated. In 2002, our client met her current husband, who is now a US Citizen and they have 2 minor children together. The children are very young and one of them has medical problems. Ms. Zh. retained our office in 2013 to assist her obtain an immigrant visa. In 2013, our client’s husband assisted by our office filed an I-130, Petition for Alien relative which was approved a few months later. However, our client was not eligible to adjust status in the US due to her failure to marry her previous fiancé who petitioned for her K-1 visa. Our office determined that our client would be eligible for an I-601A waiver of unlawful presence.
Beginning March 4, 2013, certain immigrant visa applicants who are spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens (immediate relatives) can apply for provisional unlawful presence waivers before they leave the United States. The provisional unlawful presence waiver process allows individuals, who only need a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence, to apply for a waiver in the United States and before they depart for their immigrant visa interviews at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. The new process is expected to shorten the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives while those family members are obtaining immigrant visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States.
Under current law, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are not eligible to adjust status in the United States must travel abroad and obtain an immigrant visa. Individuals who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence while in the United States must obtain a waiver of inadmissibility to overcome the unlawful presence bars under section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act before they can return to the United States.
Our office filed the waiver and argued that it would devastate our client’s family if she was forced to go back to China without them for an indefinite period of time. It would be devastated for her husband if she were to go back to China without him and take the children with her. The waiver was filed and approved within a short period of time. Client received her interview at the embassy in China. She traveled to China for only 2 weeks to obtain her immigrant visa which she did obtain in May of 2015.(Back to Top)
FBI Charge of Fraudulent Marriage Fails in Court; Client Can Apply for Citizenship
Our client is a lawful permanent resident of the United States. He had obtained his green card many years ago on the basis of his marriage to a United States citizen. Our client hired us after he was placed in removal proceedings due to DHS’ allegation that his green card was obtained through a fraudulent marriage. During an investigation several years ago, the FBI spoke to our client. The FBI alleged that our client told them that the marriage was entered into just to get a green card. We were hired and contested the charge of removal arguing that our client’s marriage was legitimate. We gathered evidence in order to mount a defense to the charge. At the hearing, we presented testimony and witnesses to establish the validity of the marriage. DHS presented evidence and the testimony of an FBI Agent who interviewed our client after the marriage. Through cross-examination, we were able to poke holes in their claim that our client admitted the marriage was fraudulent. After the whole day hearing, the Immigration Judge requested briefs on the contested issue. We submitted a detailed brief showing that DHS did not establish that the marriage was fraudulent. In September 2014, the Immigration Judge issued a 26-page written decision terminating removal proceedings against our client due to DHS’ failure to show that the marriage was fraudulent. Our client can now apply for citizenship. Scott Bratton handled the case.(Back to Top)
I-130 denied. Margaret Wong & Assoc takes over and gets approval
Our client came to us from another law firm this summer after losing her I-130 interview. Despite the fact it was an extremely complex case as the result of a family scandal, we have successfully helped our client overcome all odd issues and inconsistencies and ultimately get her GC approved by working diligently with the client and her then brother-in-law but now husband and giving them 2 long but effective Preps at our NY Office. She has already received her GC this past Saturday, 11/23/13. It’s truly a great breakthrough for us. Our client got into a secret love relationship back in her home country with her brother-in-law (her younger sister’s husband) and gave birth to a son. She managed to get the hospital to issue the son’s birth certificate identifying her brother-in-law and his wife (her younger sister) as the biological parents, after her family Matriarch agreed with “Don’t show our dirty linen in public”. Our client finally got married with her then brother-in-law after having convinced her younger sister to get a divorce from her then brother-in-law and then revealed herself to be the son’s REAL biological mother for the first time for more than 30 years.(Back to Top)
DOMA green card Approval!
Shortly after the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) was overturned, a Malaysian national and her wife retained our office to pursue a marriage-based green card. We filed the I-130 and I-485 applications, and went to the interview with the client and her wife. Her case was approved less than three months after filing. After years without status, our client was elated to receive her green card.(Back to Top)
Green card approved. Can now travel openly
Client and her U.S. citizen husband came to see us in August 2012 to proceed with client's green card based on their marriage. We received all necessary documentation for the green card process, but had to abruptly stop work since client's mother became suddenly ill. Client, who was on a student visa, return to her home country to care for her mother. After 6 months, client came back to the United States to resume classes and also her green card application. Due to timing concerns, we advised that she wait 30-60 days after coming back into the U.S. before filing her application. We filed in March 2013, and received and interview notice within 5 weeks. At the same time, client also told us that she needed to return home again to see her mother who again became seriously ill. We helped client expedite her Application for Advance Parole with USCIS – she was able to receive her travel document within 1 week while her green card was pending. She returned back to the U.S. just two days before her interview with USCIS. Her green card was approved at the interview. The officer was even able to give her a passport stamp to allow her to return home immediately without her physical lawful permanent resident and see her mother again. Client and her husband were both very relieved that they were able to apply for and obtain her green card, while still being able to return home on an emergency basis.
This success story should have been a relatively straight forward love story. However, our client was tripped up by the issue of "immigrant intent" – something that she could not have known about, but we see all too often. As Ms. Wong likes to explain it, there is a parallel track to immigration that divides the two ways that non-US citizens can enter the country – immigrant and non-immigrant. If you come to the US on an immigrant visa you are showing an intent to immigrate and stay in the US. If you have a non-immigrant visa, such as was the case with our client's B-visa, any sign that you are intending to stay is very problematic.
The story began in the mid 1990s in India when our client was introduced by her family to the man she would very shortly marry. Both families were delighted by how the couple found an immediate attraction to one another. The man was a US citizen and the plan was to eventually relocate here after holding a religious ceremony in India. Our client had visited the US before on a B-visa that was still valid. Her husband wanted to have a civil ceremony in the US when they returned. Everything was set. What should have been the most exciting two months of her life, however, quickly turned into disaster.
The couple returned to the US, with the wife using her B-visa to enter. Immigration officers at the airport in Chicago decided to interview both the husband and wife. Scared and unsure of the rules related to her visa, our client told the officers that she was not married and that she had only met her husband that day. When the officers brought her husband into the room and noted that he had, naturally, admitted that they were married our client realized she had made a terrible error. The officers informed her she was now inadmissible to the US and could either return to India or go before an immigration judge. She chose to see the judge who agreed with the officers' position and ordered her removed from the country.
After trying for over fifteen years with a succession of different lawyers to have the decision changed, our client came to our Atlanta office and sat down with Ms. Wong. Although moved by the tragic story that had overshadowed this otherwise happy marriage, Ms. Wong saw a clear strategy that needed to be implemented. The client's previous attorney had filed another appeal and while waiting for that decision we would re-file the application for the green card and restate our case. We secured all the client's documentation from the old attorney. We knew we would need to request a waiver to overcome the fraud committed by our client. This would require showing the hardship, physical and emotional, that her husband would endure should she be deported.
By June of 2012 we were ready. We filed the green card application (I-485) and a work authorization request (I-765). The interview was set for early September. In the interim our team began working on the waiver request to present to the officer at the interview. We had a psychological evaluation performed on our client's husband and discovered that the fear of living without his wife and taking care of their two young children was taking a tremendous toll on him. We also found evidence that he would not be able to continue his career in India, should he return there with his wife. We filed an extensive waiver request and prepared for the interview.
At the interview our client tried to say that she had not meant to be dishonest. Our representative attorney there was able to interject and explain the situation to the officer. Following the interview, the officer indicated that she would consider the waiver request and issue a decision in a week. After several weeks passed with no word, one of our associates followed up via the appropriate channels, pushing for a decision. Finally, in early December we received the approval notice stating that a green card had been granted. In only 6 months, Ms. Wong and her team had brought an immigration nightmare of 15 years to an end.
A client from India in deportation proceedings came to us for help. She was a pharmacist but needed to get her green card in order to be licensed. She needed to work in order to pay for her ill mother's extensive medical bills. The client had entered the US with her family at the age of ten. She was placed into deportation proceedings after her family's asylum application was denied. The client had never even been aware that she was in deportation proceedings, because she had only been a child and was not required to attend the hearings with her parents. The client later met her husband and he submitted an I-130 petition on her behalf. We requested that DHS join us in a motion to reopen her case, arguing that removing her would be hardship to her husband and the rest of her family. DHS joined and the motion to reopen was granted. The client received her green card and is practicing as a successful pharmacist and living with her loving husband.
A client from Senegal had his previous attorney file an I-130 and I-485 on his behalf so he could get his green card. However, his applications were denied because he did not go to the interview and due to a USCIS mistake. We did a FOIA request to get all of the client's documents and then filed a motion to reopen sua sponte (meaning the court decides to exercise its discretion and open a case). We filed a motion to change venue for the client because he did not live where the proceedings were originally held. The court granted our motions and reopened the client's I-130 case. We helped the client go to his immigration hearings. We helped the client prepare for his green card interview, and we helped the client prove that he was in a bona fide marriage. We also worked with the client to file his I-485 application. We prepared the client and his wife for their I-130 interview and the petition was soon approved, along with the I-485 green card application. The client is living successfully with a green card in the US now, with his wife.
An Indian client came to us after having a different lawyer file his I-130 Petition for Immigration Relative and I-485 Application to Adjust Status so that he could get his Green Card through his wife. His paperwork had been pending for a long time, and he needed to visit his sick mother in India but could not because the previous attorney had not filed a I-131 Application for Advance Parole. We zealously followed up with USCIS on the I-130 and we filed an I-131 with a request for expedited processing, with a brief explaining why the client needed the I-131 Advance Parole document right away (so he could travel to see his sick mother). The client was able to get the I-131 and travel to see his mother. Soon after, with our continued work on the case, the I-130 and I-485 were approved and the client became a lawful permanent resident.
In early December 2011, our firm was retained by a young couple. The husband was from Northern Ireland and entered the United States in 2008 on a visa waiver. He overstayed his visa but was now married to a United States Citizen. We filed the I-130 Petition, I-485 Application to Adjust status and I-765 Application for Work Authorization, a mere two days after being retained. The I-485 Interview was scheduled for early May 2012. Attorney William Low prepped the clients and attended their interview with them. We received the Approval Notices about one week later. Our client is very happy to be a Lawful Permanent Resident!
In August 2010, we were retained by a Chinese national, then an LPR, who wanted to petition for his wife in China. The I-130 Spousal Petition was filed in mid-August. Once the I-130 Petition was approved in January 2011, we started the Consular process so our client's wife could come to the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). In the meantime, the client became a U.S. citizen so we filed the request to change the type of petition to an Immediate Relative - wife of a U.S. citizen. We filed the Packet 3 & 4 Petition in May 2011. A RFE was received for tax documents, school records and a joint sponsor as the client was a student and did not make enough income to support his wife according to the HHS Poverty Guidelines. The RFE was filed in late May. By late June 2011, the Chinese consulate in Guangzhou had the petition and was processing the application. The beneficiary had an interview in China and passed. By April 2012, she was now in the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident. The couple was thrilled to be reunited!
A young couple hired our firm in November 2011, the husband wished to file a petition for his wife, an Indian citizen. The wife came to the United States under F-1, student visa in the year of 2007. After receiving all the supporting documentation from our clients, in January 2012 we filed the I-485 application family (marriage) based. A RFE was received in February, which was filed within a day. Our clients received their I-485 interview notice, appointment was scheduled for April. Attorney Lori Pinjuh went through preparation and attended the interview with our clients. Despite the husband's young age, our clients were able to prove the validity of their marriage during the interview and the USCIS officer recommended for approval. Attorney Pinjuh explained our clients the conditional permanent residence status to our clients and we look forward to working with these clients to apply for an I-751, petition to remove the conditions of residence in two years.
A client from Nigeria retained our firm in June 2010 in order to obtain his green card. He was paroled into the U.S. as an "arriving alien" and had since married a U.S. citizen. In August 2010, we filed I-130/485/765 on behalf of our client. In September, we received an RFE, which was filed within 3 weeks. In February 2011, our client received his work permit and was scheduled for an I-485 interview, which was attended by one of our attorneys. At the interview, the official had some questions about their marriage because the client and his wife had previously lived separately because of their jobs. Another interview was scheduled to evaluate the bona fides of their marriage. We were successfully able to transfer the client's case from New York to Atlanta, where he is now living and the client was scheduled for a second interview. Due to the great preparation given by one of our lawyers, there were no problems at the I-130 interview. Our client received his 10 year green card and is extremely happy to be a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States!
A couple from China retained our firm in order to apply for the husband green card through marriage to a U.S. Citizen. The application to register permanent residence was filed on April 2011. Our client received his work authorization at the beginning of July 2011 and went to an interviewed in late October 2011. The interview was attended by Attorney William Low, and a week after he received his green card by mail. Clients were very happy with our services and they already contacted us to work on the application I-751 in July 2013.(Back to Top)
PETITION APPROVED, WAIT ON PERMANENT RESIDENCY
Our client immigrated from China and came to our firm in February of 2016. He requested a meeting with us to inquire about his adjustment of status based on his wife’s Green Card. His wife obtained a Green Card from a previous marriage. We filed an I-130 (petition for alien relative or spouse), allowing our client’s wife to sponsor him. In addition to the sponsorship form, we filed an I-485 (application for permanent residency). Finally, we filed an I-765 to obtain work documentation. Our client’s petition I-130 was approved as well as his work authorization documents. The final step is permanent residency which our client currently awaits.(Back to Top)
USC PETITIONS FOR UKRAINIAN WIFE WITH CRIMINAL RECORD
Ukrainian woman with a criminal record initially opened a case with us, but closed it after her criminal proceedings were finished. Then, after marrying a United States citizen, she reached out to us for help filing a petition for legal permanent residency with her husband as a sponsor. We filed our client’s I-130 (petition for alien relative or spouse) along with an I-485 (application for permanent residency). We also filed documents to advance our client’s parole (I-131), so she could travel outside the United States. To be able to work in the United States, our client required work authorization documents, so we filed an I-765 (application for employment authorization). The I-131 and I-765 were approved, enabling our client to work and travel; however, because our client entered with a fake passport and a fake B-2 visa, we had to file a I-601 waiver (on the grounds of inadmissibility) to show hardship. We filed the waiver to justify our client’s fraud. Her I-130 was approved, but the I-601 wavier was denied and consequently the I-485 was denied. We analyzed the denial with our client and obtained more documents regarding our client’s hardship and refiled the hardship waiver. Despite this denial, our firm works to earn our client’s permanent residency and has made positive steps towards approval with the I-130.(Back to Top)