[Please note: The Client’s name and case key details may have been altered to preserve the identity of the client. This Success Story is not intended to be an offer of service or case plan. Every case is unique. The Success Story is presented for information purposes only.]
Throughout 2020, the Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC team in New York worked with a very talented graphic designer from Europe named Mila who sought our counsel in terms of marrying her longtime partner, Charlotte, a prominent interior designer, and re-settling in the United States preferably in the upper part of New York state where forests are ample.
To be sure, Mila was no stranger to the United States having been traveling back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean for many years and even lived here for an extended period in 2010 to 2012 when she was married to another party who helped her get a two-year-marriage-based green card which she surrendered in 2013 after they divorced.
Over the course of the last several years, her stays in the United States became more frequent and longer especially after she and Charlotte got together, and their relationship progressed. Finally, Mila and Charlotte decided that they wanted legally to marry and, thus started talking to our team about the possibility of securing for Mila yet another marriage-based green card.
Upon an examination of Mila’s history, we concluded that this could be done quite easily because Mila had properly and voluntarily surrendered the previous green card and had taken care to observe all the rules and never overstay her visas during her visits with Charlotte who Mila was deeply in love with as she was with Charlotte’s two children who regarded her as a second mother.
In fact, the biggest challenge that Mila and Charlotte faced during the entire procedure concerned conducting a cosmopolitan wedding during the Covid-19 pandemic but Ms. Wong shared with them several articles about such affairs which inspired the two of them to organize a very festive ceremony that was officiated by Charlotte’s sister and attended by friends/family/clientele from all over the world.
In August of 2020, after the nuptials had occurred and the couple had purchased a home overlooking a beautiful forest with lots of deer and other wildlife, our team was able to file a package on Mila’s behalf that included an I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), an I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), an I-485 (Application for Legal Permanent Residency) and an I-864 (Affidavit of Support) in which Charlotte agreed to support Mila so she wouldn’t be a “public charge” which they both viewed as a mere formality since Mila’s business was thriving and both women were independently wealthy.
To our surprise, within a month after filing the I-485, USCIS sent us a request for additional evidence claiming that Mila’s birth certificate was unreadable, though it clearly was to all members of our team who looked at it, but Mila addressed the difficulty simply by calling her mother in Europe who arranged for a more recent copy to be overnighted to our New York office which, in turn, immediately forwarded to the designated party at USCIS who declared it readable, and the matter was closed.
At the end of December, Mila and Charlotte, accompanied by our legal representative, attended Mila’s USCIS interview wherein Mila was queried about her prior marriage and the voluntary surrender of her two-year green card, but she was ready and answered the questions truthfully and articulately.
Just as we had advised them to do, the recently married couple brought with them a slew of evidence about the stability of their relationship that included many photos and significant documentation of several existing joint accounts and insurance policies.
Subsequently, it didn’t take too long for the ISO to say, in so many words, that she had seen enough and was quite convinced that their union was genuine, and Mila received her green card by the first week of January of 2021.
Referring to her history and the surrender of her prior green card, Mila took Charlotte’s hand and happily declared that “this time I plan to remain” because she was “tired of flying around” and needed a “reprieve” from the filling out of forms until she applied for citizenship in the next several years although she also mentioned that she really loved her new family and “so it is worth it!”
As an affirmation of her intentions, Mila agreed to fill out “just one more form for the time being” and booked an appointment with the Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC team to see us in eighteen months regarding the necessary filing of an I-751 (Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence) so that her residency could be made officially permanent.