Theology graduate wins permanent residence after several rounds with labor department and USCIS

No obstacles in the beginning

We were contacted by a client on his first R-1 visa petition to start work as a religious worker and also on the possibility of his Green Card application in the mid of July 2007. The client was just finishing his master degree study in theology. He received a job offer for a position of associate minister for a protestant church. We had no problem for his R-1 visa. We filed it quickly after receiving all supporting documents from the client and the employer, but we really had to work to figure out which way to go for his Green Card.

First obstacle

The I-360 requires two year employment, our client just graduated and wasn’t employed yet. The normal I-360 was out of picture until two years later. The only possible and available choice at that time was the labor certification (PERM) process. However, PERM process requires clear and strong financial evidence to show employer’s affordability to hire an alien worker. Churches are not required to file tax returns. for this reason they had no official documents to prove the financial strength. After we explained all scenarios to our client and employer, we decided to move on with the PERM application. As we expected, we had to go through several rounds with the Labor Department and USCIS on the financial issues.

With our expertise

We successfully secured the labor certification, and concurrently filed the I-140 and 485 for client and his whole family. The whole process started in July 2007, and client and his whole family received their Green Card in September 2009. If we were not taking the tough PERM route for this client, he would not even able to start his Green Card process even by now because he would have been able to start working until he got his R-1 visa approved which takes anywhere from 6 months to 1 year or even longer and after that he has to be on the job for two years before he can apply for Green Card, which would be sometime in 2010. We have saved client many years in getting his Green Card. In his email, the client says: “Today, I realize that you (case worker), Ms. Wong and all employees of MWW are visible angels for those who suffers from the status problem. Without you-all’s help, I may not have received any kind of positive letters from the USCIS.”

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