Approved SB-1 Visa Despite High Rejection Rate
Applying For: SB-1 Visa
Time: 3 weeks
- Client was out of the country for nearly three years and did not apply for a re-entry permit
- Client’s green card had been expired for more than half a year
- Only 1 option for the client, SB-1 visa, for which the rejection rate is high in the Trump Administration
Every person who manages to obtain a permanent residency card knows its value. There is very little an individual would do to intentionally threaten their status, but sometimes life gets in the way. That was the case for our client, Ms. Chen. Ms. Chen was a ten-year green card holder when she received the news that her father had been hospitalized in China. His condition was serious, and he was going to need after-hospital care and there wasn’t another person who could reliably do the job. She didn’t have time to wait to secure a re-entry permit, she simply had to leave for China as soon as possible. It was a difficult decision, but one everyone would make. She did plan on returning long before her green card expired, but again illness struck. This time, it was Ms. Chen herself who became ill. She was forced into hospitalization herself, and more time passed. By the time she was well enough to travel back to her home in the United States, she was not allowed to board her plane because her green card had expired. At this point, Ms. Chen was scared for her future and did not know where to turn. This is when she found our offices. After reviewing her case, we and Ms. Chen agreed that the SB-1 visa was for her. The only reservation we had is that in the current administration, SB-1 visa denial is very high. We knew we would have to be comprehensive in our preparation.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
SB-1 visas are for people who are already permanent residents of the United States, but for reasons beyond their control, they could not return from overseas during the travel validity period of their permanent resident card or re-entry permit. If applying for an SB-1, you must prove that you were a legal permanent resident when you left the U.S., you intended to return to the U.S. when you left and have never given up that goal, and that the reason that your stay was protracted beyond the valid timeline was because of circumstances that were out of your control.
The part of the process where we were able to help Ms. Chen the most was in the collection and argumentation of her documentation. Many firms simply have cookie-cutter forms for clients to fill out, hoping a case officer will not require more. Our firm specializes in customized solutions. We advised Ms. Chen on how to structure her letter to the case officer explaining her protracted stay outside of the United States and to explain why she had not obtained a re-entry permit when she left. We were also able to help her collect, organize, and argue her case with official documentation from the hospital, proving the length and necessity of her hospital stay was completely out of her control.
The final piece of the documentation argument was to prove her intention to always return to the United States. We helped Ms. Chen by preparing a list of documents that showed she had maintained her association with the U.S., including things like tax information. She also had been hired by a good company here in the United States, and we wanted to make that clear to her case officer. Good employment is one of the easiest ways to prove that a person always intended to return, and this was a boon to Ms. Chen’s case.
The final step of the process was to prepare Ms. Chen for her interview. We believe that the most difficult part of the interview process is the ‘unknown’ factor. If a client does not know what to expect on the day of their interview, then they will not perform up to their best capabilities. We remove the unknown factor as best as possible for all of our clients, and Ms. Chen was no exception. We prepared her for questions, especially about her lack of a re-entry permit and other possible problem areas that a case officer was likely to ask about. We also helped her master face-to-face skills necessary for a good interview, we wanted her preparation to be as comprehensive as possible. One benefit Ms. Chen had was that she had received her college education in the U.S. and she had lived here for a very long time, thus her English was extremely sound.
Ms. Chen had her interview at the U.S. Embassy in Guangzhou in early April, 2019. She was approved immediately for her SB-1 visa, one of the very few cases to be approved that day according to the case officer who she spoke to during her interview. Ms. Chen was able to make her way back to her home and her life here in the United States, and she couldn’t be more grateful for all the help she received.