I-130 For Couple Married 16 Years
- Applicants: Mr. Williams
- Case: Marriage Petition
- Client overstayed on a student visa
- The client started a business under his wife’s name
- Afraid to lose everything and be deported away from his family
- Prep work involved with marriage petitions
The rules and regulations of immigration in the United States can leave just about anyone with their head spinning. And the fear of breaking any of those rules and the massive consequences of doing so can leave people paralyzed with fear. That was the case of Mr. Williams and Mrs. Williams, a couple who wanted to petition for citizenship for Mr. Williams but were afraid of losing everything. Marriage petitions are generally straightforward so many people try and succeed to gain citizenship through this process. However, our clients were unique. They had been married for 16 years, they had two children, but during that entire time, despite seemingly obvious eligibility, they had not gone through the citizenship process. The reason, it turns out, was fear.
Mr. Williams had originally come to the United States as a student and had overstayed his visa. He had met his future wife and had gotten married and they had started a life together. Mr. Williams had even started a successful business, one that supported their growing family. Things were good. They never tried to get Mr. Williams’s citizenship because of the original overstay issue. They didn’t know if it disqualified him, or worse, they feared that if they went in to try to get him citizenship and he answered one of their questions about his original visa incorrectly, he would be put into the deportation process. If he was no longer in the country, they feared the business he runs would fail, and that they would lose everything that they had managed to build together. It was better to just not test fate.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
However, the current climate around immigration got them to thinking about getting Mr. Williams his citizenship. When they came to us, we saw the amount of time they had been married, their children, and wondered why they needed our help. The visa overstay issue was then broached, but we believed that it wouldn’t be an issue for them so long as they were properly prepared. A visa overstay will cause a caseworker to naturally ask a lot of tough questions. It was those questions, and the unknown, that had given Williams’s pause in the past.
Unfortunately, many immigration processes are intimidating for people. Whether it is fear of the unknown, fear of losing the life they currently lead, or fear that the process itself is stacked against them, many people become too intimidated to try to do things like getting citizenship through marriage, even if they want to. And the process for doing so in the case of marriage petitions can indeed be stressful. Often, people who do so can be interviewed for hours on end, they can be separated from their spouses to ensure that both people give the same story and that they aren’t lying or trying to dupe the government. And then they are sent away without real indication of whether or not their attempt at doing so succeeded, only to be notified many days later whether or not their marriage petition had been approved.
Part of what we do is making the process more clear; reveal it for what it is and to prepare our clients for everything that could come their way. When they can see the path ahead of them laid out clearly, much of that natural intimidation goes away. Beyond that, in this case, we were able to take the extra step of preparing to answer questions ahead of time. We knew what questions they’d be asked based on their histories and their history together, we knew what forms they would need, and what would be required of them. We were able to deliver a package of documentation and forms for them and we helped them fill them out correctly to answer many of the toughest questions ahead of time. All of that prep work immediately paid off for Mr. and Mrs. Williams.
“When the client called me, he said it was an interview of fewer than 10 minutes. It was very smooth; all of the prep work we did ahead of time helped them… For the client to have a 10-minute interview and then simply get the case approved, it’s a big, big success for them.” – Gabriela Banuelos, Account Manager
They came to us on June 1, 2018, and by January 7, 2019, they had their interview and Mr. Williams was approved for a marriage petition on the same day. When they went into their interview, the entire process was smooth. They only interviewed for about 10 minutes and then were immediately approved on the same day, a rare feat for a marriage petition. Because we were able to answer many of the caseworker’s questions through the documentation before the interview happened, we were able to minimize the stress and intimidation of the whole process. Most importantly, our clients did not have to fear that they would do something incorrectly, whether that was filling out a form or answering a question. They knew exactly what was required of them well ahead of time and were as prepared as possible for what lay ahead of them. Mr. Williams called and emailed our office to express his gratitude, and we were more than happy that he was able to successfully resolve his case and can now comfortably live his life.
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