Innocent Visa Applicants Applying for Nonimmigrant and Immigrant Waivers

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With the dramatic upsurge in consular decisions to permanently bar visa applicants from the United States, the question of applying for an immigrant or nonimmigrant waiver has become more and more acute.  Many immigration lawyers will advise to just accept the decision, admit that you were wrong, say you are sorry, and apply for the waiver. They say that your chances of receiving the waiver will be increased if you admit your guilt and express remorse, even if you did not do anything wrong. But what if you are not “guilty”?  What if you did not commit a material misrepresentation (Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i))? Or engage in alien smuggling (Section 212(a)(6)(E))? Or commit a crime of moral turpitude (Section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I))?  Should you admit you were wrong? Of course not. There are legal mechanisms to challenge such lifechanging decisions, such as a Request for Reconsideration.  Sometimes, the supervisor of the consular officer or…

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Rights of Visa Applicants

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You have rights.  Yes, if you have been denied a visa, you have rights. The Department of State’s Customer Statement lists only some of those rights, as follow: We promise to you, the visa applicant, that: We will treat you with dignity and respect, even if we are unable to grant you a visa. We will treat you as an individual and your case as unique. We will remember that, to you, a visa interview may be a new or intimidating experience and that you may be nervous. We will use the limited time available for the interview to get as full a picture as possible of your travel plans and intentions. We will use our available resources to fairly assist all applicants to get appointments to allow travel in time for business, study, and other important obligations. We will post detailed and accurate information on visa requirements and application…

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Immigrant Waivers – New Hope for the Refused?

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Previously, USCIS overseas offices had responsibility for reviewing I-601 immigrant waiver applications. This led to inconsistent adjudications among various overseas offices and extreme variations in processing times.  We first discussed the patent unfairness of this system on this blog back in November 2011.  To remedy these problems, in June 2012 USCIS centralized the processing of I-601 waivers at the Nebraska Service Center in the United States.  The impact can now be seen, and should give those who had been previously denied by a USCIS overseas office hope. As noted in our 2011 blog, the approval rates at certain USCIS overseas offices were dismal at best.  For example, in Accra, Ghana, which had jurisdiction and reviewed waiver applications from numerous countries in Africa, its approval rate in 2010 was 22%.  The Rome USCIS Office had an approval rate of 25%.  Moscow and Athens hovered around 40%.  Contrast that with the approval…

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