Zombies and Petition Revocations

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What do zombies and petition revocations have in common?  Just when you thought they have died a permanent death – never to be seen again or heard from again – they come back to life, sometimes with devastating consequences.

This came to mind when a former client, Alex, contacted me about his Diversity Visa case.  He won the Green Card Lottery, but when he went to the Embassy for his interview, he was told that his application would be put on hold until questions about his 1998 L-1 petition were resolved.  I  had represented him back in 1998, after the Embassy sent his L-1 petition back to INS because of a “fraudulent office address” and his inability to describe his subordinates at his L-1 visa interview.  We were able to resolve the fraudulent office address accusation at that time – the Embassy’s investigator had gone to the wrong (!) address – but the petition’s 1 year validity expired and Alex decided not to pursue the development of a business in the US.  After that, over the course of 15 years, he regularly received B-1/B-2 visas at the Embassy and traveled back and forth once or twice a year for business purposes.

So when he arrived at the Embassy for his Diversity Visa interview, he was confident that he would receive the visa – with no problems.  To his shock and dismay, that was not the case.  He was interrogated about his L-1 visa application and why there was a “marker” in the visa database next to his name.  His current visa was cancelled and his application was temporarily denied under Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. He was especially worried because selection in the Diversity Visa Lottery expires on September 30, that is, he needed to receive the visa before September 30 or before the exhaustion of the quota, which could be before September 30.

Thankfully, I had retained Alex’s file from 1998 and was able to access his entire set of documentation.  I was then able to contact the Embassy on his behalf, clarify the outstanding issue, and obtain the removal of the “fraud” marker. Shortly thereafter, he was able to receive his immigrant visa.

This is not the first time that I have been contacted by a former client about a long ago and forgotten petition revocation – one even at the naturalization stage, after receipt of a green card and many, many years of living in the United States.  The US Government doesn’t forget – and one government agency, such as the Department of State, sometimes does not know what action another government agency, such as USCIS, took or did not take.  It is almost always best to aggressively challenge and attack a referral for petition revocation during its validity period, because – like a zombie – you never know when it will come back to haunt you – one month from now, one year, or 20 years later.

If a consular post has referred your petition back to USCIS for revocation, please contact us.