Client: Nonimmigrant Temporary Visa Holder
Client’s Country of Origin: India
Case Type: I-130 Petition for Alien Relative; Marriage to US Citizen
Date of Application: July 2018
Date of Approval: February 2019
Our client, a citizen of India, was present within the US as an international student. During his study, he met a US citizen woman and fell in love. After some time, the couple united in marriage. The couple then was faced with adjusting our client’s nonimmigrant status, establishing their marital relationship, sponsoring our client for eligibility to become a lawful permanent resident—all before his student visa expires.
The couple consulted with Herman Legal Group counsel at the office located in Buffalo, New York. For timely purposes, they concurrently filed forms I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and I-485 Application to Adjust Status.
They provided a plethora of evidence in order to establish a bona fide marital relationship to avoid any hiccups in the process. Two months later, they were scheduled for their interview with USCIS officials. The couple proceeding to attend the interview and felt confident that all would go well and even brought many supporting documents to show the presiding officer.
Later that year, our clients received documents in the mail requesting more evidence in order to finalize the adjudication of their applications. The USCIS raised the issue that the couple did not supply valid documents regarding our client’s legal divorce in a prior marriage that occurred overseas in India.
The Service provided that, for specific religions, the US Department of State’s Visa Reciprocity Schedule for Indian states that certified copies of divorce decrees of Christian, Hindu, Parsi, and Sikh divorces must be obtained and supplied (for immigration purposes). Furthermore, a certificate from the Kazi, the Muslim religious leader, must be provided to document the divorce that occurred.
The Service basically concluded that because our client’s application did not include this very specific document, his previous marriage was not validly terminated, therefore he did not meet the requirements to show a legally terminated marriage to proceed with his current marital relationship that sponsors his visa application.
A great wave of turmoil engulfed our client: Why was my application denied when my previous marriage was in fact legally terminated? Why wasn’t I asked for this document at my interview? What happens now?
Attorney Richard Herman assisted with the matter—he addressed that our client and counsel were unaware of the specific information regarding the Visa Reciprocity Schedule was necessary to the original filing of the application, therefore it was inadvertently omitted. Attorney Herman also provided that our client had brought this certificate to the initial interview, but did not bring it to the attention of the officer as it was unrequested.
However, we then submitted to the Service a certificate from the Kazi establishing that the prior marriage was terminated under the laws of India. In addition, we also submitted supporting evidence, such as a notarized statement issued from the Kazi attesting to the validity of the certificate as well as an expert statement issued from a licensed attorney in India attesting to the validity of the divorce decree. Overall, our client’s application to adjust status was approved successfully and on time while remaining in legal status.