A client recently approached us in panic because his I-94 had expired more than a month ago. He had a valid E-2 visa on his passport until 2016 and assumed that the visa alone was sufficient for him to legally reside in the US. It was not until recently, when he went for his drivers license renewal that a DMV official infomed him – his actual legal stay in the US is determined by the I-94 and not the visa on his passport.
Prior to coming to us, the client had consulted several attorneys who had advised him to leave the country immediately and seek the E-2 visa at the U.S. embassy in his home country. However, the client did not want to take the risk of leaving the country and being denied a visa as it would lead to disastrous consequences for him and his family including closure of his business in the U.S. We advised the client that he could request a discretionary extension of his I-94 from USCIS by showing mitigating circumstances. Client had been wrongly advised by his previous attorney that since he had a valid E-2 visa he did not have to do anything further until 2016.
What We Did:
Our firm crafted a detailed brief outlining the situation and describing why our client deserved a favorable decision. In addition, we submitted an affidavit from the client explaining the reasons of his failure to file an extension of his E-2 status in a timely manner. We also requested USCIS to apply the narrow exception for status violations which exists under 8CFR section 245.1 [d]. We responded to the Request for Evidence received by showing the potential for growth which the E-2 business enterprise had in the next 3-5 years.
Based on our submissions and the fact that the client had made a legitimate effort to run the E-2 enterprise, USCIS granted our petition for an extension. This was despite the fact that the E-2 enterprise was currently not profitable and did not have any employees except the client. However, we were able to demonstrate the future prospects of the client’s business enterprise and the client’s commitment to its success.
It is with great pleasure that we share this positive outcome with our readers. VisaNation Law Group attorneys are always available to assist clients who find themselves in complex immigration situations.