Imagine this scenario: You are a U.S. Citizen with a loved one overseas. You have an approved I-130, you’ve dealt with the National Visa Center, and now your family member has an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. You anxiously await news on how the interview went. When your loved one calls, you not only find out that the visa was denied, but that the Consular Office is asking USCIS to revoke the underlying petition. What does this mean? How did this happen? How do you fix it?
It may not seem fair when you already have an approved I-130, but a Consular Officer can re-evaluate your relationship at the interview and determine that USCIS’s approval may have been a mistake. The Consular Officer might doubt that a couple married for love or that a son is the biological child of his father. When this happens, the Consular Officer does not have the power to revoke the I-130, but they do have the power to ask USCIS to revoke the I-130.
The Consular Officer explains the negative information in writing and sends the file back to the United States. USCIS evaluates those concerns and will then issue a Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOIR). The NOIR details the problems encountered at the visa interview – maybe there was conflicting information or the foreign national doesn’t know enough about the U.S. citizen.
Typically, you have 30 days to respond to the NOIR. You have to show USCIS why your I-130 petition should stay approved and why the Consular Officer made the wrong decision. If you’re successful, the case will be sent back to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate and a second visa interview will be arranged. If the I-130 is revoked, you can appeal, but a decision can take years. The other two options are to either give up or to start the entire process again.
During the past few months, Klinke Immigration has worked on two particularly difficult NOIRs. In both cases, the Consular Officer questioned strong relationships and has needlessly caused a lengthy delay in family reunification. In one, the Consular Officer had the audacity to question whether or not the biological father of three young children was truly deceased, despite a death certificate and pictures from the funeral having been previously submitted. In the other case, one of the reasons given for the NOIR was that the married couple was of “limited financial means,” which to the Consular Officer meant that the motivation to marry was suspect.
Both of these cases were infuriating for the U.S. citizens. They had done everything right – they thought they were weeks away from seeing their loved ones. Instead, they got the rug pulled out from under them at the last minute. They hired our firm to help them respond to USCIS. By explaining the law, the standard of evidence, and going over common sense explanations to purported inconsistencies, we were able to get the NOIRs overturned and the cases were re-affirmed. New interviews will be set and it is my hope that these families will be together in time for the holidays.
Remember – if the worst happens and you find yourself in this situation, don’t give up hope! Talk to an attorney as quickly as possible so you can put together a strong submission that will leave no doubt in anyone’s mind about your relationship.