A U.S. Consulate granted the H-4 spouse visa to our client, after agreeing to remove the INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i) charge against her. This permanent bar was made 10 years earlier, when she applied for an Immigrant Visa sponsored by her prior U.S. citizen spouse.
A 212(d)(3) nonimmigrant waiver is the more common fix, but does not get rid of the bar. In this case, I advised the applicant to file a motion to reconsider and rescind the inadmissibility charge, instead of ask for a 212(d)(3) waiver with the visa. The facts and law did not support the Consulate’s finding that she used fraud or willfully misrepresented material facts to obtain a U.S. immigration benefit.
Problem: INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i) Charge is a Permanent Bar
In the CR1 Immigrant Visa refusal, the U.S. Consulate found that my client had willfully misrepresented a material fact in her prior request for a K-3 nonimmigrant visa. The K-3 allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the U.S. with temporary status and then apply for a green card through Form I-485 adjustment.
According to the Consulate, she had falsely claimed to be married to the U.S. citizen petitioner when she really was not. It reasoned that her Hindu marriage — at the time she applied for the K-3 visa — was not legally valid because their marital ceremony did not include the statutorily recognized rituals, Saptapadi and/or Agni Pheras.
The couple chose to leave out these rituals for personal reasons. They received a marriage certificate from the government authorities based on the ceremony that was performed. They did not expect the U.S. Consulate to question the validity of the marriage due to the missing ceremonial rituals.
At the K-3 visa interview, the consular officer instructed the applicant to complete a new marital ceremony with all the necessary Hindu marriage rituals. It issued a visa refusal notice stating the petition was invalid and would be returned to USCIS for revocation.
After following the Consulate’s instructions, the U.S. citizen filed a second I-130 petition to restart the process. The beneficiary later applied for the Immigrant Visa with the understanding that the new marriage met the Consulate’s requirements.
Instead of granting the CR1 visa, the U.S. Consulate denied it under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i). The Consulate found the applicant had lied about her marital status in the K-3 visa request because she did not have a legal marriage to the petitioner at the time. She next filed a Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Inadmissibility with USCIS, as instructed by the Consulate.
A year later, the I-601 waiver request was denied. USCIS found there was insufficient evidence of extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen petitioner if the applicant did not immigrate to the United States. The separation led the marriage to fall apart and end in divorce.
Several years later, the applicant entered into a legal, bona fide marriage to an H-1B visa holder. The couple then contacted me for help in getting the H-4 visa at the U.S. Consulate.
I confirmed that section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) is a lifetime inadmissibility bar. The H-4 visa could be granted only if the U.S. Consulate agreed to remove the bar or the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Admissibility Review Office (ARO) issued a 212(d)(3) waiver with the Consulate’s recommendation.
Solution: Motion to Reconsider and Rescind Inadmissibility Bar in H-4 Visa Request
With my guidance, the couple decided to ask the U.S. Consulate to remove the section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) charge and grant the H-4 visa, without requiring the 212(d)(3) waiver.
To support the Motion to Reconsider, I counseled the H-1B spouse and the H-4 applicant on the written testimonies and documentary evidence to present to the U.S. Consulate. I also prepared a legal memorandum explaining why the section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) bar did not apply to this case.
At the visa interview, the applicant was questioned about the prior marriage that led to the inadmissibility bar. To show the consular officer that the bar was made in error, she presented the Motion to Reconsider, including my legal memorandum and her affidavit. The Consulate accepted her documents and placed the case in 221(g) administrative processing.
After receiving my follow-up inquiry, the Consulate scheduled the applicant for a second interview. This was three months after her first interview. She answered more questions on her marriage to the H-1B visa holder. She also submitted more evidence related to the marriage in response to a second 221(g) notice.
Six months after the first interview, the Consulate issued a notice stating the applicant was eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility. I then followed up with the Consulate requesting again they review the Motion to Reconsider and lift the section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) bar.
After several more months of administrative processing and follow-up inquiries, the Consulate issued a notice stating a new waiver was in process because the prior waiver had expired.
At that point, I filed a request with the Visa Office, U.S. Department of State, asking it to counsel the U.S. Consulate to reconsider the inadmissibility charge, instead of require a 212(d)(3) waiver. The Visa Office contacted the Consulate and began to investigate my inquiry.
Outcome: Removal of Misrepresentation Bar and H-4 Visa Grant
A year after the applicant had attended her first H-4 visa interview, the U.S. Consulate agreed to remove the section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) bar. The Visa Office sent me an email stating the Consulate would contact the applicant with further instructions on her H-4 visa request.
Despite the long wait, my client was happy to have the bar lifted and to receive her H-4 visa without needing a 212(d)(3) waiver. The visa was marked with a “clearance received” annotation. Because her spouse was already in the United States in H-1B status, she was excepted from Presidential Proclamation 10052, which placed COVID-19 travel restrictions on nonimmigrant visa applicants.
With the removal of the 212(a)(6)(C)(i) charge, my client will not a need a 212(d)(3) waiver to extend her H-4 status or to get a new nonimmigrant visa. She also will not require a Form I-601/INA 212(i) waiver to immigrate to the U.S. with her husband, who may apply for permanent residence through his U.S. employer.
The H-4 applicant, her H-1B spouse and I communicated by emails and telephone calls. I had one in-person meeting with the H-1B spouse for the initial consultation. With effective collaboration, we convinced the U.S. Consulate to remove the (6)(C)(i) bar — which was made a decade ago — and grant the H-4 visa. This is a true success story.
Founder & Principal Attorney
Dyan Williams Law PLLC
This article provides general information only. It is based on law, regulations and policy that are subject to change. Do not consider it as legal advice for your situation. Each case is unique and even cases that seem similar may have different outcomes. The sharing or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Intro & Outro Music by: Sebastian Brian Mehr