·         Client: Mr. Ly

·         Nationality: Cambodian

·         Applying for: Motion to Reopen and Reconsider [I-290B]

·         Case Type: I-130

·         Time: 2 months

·         Challenges:

    • Client and his entire family faced deportation because he and his previous attorney did not file the Motion to Reopen within 30 days of the denial.

    • In fact, the client didn’t even receive a copy of the Notice of Denial, required to appeal his case.

    • The client could not reach his previous attorney.

    • Producing evidence that the client’s former marriage was bona fide was complicated by the former spouse’s unwillingness to help.

Mr. Ly came to Tsang and Associates feeling desperate and believing he was out of options. His current wife had filed an I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on her own. What should have been a routine, run-of-the mill process that ordinarily takes 6 to 9 months bogged down for more than a year and a half—lack of response from USCIS, missing documents, a complicated former marriage and a previous attorney who had gone incommunicado.

Mr. Ly’s 1-130 petition had been denied on the basis that he lacked sufficient evidence that his previous marriage was legitimate. In order to appeal this decision and file a Motion to Reopen, USCIS required Mr. Ly to produce his original Notice of Denial. How was he supposed to appeal the denial if he never received it? Without the Notice of Denial, his case could not be reopened and he would be denied the opportunity to prove that his former marriage had been valid. Mr. Ly and his entire family—children and siblings who had built a life here for more than 15 years—would have to leave the US when his visa expired.

The situation was serious, but we were confident that we could help Mr. Ly. We got straight to work building his case for appeal.


Mr. Ly’s USCIS case status indicated an official denial date of February 22, 2018. Our first step was to demonstrate that we had made a serious effort to reach his prior counsel regarding the official Notice of Denial. Mr. Ly and his petitioning wife’s multiple efforts to contact their previous counsel had gone unanswered, to their mounting distress. However, when we reached out to his previous attorney on March 13, 2018, we successfully ascertained that this attorney did not have, and had never received, the Notice of Denial.

Our next step was to document that Mr. Ly and his wife could not access their Notice of Denial. We were working against the clock with the looming 30-day deadline to file the Motion to Reopen.

Using the USCIS Case Status, we substantiated the February 22 denial date. We went on to produce USCIS Info Pass documents demonstrating that the Lys could not obtain a new denial notice until March 27, 2018, beyond the 30-day window for filing an MTR. In addition, we drafted affidavits explaining Mr. Ly’s situation and documenting good faith efforts to procure the missing Notice of Denial.

With rigorous and well-organized documentation, we filed the case on March 25. We proved that Mr. Ly’s case should be reopened to allow him and his petitioning wife to receive a new Notice of Denial. This, in turn would pave the way for filing a proper appeal and give them time to produce the required evidence concerning the legitimacy of Mr. Ly’s former marriage. We received the Notice of Denial on April 5, and promptly filed a new appeal. The appeal allowed Mr. Ly to remain in the US for an additional 6 months.


Mr. Ly’s initial despair became elation when we obtained the missing Notice of Denial. Faced with deportation and lacking the resources to start a new case from scratch, he sought our help for this urgent, uncertain situation. We put our heart and soul into crafting an innovative legal strategy that gave him the opportunity to submit his appeal and make his voice heard.







Edited/rewritten for Tsang and Associates by Treacy Colbert, November 12, 2018