Overcoming Obstacles: Felicity’s Journey to U.S. Citizenship

Navigating the immigration process can be daunting, especially when unexpected challenges arise. This month, we achieved an important milestone for one of our clients who faced many of the challenges that can arise during the immigration journey. Felicity’s journey from obtaining a green card to becoming a naturalized citizen exemplifies the complexities and triumphs that can occur if you keep fighting.

Meeting Felicity: A Unique Challenge

In 2018, I met Felicity. I say “met” loosely because we spoke virtually on Zoom, as she lived in Tennessee and it was too far for her to drive to Atlanta to meet in person. In our call, she explained that her husband had recently been served a ten-year jail sentence. She didn’t know what to do because she had come to the US on a K-1 Fiance Visa and they had filed her green card application just a few months earlier. USCIS then called her in for an interview and she didn’t know what to do. Everything she saw online said her husband had to be there, but there was no way.

The First Challenge: Green Card Interview

She was convinced that her husband had to go with her to the interview but didn’t know how that could be possible given the situation. Ideally, he would go with her, but it’s not an absolute requirement. Thankfully, they had several children together so there was no question about the validity of their marriage. So, we talked about the documents to take to the interview—call records, letters, and his court record—all to show that they were still together, even if they were currently physically separated.

The Next Step: Conditional Residency 

Thankfully, Felicity’s conditional residency was approved and, about 20 months later, she called me again to ask what to do next. Her husband remained in jail, so they didn’t have any new joint documents to provide with the I-751 filing. We amassed as much as we could to show that she and her husband still communicated and did their best to maintain a relationship. Thankfully, the I-751 was approved, despite the couple having not lived together for over two years.

The Final Step: Naturalization

In late 2023, Felicity contacted me about the last step of her immigration journey. She was ready to apply for Naturalization. We got her application filed and, in mid-May, she had her naturalization interview. I couldn’t be with her, but as soon as I saw the email come through saying her case had been approved, I emailed her to share my happiness with her. She wrote back immediately to say she was waiting to be sworn in that very same day!

Reflecting: Why Felicity’s Story Matters

I share Felicity’s story for a few different reasons. First, it shows that geographic distance between us and our clients isn’t an issue. I came to know Felicity and her family over the years and felt every worry she had. I also felt relief and elation when she was being sworn in. Second, it shows that online research isn’t the last authority. Her case was unique and required a unique solution. Third, there is always hope. I’m so grateful she didn’t give up and just abandoned her green card application. Even though she felt like her situation was hopeless, I knew otherwise. I absolutely love finding solutions for clients who have no idea that solutions are available. 

Before giving up on a seemingly impossible situation, talk to an experienced attorney to see if things are truly as bleak as they seem. It doesn’t matter if the attorney is around the corner or in the opposite corner of the country. 

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