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Adopted AAO Decisions as of May 20, 2016
Matter of L-S-M-, Adopted Decision 2016-03 (AAO Feb. 23, 2016), held:
(1) The exception under section 240B(d)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to the civil
penalties for failure to comply with an order of voluntary departure, available for certain
victims of domestic violence or related abuse, does not extend to U-1 nonimmigrant victims of
qualifying criminal activity.
(2) The civil penalties under section 240B(d)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act apply
only to aliens who voluntarily fail to comply with an order of voluntary departure. Matter of
Zmijewska, 24 I&N Dec. 87 (BIA 2007), followed.
Matter of Zmijewska, 24 I&N Dec. 87 (BIA 2007), held:
(1) The Board of Immigration Appeals lacks authority to apply an "exceptional
circumstances" or other general equitable exception to the penalty provisions for
failure to depart within the time period afforded for voluntary departure under section
240B(d)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C.A. § 1229c(d)(1) (West
(2) An alien has not voluntarily failed to depart the United States under section
240B(d)(1) of the Act when the alien, through no fault of his or her own, was unaware
of the voluntary departure order or was physically unable to depart within the time
Matter of Z-A-, Inc., Adopted Decision 2016 02 (AAO Apr. 14, 2016), held:
(1) While an L-1A function manager may use his or her business expertise to perform some
operational or administrative tasks, he or she primarily must manage an essential function.
(2) To determine whether a beneficiary’s job duties will be primarily managerial in nature, an
adjudicating officer must consider the totality of the record and weigh all relevant factors,
including: the nature and scope of the petitioner’s business; the petitioner’s organizational
structure, staffing levels, and the beneficiary’s position within the petitioner’s organization;
the scope of the beneficiary’s authority; the work performed by other staff within the
petitioner’s organization, including whether those employees relieve the beneficiary from
performing operational and administrative duties; and any other factors that will contribute
to understanding a beneficiary’s actual duties and role in the business.
(3) When staffing levels are considered in determining whether an individual will act as a
manager, an officer must also take into account relevant evidence in the record concerning the
reasonable needs of the organization as a whole, including any related entities within the
“qualifying organization,” giving consideration to the organization’s overall purpose and stage
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Matter of H-V-P-, Adopted Decision 2016 01 (AAO Feb. 9, 2016), held:
In addition to primary care physicians, medical specialists who agree to practice in any area
designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as having a shortage of health care
professionals may be eligible for the physician national interest waiver under section
203(b)(2)(B)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Matter of Vazquez, Adopted Decision 07 0006 (AAO July 31, 2007), held:
(1) Applicants born in a country other than the Republic of Cuba and who hold the citizenship
of that country may still establish Cuban citizenship for the purposes of adjustment under
section 1 of Pub. L. 89-732 (November 2, 1966), as amended, the Cuban Adjustment Act, if
they document their birth to a Cuban father or mother outside Cuba, as required by Article
29(c) of the Cuban Constitution. Individuals born outside Cuba whose Cuban citizenship is not
documented with a Cuban passport, may establish Cuban citizenship for the purposes of
adjustment under the Cuban Adjustment Act through the submission of a Cuban birth
certificate issued by the Civil Registry of Cuba in Havana, or a Cuban consular certificate
documenting their birth to at least one Cuban parent within the consular district served by the
(2) Documentary requirements previously established by Matter of Buschini, USCIS Adopted
Decision 06-0004 (AAO, June 30, 2006) are overruled and will no longer be followed by
Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Matter of Perez Quintanilla, Adopted Decision 07 0005 (AAO June 7, 2007), held:
(1) Pursuant to section 101(a)(27)(J)(iii)(I) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the Act),
8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(27)(J)(iii)(I), when an applicant for special immigrant juvenile status is in
the actual or constructive custody of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security,
he or she must obtain the Secretary’s specific consent to a juvenile court’s jurisdiction to
determine his or her custody status or placement. For the purpose of determining whether an
applicant is in the constructive custody of the Secretary such that specific consent is required,
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will look to the current policy and practices of U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
(2) Pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 204.11(c)(5), an applicant must continue “to be dependent upon the
juvenile court and eligible for long-term foster care” in order to be eligible for special
immigrant juvenile status. Eligibility for long-term foster care is defined by regulation to mean
“that a determination has been made by the juvenile court that family reunification is no longer
a viable option.” 8 C.F.R. § 204.11(a). When a juvenile court in the State of Florida extends its
jurisdiction over an applicant beyond his or her 18th birthday pursuant to Florida Statute §
39.013(2), and the juvenile court has determined that the applicant is eligible for long-term
foster care due to the non-viability of family reunification, the applicant continues to meet the
eligibility criteria for special immigrant juvenile status set forth in 8 C.F.R. § 204.11(c)(5),
unless the juvenile court orders otherwise.
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Matter of IT Ascent, Inc., Adopted Decision 06 0001 (AAO Sept. 2, 2005), held:
(1) The 6-year period of authorized admission of an H-1B nonimmigrant accrues only during
periods when the alien is lawfully admitted and physically present in the United States.
(2) The petitioner must submit supporting documentary evidence to meet its burden of proof.
Copies of passport stamps or Form I-94 arrival-departure records, without an accompanying
statement or chart of dates the beneficiary spent outside the country, could be subject to error
in interpretation, might not be considered probative, and may be rejected by CIS. Similarly, a
statement of dates spent outside of the country must be accompanied by consistent, clear and
corroborating proof of departures from and reentries into the United States.
Previous adopted decisions, now superseded by USCIS policy or by
designation of the adopted decision as a precedent decision, are listed below:
Matter of Buschini, Adopted Decision 06-0004 (AAO June 30, 2006), overruled
by Matter of Vazquez, Adopted Decision 07-0006 (AAO July 31, 2007)
Matter of Chawathe, Adopted Decision 06-0003 (AAO Jan. 11, 2006), superseded
by Matter of Chawathe, 25 I&N Dec. 369 (AAO Oct. 20, 2010)
Matter of Al Wazzan, Adopted Decision 06-0002 (AAO Jan. 12, 2005), superseded
by Matter of Al Wazzan, 25 I&N Dec. 359 (AAO Oct. 20, 2010)
Adopted AAO Decisions:
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AAO Non-Precedent Decisions: