Integrity Legal

Archive for October, 2010

31st October 2010

In recent weeks there seems to have been some confusion related to the issue of overstaying one’s visa in Thailand. It would appear that there was a certain amount of consternation being created as a result of postings on the internet discussing Thai Immigration policies regarding overstay. Apparently, Thai Immigration authorities are heavily scrutinizing departing foreigners’ visas to ensure that those leaving the Kingdom of Thailand remained in lawful status for the duration of their stay and those not in lawful status at the time of departure must face legal consequences in the form of fines and possible incarceration. Penalties for overstay in Thailand have always been prescribed by relevant Thai Immigration law, but confusion seems to have arisen as a result of a posting on the internet stating that Thai Immigration procedures would be changing. However, the Phuket Gazette website phuketgazette.net subsequently reported that such speculation was incorrect. To quote directly from the Phuket Gazette:

Col Panuwat today told the Gazette, “I contacted the legal department at Immigration Bureau Headquarters on Soi Suan Plu in Bangkok, the Phuket Airport Immigration Superintendent and other authorities as well.”

“All have assured me that they are still following all the terms of the Immigration Act 1979, enacted on February 29 that year,” he said.

Under the Act, “any alien who stays in the Kingdom without permission, or with permission expired or revoked, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding two years, or a fine not exceeding 20,000 baht, or both.”

Penalties for Immigration violators can be rather severe, but in many cases individuals find that they have overstayed their visa by a matter of days. In a situation similar to this it is reasonable to believe that Immigration officers are unlikely to impose more than a fine on the offending party as they depart Thailand of their own accord. However, as the duration of one’s unlawful presence increases so too could one assume that the potential penalties might increase as well. Bearing that in mind, those pondering the overstay issue are wise to note that Royal Thai Immigration Officers have significant discretion in matters involving visas, admission to Thailand, and overstay in Thailand. As the aforementioned posting went on to note:

The Phuket Gazette notes that Immigration officers at checkpoints have always had complete discretion on what punitive measures to take with overstays, as specified above.

They can also deny entry to anyone arriving at a border checkpoint for any reason, even if the person arriving is in possession of a valid visa.

In the United States, Immigration matters are generally dealt with under Congressional plenary power and Immigration officers at the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) are empowered with the authority to place prospective entrants into expedited removal proceedings or to simply deny a foreign national, even if said individual has a valid visa, admission to the USA. Thailand’s immigration rules are different from those of the United States, but one thing remains constant: Immigration Officers at any checkpoint throughout Thailand retain a great deal of discretion in matters pertaining to overstay under Thai law. Therefore, foreign nationals in Thailand should expect for overstay matters to be handled on a cases by case basis as each case is unique and no one has a right to remain in the Kingdom of Thailand without being in lawful status.

For related information please see: Thailand visa or I-601 waiver.

more Comments: 04

30th October 2010

In recent weeks, some websites have been abuzz with information pertaining to a recent memorandum from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) which discussed Social Media platforms and their relevance in the context of United States Immigration.  To quote sections of the memo directly, as posted on the EFF.org (Electronic Frontier Foundation) website:

The Internet has made it increasingly easier for people to get connected with each other whether that is with long-distance family, fiiends [sic], or to find new loves and friendships. Social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Classmates, Hi-5, and other similar sites are designed to allow people to share their creativity, pictures, and information with others. Sometimes people do this to find romance, sometimes they do it to find fiiends [sic] with similar interests, and sometimes they do it to keep in touch with family…This provides an excellent vantage point for FDNS to observe the daily life of beneficiaries and petitioners who are suspected of fraudulent activities. Generally, people on these sites speak honestly in their network because all of their friends and family are interacting with them via lM’s (Instant Messages), Blogs (Weblog journals), etc. This social networking gives FDNS an opportunity to reveal fraud by browsing these sites to see if petitioners and beneficiaries are in a valid relationship or are attempting to deceive CIS about their relationship.

Visa and Immigration Fraud are fundamental concerns of the Department of Homeland Security, the USCIS, and Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS). Therefore, investigation into the bona fides of a relationship that is the basis for submission of a visa petition can be rather routine in circumstances where a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident has submitted a petition for immigration benefits on behalf of a foreign loved one. That said, the implications of USCIS’s monitoring social media sites can be somewhat unnerving for many as evidenced by a recent quote from a blog post on the ImmigrationEquality.org website:

While we would never encourage anyone to engage in immigration fraud, it is disturbing to think of government officials “friending” unknowing immigrants to use the information in their personal posts against them. In these times of technology speeding forward, it’s important to remember that when you post anything on a public site you have to anticipate that it could be used against you.

Immigration fraud is a serious issue as the integrity of United States immigration law must be upheld both by those seeking immigration benefits and those adjudicating immigration petitions. New technologies offer new ways to stay connected to friends, family, and loved ones in a global context.  However, comments made on social media sites which may seem innocuous or humorous to an online poster at the time of a comment’s posting could be taken out of context by immigration adjudicators who are not personally acquainted with the person or persons making such comments. At the end of the day, the main themes that may be gleaned from the recent revelation of this memo: DO NOT EVER attempt to defraud the U.S. government in an attempt to obtain immigration benefits and even those seeking immigration benefits for bona fide reasons should be cognizant of the fact that information posted on social media websites could, at some point, be heavily scrutinized by immigration officers and/or adjudicators.

For related information please see: US Visa Processing Time or I-601 waiver.

more Comments: 04

29th October 2010

In recent postings on this blog, the administration has noted that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is poised to raise some of the costs and fees associated with American Immigration. To quote directly from the official website of USCIS:

WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds customers that its new fee schedule goes into effect Nov. 23, 2010.  Applications or petitions postmarked or otherwise filed on or after this date must include the new fee, or they will be rejected.

USCIS published the new fee schedule in the Federal Register on Sept. 24, following a comprehensive review of public comments received after publication of the proposed rule this summer.

The new fee schedule increases application and petition fees by an average of about 10 percent but does not increase the naturalization application fee.

Although no one likes to see fee increases, there are some who argue that an increase in processing fees is a necessary consequence of both inflation and the rising cost of the services sought. It should be noted that USCIS recently posted a shortfall and the recent fee increase would seem to be one response to this issue.

The new policy will also usher in new fees that have not previously existed. As they did not exist before it is not really correct to call the new fees “increases,” but as they result in new overall costs, the term increase could be used since the fee was technically increased from nothing to the new fee. To quote from another page of USCIS’s website:

The final fee rule establishes three new fees, including a fee for regional center designations under the Immigrant Investor (EB-5) Pilot Program, a fee for individuals seeking civil surgeon designation, and a fee to recover USCIS costs to process immigrant visas granted by the Department of State. Additionally, the final rule reduces and eliminates several fees, including some for servicemembers and certain veterans of the U.S. armed forces who are seeking citizenship-related benefits. The final rule also expands the availability of fee waivers to additional categories.

It is interesting to note that one of the newly instituted fees involves the EB-5 visa (also referred to as an investor visa). There are those who posit that the EB-5 visa might become increasingly popular in the upcoming months as the American dollar remains somewhat low compared to other currencies. Therefore, some foreign nationals could invest in EB-5 programs at comparatively cheaper rates due to the current exchange rate with the dollar. This is a net benefit to the United States as influxes of foreign capital would likely prove beneficial in a monetary sense while the infusion of foreign investors with a stake in the American economy could prove to be a catalyst for future innovation, economic activity, and overall growth.

As noted in a previous posting, the USCIS fee associated with the K-1 visa is expected to decrease when the final rule in promulgated. Although, Department of State fees associated with the K1 visa interview have recently been increased.

For related information please see: EB-5 Visa Thailand or K1 Visa Thailand.

more Comments: 04

28th October 2010

Frequent readers of this blog may have noticed that the administration routinely posts the holiday closing schedules of various United States Missions in Asia in an effort to forestall possibly fruitless trips to a US Embassy or US Consulate overseas. Many American Missions close and do not provide routine services in observance of both United States Federal holidays as well as local holidays in the Host Country. The following information was quoted directly from the official website of the United States Consulate in Hong Kong (this Post also has Consular jurisdiction over Macau):

The following have been designated as official holidays for 2010. The Consulate General will be closed to the public on these days.

Friday, January 1 New Year’s Day A/L
Monday, January 18 Martin Luther King’s Birthday A
Monday, February 15 President’s Day/Second day of the Lunar New Year A/L
Tuesday, February 16 Third day of the Lunar New Year L
Friday, April 2 Good Friday L
Monday, April 5 Easter Monday L
Tuesday, April 6 The day following Ching Ming Festival L
Friday, May 21 The Buddha’s Birthday L
Monday, May 31 Memorial Day A
Wednesday, June 16 Tuen Ng Festival L
Thursday, July 1 Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day L
Sunday, July 4
(observed Monday, July 5)
Independence Day A
Monday, September 6 Labor Day A
Thursday, September 23 The day following Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival L
Friday, October 1 National Day L
Monday, October 11 Columbus Day A
Thursday, November 11 Veterans Day A
Thursday, November 25 Thanksgiving Day A
Saturday, December 25
(observed Friday, December 24)
Christmas Day A
Monday, December 27 First Week-Day after Christmas Day L
Saturday, January 1
(observed Friday, December 31)
New Year’s Day A

A – American Holiday/L – Local Holiday

Notes: Four local holidays falling on Saturdays are not included in the 2010 holiday schedule (the day preceding Lunar New Year’s Day, February 13, the day following Good Friday, April 3, Labour Day, May 1, and Chung Yeung Festival, October 16).

Both Hong Kong and Macau are special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China and have considerable autonomy under Chinese law. That said, those Americans interested in receiving services such as issuance of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), new US passport, new visa pages, or notary services, etc. are well advised to contact the American Citizen Services (ACS) Section of the nearest US Mission in an effort to schedule an appointment at ACS. Scheduling an appointment is an efficient way of streamlining services at an American Mission abroad as Consular Officers can prepare in advance to service a prospective customer’s needs.

Those interested in matters pertaining to United States Immigration are well advised to research the issue before contacting an American Mission abroad to set up an appointment for visa interview. Many non-immigrant visa categories (ex. F1 visa, B1 visa, B2 visa)  may not require the initial filing of a visa petition in the USA. However, non-immigrant visas such as the K1 visa and the K3 Visa do require the initial approval of a petition at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Also, immigrant visa categories such as the IR1 Visa and the CR1 Visa require the initial filing of a petition with USCIS. Although, some American Consulates and Embassies abroad may allow Direct Consular Filing (DCF) under certain limited circumstances.

For related information please see: US Visa China or EB-5 Visa China.

more Comments: 04

27th October 2010

It recently came to this author’s attention that the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has promulgated a new Naturalization Certificate. The new document has enhanced security features and is updated in order to comport with current law. To quote directly from a recent press release distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced it has begun issuing a redesigned, more secure Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550) as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance the integrity of the immigration system. The agency anticipates that over 600,000 new citizens will receive the enhanced certificate over the next year.

It really can seem rather astounding that the United States grants citizenship to so many people each year as there are many countries throughout the world that do not take in immigrants at nearly the rate of the United States. Furthermore, of the countries that admit immigrants it would seem that the United States is more eager to grant citizenship to those who have obeyed the immigration laws and sought naturalization through the proper channels.

The aforementioned press release went on to note some frequently asked questions posed by those interested in the U.S. Naturalization process:

Q1. What is a Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550)?
A1. The Certificate of Naturalization serves as evidence of your citizenship. You receive it after taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. Citizenship qualifies you to vote and travel with a U.S. passport, among other rights. In many instances, a Certificate of Naturalization is accepted as a valid form of identification.


Q2. Why did USCIS redesign the naturalization certificate?
A2. The previous Certificates of Naturalization featured hard-copy photos of the candidates. The redesigned certificate features the naturalization candidate’s digitized photo and signature embedded into the base document. Eliminating the requirement to affix the hard-copy photo and hand-stamp the USCIS director’s signature cuts cost in man-hours and improves security.


Q3. What’s different about the new certificates?
A3. The naturalization candidate’s digitized photo and signature are embedded in the security-enhanced certificate. Its background features a color-shifting ink pattern that is difficult to recreate. Additionally, USCIS will use a more secure printing process, making it more tamper-proof.


Q4. When will USCIS issue the security-enhanced naturalization certificates?
A4. USCIS will begin using redesigned certificates at all offices beginning today. USCIS offices in Atlanta, Denver and Baltimore will begin to utilize the automated production process this week, including digitizing photos and signatures on all certificates. USCIS will deploy the automated production system agency-wide by the end of the calendar year.


Q5. Following the agency-wide transition to the new document, will all new citizens receive redesigned naturalization certificates with digitized photos?
A5. While all new citizens will receive the redesigned, security-enhanced certificate, certain, limited categories of naturalization candidates, including overseas military and homebound candidates, will receive documents with hard-copy photos affixed to their certificates.


Q6. I’ve already obtained a Certificate of Naturalization. Will I have to apply for the redesigned security-enhanced version?
A6. No. All previously issued Certificates of Naturalization will remain valid.

Q7. How does the issuance of the redesigned naturalization certificate impact applicants?
A7. The issuance of the redesigned Certificate of Naturalization will not impact Application for Naturalization (N-400) processing times. USCIS Application Support Centers (ASCs) will still require applicants to submit their fingerprints and two hard-copy photos. The ASCs will also capture a digital photograph and digital signature for each N-400 applicant.


Q8. If ASCs will capture digital photos of N-400 applicants, why must applicants still provide hard-copy photos?
A8. The hard-copy photos will be required as a back-up in case of unforeseen issues, allowing them to continue their naturalization process without delay.


Q9. Will USCIS update any of its other certificates?
A9. Yes. USCIS intends to digitize its other citizenship-related certificates, but no completion dates have been set.


Q10. Will the wording of the naturalization certificate change?
A10. Yes. USCIS has revised the wording to better reflect the current provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. In particular, obsolete language stating that the candidate resides in the United States and “intends to reside in the United States when so required by the Naturalization laws of the United States” has been removed. These changes affect the form of the certificate only and do not alter any legal requirements for naturalization or USCIS application processing.

This author found it interesting to note that the FAQ’s quoted above mentioned that other citizenship documentation may be updated soon. It remains to be seen whether or not the Certificate of Citizenship, which signifies US Citizenship, but for those who are Citizens not by naturalization, but through either some extraneous set of circumstances of by operation of law; will be enhanced to safeguard against fraud. Certificates of Citizenship are likely to be more common in the future particularly since the promulgation of the Child Citizenship Act, but it remains to be seen how the Certificate of Citizenship might be upgraded.

Naturalization to United States Citizenship is a serious undertaking and those interested in becoming United States Citizens should research the process thoroughly in an effort to understand the requirements and ramifications of United States Citizenship. Hopefully, this new Naturalization Certificate will result in increased security in the form of more tamper resistant documentation.

Fore related information please see: USCIS processing time, Child Citizenship Act, or Legal.

more Comments: 04

26th October 2010

This blog routinely discusses the ramifications of the National Visa Center’s policy regarding so-called administrative closure of K-3 visa applications. In order to understand how the “Administrative closure” policy can have a significant impact upon the US visa process it is best to understand how the K3 visa process works in the context of a foreign, in this blog post; Chinese, spouse.

The traditional method of obtaining a US Visa for a Chinese spouse was through petitioning for an Immigrant visa based upon the Chinese-American couple’s marital relationship. Although, in the later part of the last century, the processing time for immigrant spouse visas was becoming quite high due to a backlog at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). In an effort to deal with the backlog problem the United States Congress, along with President William Jefferson Clinton promulgated legislation commonly referred to as the “Life Act”. The language of this statute created the travel document known now as the K3 visa. It should also be pointed out that the K-4 visa was also created by the legislation. The K-4 visa, like the K-2 visa associated with the K1 visa, is a derivative visa intended for the children of K-3 visa holders. Since the creation of the K-3 visa the backlog of immigrant spousal visa petitions at USCIS has decreased dramatically.Those seeking K3 visa benefits must file a supplemental visa petition subsequent to the filing of the initial immigrant visa petition.

In 2010, the US State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC) issued a new policy stating that all K-3 visa applications would be “administratively closed” if the underlying immigrant visa petition arrived at NVC with, or before, the supplemental K-3 petition. There are many who are quick to point out that the purpose of the K-3 visa is effectively negated once the immigrant visa receives adjudication and therefore the administrative closure policy makes sense from an efficiency perspective. Regardless, this policy has likely lead to many bi-national Chinese-American couples to seek immigrant visa benefits where once they may have pursued K-3 visa benefits. Those who submit an application for immigrant visa benefits may receive either a CR-1 visa or an IR-1 visa if their application is approved. Those who enter the United States in CR-1 visa status are considered conditional lawful permanent residents upon lawful admission to the USA while those admitted to the United States in IR-1 status are considered unconditional lawful permanent residents.

Fore related information please see: K3 Visa China or for information pertaining to Consular Processing please see: US Embassy China.

more Comments: 04

23rd October 2010

Those American Citizens with Indian husbands or wives often research issues surrounding the US K-3 marriage visa category in an effort to make informed decisions about American travel documentation. Although the term “K-3 visa” has become a common buzzword used as a colloquial synonym for US Marriage Visa on the World Wide Web, the K-3 category was not always the widely utilized travel document for Indian-American couples reuniting in the United States as the Immigrant visa categories often referred to as CR-1 and/or IR-1 visas were once the only travel documents available to the spouses of American Citizens wishing to take up residence in the USA (note: the IR-1 visa category predates the CR-1 visa category as conditional lawful permanent residence status has not always been imposed upon foreign spouses of US Citizens married less than 2 years).

There was a rather significant backlog of Immigrant visa petitions at the agency now commonly referred to as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) when the K3 visa category was created by Congressional legislation sometimes called the “Life Act” which was signed and executed by President William Jefferson Clinton prior to leaving office toward the end of his term (the K-4 visa, similar to the K2 derivative visa attached to the K1 visa, was a derivative visa category also created by the “Life Act” to be utilized by the children of an Indian K-3 spouse).

Currently, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service does not have the backlog that it once had of Immigrant spousal visa petitions. As a result, the K-3′s utility has been increasingly marginalized as the estimated processing time for CR-1 visa petitions and IR-1 visa petitions has decreased. Relatively recently, the American State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC) promulgated the policy that K-3 visa applications would be administratively closed if and/or when the adjudicated immigrant visa petition arrives at NVC before or with the supplemental K-3 visa petition. This policy has likely lead to some Indian-American married couples to seek Immigrant visa benefits rather than K-3 visa benefits as “administrative closure” precluded further processing of the K-3 visa petition and application.

Those interested in the K3 visa process or the Immigrant visa process are well advised to research all options prior to making any irrevocable decisions. Furthermore, those seeking immigration advice and/or representation should check the credentials of those claiming expertise in American immigration matters as only licensed American attorneys may practice American immigration law pursuant to U.S. law.

Fore related information please see: K3 Visa India or K1 Visa India.

more Comments: 04

22nd October 2010

Although the topic of K-3 visa applications and “administrative closure” by the United States National Visa Center has been a highly discussed topic in recent postings on this web log it is important to note as it can have a tremendous impact upon the K3 visa process. The K3 visa process is often researched by those United States Citizens wishing to obtain a US Marriage Visa for their Malaysian husband or wife. Although the term “K3 visa” has been used colloquially to describe an American spousal visa on the internet, this is not really the classic method of obtaining marriage visa benefits for the spouse of an American. In reality, submitting the petition to obtain CR1 Visa and/or the IR1 Visa benefits has historically been the commonly followed route to bringing a spouse to the USA.

At one time, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) had such a substantial backlog of marriage visa petitions that the United States Congress and President William Jefferson Clinton enacted legislation commonly referred to as the “Life Act” in an effort to create, among other things, an expedited marriage visa. As a result, the K3 visa category was promulgated. The K4 visa is a derivative visa category intended to be utilized by the children of a K3 visa holder, it is somewhat similar to the K2 visa in the context of the K1 visa process. Approximately ten years after the creation of the K3 visa, USCIS no longer had the processing backlog it once had for marriage visa petitions. This lead to a situation where the National Visa Center was receiving Immigrant visa applications before or with the supplemental K3 application. It would seem that a decision was made to “administratively close” K3 visa applications where the Immigrant visa application arrived before or with the supplemental application. The reason for this policy would seem to be that the K3 visa’s utility is rather negated if the Immigrant visa petition has already been adjudicated.

Those thinking about bringing their Malaysian husband or wife to the USA are well advised to conduct research in an effort to make an informed decision about which type of benefits best suit the needs of the parties. It should also be noted that only a licensed American attorney is qualified to provide US Immigration advice or represent clients before the Department of Homeland Security or its constituent agencies such as USCIS, USCBP, or USICE pursuant to the United States Federal Code. Therefore, those thinking of retaining professional assistance for the immigration process are well advised to check the credentials of anyone claiming expertise in American immigration matters.

For related information please see: K1 Visa Malaysia or K3 Visa Malaysia.

more Comments: 04

21st October 2010

Those who have read some of the blog will no doubt note that this administration often posts information about the K3 visa process and the overall impact of administrative closing of K3 visa applications by the US State Department’s National Visa Center. Many American Citizens who have a Laotian husband or wife pose the question: “Can I get a K3 visa for my wife (or husband) to reunite with me in the USA?” The answer to this question, at the time of this writing, is a rather qualified: no. However, a brief overview of the K3 visa and the recent changes to the K3 visa process may enlighten those who are researching this issue on their own for the first time.

At one time, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) had a substantial backlog of immigrant spouse visa petitions. This lead to a situation in which it could take as long as 3 years to receive USCIS adjudication of a mere immigrant spousal visa petition filed by an American Citizen. Due to this rather untenable situation, the United States Congress and President William Jefferson Clinton promulgated and executed a piece of legislation commonly referred to as the “Life Act”. Under the provisions of the Life Act, the K3 visa category and the K4 visa category were created (The K4 visa is a derivative visa for the children of foreign spouses similar to the derivative K2 visa which can be “piggybacked” onto a K1 visa application). At the time, the K3 visa was greeted by many as a severely needed stopgap solution to a rather pernicious problem: slow processing of classic immigrant visa petitions. In recent years, the USCIS has gone to great lengths to streamline the adjudication process and thereby decrease the time it takes to see an immigrant spouse visa petition adjudicated. As a result, many adjudicated immigrant visa petitions began arriving at the National Visa Center at the same time as their K3 counterparts. At one point, it would appear that a decision was made to “administratively close” K3 visa applications when the Immigrant petition arrives either before or at the same time as the K3 petition. This leads to a situation where American-Lao bi-national couples are compelled to seek immigrant visa benefits rather than K3 visa benefits. It should be noted that immigrant visa benefits are substantially superior to K3 visa benefits as immigrant visas confer lawful permanent residence upon the bearer at the time of his or her entry into the United States. Whereas the K3 visa is simply a non-immigrant spouse visa. Therefore, those entering the USA in K3 status must either file for an adjustment of status or Consular Process their immigrant visa petition at a US Embassy or US Consulate outside of the USA.

The term “K3 visa” has sort of become the buzzword used to refer to a US Marriage Visa over the internet. In point of fact, the classic travel documents used by Lao spouses to reunite with their American counterparts are referred to as either the CR1 Visa or the IR1 Visa. Depending upon a bi-national couple’s circumstances such travel documents may confer either conditional or unconditional lawful permanent residence upon admission to the USA.

For related information please see: K1 Visa Laos or K3 Visa Laos.

more Comments: 04

20th October 2010

This blog frequently discusses American Immigration matters in a country-specific context in order to provide insight to those researching US Immigration issues for the first time. Some are not aware that in 2010 the United States National Visa Center (an agency under the jurisdiction of the US Department of State) promulgated the policy that K3 visa applications would be “administratively closed” if the underlying immigrant visa petition arrived at NVC prior to, or at the same time as, the K3 Visa petition.Those researching this issue for the first time may find a brief overview of the K3 visa’s history insightful as this may shed light upon the possible reasoning behind the “administrative closure” policy.

At one time, there was a rather large backlog of Immigrant spouse visa petitions (petitions for visas now classified as either a CR1 Visa or an IR1 Visa) at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Therefore, the United States Congress and President William Jefferson Clinton promulgated and executed legislation colloquially referred to as the “Life Act”. This statute effectively created the visa category known as the K-3 (for derivative dependents the visa category is a K-4 which is similar to the K-2 derivative visa associated with a K1 visa or fiance visa). Since the creation of the K-3 visa, the USCIS has cut down their backlog to the point where immigrant visa petitions are being adjudicated within a matter of months. As a result, there was a rather brief period of time in which USCIS was adjudicating immigrant visa petitions faster that K3 visa petitions. In any case, once USCIS has made their adjudication, such petitions are then sent to the NVC where they are the forwarded on to the US Mission, US Embassy, or US Consulate with appropriate jurisdiction for Consular Processing. At some point, a decision was made to “administratively close” K3 visa applications when the underlying immigrant visa petition arrives at NVC before, or contemporaneously with, the immigrant visa petition. In practical terms, this means that if the adjudicated immigrant visa petition arrives at NVC before the K3 petition, the K3 will be effectively set aside and the bi-national couple will be compelled to proceed with the immigrant visa process.

In a way, this policy makes some sense as the K3 visa’s utility is somewhat negated by the contemporaneous processing of an immigrant visa. As a result, at the time of this writing, there are many who feel that the K3 visa is not a particularly viable option for those Americans wishing to bring their Taiwanese husband or wife to the USA. It should be noted that the K3 visa was always a non-immigrant visa meaning that it did not confer lawful permanent residence upon the bearer when admitted to the USA. Those arriving in the USA on a K3 could choose to either consular process their immigrant visa application or file for adjustment of status in the USA.

For related information please see:  K1 Visa Taiwan or US Marriage Visa.

more Comments: 04

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisement. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.