Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘American Fiance Visa’

19th September 2018

In what may be one of the most significant developments in immigration practice in quite some time, it recently came to this blogger’s attention via a policy memorandum from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that the USCIS is radically changing their policies with respect to Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs). For those unaware, an RFE is issued in a case where the adjudicating officer of an immigration petition is not fully satisfied that the beneficiary and/or the petitioner meet the legal requirements. An NOID is similar and may allow the petitioner to rectify a petition notwithstanding prior inadequacy.

That being stated, the procedures regarding issuance of RFEs and NOIDs have been fundamentally altered pursuant to policy memorandum PM-602-0163 dated July 13, 2018 entitled “Issuance of Certain RFEs and NOIDs; Revisions to Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM)Chapter 10.5(a), Chapter 10.5(b)” The provisions of this memo dictate new guidelines for adjudicators of immigration petitions. To quote directly from the USCIS website:

The 2013 PM addressed policies for the issuance of RFEs and NOIDs when the evidence submitted at the time of filing did not establish eligibility. In practice, the 2013 PM limited denials without RFEs or NOIDs to statutory denials by providing that RFEs should be issued unless there was “no possibility” of approval. This “no possibility” policy limited the application of an adjudicator’s discretion.

The policy implemented in this guidance restores to the adjudicator full discretion to deny applications, petitions, and requests without first issuing an RFE or a NOID, when appropriate.

Although the ramifications may not be immediately apparent, especially to those who do not deal with the immigration apparatus on a regular basis, this change in policy is rather profound. The prior doctrine which required that an adjudicator denying a petition without first issuing an RFE or NOID show that there was “no possibility” that a case could receive approval provided a great deal of limitation upon an adjudicator’s ability to unilaterally deny an immigration petition. The removal of this policy encumbrance allows future adjudicators a great deal more discretion in issuing immediate petition denials. The sources noted above go on to note that the primary reason for the change in policy stems from the desire to discourage so-called “placeholder” or “frivolous” filings (which under certain circumstances is laudable as such cases can unnecessarily clog up the immigration processing channels), but there could be significant ramifications for cases which would not necessarily fit those descriptions.

For example, in K-1 visa petitions it is now more likely that more denials will be issued in the future in such cases where it has not been incontrovertibly proven that the couple has in fact met in person within 2 years of filing for the benefit (the so-called Meeting Requirement). Furthermore, in cases involving petitioning for a fiance visa it seems logical to infer that future adjudications may result in a  denial where the petitioner has failed to demonstrate that both parties maintain the requisite intention to marry in the USA.

It is difficult to speculate at this time exactly how this change in policy will be implemented and the full consequences associated therewith. However, two things are clear: 1) visa petitions are likely to be more susceptible to denial moving forward and 2) those thinking of undertaking a do-it-yourself approach to petitioning for a fiancee or marriage visa are well advised to seriously consider the negative aspects of failing to seek professional legal assistance in immigration matters as failure to fully delineate a case clearly and concisely in the initial petition for immigration benefits could result in a denial and thereby a loss of time and resources.

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7th December 2017

Khmer language translation of the video found here: ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​ K-1 ពី​ប្រទេស​កម្ពុជា៖

នៅ​ក្នុង​វីដេអូ​នេះ យើង​នឹង​ពិភាក្សា​អំពី​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​ K-1 សំរាប់​គូដណ្ដឹង ​ក្នុង​បរិបទ​នៃ​ការ​ដំណើរ​ការ​របស់ការិយាល័យ​កុងស៊ុល​នៃ​​ស្ថានទូត​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក​ប្រចាំ​នៅរាជធានី​ភ្នំពេញនៃ​ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រ​កម្ពុជា ។

សំរាប់​អ្នក​ដែល​បាន​ចូល​មក​កាន់​ទំព័រ​របស់​យើង ហើយ​បាន​ឃើញ​វីដេអូ​មួយ​ចំនួន​របស់​យើង​ហើយ អ្នក​ប្រហែល​ជា​ដឹង​ហើយ​ថា​យើង​មាន​ទីតាំង​នៅ​ក្នុង​ទីក្រុង​បាងកកនៃ​ប្រទេស​ថៃ ។ យើង​ធ្វើ​ការ​ដោះស្រាយជា​​ចម្បង​លើ​សំណុំរឿង​អន្តោប្រវេសន៍ ។ ជា​ទូទៅ​គឺ​សំរាប់​ជនជាតិ​ថៃ​អាមេរិកាំង ហើយ​យើង​ធ្វើ​ការ​រត់​ការ​សំណុំរឿង​ជាច្រើន​ពាក់ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​សំណុំរឿង​អន្តោប្រវេសន៍សំរាប់​គ្រួសារ​អាមេរិក ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​គូដណ្ដឹង ទិដ្ឋាការប្រភេទ​រៀបការ ។ល។

ដោយ​សារ​យើង​មាន​ទីតាំង​ស្ថិត​នៅ​ក្នុងទី​ក្រុង​បាងកក មិន​មែន​មាន​ន័យ​ថា​យើង​ធ្វើ​ការ​ផ្ដាច់​មុខ​លើរឿង​អន្តោប្រវេសន៍​អាមេរិក​​តែនៅ​ក្នុង​ប្រទេស​នេះ នោះ​ទេ ។ វា​គួរ​អោយ​ចាប់​អារម្មណ៍​ដែរ ដែល​មេធាវីអន្តោប្រវេសន៍ជា​ច្រើនដែល​ធ្វើ​ការ​នៅ​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក​ហាក់​ដូច​ជាធ្វើ​ការ​ជាមួយ​អតិថិជន​ចំរុះ​ជាតិសាសន៍ ប៉ុន្តែ​ផ្ទុយ​ទៅ​វិញ​ យើង​នៅ​ទី​ក្រុង​បាងកក​នេះ ហាក់​ដូច​ជា​ធ្វើ​ការ​តែ​ជាមួយ​​ជនជាតិ​ថៃ​ ។ ទោះ​បី​ជា​យ៉ាង​ណា​ក៏​ដោយ ខ្ញុំ​ក៏​ធ្លាប់​បាន​ធ្វើ​ការជាមួយ​សំណុំរឿងមួយចំនួនដែរ​ដែល​​ពាក់​ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​ស្ថានទូត​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក​ប្រចាំ​នៅរាជធានី​ភ្នំពេញនៃ​ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រ​កម្ពុជាដែរ​ ដោយសារ​តែ​ប្រទេស​នេះ​នៅ​ជិត​ប្រទេស​ថៃ ។ សំរាប់​អ្នក​ដោយ​ចាប់​អារម្មណ៍​លើ​ដំណើរ​ការដោយ​មើល​ពី​ទិដ្ឋភាព​ទូទៅ ជា​ការ​ល្អ​បំផុត​គឺ​អ្នក​គួរ​មើល​ទៅ​លើ​រឿង​នេះ​ជា​២​ដំណាក់​កាល៖ ដំណាក់​កាល​មួយ​គឺ​ពាក់​ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​ក្រសួង​សន្ដិសុខ​មាតុភូមិ ។ ស្ថាប័នអន្តោប្រវេសន៍ ​ហៅ​កាត់​ថា USCIS​ ស្ថិត​នៅ​ក្រោម​ការ​គ្រប់​គ្រង​របស់​ក្រសួង​សន្ដិសុខ​មាតុភូមិ នឹង​ចាប់​ផ្ដើម​ដំបូង​ដោយ​ធ្វើ​ការ​សំរេច​យល់​ព្រម​លើ​ទំរង់បែបបទធានា I-129F ។ ពាក្យ​ធានា​នេះ គឺ​ជា​ចំនុច​ចាប់​ផ្ដើម​ដំបូង​នៃ​ដំណើរ​ការ​នេះ ។ អ្នក​ត្រូវ​ដាក់​ពាក្យ​ធានា ហើយ​អ្នក​ត្រូវ​តែ​ទទួល​បាន​ការ​សំរេច​យល់​ព្រម​ពី​ USCIS​ នៃ​ក្រសួង​សន្ដិសុខ​មាតុភូមិ មុនពេល​ដែល​អ្នក​អាច​បន្ត​ដំណើរ​ការ​ជាមួយ​នឹង​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​ K-1 រប​ស់​អ្នក​ ។ បន្ទាប់​ពី​ទទួល​បាន​ការ​​សំរេច​យល់​ព្រមលើ​ពាក្យ​ធានា​របស់​អ្នក​ហើយ យើង​នឹង​និយាយ​អំពី​តំរូវ​ការ​លំអិត​ពាក់​ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​ពាក្យ​ធានា ។ អ្វី​ដែល​ត្រូវ​កំណត់​ចំណាំ​ជាង​គេ​បំផុត​នោះ​ គឺ​ដៃ​គូ​ដែល​ដាក់​ពាក្យ​ធានាទាំង​ពីរ​នាក់​​ត្រូវ​តែ​នៅ​ទំនេរ​និង​អាច​រៀប​ការ​បានដោយ​ស្របច្បាប់​ នៅ​ពេល​ដែល​ពាក្យ​ធានា​ត្រូវ​បាន​ដាក់​ ។ លើស​ពី​នេះ​ទៅ​ទៀត ភាគីទាំង​ពីរ​ត្រូវធ្លាប់​បាន​ជួប​គ្នា​ផ្ទាល់​ក្នុង​កំឡុង​ពេល​២ឆ្នាំមុន​ពេល​ដែល​ពួក​គេ​ដាក់​ពាក្យ​ធានា​សុំ​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​ K-1 ។ រឿង​ដែល​សំខាន់​ជាង​គេ​ដែល​ត្រូវ​ចាំគឺ «អ្នក​ត្រូវ​តែ​នៅ​ទំនេរ​និង​អាច​រៀប​ការបាន​ដោយ​ស្របច្បាប់ ។ អ្នក​មិន​អាច​ស្ថិត​នៅ​ក្នុង​ស្ថានភាព​កំពុង​លែង​លះនោះ​ទេ ។ អ្នក​​ត្រូវតែ​លែង​លះ​រួច​រាល់​ហើយ ប្រសិន​បើអ្នក​មាន​ប្ដី​ឬ​ប្រពន្ធ​មុន ។ ​អ្នក​ត្រូវ​តែ​នៅ​ទំនេរ​និង​អាច​រៀប​ការ​បានដោយ​ស្របច្បាប់ ហើយ​អ្វី​ដែល​អ្នក​ត្រូវចង​ចាំ ​ដែរ​នោះ​គឺ​ថា​ តំរូវ​ការ​នេះ​អាច​នឹង​មាន​នៅ​ក្នុងយុត្តាធិការ​នៃ​ច្បាប់​សាមញ្ញ ឬ​ពេល​ខ្លះ​ក៏​មាន​នៅ​ក្នុងយុត្តាធិការ​នៃ​​ច្បាប់​រដ្ឋ​ប្បវេណី​ផង​ដែរ ។ អ្នក​មិន​អាច​ស្ថិត​នៅ​ក្នុង​ស្ថានភាព​មាន​ប្ដី​ឬ​ប្រពន្ធ​ នៅពេល​ដំណើរ​ការ​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​ K-1 នោះ​ទេ បើ​ទោះ​បី​ជា​អ្នក​ទាំង​ពីរ​ជាប្ដី​ប្រពន្ធ​ក៏​ដោយ ។ អ្នក​ត្រូវ​រង់ចាំ និង​ស្ថិត​នៅ​ក្នង​ស្ថានភាព​ជាគូដណ្ដឹង រហូត​ដល់​គូដណ្ដឹងបរទេសរបស់​អ្នក​ដែល​ក្នុង​សំណុំរឿង​នេះ ជា​ជនជាតិ​ខ្មែរ ចាកចេញ​ពី​រាជធានី​ភ្នំពេញ ទៅ​កាន់​សហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក ហើយ​បន្ទាប់​មក​អ្នក​នឹង​មាន​រយៈពេល​ ៩០​ថ្ងៃ ដើម្បី​រៀប​អាពាហ៍​ពិពាហ៍ និង​ដាក់​ពាក្យ​សុំ​ផ្លាស់​ប្ដូរ​ស្ថានភាព​អន្តោប្រវេសន៍​ ។ ការ​​ផ្លាស់​ប្ដូរ​ស្ថានភាព​អន្តោប្រវេសន៍ គឺ​ជា​ដំណើរ​ការ​មួយ​ផ្សេងទៀត ។ វា​កើតឡើង​បន្ទាប់​ពី​ការ​រៀបការ​នៅ​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក ។ មាន​វីដេអូ​មួយ​ផ្សេងទៀត​នៅ​ក្នុង​ទំព័រ​នេះ ដែល​ពិភាក្សា​ជាពិសេស​លើ​សេចក្ដី​លំអិត​នៃ​ការ​​ផ្លាស់​ប្ដូរ​ស្ថានភាព​អន្តោប្រវេសន៍ ។ យើង​អាច​និយាយ​បាន​ថា ជា​មូលដ្ឋានវា​គឺ​ជា​ដំណើរ​ការដែល​គូដណ្ដឹងបរទេស​ ដែល​បន្ទាប់​មកនឹង​ក្លាយ​ទៅ​ប្តី​ឬ​ប្រពន្ធ នឹង​ទទួល​បាន​សិទ្ធិ​ជាអ្នក​រស់​នៅ​ជា​អចិន្ត្រៃយ៍​ដោយ​ស្របច្បាប់ ឬ​ដែល​ត្រូ​វ​បាន​គេ​ស្គាល់ថា​ជា​អ្នក​កាន់​ green card នៅ​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក ។ អញ្ចឹង​ វា​គឺ​ជា​រឿង​ដែល​កើត​ឡើង​ចុង​ក្រោយ​នៃ​ដំណើរ​ការ​នេះ ។ ត្រឡប់​មក​និយាយ​ពីសំណុំបែបបទធានា​វិញ ដៃ​គូត្រូវ​តែ​បាន​ជួប​គ្នា​ផ្ទាល់​ក្នុង​កំឡុង​ពេល​២ឆ្នាំ​មុន​ការ​ដាក់​ពាក្យ ត្រូវ​តែ​នៅ​ទំនេរ និង​អាច​រៀប​ការបាន​ដោយ​ស្របច្បាប់​ ។ មាន​ពត៌មាន​លំអិត​ជា​ច្រើន​ទៀត​ដែល​ពាក់​ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​រឿង​នេះ​ ដែល​ខ្ញុំ​នឹង​មិន​ពិភាក្សា​ស៊ី​ជម្រៅ​ពេក​ទេ ។ ​សន្មត់​ថា ស្ថាប័ន USCIS DHS​ បាន​ធ្វើ​ការ​សំរេច​យល់​ព្រម​លើ​ពាក្យ​ធានា ។ សំណុំរឿង​នេះ​នឹង​ត្រូវ​បញ្ជូន​​យ៉ាង​លឿន​ទៅ​កាន់​មជ្ឍមណ្ឌល​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ជាតិ ដែល​ដើរ​តួ​ដូច​ជា​កន្លែង​លាង​សំអាតឯកសារ ឬ​ទីតាំង​សំរាប់​បញ្ជូនឯកសារ ដើម្បី​បញ្ជូន​សំណុំ​រឿង​នេះ​ទៅ​កាន់ស្ថានទូត ឬ​ស្ថាន​កុងស៊ុល​ក្រៅ​ប្រទេស​ដែល​សមស្រប ហើយ​នៅ​ក្នុង​សំណុំរឿង​នេះ​គឺកម្ពុជា ។ សំណុំរឿង​នឹង​ត្រូវ​បញ្ជូន​ទៅ​រាជធានី​ភ្នំពេញនៃ​ប្រទេស​កម្ពុជា ហើយ​នៅ​ពេល​នោះ អ្នក​ត្រូវ​ធ្វើ​ការ​រត់​ការ​តាម​ដំណើរ​ការ​ជាក់លាក់​របស់​ផ្នែក​ទិដ្ឋាការនៃការិយាល័យ​កុងស៊ុល​របស់​ស្ថាន​ទូត​នៅទីនោះ ។

ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​ K-1 មាន​លក្ខណៈគួរ​អោយ​ចាប់​អារម្មណ៍ ដោយ​សារ​វា​ត្រូវ​បាន​គេ​ចាត់​ទុក​ថា​ជា​ប្រភេទ​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ដែល​មាន​គោល​បំណង​ពីរ ។ បើ​យើង​និយាយ​តាម​ច្បាប់ វា​ស្ថិត​នៅ​ក្នុង​ប្រភេទ​ទិដ្ឋាការ​មិន​មែន​អន្តោ​ប្រវេសន៍ ប៉ុន្តែ​ចំពោះ​​ការ​ដំណើរ​ការ​នៅ​ក្នុង​កុងស៊ុល និង​ដំណើរ​ការនៃ​ដាក់​ពាក្យ វា​ត្រូវ​បាន​គេ​គិត​ថា​មាន​បំណងដើម្បីទទួល​បាន​​ទិដ្ឋាការ​អន្តោប្រវេសន៍ ដូចជា​​ទិដ្ឋាការប្រភេទ​ប្តី​ប្រពន្ធ​ ឬ CR-1 ឬ IR-1 ដែរ ប៉ុន្តែ​លើក​លែង​តែ​ទិដ្ឋាការប្រភេទ K-3 ។ ដូច្នេះ ជា​សរុប​រួមនៅ​ក្នុង​វីដេអូនេះ ដំណើរ​ការ​នៃ​ការ​ដាក់​ពាក្យ​សុំយក​គូដណ្ដឹងជនជាតិ​ខ្មែរ​ទៅ​កាន់​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក ចាប់​ផ្ដើម​ពី​សហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក ដំណើរ​ការ​តាម​រយៈភ្នាក់ងារ​មួយ​ចំនួន​នៅ​ទី​នោះ មុន​ពេល​បញ្ជូន​ទៅ​ដល់​ស្ថានទូតសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកប្រចាំ​នៅ​រាជធានី​ភ្នំពេញ ។ បន្ទាប់​មក​ទៀត មាន​ឯកសារ​ជា​ច្រើន​ដែល​ពាក់​នឹង​ដំណើរ​ការ​រួម​ និង​ឯកសារ​មួយ​ចំនួន​ដែល​ត្រូវ​បកប្រែពី​ភាសាខ្មែរ ទៅ​អង់គ្លេស ។ សំរាប់​សេវាកម្ម​របស់​យើង​ខ្ញុំ​ យើង​អាច​ធ្វើ​ការ​បក​ប្រែ​ឯកសារ​ទាំង​នោះបាន​ ដែល​វា​គឺជា​ផ្នែកដ៏​សំខាន់មួយ​នៃអ្វី​​យើង​ត្រូវ​ធ្វើ​ការ​រត់​ការជាធម្មតា ។ ជា​រឿយៗ ខ្ញុំ​ត្រូវ​ទៅ​រាជធានី​ភ្នំពេញ ដើម្បី​ដោះស្រាយ​សំណុំរឿង​ជាមួយ​អតិថិជន ហើយ​ពេល​ខ្លះ​អាច​នឹង​ត្រូវ​ការ​ការ​បក​ប្រែដែរ ។ ប៉ុន្តែ​និយាយ​ជារួម​ទៅ បើ​យើង​មើល​ទៅ​លើ​លក្ខណៈទូទៅ​នៃ​ដំណើរ​ការ​នៃ​ការ​ដាក់​ពាក្យ​នេះ ហើយ​និង​អ្វី​ដែល​យើង​អាច​ជួយ​បាន​ប្រសិន​បើ​ចាំ​បាច់ គឺ​ថា​វា​ត្រូវ​ចាប់​ផ្ដើម​ចេញពី​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក ហើយ​និង​មក​ស្ថានទូត​ជា​ចុង​ក្រោយ ។ ខ្ញុំ​គិត​ថា​វា​អាច​នឹង​ទាម​ទារ​ពេល​ប្រហែល​ជា​ ៨ ឬ ៩​ខែជា​មធ្យម សំរាប់​ដំណើរ​ការ​ទាំង​អស់​ដើម្បីទទួល​បាន​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​ K-1 ។ វា​អាច​ដំណើរ​ការ​លឿន​ ឬ​យឺត​ជាង​នេះ ។ អ្វី​ដែល​ត្រូវ​ចាំ​ពាក់​ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​ពាក្យ​សុំ​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ទៅសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក គឺ​ថា​វា​ដូច​ជា​ដុំ​ព្រិល​អញ្ចឹង ដុំ​នីមួយៗ​មាន​លក្ខណៈពិសេស​ខុសៗគ្នា ហើយ​អ្នក​អាច​នឹង​ឃើញ​ថា​សំណុំរឿង​មួយ​អាច​នឹង​ដំណើរ​ការ​យ៉ាង​លឿនដោយ​នឹក​ស្មាន​មិន​ដល់ ។ យើង​ធ្លាប់​រត់​ការ​សំណុំរឿង​មួយ​ដែល​ដំណើរ​ការ​យ៉ាង​លឿន បើ​ប្រៀបធៀប​ទៅ​នឹង​សំណុំរឿង​ផ្សេងៗ​ទៀត​ជា​មធ្យម ហើយ​ខ្ញុំ​គិត​ថា​នេះគឺ​ដោយ​សារ​តែ​វា​ទៅ​កាន់​ចំទីកន្លែង និង​ពេល​វេលាដែល​ត្រូវ​ជា​ទី​បំផុត ដែល​ធ្វើ​អោយ​វា​ដំណើរ​ការ​លឿន ខណៈពេល​ដែល​សំណុំរឿង​ខ្លះ​ដំណើរ​ការ​យឺត ។ សំណុំរឿងនីមួយៗមាន​លក្ខណៈខុសៗគ្នា​ទៅតាម​សំណុំរឿង និង​ស្ថានភាព​ផ្សេងៗគ្នា ប៉ុន្តែ​ដូច​អ្វី​ដែល​យើង​បាន​និយាយ ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​ K-1 សំរាប់​ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរ គឺ​ត្រូវ​ចាប់​ផ្ដើម​ចេញ​ពី​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក ហើយ​វា​នឹង​ត្រូវ​មក​បញ្ចប់​នៅ​ក្នុង​ប្រទេស​កម្ពុជា ។ បន្ទាប់​ពីពលរដ្ឋ​ខ្មែរនោះ​ធ្វើ​ដំណើរ​ទៅ​កាន់​សហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក​ ហើយ​រៀបការ​ជាមួយ​គូដណ្ដឹង​ដែល​មាន​សញ្ជាតិ​អាមេរិក​របស់​គេ​ហើយ ពួក​គេ​អា​ច​ដាក់​ពាក្យ​សុំ​ផ្លាស់​ប្ដូរ​ស្ថាន​ភាព​អន្តោប្រវេសន៍ និង​ទទួល​បាន​ប័ណ្ណ Green Card នៅ​ក្នុង​សហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក ។

more Comments: 04

31st July 2013

The administration of this blog periodically posts the holiday closing schedules of the various US Embassies and US Consulates in the Southeast Asia region in order to provide a level of convenience to Americans traveling in the area. The following holiday closing schedule was quoted directly from the official website of the US Embassy in Rangoon, Burma (Yangon, Myanmar):

Date Day U.S.* Burmese**
January 1 Tuesday New Year’s Day
January 4 Friday Independence Day
January 21 Monday Martin Luther King’s Birthday
February 12 Tuesday Union Day
February 18 Monday President’s Day
March 27 Wednesday Armed Forces Day
April 15 Monday THINGYAN (Water Festival)
April 16 Tuesday THINGYAN (Water Festival)
April 17 Wednesday Burmese New Year
May 1 Wednesday Workers’ Day
May 27 Monday Memorial Day
July 4 Thursday Independence Day
July 19 Friday Martyrs’ Day
July 22 Monday Full Moon of Waso
September 2 Monday Labor Day
October 14 Monday Columbus Day
November 11 Monday Veteran’s Day
November 27 Wednesday National Day
November 28 Thursday Thanksgiving Day
December 25 Wednesday Christmas Day Christmas Day

Many Americans traveling abroad find that it is necessary to travel to an American Embassy or Consulate in order to request services such as Passport renewal, adding of visa pages, notarial services, or Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA). Many of these requests can be made at an American Citizen Services Section of the US Embassy or US Consulate-General.

Meanwhile, every year many foreign nationals from around the globe travel to American posts abroad to apply for visas and other travel documents granting permission to travel to the United States. Some visa seekers only wish to remain temporarily in the US on non-immigrant visas such as the B-1 visa (Business Visa), the B-2 visa (Tourist Visa), the F-1 visa (Student Visa), or the J-1 visa (Exchange worker visa). Generally, applications for the aforementioned visa categories can be made at a non-immigrant visa unit within the Consular Section of the US Embassy or US Consulate-General. Applicants are usually required to make an appointment in advance to apply for these types of visas.

Some foreign nationals wish to travel to the United States for business purposes. Depending upon the circumstances of the individual applying for admission to the USA, a business traveler may be issued a non-immigrant or an immigrant visa. The L-1 visa, the E-1 visa, the E-2 visa, the EB-5 visa, the EB-4 visa, the EB-3 visa, the EB-2 visa, the EB-1 visa, and the H-1B visa are all business visa categories commonly sought by foreign nationals. Generally, a business travel unit  within the Consular Section of a US Embassy or Consulate-General abroad is responsible for adjudicating such applications.

Some foreign nationals seek visa benefits based upon a relationship to a US Citizen or lawful permanent resident. One of the most commonly sought US family based visas is the immigrant visa based upon marriage to an American Citizen, these types of visas are generally classified as a CR-1 visa or an IR-1 visa. Fiancees of US Citizens may be eligible to apply for a K-1 visa (US fiance visa). Furthermore, those married to Americans sometimes seek a US K-3 visa. K-1 visas and K-3 visas are generally adjudicated by an Immigrant visa unit, notwithstanding the fact that they are non-immigrant visa categories as they are treated as immigrant visas since the applicants have immigrant intent.

For related information please see: US Immigration Asia.

 

more Comments: 04

27th July 2013

Periodically, the administration of this web log post the estimated processing times from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). It should be noted that the following processing time estimates are exxactly that: estimates. Some petitions may process more quickly while other petitions may proccess more slowly. To quote directly from the USCIS official website:

Field Office Processing Dates for California Service Center as of: May 31, 2013
Form Title Classification or Basis for Filing: Processing Timeframe:
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record Initial issuance or replacement of a Form I-94 2.5 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Blanket L 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker E – Treaty traders and investors 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Visa to be issued abroad 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Change of status in the U.S. 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Extension of stay in the U.S. 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2A – Temporary workers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2B – Other temporary workers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-3 – Temporary trainees 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker L – Intracompany transfers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker O – Extraordinary ability 2 Weeks
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker P – Athletes, artists, and entertainers 2 Weeks
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Q – Cultural exchange visitors and exchange visitors participating in the Irish Peace process 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker R – Religious occupation 5 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker TN – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional 2 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-1/K-2 – Not yet married – fiance and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-3/K-4 – Already married – spouse and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21 November 15, 2011
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 February 1, 2010
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 October 4, 2010
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21 June 21, 2010
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister February 11, 2010
I-131 Application for Travel Document All other applicants for advance parole 3 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant All other special immigrants 5 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Religious workers 5 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Employment-based adjustment applications May 30, 2012
I-526 Immigrant Petition By Alien Entrepreneur For use by an entrepreneur who wishes to immigrate to the United States March 16, 2012
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change status to the F or M academic or vocational student categories 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change of status to H or L dependents 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change Status to the J exchange visitor category 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status All other change of status applications 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of Stay for F or M academic or vocational students 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of stay for H and L dependents 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of Stay for J exchange visitors 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status All other extension applications 2.5 Months
I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility 4 Months
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement Application for a waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement based on exceptional hardship or persecution 4 Months
I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents 6 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student. [(c)(3)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending asylum application [(c)(8)] 3 Weeks
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending I-485 adjustment application [(c)(9)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for El Salvador [(c)(19)(a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for Honduras/Nicaragua [(c)(19), (a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on an approved, concurrently filed, I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (c)(33). 90 Days
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization All other applications for employment authorization November 28, 2011
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador extension 3 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador initial or late filing 3 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua extension 3 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua initial or late filing 3 Months
I-821D Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Request for Deferred Action 6 Months
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition To request further action on an approved application or petition 3 Months
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) May 16, 2012
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) based on PL107-273 September 12, 1997
Field Office Processing Dates for Nebraska Service Center as of: May 31, 2013
Form Title Classification or Basis for Filing: Processing Timeframe:
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record Initial issuance or replacement of a Form I-94 March 16, 2013
I-131 Application for Travel Document Refugee or asylee applying for a refugee travel document 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Permanent resident applying for a re-entry permit 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) dependent applying for advance parole 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) principal applying for advance parole 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document All other applicants for advance parole 3 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Extraordinary ability January 2, 2013
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Outstanding professor or researcher 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Multinational executive or manager January 16, 2013
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Advanced degree or exceptional ability 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Skilled worker or professional 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Unskilled worker 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Advanced degree or exceptional ability requesting a National Interest Waiver January 16, 2013
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Schedule A Nurses 4 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant All other special immigrants 5 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Employment-based adjustment applications 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Indochinese Adjustment Act 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Based on grant of asylum more than 1 year ago 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Based on refugee admission more than 1 year ago 4 Months
I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility 4 Months
I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition Petition for accompanying family members of a refugee or an asylee 5 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on an approved asylum application [(a)(5)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student. [(c)(3)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending asylum application [(c)(8)] May 8, 2013
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending I-485 adjustment application [(c)(9)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for El Salvador [(c)(19)(a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for Honduras/Nicaragua [(c)(19), (a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on an approved, concurrently filed, I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (c)(33). 90 Days
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization All other applications for employment authorization 3 Months
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits Voluntary departure under the family unity program 6 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador extension 3 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador initial or late filing 3 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua extension 3 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua initial or late filing 3 Months
I-821D Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Request for Deferred Action 6 Months
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition To request further action on an approved application or petition January 15, 2013
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) 6 Months
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) based on PL107-273 6 Months
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document U.S. citizen applying for a replacement of naturalization or citizenship certificate 6 Months
Field Office Processing Dates for Texas Service Center as of: May 31, 2013
Form Title Classification or Basis for Filing: Processing Timeframe:
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record Initial issuance or replacement of a Form I-94 2.5 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document All other applicants for advance parole 3 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Extraordinary ability 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Outstanding professor or researcher 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Multinational executive or manager 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Advanced degree or exceptional ability 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Skilled worker or professional 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Unskilled worker 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Advanced degree or exceptional ability requesting a National Interest Waiver 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Schedule A Nurses 4 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant All other special immigrants 5 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Employment-based adjustment applications 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Based on grant of asylum more than 1 year ago 4 Months
I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility 4 Months
I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition Petition for accompanying family members of a refugee or an asylee 5 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student. [(c)(3)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending asylum application [(c)(8)] 3 Weeks
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending I-485 adjustment application [(c)(9)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for El Salvador [(c)(19)(a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for Honduras/Nicaragua [(c)(19), (a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on an approved, concurrently filed, I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (c)(33). 90 Days
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization All other applications for employment authorization 3 Months
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits Voluntary departure under the family unity program 6 Months
I-821D Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Request for Deferred Action 6 Months
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition To request further action on an approved application or petition January 7, 2013
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) based on PL107-273 6 Months
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document U.S. citizen applying for a replacement of naturalization or citizenship certificate 6 Months
Field Office Processing Dates for Vermont Service Center as of: May 31, 2013
Form Title Classification or Basis for Filing: Processing Timeframe:
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record Initial issuance or replacement of a Form I-94 July 1, 2012
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Blanket L 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Visa to be issued abroad 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Change of status in the U.S. 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Extension of stay in the U.S. 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2B – Other temporary workers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-3 – Temporary trainees 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker L – Intracompany transfers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker O – Extraordinary ability 2 Weeks
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker P – Athletes, artists, and entertainers 2 Weeks
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Q – Cultural exchange visitors and exchange visitors participating in the Irish Peace process 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker R – Religious occupation 5 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker TN – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional 2 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-1/K-2 – Not yet married – fiance and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21 April 16, 2012
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a spouse, parent, or child under 21 October 22, 2012
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 April 9, 2012
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 April 9, 2012
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21 March 5, 2012
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister December 4, 2010
I-131 Application for Travel Document All other applicants for advance parole 3 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant All other special immigrants 5 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) May 7, 2012
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Employment-based adjustment applications April 16, 2012
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change status to the F or M academic or vocational student categories 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change of status to H or L dependents 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change Status to the J exchange visitor category 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status All other change of status applications 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of Stay for F or M academic or vocational students 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of stay for H and L dependents 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of Stay for J exchange visitors 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status All other extension applications 2.5 Months
I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents 6 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student. [(c)(3)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending asylum application [(c)(8)] March 27, 2013
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending I-485 adjustment application [(c)(9)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for El Salvador [(c)(19)(a)(12)] October 31, 2010
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for Honduras/Nicaragua [(c)(19), (a)(12)] January 6, 2011
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on an approved, concurrently filed, I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (c)(33). 90 Days
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization All other applications for employment authorization 3 Months
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits Voluntary departure under the family unity program 6 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador extension October 31, 2010
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador initial or late filing October 31, 2010
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua extension October 31, 2010
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua initial or late filing October 31, 2010
I-821D Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Request for Deferred Action 6 Months
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition To request further action on an approved application or petition 3 Months
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card Initial issuance or replacement 3.5 Months
I-90A Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card Initial issuance or replacement for Special Agricultral Workers (SAW) 3.5 Months
I-914 Application for T Non-immigrant Status Provide temporary immigration benefits to an alien who is a victim of trafficking in persons, and immediate family 4 Months
I-918 Petition for U Non-immigrant Status Provide temporary immigration benefits to an alien who is a victim of qualifying criminal activity, and their qualifying family May 7, 2012

It should be also noted that although these USCIS estimated processing times can provide a general framework for understanding the time frames for petition adjudication by USCIS, these estimates do not necessarily reflect the estimated time frame for the entire US visa process especially if the unique circumstances of a given case requires Consular Processing of a US visa application at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad.

For a married couple seeking an IR1 visa or a CR1 Visa for a foreign spouse of US Citizen the process begins at the USCIS where the initial petition will be adjudicated. Assuming USCIS approves the initial petition, then the petition will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). NVC will require certain documents before forwarding the application to a US Embassy or Consulate abroad where a foreign spouse must undergo an interview prior to the Consular Officer making a decision regarding visa issuance. In some cases, the Consular Officer may approve the visa application at the interview. Meanwhile, in some circumstances, the officer may deny the application (especially where a ground of inadmissibility is found to exist in the case and under such circumstances the applicant must be granted an I-601 waiver, or something similar, prior to the application receiving further favorable treatment). In some cases, the officer may simply find that some further evidence of the relationship or documentation pertaining to the foreign national is lacking and will thereby deny the application pursuant to section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Under these circumstances, the 221(G) denial may be overcome by presenting further evidence to the Consular Officer and upon their finding that the relevant requirements have been met the application may be approved.

As one can infer from the above example, the USCIS estimateed  processing times may not accurately reflect the total time it may take to obtain a US visa since the process is sometimes more complex than simple USCIS petition approval.

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5th June 2011

This posting discusses the issues associated with retaining an American attorney to assist with the K-1 visa process. Those thinking about retaining assistance in the K-1 visa process are well advised to conduct thorough research prior to making any irrevocable decisions.

The K-1 visa is a non-immigrant US fiance visa which was intended to be used solely by the foreign fiances of American Citizens. The K-1 visa allows the foreign fiancee of an American Citizen to enter the United States for a period of 90 days of the purpose of marriage. Those who do not marry their American fiance after 90 days in the USA will be required to depart from the USA. Readers should bear in mind that the entrant to the United States on a K-1 visa who marries their loved one must undergo the adjustment of status process in order to gain lawful permanent residence in the U.S.A.

The purpose of this article is to provide insight to Americans about the perils of dealing with non-licensed individuals who purport to be qualified to practice United States Immigration law (or any American law, for that matter) . Pursuant to 8 CFR 292.1 only a qualified lawyer licensed to practice law in at least one U.S. State or Federal jurisdiction is entitled to engage in the receiving of client fees in connection with the practice of United States immigration law. Therefore, those not so qualified must either fit within a narrow exception to the aforementioned rule lest their behavior be deemed to be illegal. It should be noted that attorney-client confidentiality is a significant issue which should be considered when ascertaining the credentials of those claiming qualification in United States immigration matters abroad as there are many so-called “visa agents” or “immigration consultants” claiming qualification to provide services in connection with U.S. immigration. Attorney-client privilege is not extended to those not qualified as an American attorney and therefore discussions with unqualified individuals are likely not privileged communications. Meanwhile, some individuals brazenly, albeit falsely, portray themselves as American attorneys when, in fact, this is simply not the case.

For all of the reasons outlined above it should be noted that only a competent licensed attorney from the United States should be retained to assist prospective clients. Readers should understand that this message is not conveyed as an advertisement of this particular blogger’s services, as this is not this blogger’s intention in creating this posting. Instead, this post should be viewed as a reminder to readers that this decision should be made by prospective clients after serious contemplation and thorough research of all possible candidates for an attorney position. Attorney-Client relationships are not “one size fits-all” and neither is quality legal service. Therefore, the public should conduct research before coming to an informed decision about hiring an attorney.

For related information please see: K1 Visa Thailand or K1 Visa Cambodia.

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21st May 2011

Those conducting research with regard to United States Family Immigration often look at either the K-1 visa or a CR-1 visa for a recent or prospective spouse. That stated, an acute concern for many American Citizens is the speedy admission of the foreign fiance or spouse to the United States of America. Under many circumstances in places such as the Kingdom of Thailand or the Kingdom of Cambodia, virtually the only means to lawfully bring a Thai or Khmer fiance or spouse to the USA involves a US Marriage Visa (such as the CR-1 visa or the IR-1 visa) or a US fiance visa (officially categorized as a K-1 visa). The question then becomes: which visa can be obtained in a more timely manner?

Currently, it usually takes less time to obtain a K-1 visa compared to a CR-1 visa. That stated, it is this blogger’s opinion that the once large gap separating the processing times of these respective visa categories has closed somewhat, from a practical perspective; and, as a result, it may be best for those researching these issues to ponder the notion of applying for a CR-1 visa or an IR-1 visa from the outset rather than undergoing the K1 visa process. Bearing this in mind, the reader should note that the process is unique to every couple as circumstances tend to dictate the timing of various stages of the process.

Although the K-1 visa does usually result in a foreign fiancee arriving in the United States more quickly than a foreign spouse under the CR-1 visa category, readers should be aware of the fact that CR-1 visa holders are admitted into the United States in Lawful Permanent Resident status. Conversely, those admitted into the United States of America in K-1 visa status must undergo the adjustment of status process in order to obtain their Green Card.

Regardless of the fact that the current USCIS Processing Times note little change in the time it takes to receive adjudication of a K-1 visa petition compared to years past, the plain truth of the matter is that the overall K-1 visa process has lengthened for many in recent months. This increased wait time may be attributable to the fact that the National Visa Center and each and every US Embassy or US Consulate has its own backlog of cases to either process or adjudicate. As the ebb and flow of American immigration continues the consular processing times are likely to increase and/or decrease depending upon the circumstances at the various US Posts abroad. At present, it is difficult to calculate with any specificity what the time frame is for Consular Processing in Asia as many factors must be taken into consideration. It is this blogger’s current opinion that under the totality of the circumstances it may be prudent for prospective family visa petitioners to conduct thorough research into the immigration process before making an irrevocable immigration decision as a visa category that looks more efficient at first glance may, in fact, turn out to be an inefficient travel document if one takes into consideration all of the factors which must be addressed in order to ultimately receive lawful permanent resident status in the U.S.A.

For related information please see: Legal.

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5th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has recently updated some of the information with regard to that agency’s official fact sheet pertaining to I-864 affidavits of support. To quote directly from the official website of USCIS:

In determining inadmissibility, USCIS defines “public charge”as an individual who is likely to become “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.” See “Field Guidance on Deportability and Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,” 64 FR 28689 (May 26, 1999). In determining whether an alien meets this definition for public charge inadmissibility, a number of factors are considered, including age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education, and skills. No single factor, other than the lack of an affidavit of support, if required, will determine whether an individual is a public charge.

Those reading this blog are encouraged to click on the hyperlinks above to read more and gain insight into the issues associated with the I-864 affidavit of support.

It should be noted that the issues associated with the I-864 affidavit of support are significant and should not be overlooked by those seeking immigration benefits. Furthermore, the issues associated with the I-864 affidavit of support pertain not only to USCIS in the United States, but also impact the Consular processing phase of U.S. Immigration process for those who are seeking United States immigrant visas, such as the IR-1 visa and the CR-1 visa, abroad. Meanwhile, seekers of visas such as the K-1 visa (for fiancees of US Citizens) must submit a similar document to a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad in the form of an I-134 affidavit of support. Bearing this in mind, the reader should take note of the fact that the issues surrounding the I-864 affidavit of support are likely to come to the forefront for K-1 visa holders when they eventually apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence.

There was an interesting notation on the aforementioned website:

Note: In general, lawful permanent residents who currently possess a “green card” cannot be denied U.S. citizenship for lawfully receiving any public benefits for which they are eligible.

The reader is encouraged to bear in mind the fact that the above quotation is speaking in generalities, but the issue of naturalization in the context of the affidavit of support may be of interest to Americans thinking about bringing a loved one to the USA. The reason that Americans may find the issue of naturalization interesting when discussing family immigration stems from the fact that upon a foreign spouse’s naturalization to US Citizenship, the encumbrances placed upon the American Citizen within the provisions of the affidavit of support are extinguished as upon becoming a United States Citizen a previous foreign national becomes eligible in their own right for government benefits (where applicable). Therefore, the previous sponsor(s) are no long liable to the United States government should the newly-naturalized citizen take government benefits.

For related information please see: Certificate of Citizenship or Child Citizenship Act.

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5th August 2010

This blog routinely discusses both the US Marriage Visa and the US fiance visa as these are popular travel documents for the loved ones of Americans Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents. The Fiancee visa is generally referred to as the K1 visa while many refer to the US Marriage Visa as the K3 Visa. Strictly speaking, this is not the correct appellation as the K3 Visa is a special non-immigrant marriage visa that has been phased out through the National Visa Center’s use of “Administrative Closure”.

Those who file for a classic US marriage visa are likely to have noted that the petition was sent to a “lockbox” of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). These “lockboxes” are used to receive documentation. In a way, they are something of a clearinghouse for visa petitions as they receipt the petitions in, assign them a number, and forward the file on to the appropriate service center.

In the recent past, this was not the way in which I-129f visa petitions were submitted to USCIS. In the past, the petitioner would submit the petition directly to the appropriate service center. However, a recent announcement from USCIS confirmed that this will no longer be the procedure for filing petitions for an American fiance visa. To quote directly from the USCIS press release:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced a change in filing location instructions and addresses for the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) (Form I-129F). The new instructions, dated 6/14/10, are part of an overall effort to transition the intake of forms from Service Centers to USCIS Lockbox facilities. Centralizing form and fee intake to a Lockbox environment allows USCIS to provide customers with more efficient and effective initial processing of applications/petitions and fees.

Many feel that utilization of a “lockbox” facility will help streamline the adjudication process for fiancee visa petitions. Every year, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service processes a large number of fiance visa petitions. The caseload is currently rather bifurcated as these petitions are sent directly to a service center (currently there is one service center in Vermont and one in California). However, this method is rather cumbersome. Hopefully, by receiving all I-129f petitions in one centralized facility the process will be streamlined and made more efficient as cases can be sent to the service center with the capacity to handle the caseload.

For more about USCIS processing of K1 visa petitions please see: processing times.

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27th July 2010

This author has recently been informed that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is poised to conduct a thorough policy review which will delve into USCIS’s customer service procedures and look for ways to improve the US immigration system. As a first step, USCIS announced that a public survey would be conducted. Below are excerpts from a USCIS press release (distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association [AILA]), which outlines the purpose of the policy review and provides guidance regarding further methods of information gathering in an effort to improve USCIS customer service policies:

WASHINGTON— U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced the results of a public survey that launched the USCIS Policy Review, an unprecedented, top-to-bottom examination of the agency’s adjudication and customer-service policies. The survey results helped USCIS select the first 10 issue areas to address in the agency-wide review.


Informed by the survey responses, the agency’s needs, and input from the workforce, the USCIS Policy Review will begin by examining policies in the following issue areas: National Customer Service Center; Nonimmigrant H-1B; Naturalization and Citizenship; Employment-based Adjustment of Status; Family-based Adjustment of Status; Employment-Based Preference Categories 1, 2 and 3; Refugee and Asylum Adjustment of Status; Form I-601; General Humanitarian; and Employment
Authorization and Travel Documents.


“As an agency, we must achieve consistency in the policies that guide us and in how we implement them for the public benefit,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “To achieve that critical goal, we are partnering with the public in this major undertaking to review our adjudication and customer-service policies. We will work collaboratively toward the shared objectives of consistency, integrity, transparency and efficiency.”


In April 2010, USCIS issued a survey that asked any interested member of the public, as well as its own workforce, to help identify the issue areas that the agency should examine first. USCIS received approximately 5,600 survey responses from diverse stakeholders. Those results are now available, along with a summary developed by USCIS’s new Office of Performance and Quality.

Some have questioned the need for such a survey as there are those who feel that USCIS’s current policies do not need improvement. Clearly, this is not the official view of USCIS as can be evidenced by the following statement:

On April 15, 2010, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) launched the USCIS Policy Review, an unprecedented, top-to-bottom examination the agency’s adjudication and customer service policies with the engaged participation of the USCIS workforce and the public. USCIS issued a survey that asked any interested member of the public, as well as its own workforce, to help identify the issue areas that the agency should examine first. Nearly 5,600 stakeholders responded to the survey, representing current immigrant and non-immigrant visa holders, employers, immigration attorneys and advocates, among others, in addition to responses from approximately 2,400 members of the USCIS workforce. Those responses helped USCIS select the first 10 issue areas to address in the agency-wide review. USCIS is now convening working groups to review the first 10 issue areas.

The press release went further than merely providing information regarding this important policy review. In an effort to provide the public with relevant information, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) also provided a “Q & A” component to the recent press release. The following are questions and answers arising in connection with USCIS’s policy review initiative:

Questions and Answers


Q. What is the USCIS Policy Review?


A. The USCIS Policy Review is a comprehensive review of policy, guidance, and procedures related to our adjudications and customer service. The Policy Review is divided into four stages: (1) assembling and categorizing existing policy documents; (2) deciding which issue areas to review first, with input from surveys of the workforce and external stakeholders; (3) completing a review of policies in each identified issue area; and (4) consolidating and publishing updated policy documents (as appropriate), once approved.


Q. How does the Policy Review advance major goals already established for USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)?


A. In the 2010 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR), DHS identified the effective administration of the immigration system as a key priority. In particular, the QHSR emphasized the importance of a system that produces fair, consistent and prompt decisions for the public it serves. The Policy Review is designed to ensure that USCIS meets that standard in its work.


Q. How does the Policy Review relate to USCIS’s responsibilities and authority under federal law?


A. By law, USCIS is charged with setting policies and priorities for the administration of immigration services. USCIS will be reviewing those policies in our current effort. If the Policy Review identifies the need for proposed regulatory changes, we will fully engage in the federal rulemaking process. The purpose of the Policy Review is not to develop proposed changes to the immigration statutes established by Congress.

Q. Will the Policy Review change USCIS policy?


A. In many cases, yes. Working groups will evaluate policy based on USCIS goals, legal requirements and stakeholder concerns. These working groups will draft updated policy documents and proceed through USCIS’s policy-approval process. If the Policy Review identifies the need for proposed regulatory changes, USCIS will fully engage in the federal rulemaking process.


Q. What happens to existing policies during the course of the Policy Review?


A. While the Policy Review is underway, all policies already in place remain in full force and will be honored. From time to time in the course of the agency’s operations, policy issues may arise that require immediate attention outside the course of the formal Policy Review. We will continue to give these issues immediate attention as the need arises.


Q: What prompted the Policy Review?


A. USCIS is committed to ensuring that our policies are consistent and up to date. To that end, the agency has launched the USCIS Policy Review to examine our policies with input from the public it serves and from its workforce.


Q. Has USCIS previously undertaken a comprehensive review of its policies?


A: No. The effort to undertake a top-to-bottom review of our adjudication and customer service policies is an unprecedented initiative for USCIS.


Q. How will USCIS seek the public’s input during the Policy Review?


A. In keeping with our commitments to customer service and transparency, USCIS will engage practitioners, advocates, businesses, applicants, and other interested stakeholders throughout the course of the Policy Review. The survey was the first opportunity for stakeholders to participate. As we review policies in specific issue areas, we will offer a number of further opportunities for the public to offer input. For example, in some issue areas, we will conduct public meetings to solicit stakeholders’ views on specific policy matters. In many cases, we will also published drafts of new or revised policy memoranda on our website for public comment, now a regular step in USCIS’s policy development process.


Q. What did the survey ask?


A. The survey asked any interested member of the public, as well as the USCIS workforce, to help identify the issue areas that the agency should examine first. The survey also included comment sections.


Q. How many people responded to the survey?


A. Nearly 5,600 external stakeholders responded to the survey, representing current immigrant and nonimmigrant visa holders, employers, immigration attorneys and advocates, among others. Nearly 2,400 members of the workforce from USCIS offices worldwide also participated in the survey.


Q. How has USCIS used the survey results?


A. The survey results helped USCIS identify which issue areas to address first in its agency-wide review. USCIS considered quantitative and qualitative feedback from the surveys along with operational and programmatic needs to develop the initial list of issue areas for review.

Q. In addition to the survey, what progress has USCIS made in the Policy Review?


A. USCIS has assembled thousands of existing policy documents and categorized them into issue areas. USICS is now convening internal working groups to begin examining and evaluating the policy documents in the first 10 issue areas.


Q. What is the expected length and scope of the Policy Review?


A. The Policy Review is a multi-year effort designed to work thoughtfully through thousands of policy documents, many of which overlap or complement each other, in collaboration with the USCIS workforce and external stakeholders. New policy documents, once drafted, will be submitted through the USCIS clearance process, with many posted on the USCIS website for public comment.

At the time of this writing, there have been relatively few changes in the law regarding US Family Visas. Although administrative and regulatory changes have had a significant impact upon processing of the US Marriage Visa and the US fiance visa. That said, the recent fee increase for Consular Processing of the K1 visa (fiance visa) and the administrative closure of K3 Visa applications by the National Visa Center were promulgated by the Department of State (DOS) as there has been little recent change in the fee structure and administration of USCIS’s adjudication of family based visa petitions.

This author is of the opinion that this unprecedented policy review should be welcomed as it may herald further improvements to the American Immigration system and provide immigrants and Americans with better overall service. One must applaud USCIS for taking the initiative and promoting positive change.

For related information from the perspective of Southeast Asia please see: K1 Visa Thailand.

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