Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘I-212 waiver’

8th June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has issued memorandum regarding the process of expediting the adjudication of I-601 waivers. To provide further insight it may be best to quote directly from the official website of USCIS, USCIS.gov:

Purpose
This Policy Memorandum (PM) provides guidelines on how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes requests to expedite the adjudication of Forms I-601 filed by individuals outside the United States. These guidelines will be included in the AFM Chapter 41.7 and in the revised version of International Operations Division Field Guidance for Form I-601 adjudications.
Scope
Unless specifically exempted herein, this memorandum applies to and is binding on all USCIS employees adjudicating Forms I-601 filed by individuals outside the United States.
Authority
8 CFR 212.7 governs USCIS adjudication of Form I-601.
Background
It has been USCIS’s longstanding policy to accept requests to expedite processing of petitions or applications where the applicant or the petitioner demonstrates reasons that merit expedited processing of a petition or application. Consistent with this policy, an applicant may request that the adjudication of a Form I-601 be expedited. Requests to expedite in the Form I-601 adjudication context present unique challenges. Almost all Form I-601 applicants outside the United States have an interest in expeditious processing given that most are required to establish extreme hardship to a qualifying family member in order for USCIS to consider whether to exercise its discretion to waive the bar to an applicant’s entry into the United States. However, some applicants may be experiencing extraordinary circumstances that present the kind of compelling and urgent, time-sensitive reasons that merit expedited processing of a Form I-601. This memorandum provides guidelines on responding to requests to expedite Forms I-601 filed by applicants overseas. Policy Subject to case management requirements and resource constraints, USCIS managers overseas may, in extraordinary circumstances, exercise discretion on a case-by-case basis to approve a request to expedite adjudication of a Form I-601.1 The strong desire to immigrate to the United States as soon as possible is not by itself “extraordinary.” The types of extraordinary circumstances that may, generally, merit expedited processing are those in which there are time-sensitive and compelling situations that necessitate the applicant’s presence in the United States sooner than would be possible if the application were processed under normal processing times…

For those who are unfamiliar with matters pertaining to United States Immigration it should be noted that the I-601 waiver is often utilized as a remedy for those who have been found inadmissible to the United States or ineligible to receive a US visa (such as a K-1 visa [fiance visa], CR-1 visa, or IR-1 visa) during Consular Processing at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad.

The I-601 waiver is sometimes confused with the I-212 waiver (also referred to as an application for advance permission to reenter the United States). However, the I-601 waiver and the I-212 waiver are two different application categories which are somewhat similar, but not exactly alike.

For related information please see: Legal.

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29th May 2011

In a previous posting on this blog the eligibility criteria for the EB-1 visa were briefly discussed. In that same vein, this blogger felt further elaboration on other Employment Based visa categories was warranted to provide insight to readers about issues associated with other employment based preference categories. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service‘s (USCIS) official website posted an enlightening chart to provide an overall glimpse of the eligibility criteria which this blogger felt could be of interest to readers. To quote directly from the official website of the USCIS, USCIS.gov:

Sub-Categories Description Evidence
Advanced Degree The job you apply for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field). Documentation, such as an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that you have at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty. 

Exceptional Ability You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.  Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.” You must meet at least three of the criteria below.*
National Interest Waiver Aliens seeking a national interest waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States.  Though the jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability (see above) and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the national.  Those seeking a national interest waiver may self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them) and may file their labor certification directly with USCIS along with their Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. You must meet at least three of the criteria below* and demonstrate that it is in the national interest that you work permanently in the United States.

Readers are encouraged to conduct their own research into these issues as the chart above is merely presented to provide something of an overview regarding eligibility. The chart above should not be viewed as an exhaustive analysis of the issues at play in a EB-2 petition.

It should be noted that second preference Employment Based petitions are carefully scrutinized as issuance of such visas is intended for those foreign professionals holding an advanced degree or an alien national of “exceptional ability”. Therefore prospective visa seekers are encouraged to note the rather high standards by which those seeking this visa category will be compared during the adjudication process.

Those seeking the visa categorized as an EB-2 are well advised to remember that adjudication of a visa petition at the Department of Homeland Security‘s USCIS may be only one phase of the overall visa process as those residing outside of the United States may be required to undergo Consular Processing at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad.

For readers who have happened upon this blog in the past, the mention of the “national interest waiver” may bring to mind the I-601 waiver or the I-212 waiver which could be argued to be somewhat similar. Another type of waiver that could be construed as similar to the “national interest waiver” is the waiver sometimes granted by USCIS to permit the filing of multiple petitions for a K1 visa within a relatively short period of time notwithstanding the provisions of the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA).

Frequent readers may recall that the EB-5 visa is also classified as an Employment Based Visa although the criteria for EB-5 visa issuance is different from those of the EB-2 most notably as the EB-5 visa petitioner must demonstrate that a substantial investment has been made in the United States in order to hope to attain eligibility for EB-5 visa status.

The United States visa process can be overwhelming at times and for this reason many opt to retain the assistance of counsel. That stated, when retaining the services of anyone purporting to be qualified to provide advice and/or assistance regarding immigration matters it may be prudent to ascertain credentials as, pursuant to relevant US law, only a licensed American attorney is permitted to take in client fees while engaged in the practice of United States immigration law.

For related information please see: Legal.

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26th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the US business visas categorized as the B-1 visa and the H-1B visa are making headlines on the World Wide Web. To quote directly from the official website of First Post, FirstPost.com:

Infosys announced on Tuesday that it had received a subpoena from a US District Court demanding documentation of its B1 visa usage, which is  the subject of a criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

Those reading this web log are strongly encouraged to click upon the hyperlinks above in order to gain more perspective on this developing story. Concurrently, readers are also asked to remember that those accused of an illegal act, whether a natural person or a corporation, are innocent until proven guilty pursuant to America law.

Those unfamiliar with these visa categories should note that the B-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa designed for use by those who intend to remain in the United States for a short period of time for business meetings or training. Such travel documents do not permit the bearer to take up employment within the jurisdiction of the United States. Meanwhile, the H-1B visa is intended for those who wish to  undertake employment in the United States of America. In much the same way that a Thai business visa does not confer the right to work in the Kingdom of Thailand, only a Thai work permit entails such privileges, so too does a B-1 visa exclusively permit the bearer lawful status in the USA upon admission. Therefore, those wishing to work in the USA are generally required to obtain a visa which permits the bearer to work or obtain Employment Authorization. Those who have lawful permanent residence pursuant to entry in the USA on a CR1 Visa or an IR1 Visa are allowed to work in the USA.

The aforementioned article went on to note:

The DOJ’s criminal investigation is not the only legal claim Infosys is facing in relation to B1 visas. As Firstpost has previously reported, an Alabama-based employee named Jack “Jay” Palmer filed a civil lawsuit against the company in February alleging that Infosys used the B1 visa as a way to “creatively” manoeuvre around H-1B visa caps. (Infosys has consistently been the top recipient of H-1B visas in the US.)

Those seeking American immigration benefits should be aware of the fact that the privilege of working in the United States is not always easily obtained. Furthermore, those pondering immigration benefits should note that it is never prudent to be anything but 100% honest with American immigration officials as failure to be candid regarding one’s bona fide immigration intentions could have tremendous adverse ramifications. Consequences for failure to be forthright with immigration authorities could include fines, penalties, incarceration, or a finding of legal inadmissibility. Those found to be legally ineligible for admission to the United States of America may be able to rectify such inadmissibility through use of either an I-601 waiver or an I-212 waiver, depending upon the circumstances of the case.

Meanwhile, it appears that the Department of Homeland Security‘s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is taking criticism from a federal legislator regarding the methodology surrounding the groping of individuals passing through airports in the USA. To quote directly from the official website of Real Clear Politics, RealClearPolitics.com:

The Hill reports: “I walked through … right behind me there was a grandmother — little old lady, and she was was patted down,” Rep. Paul Broun (R-Georgia) said on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” “Right behind her was a little kid who was patted down. And then right behind him was a guy in Arabian dress who just walked right through. Why are we patting down grandma and kids?”

The administration of this blog strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to learn more.

It is certainly a credit to Representative Paul Broun that he is questioning TSA policies regarding groping of prospective passengers as it is this blogger’s personal opinion that such searches violate the provisions of the 4th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. This news comes on the heels of a recent announcement that lawmakers in the sovereign State of Texas have withdrawn a recent bill brought before that State’s legislature to curtail the activities of the TSA. To quote directly from the website of the Texas Tribune, TexasTribune.org:

A threat from the federal government to shut down Texas airports or cancel flights may have killed legislation by Tea Party conservatives in the Texas Capitol to prohibit federal Transportation Security Administration agents from conducting “invasive searches.” “I don’t cave in to heavy handed threats by the federal government,” said an angry Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, the Senate sponsor of the bill, who ultimately withdrew the bill. House Bill 1937, which was passed by the House earlier this month, would make it a misdemeanor offense for a federal security agent to “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly [touch] the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of the other person, including touching through clothing, or touching the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person.” Two TSA officials visited Patrick at the Capitol earlier today to discuss the legislation. They warned him that the legislation “could close down all the airports in Texas,” he said…

This blogger encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks above to find out more.

Clearly, the issue of TSA “pat downs” is controversial and can raise tempers. This blogger encourages readers to keep abreast of the stories above at it seems likely that the underlying issues will continue to be poignant in the days and weeks ahead. This may be especially true in the context of an upcoming election as issues pertaining to U.S. immigration and the 4th amendment may be of concern to prospective voters.

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29th April 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the discretionary powers accorded to Consular Officers at United States Missions abroad with regard to visa issuance are to be expanded to provide further latitude to Consular Officers with regard to the revocation of US visas. To quote directly from Justia.com:

This rule changes Department regulations to broaden the authority of a consular officer to revoke a visa at any time subsequent to issuance of the visa, in his or her discretion. These changes to the Department’s revocation regulations expand consular officer visa revocation authority to the full extent allowed by statute. Additionally, this rule change allows consular officers and designated officials within the Department to revoke a visa provisionally while considering a final visa revocation.

Clearly, this rule would expand the authority currently granted to Consular Officers in adjudicating American visa matters. For those who are unfamiliar with this topic it should be noted that Consular Officers currently maintain virtually un-reviewable discretion in matters pertaining to US visa application adjudication. This discretion occurs pursuant to a doctrine referred to as Consular Non-Reviewability (or colloquially referred to as Consular Absolutism). Pursuant to the philosophy underlying this doctrine Courts in the United States are unlikely to review the decisions of a Consular Officer at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad unless the Consular Officer’s decision in the matter appears “facially illegitimate” to the Court of competent jurisdiction.

Bearing this in mind the announcement went on to point out the reasoning behind the recent decision to make this rule change:

On occasion, after a visa has been issued, the Department or a consular officer may determine that a visa should be revoked when information reveals that the applicant was originally or has since become ineligible or may be ineligible to possess a U.S. visa. Section 221(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1201(i)) (INA) authorizes the Secretary and consular officers to revoke a visa in their discretion. Current regulations limit the circumstances in which consular officers may revoke visas. In light of security concerns, this amendment grants additional authority to consular officers to revoke visas, consistent with the statutory provisions of the INA. Although this rule eliminates the provisions that permit reconsideration of a revocation, it also allows for the provisional revocation of a visa when there is a need for further consideration of information that might lead to a final revocation. In cases where the person subject to a provisional revocation is found to be eligible for the visa, the visa will be reinstated with no need for reapplication. However, with the exception of provisional revocations, an applicant whose visa has been revoked must apply for another visa, at which time his or her eligibility for the visa will be adjudicated.

In this blogger’s opinion, this rule change could have significant ramifications for prospective visa applicants. That stated, it remains to be seen what the practical implications of this rule change will be. The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click on the above hyperlinks to learn more about this topic on Justia.com.

It should be noted that within the text of this memo it was pointed out that this rule is being promulgated pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act. To quote one final time from the aforementioned document:

This regulation involves a foreign affairs function of the United States and, therefore, in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553 (a) (1), is not subject to the rule making procedures set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553.

Those who have read this blog in the past may recall that the United States Department of State maintains a mandate to conduct the foreign affairs of the United States and one of the duties that is entailed within this mandate is the duty to adjudicate applications for a US visa. This can include applications for visas such as the B-2 visa (for those wishing to engage in recreational travel in the United States), the K-1 visa (a US fiance visa for the foreign fiance of a US Citizen), the CR-1 visa or IR-1 visa (for the spouse of an American Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident), or, in increasingly rare instances, a K-3 visa (which is a non-immigrant spouse visa for the husband or wife of an American Citizen). It is even posited that this new discretion could have an effect upon adjudication of L-1 visa and EB-5 visa applications, as well as the possible aftermath thereof. In any case, increased Consular discretion is likely to have an impact upon visa applications across the categorical spectrum of American travel documents.

For related information please see: K-1 Visa Thailand or K-1 Visa Cambodia.

For information related to waivers of grounds of inadmissibility (ineligibility) please see: I-601 waiver or I-212 waiver.

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14th April 2011

This blogger recently came across a great deal of interesting information pertaining to issues surrounding the consular processing of United States visas and visa applications.

The first item of note involves a recent United States Federal Court decision which spoke to the issue of the Doctrine of Consular Non-Reviewability (sometimes referred to by the somewhat draconian sounding: Doctrine of “Consular Absolutism”). It would appear that one issue in that case revolved around the procedural usage of administrative designations made by interviewing Consular Officers at the US Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) which were then utilized as a basis for administratively establishing findings of misrepresentation by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) thereby creating a grounds for revoking the underlying petition. It seems that the Judge in this case did not agree with the plaintiff that usage of so-called “P6C1” tags caused any “actual injury” as “natural expiration” of immigration petitions apparently does not rise to the level of “revocation” under the circumstances in that case. To quote directly from the PDF version of the official order dated March 29, 2011 as found on the Entry Law website at EntryLaw.com:

The F&R concludes that plaintiffs have stated a claim under the APA challenging 9 F.A.M. 40.63 N10.1 as unlawful and in excess of the agency’s statutory authority. F&R 25. That provision states that where a consular officer finds what she believes to be misrepresentation with regard to a family-based immigrant visa petition, the consular officer “must return the petition to the appropriate USCIS office. If the petition is revoked, the materiality of the misrepresentation is established.” 9 F.A.M. 40.63 N10.1. Plaintiffs allege that by placing a “P6C1” marker in a visa beneficiary’s record—indicating a perceived misrepresentation—the State Department saddled plaintiffs with a “permanent misrepresentation bar to any future immigration possibility” if USCIS revokes the petition. First Am. Compl. ¶ 158.4

I reject plaintiffs’ argument, and decline to follow the F&R, because plaintiffs have not properly alleged that a P6C1 marker has any effect on them. Importantly, 9 F.A.M. 40.63 N10.1 states that the materiality of a misrepresentation is only established “[i]f the petition is revoked,” and plaintiffs have not alleged that USCIS revoked the petitions. Therefore, plaintiffs have not stated a plausible claim that any future bar to immigration possibility would attach to plaintiffs as a result of the P6C1 marker. The F&R concludes that because USCIS does not act on petitions, and allows them to expire after denials, that inaction is equivalent to a revocation, and therefore would trigger the permanent misrepresentation bar. F&R 26. However, plaintiffs do not cite any authority for the proposition that the word “revoked” in 9 F.A.M. 40.63 N10.1 includes inaction that allows a petition to expire naturally. Nor have plaintiffs offered any support for the allegation that they are in fact barred from any future action. Thus, plaintiffs have not yet alleged any actual injury with respect to the P6C1 marker. Plaintiffs argue that they should not be required to show actual injury because they are entitled to assume the defendants will “enforce the law as written,” and any future action by plaintiffs would therefore be futile. F&R 27. Because I conclude that the law as written only bars petitioners whose petitions were “revoked,” and not those whose petitions expired naturally, I find no basis upon which to exempt plaintiffs from showing injury. Plaintiffs therefore do not have standing, and have not stated a claim, regarding the Department of State’s use of the P6C1 marker.

Those interested in learning more about the detailed facts of this case as well as issues pertaining to Consular Processing in general are well advised to click on the hyperlinks above to learn more about the seemingly ever evolving issues associated with the US Immigration process and the process of obtaining so-called “hybrid” family-based visas such as the K-1 visa or the K-3 visa as well as classic immigrant visas such as the CR-1 visa and the IR-1 visa from the various US Embassies, Consulates and Missions abroad.

These so-called “P6C1″ markers are not necessarily disagreeable to this blogger per se, but their usage can be troubling to those who study how the visa process works in a real-world environment. This blogger fully believes that Consular Officers are entitled to make factually based decisions which may have legal ramifications either in the form of a finding of a legal grounds of inadmissibility which may or may not be waivable through application for an I-601 waiver and/or an I-212 waiver (depending upon the situation). That said, why all of the redundancy? Where applicable, why not simply make the material misrepresentation finding of inadmissibility at the American Consulate or American Embassy abroad thereby providing a more streamlined opportunity for applicants to seek a remedy in the form of a waiver from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), if applicable? Why would the application package be sent back to USCIS with a so-called marker? The Consular Officers at US Missions abroad are adjudicators of visa applications and both the wide latitude of their discretion as well as the virtually non-reviewable nature of their factual findings are legal creations designed to lend efficiency to visa processing because the Consular Officers are in the best position to make factual determinations. Why send the petition back to USCIS with the “misrepresentation marker” at all? The USCIS is not in any discernably better position to make a determination regarding the veracity of the application. Therefore, DOS is failing to make an actual decision while simultaneously placing USCIS in a position where they cannot really claim to be able to better review the facts of the case as it was the Consular Officer who actually interviewed the applicant and adjudicated the posture of the overall application. It has been this blogger’s experience that visa applicants and petitioners are looking for some degree of certainty in the visa process. If an applicant is possibly legally inadmissible to the USA do not the notions of efficiency and equity seem to dictate quick adjudication of a finding of inadmissibility, if applicable, and visa denial, if appropriate? From the point of view of the inadmissible applicant the argument in favor of quick visa denial may possibly stem from the desire to seek a waiver in a timely manner thereafter.

Many of the Founding Fathers who drafted the United States Constitution were involved in the creation of legislation which would lead to the establishment of the Department of State. It would seem to this blogger as though these gentlemen did so because they recognized that America would need a governmental entity to deal with affairs of State, international trade matters, and Consular affairs so that average Americans could get on with their personal business and so that those of foreign origin would have an organ by which to entreat with the government of the United States of America. In an effort at providing more clarity on this topic it may be best to quote directly from Wikipedia:

The U.S. Constitution, drafted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1787 and ratified by the states the following year, gave the President the responsibility for the conduct of the nation’s foreign relations. It soon became clear, however, that an executive department was necessary to support the President in the conduct of the affairs of the new federal government.

The House of Representatives and Senate approved legislation to establish a Department of Foreign Affairs on July 21, 1789, and President Washington signed it into law on July 27, making the Department of Foreign Affairs the first Federal agency to be created under the new Constitution.[2] This legislation remains the basic law of the Department of State. In September 1789, additional legislation changed the name of the agency to the Department of State and assigned to it a variety of domestic duties.

These responsibilities grew to include management of the United States Mint, keeper of the Great Seal of the United States, and the taking of the census. President George Washington signed the new legislation on September 15. Most of these domestic duties of the Department of State were eventually turned over to various new Federal departments and agencies that were established during the 19th century. However, the Secretary of State still retains a few domestic responsibilities, such as being the keeper of the Great Seal and being the officer to whom a President or Vice-President of the United States wishing to resign must deliver an instrument in writing declaring the decision to resign.

Those wishing to better understand the history of the American State Department are strongly encouraged to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read more on this engrossing topic.

Bearing the above legal opinion from the Federal Court for the District of Oregon’s Portland Division in mind, the reader may be interested to take note of the fact that some students of issues associated with Consular Processing of American visas are taking exception with some of the Department of State’s practices and proposing measures in an attempt to provide some sort of notification mechanism for complaints regarding Consular Officers at US Missions abroad seemingly aimed at curtailing what some feel are negative aspects of Consular discretion. To quote directly from Kenneth White in an article posted on ILW.com:

In contrast to other immigration-related agencies such as USCIS and CBP, the Department of State (“Department”) has no formal complaint system. The Department has a Customer Service Statement to Visa Applicants on its website,1 yet does not indicate how to pursue a complaint for a violation of the rights specified. The “How to Contact Us” page of the Department’s website mentions “inquiries” but not complaints. The Glossary page of the Travel.State.gov/visa section of the Department’s website indicates how to file a complaint with CBP, but not the State Department. Consular websites are silent on the issue of filing complaints.

In October 2009, the Department announced to the American Immigration Lawyers Association an address2 within the Visa Office to send complaints. However, the Visa Office does not investigate the complaints: it merely recites the consular officer’s version of events. Further, the mandate of the Department’s Office of Inspector General is limited to instances of fraud, waste, and mismanagement. It is abundantly clear that a genuine Complaint Procedure must be implemented.

The administration of this web log highly encourages readers to click on the above cited hyperlinks for further detailed information about consular processing and Mr. White’s opinions thereon. This blogger agreed with a great deal of the analysis presented in this article such as the author’s somewhat economic rationale in favor of at least the argument that some sort of complaint system may be beneficial to Consular processing, to quote further from the aforementioned posting:

dollars and sense – International visitors and students spend billions of dollars every year in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of American jobs are dependent on this spending by foreigners. Competition for the travel dollar is intense, with other countries not requiring visa interviews and utilizing visa procedures that are faster and cheaper than the US. Thus, it is incumbent upon the US government to ensure that consular officers treat applicants respectfully and professionally;

The American People in general, the States as well as all sectors of the Federal government should always be aware of the tremendous amount of economic activity that occurs as a result of foreign direct investment in the United States as well as tourist dollars spent in the United States of America. Streamlined visa processing and professional Consular staff are always a good idea, but this blogger did take some exception with at least one passage in the aforementioned article:

doctrine of consular nonreviewability – There is no formal administrative or judicial review of the overwhelming majority of visa decisions, meaning that consular officers are not accountable to applicants for the decisions they make. In the view of many, this non-accountability consciously or subconsciously emboldens consular officers, leading to a fiefdom mentality;

The administration of this blog highly recommends that readers click upon the above hyperlinks to read further from this detailed and well researched article so that all quotes cited above can be understood in context. This blogger would not say that he is unequivocally in favor of the Doctrine of Consular Non-Reviewability (also colloquially referred to as the Doctrine of “Consular Absolutism“) per se, as any time a significant amount of discretion is vested in a non-elected officer of the American government one should ponder the implications of such a state of affairs, but the argument for such a doctrine within the factual context of consular processing has to take into consideration the notion of “efficiency” which would seem to presuppose that there are some decisions which given the totality of the circumstances can only be efficiently made by an adjudicator on the ground in the applicant’s home country or country with appropriate consular jurisdiction. Presumably, there are unlikely to be a great many such adjudicators and those who do exist are likely to have a great many cases and/or applications to adjudicate. Therefore, there are reasonable arguments in favor of granting wide discretion to Consular officers in matters pertaining to factual adjudication of applications, but readers should not mistake this blogger to mean that he is in favor of unlimited discretion on the part of Consular Officers. The Doctrine of Consular Non-Reviewability provides that a great deal of deference will be paid to Consular Officers’ factual decisions by the US Courts, but that is not to say that the Courts do not have jurisdiction over visa denials especially when such denials are “facially illegitimate“. Bearing this in mind, as can be seen from the case above, American Courts are generally loathe to review visa denials as doing so could be viewed by some as a waste of Court resources and because it currently appears somewhat difficult for most Courts to sufficiently review a Consular Officer’s decision in a given case from a position that is qualitatively better than the unique perspective of the Officer on the ground in the country where the application is taking place. Proving that a Consular Officer’s decision is “facially illegitimate” could seem like a virtually insurmountable standard of proof, but fortunately it is not wholly impossible to receive judicial review of visa decisions as doing so would be a truly frightening concept from a due process perspective. That stated, having all Consular Officers’ decisions reviewed by the Court system seems equally as frightening if one considers how much time, energy, and resources would need to be expended in order to maintain such a docket.

To be clear, this blogger agrees with a great deal of Mr. Kenneth White’s analysis on many of the issues associated with Consular Processing, but where this blogger takes some degree of exception relates to the notion that officers have a “fiefdom” mentality. Although this blogger certainly cannot speak for everyone who has undergone Consular Processing, it has never been this blogger’s personal opinion that Consular Officers have a “fiefdom-mentality”. That stated, as an American Resident Abroad, this blogger must say that it does not seem like such a bad thing for American civil servants abroad, Consular Officers included, to take some pride in their position as a representative of America and the American people. As such, an Officer taking an interest in the efficiency and business of their US Embassy or US Consulate may also be prudent to take a personal interest in the overall impact of Post policies and procedures upon applicants, petitioners, and their families.

The notion of a Consular Complaint Box is something that should be pondered by interested parties long and hard especially in light of the fact that the Doctrine of Consular Non-Reviewability appears to still be as virtually unshakable as it ever has been. Therefore, the main question regarding a Consular Complaint Box that this blogger feels should be posed is: what benefit will the public receive from such an undertaking? If the Consular Officers continue to be endowed with virtually non-reviewable authority what good is it to be able to complain about it? What good would this do? This does not provide a tangible remedy to the applicant in the event of an adverse decision. Furthermore, would not the implementation of such a policy result in simply further paperwork for Department of State employees, but under such circumstances to no particularized end? In this blogger’s opinion, it is probably better that DOS use what resources it has with regard to Consular Processing to one end alone: efficiently adjudicating visa applications as that is clearly within their mandate. That stated, a complaint system to deter truly rude behavior as noted in Kenneth White’s article above may ultimately prove appropriate, but this blogger might make further suggestions. For example, how about something akin to an “Alien Miranda Warning”. Where American peace officers are required to Mirandize suspects so as to put them on constructive notice of rights like the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney it could prove beneficial for all concerned in the immigration process if Consular Officers made it clear that foreign applicants could seek the advice and counsel of licensed American attorneys regarding pending or prospective immigration matters pursuant to section 8 CFR 292.1, as amended. Such a suggestion should not be construed to be advocating attorney consultation regarding submission of complaints. Instead, attorneys may be best equipped to apprise prospective visa seekers of relevant immigration law as well as the regulations pertaining to application for various United States visa categories. One aspect of the issues surrounding Consular Processing that seems to be of little concern to the public-at-large involves doomed applications made by those who truly cannot overcome statutory presumptions such as that enshrined in section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act. The time and resources expended by Posts to adjudicate and deny visa applicants pursuant to section 214(b) of the INA and the time and resources needlessly expended by the applicants who are denied under this section of the INA could often be saved through effective assistance of counsel in providing advice and information regarding the likelihood of visa application approval based upon the unique facts of a given case. In short, perhaps informing applicants and petitioners of the issues associated with US Immigration rather than creating a mechanism to complain to what appears to be rather overworked Consular Officers is the appropriate course of action at this juncture. Hopefully, by thus informing concerned parties regarding US Immigration matters the negative overall impact from so-called “visa companies”, notarios, visa agents, and fake lawyers can be diminished to the benefit of the prospective immigrant community and the American People.

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17th March 2011

สำหรับผู้ที่ไม่ได้ติดตาม หน่วยบริการการป้องกันเขตแดนและศุลกากรสหรัฐอเมริกา (USCBP) มีหน้าที่รับผิดชอบในการตรวจสอบในส่วนของการเข้าเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกา อาจจะมีความเป็นไปได้ที่จะได้รับการอนุมัติที่ทำให้การเข้าเมืองเร็วขึ้นในหลายๆส่วนของการเข้าเมืองและทั่วทั้งสหรัฐอเมริกา อ้างโดยตรงจากโฮมเพจของเว็บไซต์ GlobalEntry.gov:

GlobalEntryเป็นโปรแกรมสำหรับป้องกันเขตแดนและศุลกากรสหรัฐอเมริกา (CBP) ซึ่งอนุญาตให้มีการเร่งการตรวจสอบสำหรับก่อนการอนุมัติ นักเดินทางที่มีความเสี่ยงน้อยที่จะมาถึงสหรัฐอเมริกา แม้ว่าตั้งใจเพื่อจะเดินทางเป็นนักเดินทางต่างชาติอยู่บ่อยๆ แต่คุณสมบัติของการเข้าโปรแกรมนั้นไม่มีตัวเลขขั้นต่ำของความจำเป็นที่จะเดินทาง ผู้เข้าร่วมอาจจะเข้าในสหรัฐอเมริกาโดยการใช้บริการอัตโนมัติที่ติดตั้งอยู่ในสนามบิน

ตามที่อ้างไว้แล้ว อาจจะมีความเป็นไปได้ที่ผู้ที่อยู่ในโปรแกรมเข้าไปในสหรัฐอเมริกาโดยใช้ระบบอัตโนมัติมากกว่าที่จะใช้ระบบมาตรฐานของการเข้าเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกาโดยวิธีการเข้าเมืองแบบดั้งเดิม เพื่อความเข้าใจยิ่งขึ้นขออ้างโดยตรงจาก หน้า “เกี่ยวกับ” ในเว็บไซต์ GlobalEntry.gov:

ในสนามบิน โปรแกรมที่ผู้เข้าร่วมทำการผ่านระบบ Global Entry นำเสนอเครื่องที่สามารถอ่านพาสปอร์ตสหรัฐอเมริกา หรือบัตรถิ่นที่อยู่ถาวร โดยการสแกนลายนิ้วมือเพื่อที่จะพิสูจน์ลายนิ้วมือ และประกาศพิธีการทางศุลกากร แผงอัตโนมัตินี้ออกใบเสร็จรับเงินการเดินทางและนำผู้เดินทางไปสู่การนำส่งสัมภาระและทางออก

ผู้เดินทางต้องได้รับการอนุมัติก่อนสำหรับโปรแกรมการเดินทางเข้าทั่วโลก ผู้สมัครทั้งหมดอยู่ภายใต้กฎระเบียบที่เคร่งครัดและการสัมภาษณ์ก่อนการลงทะเบียน

ในขณะที่จุดประสงค์ของการเดินทางเข้าทั่วโลกนั้นช่วยเร่งให้ผู้เดินทางในระหว่างกระบวนการ สมาชิกอาจจะได้รับการเลือกที่จะตรวจสอบเพิ่มเมื่อมีการเดินทางเข้าสหรัฐอเมริกา การละเมิดข้อตกลงและเงื่อนไขของโปรแกรมจะส่งผลที่เหมาะสม และการยกเลิกสิทธิประโยชน์การเป็นสมาชิกของผู้เดินทาง

บริการความมั่นคงชายแดนและศุลกากรมีคำสั่งที่คอยตรวจสอบการเข้าเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกาเช่นเดียวกับการบังคับใช้กฎหมายศุลกากร ในขณะเดียวกัน USCBP ได้มีการจัดตั้งคณะกรรมการย่อยขององค์การความร่วมมือทางเศรษฐกิจเอเชียแปซิฟิกซึ่งมีความร่วมมือทางเศรษฐกิจกับประเทศในกลุ่มเอเชียแปซิฟิกที่หลากหลาย ในปัจจุบันนี้ตำแหน่งของเอเปคของสหรัฐอเมริกาเนื่องจากมีการเปลี่ยนจากญี่ปุ่นเป็นสหรัฐอเมริกาในเดือนพฤศจิกายน 2010

บทความนี้คงไม่เป็นที่สับสนในโปรแกรมการเข้าเมืองทั่วโลก ไม่ว่าจะเป็นระบบอิเล็กทรอนิกส์สำหรับอำนาจในการเดินทาง (ESTA) หรือ การขอยกเว้นสิทธิวีซ่า (VWP, ซึ่งโดยตัวเองอาจจะสับสนกับการขอยกเว้นสิทธิ I-601 หรือ I-212) ด้วยความแตกต่างนี้และอาจจะไม่เกี่ยวข้องกัน สำหรับการหาข้อมูลเพิ่มเติมเกี่ยวกับ ESTAและVWP

To view this posting in the English language please see: United States Customs and Border Protection Service

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14th March 2011

For those who are unaware, the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) is responsible for monitoring the ports of entry to the United States of America. For some, it may be possible to receive a sort of pre-approval for expedited admission at the various ports of entry in and around the United States.  To quote directly from the homepage of the website GlobalEntry.gov:

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Though intended for frequent international travelers, there is no minimum number of trips necessary to qualify for the program. Participants may enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select airports.

As noted in the citation above, it may be possible for those who are in the program to enter the United States using an automated kiosk rather than the standard method of entering the USA through a classic immigration checkpoint. In order to better understand this it may be best to quote directly from the “About” page of the website GlobalEntry.gov:

At airports, program participants proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable U.S. passport or permanent resident card, place their fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and make a customs declaration. The kiosk issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage claim and the exit.

Travelers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry program. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and interview before enrollment.

While Global Entry’s goal is to speed travelers through the process, members may be selected for further examination when entering the United States. Any violation of the program’s terms and conditions will result in appropriate enforcement action and revocation of the traveler’s membership privileges.

The Customs and Border Protection Service has a broad mandate to monitor the ports of entry to the United States as well as enforcing relevant customs law. Meanwhile, USCBP recently held the chair of a subcommittee of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organization, which is dedicated to economic coordination of the various Asia-Pacific countries. Currently, the United States of America chairs APEC since the chair was turned over to the United States from the Japanese in November of 2010.

Those reading this posting should not confuse the global entry program with the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) nor the visa waiver program (VWP, which itself should not be confused with the I-601 waiver or the I-212 waiver) as these are different programs and may not be relevant to those seeking information regarding ESTA and the VWP.

For related information please see: USCIS.

more Comments: 04

22nd February 2011

สิ่งที่เป็นที่น่าสนใจสำหรับผู้เขียนโดยผ่านทางหลักฐานเล็กๆน้อยๆซึ่งอาจจะมีความเกี่ยวพันกับคำขอที่มีการยื่นอุทธรณ์ I-601 ยื่นโดยพลเมืองอเมริกันทั้งในประเทศไทยและพื้นที่ใกล้เคียงซึ่งเป็นสมาชิกอาเซียน (ASEAN) เป็นที่ปรากฏได้อย่างชัดเจนว่า คดีส่วนมากนั้นไม่ได้จัดการโดยทนายความ เป็นที่ปรากฏอย่างชัดเจนว่า คดีที่ไม่ได้จัดการโดยทนายความจะต้องได้รับการเรียกหลักฐานเพิ่มเติม(RFE)ซึ่งต้องทำให้เสียเวลาเพิ่มขึ้น นอกจากนี้ยังมีบางคนที่ยื่นคำขอเช่นนี้และมีอัตราการปฏิเสธในระดับที่สูงขึ้น

ผู้ที่อ่านบทความนี้อาจจะได้รับข้อเท็จจริงว่า ผู้เขียนฝึกปฏิบัติทางกฎหมายการเข้าเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกาอย่างจริงจัง อาจกล่าวได้ว่า ไม่มีอะไรที่ผิดที่จะเข้าข้างกับพลเมืองอเมริกันอยู่ฝ่ายเดียวซึ่งยื่นคำขอต่อรัฐบาลโดยไม่ได้จัดการโดยทนายความเพื่อจะได้รับสิทธิประโยชน์ ผู้เขียนบทความนี้ไม่ขัดข้องถ้ามีผู้ที่ประสงค์จะได้รับสิทธิประโยชน์ ทางการเข้าเมืองโดยที่ไม่รับการปรึกษาจากทนายความ แต่สิ่งเหล่านี้มีความเสี่ยง ข้อแรกก็คือ ความช่วยเหลือของทนายอเมริกันในกระบวนการคนเข้าเมืองสามารถได้รับสิทธิประโยชน์เช่นเดียวกับผู้เชี่ยวชาญ สามารถที่จะพิสูจน์ให้เห็นถึงมุมมองในการขับเคลื่อนกฎหมายคนเข้าเมืองเช่นเดียวกับกฎระเบียบซึ่งใช้บังคับตามกฎหมาย

กฎหมายคนเข้าเมืองสามารถที่จะเชื่อมโยงกับเรื่องทางการแพทย์เนื่องจากเป็นเรื่องที่เป็นชีวิตประจำวันซึ่งเป็นไปในทางบริบททางกฎหมายในบางครั้งก้อเป็นเรื่องที่ง่ายสำหรับผู้ยื่นคำขอ หรือผู้ที่ได้รับสิทธิประโยชน์ เปรียบเหมือนกับผู้ที่มีโรคทางผิวหนังแล้วอาการอาจจะบรรเทาเองโดยไม่ต้องไปหาหมอทางผิวหนัง ในขณะเดียวกัน บางประเด็นที่เกิดขึ้นในกฎหมายคนเข้าเมืองเป็นเรื่องที่ซับซ้อน ดังนั้นบางสถานการณ์ต้องการความช่วยเหลือจากประสบการณ์ต่างๆด้านกฎหมายคนเข้าเมือง เรื่องราวที่อ้างถึงนี้ต้องอาศัยความเชี่ยวชาญซึ่งเช่นเดียวกับกับผู้เชี่ยวชาญทางผิวหนังที่มีความรู้เป็นพิเศษทางด้านมะเร็งผิวหนังและโรคทางผิวหนังอื่นๆซึ่งไม่ใช่ผู้ที่มีความรู้ทั่วๆไปที่บางคนรู้จัก  สมมติต่อไปว่า ผู้ป่วยที่ติดเชื้อเป็นมะเร็งผิวหนังไม่สามารถที่จะรักษาตัวเองได้ ใช้สมมติฐานนี้ในการเปรียบเทียบกับบริบทของคนเข้าเมือง ผู้ที่ยื่นอุทธรณ์ I-601 มีความคล้ายคลึงกับคนไข้ที่เป็นมะเร็งผิวหนังที่กล่าวไว้ด้านบนซึ่งจำเป็นต้องมีผู้เชี่ยวชาญในการช่วยเหลือแก้ปัญหาความผิดพลาดโดยการจ้างทนายความเพื่อสร้างโอกาสที่ผู้ที่ยื่นอุทธรณ์ I-601 จะไม่ถูกปฏิเสธ (หรือผู้ที่ยื่นอุทธรณ์ I-212)

หลักฐานในการพิสูจน์การขออุทธรณ์ I-601 นั้นเป็นความยากลำบากอย่างที่สุด และมาตรฐานนี้ไม่ใช่เรื่องง่ายที่จะมีการแก้ปัญหา หน่วยบริการคนเข้าเมืองและพลเมือง (USCIS)อ้างไว้ว่า ความยากลำบากอย่างที่สุด ไม่ได้หมายความว่า เป็นเพียงการแยกกันอยู่ของคู่ที่อยู่ด้วยกัน แต่ในความเป็นจริงแล้วมีบางอย่างที่สำคัญมากกว่า ทนายความคนเข้าเมืองอเมริกันทุ่มเททั้งเวลาและความพยายามในการที่จะตรวจสอบคำขอ I-601 ดังนั้นการยื่นคำขอก็จะมีความเสี่ยงต่ำกว่าในการที่จะถูกปฏิเสธ สิ่งที่พึงระลึกถึงคือ ไม่มีทนายคนไหน หรือ ใครก็ตามที่จะสามารถทำนายได้ว่า ผลลัพธ์ของการอุทธรณ์จะเป็นอย่างไร ผู้ที่อ่านบทความนี้ไม่ควรจะเข้าใจผิดพลาดถึงเนื้อความที่ผู้เขียนต้องการสื่อสารโดยบอกเป็นนัยๆว่า การว่าจ้างทนายความจะส่งผลให้ขั้นตอนง่ายขึ้นโดยไม่ใช่ทั้งเรื่อง ควรที่จะทำให้คำขอที่อุทธรณ์ได้รับการปฏิเสธ จากนั้นก็อาจจะมีโอกาสที่เป็นไปได้ว่า จะได้รับการพิจารณาอีกครั้งหนึ่ง หรืออุทธรณ์ไปยังคณะกรรมการอุทธรณ์การเข้าเมือง (BIA) ภายใต้สถานการณ์ดังกล่าว เรื่องนี้จะอยู่ในเขตอำนาจบนพื้นฐานของการทำลายอิสระของการตัดสินใจ ดังนั้น การยื่นคำขอ I-601 ที่ดีตั้งแต่ตอนแรกเป็นเรื่องที่จำเป็นสำหรับผู้ที่ประสงค์ที่จะมีพื้นฐานที่ดีทางกฎหมายในการที่จะอุทธรณ์

ผู้ที่กำลังมองหาการเป็นตัวแทนหรือที่ปรึกษาในสถานการณ์ที่เกี่ยวข้องกับคนเข้าเมืองอเมริกันควรที่จะตรวจสอบความน่าเชื่อถือของงผู้ที่อยู่ในเอเชียตะวันออกเฉียงใต้และอ้างว่าเป็นผู้เชี่ยวชาญ เฉพาะผู้ที่เป็นทนายความที่ได้รับอนุญาตตามกฎหมายในสหรัฐอเมริกามีสิทธิที่จะเก็บค่าบริการในการเป็นตัวแทนของลูกความก่อนกระทรวงความมั่นคงแห่งมาตุภูมิ USCIS หรือ การปฏิบัติภารกิจอเมริกาในต่างประเทศ

To view this posting in English please see: I-601 waiver.

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16th February 2011

It has recently come to this blogger’s attention through anecdotal evidence that there may have been a relatively significant increase in the number of I-601 waiver petitions filed by American Citizens in both the Kingdom of Thailand as well as the greater area that comprises the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Apparently, the majority of these cases are being handled pro se (without attorney representation). It would appear that these pro se filings are being subjected to Requests For Evidence (RFE) which can be time consuming. Furthermore, there are some who also speculate that such petitions could see a higher denial rate.

Those who read this blog may have taken notice of the fact that this blogger takes the practice of United States Immigration law seriously. That said, there is nothing inherently wrong with American Citizens unilaterally petitioning their government for United States Immigration benefits pro se. This blogger has no problem with those who wish to seek immigration benefits without the assistance of counsel, but those pondering this course of action should be aware of the risks. First, the assistance of an American attorney in the US Immigration process can prove highly beneficial as such a professional can provide insight into the dynamics of immigration law as well as the regulations which are used to enforce that law.

Immigration law could be likened to dermatological medicine insofar as the routine cases that arise in an immigration context are sometimes easily taken care of by the petitioner or beneficiary themselves much the same way that a case of acne could be alleviated without the need to visit a dermatologist. Meanwhile, some issues which arise in immigration law can be extremely complicated and therefore such matters may require the assistance of one with a great deal of experience in matters pertaining to American immigration law. This state of affairs brings to mind a hypothetical situation involving dermatologists who specialize in skin cancers and various other skin maladies which are not commonly known to laymen. To take this hypothetical further, a patient afflicted with skin cancer is usually unable to treat themselves. To use this hypothetical as an analogy in an immigration context: those seeking an I-601 waiver are in a situation, similar to the skin cancer patient mentioned above, which may require professional assistance as failure to retain an attorney could increase the chances that an I-601 waiver (or for that matter an I-212 waiver) will be ultimately denied.

The standard of proof in an I-601 waiver is “extreme hardship” and this standard is not easily overcome. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has noted that “extreme hardship” does not mean “mere separation,” of the couple, but is, in fact, something more substantial. American Immigration lawyers expend a great deal of time and effort to see that I-601 waiver petitions are well founded. As a result, such petitions may be at a lower risk of being denied. Bearing this in mind, no attorney, or anyone else for that matter, can foresee what the outcome of a waiver petition will be. Those reading this posting should not misconstrue the author’s message by inferring that retaining an attorney will result in a guaranteed outcome as this is simply not the case. Should an I-601 waiver petition be denied, then it may be possible to have the case reconsidered in a Motion to Reopen or through an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Under such circumstances, the case will be adjudicated based upon an “abuse of discretion” standard which is not easily overcome. Therefore, submitting a well founded I-601 waiver petition the first time can be imperative for those wishing to have a legal grounds of inadmissibility waived.

As always, those seeking representation or counsel in matters related to American immigration should check the credentials of anyone in Southeast Asia claiming expertise in such matters. Only an attorney licensed to practice law in the United States is entitled charge fees to represent clients before the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, or American Missions abroad.

For related information about this issue please see: US Visa Denial.

more Comments: 04

29th January 2011

The administration of this web log routinely posts the holiday closing schedules of various US Missions in the Asia-Pacific region as a courtesy to travelers abroad who may need services from a US Embassy or US Consulate while overseas. The following was quoted directly from the official website of the United States Embassy in Tokyo, Japan:

The Embassy will be closed to the public in observance of the following United States and Japanese holidays:

New Year’s Day Jan. 1, 2011 Saturday (Observed on Fri., Dec. 31)
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday Jan. 17 Monday
National Foundation Day Feb. 11 Friday
Washington’s Birthday Feb. 21 Monday
Vernal Equinox Day March 21 Monday
Golden Week Holidays April 29, May 3-5 Friday, Tuesday – Thursday
Memorial Day May 30 Monday
Independence Day July 4 Monday
Marine Day July 18 Monday
Labor Day Sept. 5 Monday
Autumn Equinox Day Sept. 23 Friday
Columbus Day/Sports Day Oct. 10 Monday
Veterans Day Nov. 11 Friday
Labor Thanksgiving Day Nov. 23 Wednesday
Thanksgiving Day Nov.24 Thursday
Emperor’s Birthday Dec.23 Friday
Christmas Day Dec. 25 Sunday (Observed on Mon., Dec. 26)

Note:

The Embassy will remain open for the following three Japanese holidays in 2011:

Adult’s Day Jan. 10 Monday
Respect for the Aged Day Sept. 19 Monday
Culture Day Nov. Thursday

Those wishing to view the official homepage of the US Embassy in Japan please click HERE.

Those seeking services which can only be provided by a US Mission abroad such as issuance of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, US Passport, or additional visa pages for a US Passport are well advised to contact an American Citizen Services Section of the nearest US Mission with appropriate Consular jurisdiction. In some cases, it may be possible to set an appointment with the Post in advance over the internet. Setting an appointment in advance can greatly streamline the processing of requests as Consular Officers are often better able to anticipate one’s needs.

Those seeking non-immigrant visa benefits such as a US tourist visa (B-2), US student visa (F-1), US exchange visitor visa (J-1), or US business visa (B-1) are likely to see their visa application processed at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. It should be noted that non-immigrant visa applicants are scrutinized subject to section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act.

Those American Citizens seeking American family visa benefits for a Japanese spouse such as a CR-1 visa or IR-1 visa are generally required to process and receive approval of a United States immigration petition prior to processing a US visa application at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. It should be noted that for processing purposes, the K-1 visa, although a US fiance visa, is treated in much the same way as the immigrant visa categories.

Those seeking US business visa benefits such as E-2 visa benefits for certain qualified traders, L-1 visa benefits for intra-company transferees of multi-national corporations, or EB-5 visa benefits for immigrant investors are likely to be required to process, and receive approval of, an immigration petition prior to application for visa benefits at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad.

Those denied a US visa may be able to still ultimately obtain visa benefits through use of an I-601 waiver of a finding of inadmissibility or through use of an I-212 waiver (depending on the reason for denial). However, all cases must be analyzed based upon the unique set of facts in the case in order to make a determination as to the eligibility of an applicant for any immigration waiver.

Japan currently participates in the visa waiver program. That said, those wishing to travel to the US on their Japanese passport utilizing the visa waiver program must register online via the electronic system for travel authorization (ESTA) system prior to traveling to the USA.

For related information please see: US Visa Japan.

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