Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Immigrant Visa Unit’

21st November 2017

The following is a transcript of the video which can be found here: K-3 Visas from Cambodia.

In this video today, we are going to specifically discuss one visa that is sort of an interesting little niche visa, the K-3 visa, in the specific context of a Khmer, Cambodian national who would be seeking that in connection with marriage to a US citizen. Let’s be clear, you have got to be married to a US citizen in order to apply for a K-3.

First things first. As previously noted in my preamble, we’re located here in Bangkok. We do deal with a large number of Thai cases but being fairly geographically close to Cambodia, over the years we’ve done a fair number of Cambodian cases or cases that arise with a Cambodian national, a Khmer national involved. That being stated, it should be noted that the K-3 is an interesting animal.

To provide a little background on what the K-3 visa is. The K-3 visa was created pursuant to the provisions of the LIFE act created under the Clinton presidency and it was created at a time when the back log associated with spousal visas, CR-1 and IR-1, and there’s another video on this channel specific to CR-1 and IR-1 visas, in Cambodia. Basically, at the time, it was taking multiple years to get finalized Department of Homeland secure the approval of the petition for marriage visas. Meanwhile, at the same time it was like 6 or 7 months, 8 months to get a fiancée visa petition approved. So you ended up with the sort of counter intuitive situation where fiancées were moving through the system more quickly than spouses and it should be noted that from a legal perspective there is no qualitative difference as far as the law is concerned, specifically Immigration law is concerned, with respect to a fiancée versus a spouse; from a legal standpoint they’re treated the same way.  From an administrative standpoint, they just had a high back log of marriage visas or marriage petitions, for whatever reason, were they were processing K-1s more efficiently or they just had a lower case load, I don’t know what the deal was, but at the time it was taking multiple years to get a petition for marriage to an American citizen process through and meanwhile it was taking a matter of months for fiancées. So what happened is they created this K-3 category and the K-3 category was created, basically they said “look if you have got a petition on file for a spousal visa benefits in the normal manner, the CR-1 or IR-1 category basically, you can take that filing and do a duplicative version of that and go ahead and file for this K-3 category. You just go ahead and file it again through the K line. That’s basically what they did. They just took these marriage visa cases and said – Okay, it’s been filed, you have got to prove it’s filed and you put it in the line that was processing for fiancées so what ended up happening is K-3 has kind of become the ubiquitous term for a US marriage visa but in point of fact, the traditional methodology of bringing someone into the United States is through a CR-1 or IR-1 visa.  The K-3 just sort of became rather common place in the lexicon of these matters because people got used to dealing with K-3s because that was effectively the way to get your spouse into the United States. It’s interesting because K-3 still requires adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence.  Those of you who are interested in learning about that, in order to get a green card you have to undergo the adjustment of status process and I urge you to take a look at the video that specifically discusses the adjustment of status process on this channel, but something to bring up with respect to K-3s in the present context. Although they may be useful under present processing conditions, in the past there was an administrative ruling, it was a policy of administrative closure that was undertaken by the National Visa Center whereby they basically said – “Look, the K-3 was created for these situations where basically a marriage visa, an immigrant visa case got lost in the back log of USCIS. Not lost but stuck in the back log of USCIS. So if we got the K-3 position first we will process through on the K-3. But if we get the petition for the Immigrant Spouse Visa first, we’re going to process the Immigrant Spouse Visa benefits. We’re going to disregard the K-3”. This is important because NVC’s function is qualitatively different in an immigrant visa context that it is in a K Visa context. The K Visa context, NVC just shoots the case on to the embassy in question and the embassy sort of deals with all the nuts and bolts of the consular processing. In an immigrant visa context, the NVC process is slower because NVC deals with the nuts and bolts of document intake and in a way, I won’t say, adjudication but sort of pre vetting to make sure that they have generally what they need to go ahead and continue to process and get an interview scheduled. So in a way, the K-3 may still, if you can go ahead and get one through, the K-3 may still process more quickly compared to an immigrant visa but it’s my understanding that NVC still maintains the policy of administrative closure, where they get the immigrant case first and now processing of immigrant matters, immigrant spouse matters of American citizens, has reduced significantly. USCIS, to their credit, took significant substantial steps to make their process more efficient and they streamlined it, and I think they got more staff and things to deal with those matters and they put more resources on getting those cases processed, and as a result, in a way the K-3 is, I won’t say it’s obsolete, but its original reason for being there is not quite so pressing as it was at the time that it was created. And for that reason, I think it’s very probable that you are going to see fewer and fewer K-3 visas being processed in Cambodia or elsewhere.

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4th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand is poised to begin exclusively offering routine services at the American Citizen Services section of the Post by appointment only. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of the United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand:

Beginning September 1, 2011, all non-emergency consular services will require an appointment. We hope that this will assist us in providing prompt and efficient consular services to American Citizens residing in Thailand.  Please plan accordingly.

For those who are unfamiliar with matters pertaining to United States Missions abroad it should be noted that an American Citizen Services section of a US Embassy, US Consulate, or American Institute provides many services for Americans resident abroad. Such services include, but are not limited to, US Passport issuance, Consular Report of Birth Abroad issuance, Notary Services, and issuance of additional pages to a previously issued US Passport. It has always been this blogger’s personal experience that the ACS unit of the US Embassy in Bangkok handles matters in an efficient and courteous manner. That stated, the unit always seems hectically busy and it would appear that the new policy is aimed at streamlining the processing of pertinent requests.

Those seeking information regarding visas and immigration to the United States should look for information regarding Immigrant Visa Units and/or Non-Immigrant Visa Units at US Posts abroad as those sections are generally tasked with adjudicating applications for visas such as the B-2 visa, the K-1 visa, the CR-1 visa, and the IR-1 visa.

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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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8th August 2010

The administration of this blog routinely posts the holiday closing schedules of US Embassies and US Consulates in Southeast Asia and India in an effort to provide information to travelers who may need assistance at a local Post. Below is the holiday closing schedule for the US Embassy accredited to Sri Lanka and the Maldives quoted directly from that Embassy’s official website:

The American Embassy will observe the following American and local holidays in 2010.

Date

Event

Type

January  01 (Friday) New Year’s Day American
January  14 (Thursday) Tamil Thai Pongal Day Local
January 18 (Monday) Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. American
February 04 (Thursday) National Day Local
February 15 (Monday) Presidents’ Day American
March 1 (Monday) In Lieu of Holy Prophet’s Birthday Local
March 29 (Monday) Bak Full Moon Poya Day Local
April 13 (Tuesday) Day Prior to Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day Local
April 14 (Wednesday) Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day Local
May 3 (Monday) In Lieu of May Day Local
May 27 (Thursday) Wesak Full Moon Poya Day Local
May 31 (Monday) Memorial Day American
July 05 (Monday) In lieu of Independence Day American
August 24 (Tuesday) Nikini Full Moon Poya Day Local

September 06 (Monday)

Labor Day American
October 11 (Monday) Columbus Day American
November 11 (Thursday) Veteran’s Day American
November 25 (Thursday) Thanksgiving Day American
December 20 (Monday) Unduvap Full Moon Poya Day Local
December 24 (Friday) In Lieu of Christmas Day American

Americans traveling or residing overseas often find themselves in need of services routinely performed by Consular Officers at an American Citizen Services Post. The services most often sought by Americans abroad include: Passport renewal, adding of new visa pages, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, and notarial services. As an example, in Thailand, many Americans wishing to register a marriage in the Kingdom must first obtain a notarized affidavit from the US Embassy Bangkok or the US Consulate Chinag Mai stating that they are legally free to marry.

Those seeking services at a United States Embassy or United States Consulate are well advised to check the holiday closing schedule before traveling to the post. Furthermore, those with business before the American Citizen Services Section of a US Consulate should ascertain whether or not the post takes appointments online. By scheduling an appointment in advance an American Citizen, or foreign national with business before the post, can put the Consular Staff on notice of expected services, which allows for more efficient service, and ensure that a place in line as some appointment times can be pre-booked online.

Those seeking visas are well advised to check with the local visa unit (either non-immigrant or immigrant depending upon the visa category) of the Consulate to learn about appointment booking procedures which may vary from post to post. For more information about United States Immigration please see: K1 visa.

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