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Posts Tagged ‘K-1 Visa China’

25th March 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) may be changing some of the procedures associated with the processing of immigration petitions pertaining to the application for issuance of the CR-1 visa, IR-1 visa, K-1 visa, and K-3 visa filed by United States Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents. To quote directly from a recent USCIS Memo posted on ILW.com:

This memorandum provides guidance to USCIS service centers regarding changes in the handling of all stand-alone I-130 and I-129F petitions filed by petitioners who have been convicted of any “specified offense against a minor” under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (“Adam Walsh Act” or “AWA”) and related issues.1 This memorandum applies only to petitions that are adjudicated at the service centers and not to petitions adjudicated at USCIS field offices.

Generally I-130 petitions (the categorical designation used to refer to the petition for a CR-1 visa or an IR-1 visa) are processed by the USCIS Service Center designated by the lockbox upon receipt. In some cases, it may be possible to process an I-130 petition at one of the various USCIS field offices located abroad, such as the USCIS office in Bangkok. The I-129f petition (categorical designation used to denote the US fiance visa or K1 visa) can only be processed at a USCIS Service Center in the USA as the field offices overseas do not process such petitions as of the time of this writing. To quote further from the previously mentioned memorandum:

USCIS will centralize at VSC all files currently at service centers if the service center adjudicator has made a preliminary determination that the petition warrants review as an AWA-related case. The VSC will serve as a central clearinghouse for inquiries from Federal, State, and local agencies regarding AWA-related cases that are pending or were recently adjudicated at one of the four service centers [hereafter referred to as “originating service center” or “sending service center”]. While AWA-related cases require special handling, the decision to centralize AWA-related adjudications at the VSC will affect caseloads at other service centers only minimally.

Clearly, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is making policy changes in an effort to take steps to more efficiently process cases requiring further scrutiny pursuant to the Adam Walsh Act (AWA). In a way, the Vermont Service Center’s role in AWA-related cases is somewhat similar to the role of the National Visa Center in the overall US visa process as that agency is tasked with acting as a sort of clearinghouse for visa applications arriving from USCIS and being processed out to a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. Although, NVC is under the authority of the Department of State whereas the Vermont Service Center (like the other USCIS Service Centers) is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and USCIS.

For related information please see: Adam Walsh Act.

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1st March 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will be changing their procedures in matters pertaining to address changes. To quote directly from the website of the Division of International Services NIH Office of Research Services:

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced new mailing addresses for submitting the Form AR-11. The form must now be mailed to an office in Kentucky, and not to the USCIS Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Forms submitted via the U.S. Postal Service should be sent to:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Change of Address
P.O. Box 7134
London, KY 40742-7134

Forms submitted via commercial overnight or freight services should be sent to:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Change of Address
1084-I South Laurel Road
London, KY 40744

Any forms previously mailed to the USCIS Headquarters will be forwarded to the Kentucky office. A new version of the Form AR-11, which includes the new mailing addresses, has been issued and is now available on the usCIS website (click here to download a copy of the form). Additional information on the change of address is available here on the USCIS website.

The administration of this blog highly recommends that readers click on the above link to read the full announcement.

This issue could be of particular importance for those who have recently filed a petition for immigration benefits and subsequently moved their place of residence. Also, those who enter the United States of America in K-1 visa status (the categorical name for the US fiance visa) should take note of the above announcements as K-1 visa holders are required to submit an application for adjustment of status in order to be granted lawful permanent residence in the USA. In some cases, a bi-national couple may find that they need to change their address while the adjustment of status is pending. Failure to advise the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) of such a change could result in processing delays or a situation in which a couple is not notified of an upcoming adjustment of status interview. This could result in the couple missing said interview and the K-1 fiancee falling out of status due to a deficient adjustment. For these reasons, keeping USCIS abreast of one’s address while a petition is pending is very prudent.

In a recent posting on this blog it was also noted that the USCIS has recently changed their policy regarding employment authorization and advance parole. The service is apparently issuing advance parole on the same document that grants employment authorization prior to adjustment. Advance parole is a benefit that can be granted to those holding K-1 visa status which allows the visa holder to leave the country while an adjustment is pending. Failure to obtain advance parole prior to leaving the USA could result in the K-1 visa beneficiary falling out of status and thereby requiring the process to be restarted all over again.

For related information please: K1 Visa Thailand.

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14th February 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Department of Homeland Security‘s United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has implemented a program to issue advance parole authorization on the same document as that of employment authorization. To quote directly from the official website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS):

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that it is now issuing employment and travel authorization on a single card for certain applicants filing an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, Form I-485. This new card represents a significant improvement from the current practice of issuing paper Advance Parole documents.

The card looks similar to the current Employment Authorization Document (EAD) but will include text that reads, “Serves as I-512 Advance Parole.” A card with this text will serve as both an employment authorization and Advance Parole document. The new card is also more secure and more durable than the current paper Advance Parole document.

For those who are unfamiliar with the K-1 visa process, the adjustment of status occurs after a foreign fiancee arrives in America, marries the American petitioner, and files to have their status regularized to that of Lawful Permanent Resident. The card that is given to the foreign spouse is often colloquially referred to as a “Green Card”. Prior to adjustment of status, if a foreign fiancee leaves the USA, then they will need to obtain an advance parole travel document in order to keep their visa status alive and thereby permit reentry to the USA. Failure to obtain advance parole could result in a foreign fiancee losing his or her visa upon departure from the USA and thereby compelling them to go through the whole process anew.

An employment authorization document permits foreign fiancees in the United States on a K-1 visa to work prior to being approved for Green Card status. In many instances, couples opt not to apply for employment authorization and simply await the foreign fiance’s adjustment to Lawful Permanent Residence.

Once a foreign fiance is adjusted to lawful permanent residence, he or she may still be required to eventually apply for a lift of conditions. Those in the USA as a lawful permanent resident based upon marriage are placed in conditional status for the first two years of their presence in the USA if the couple was married less than 2 years at the time they acquired lawful permanent residence.

The above analysis could be utilized for K3 visa purposes as well. However, as the K-3 visa is currently being issued in very rare instances due to administrative closure policies at the National Visa Center, this blogger only mentions this issue as an aside.

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

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10th January 2011

As this blogger has personally found himself at United States Embassies and Consulates overseas that were, previously unbeknown to him, closed due to observance of either an American or foreign holiday. In order to try to forestall this from happening to other travelers in the future, this blog routinely posts holiday closing schedules of various US Missions in Asia. The following is the holiday closing schedule of the United States Consulate in Shenyang, China:

The Consulate is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. We are CLOSED on the following American and Chinese holidays:

Date

Weekday

Holiday

Nation

January 3 Monday New Year’s Day US & China
January 17 Monday Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday US
February 2 - 6 Wednesday – Sunday Chinese (Lunar) New Year China
February 21 Monday President’s Day US
April 5 Tuesday Tomb Sweeping Day China
May 1 – 2 Sunday – Monday International Labor Day China
May 30 Monday Memorial Day US
June 6 Monday Dragon Boat Festival China
July 4 Monday Independence Day US
September 5 Monday Labor Day US
September 12 Monday Mid-Autumn Festival China

October 1 – 5

Saturday – Wednesday

Chinese National Day

China
October 10 Monday Columbus Day US
November 11 Friday Veterans’ Day US
November 24 Thursday Thanksgiving Day US
December 26 Monday Christmas Day US

To visit the official homepage of the United States Consulate in Shenyang’s website please click HERE.

Some individuals traveling to a US Post abroad are doing so because they are seeking services which can only be obtained from an American Citizen Services section of a US Mission abroad. Services such as this include, but are not limited to, issuance of a US Passport for those who have lost their original passport abroad, issuance of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad for an American child born overseas, or issuance of new visa pages for a previously issued passport.

Those foreign nationals seeking non-immigrant visa benefits are likely to process their application through a Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) Unit of a US Mission abroad. Therefore those seeking a US Tourist Visa in China are likely to process their application through an NIV Unit of their nearest US Mission.

Those seeking US family visa benefits are likely to process their application through an Immigrant Visa Unit of a US Mission abroad. In general, the K-1 visa, although technically a non-immigrant US fiance visa, is treated as if it were an immigrant visa for processing purposes.

Those Chinese Citizens seeking employment based visas such as the L-1 visa or investment based visas such as the EB-5 Visa may be required to process an immigration petition through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) prior to processing their visa application through one of the various US Posts in the Peoples’ Republic of China.

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

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10th January 2011

Anyone who reads this blog with any type of regularity may have noted that the administration routinely posts the holiday closing schedules of various United States Missions in Asia, this is done in an effort to provide quick access to this information for those who are traveling outside of the USA. To quote directly from the official website of the United States Consulate in Guangzhou, China:

The Consulate is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. We are CLOSED on the following American and Chinese holidays:

Date

Weekday

Holiday

Nation

January 3 Monday New Year’s Day US & China
January 17 Monday Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday US
February 2 - 6 Wednesday – Sunday Chinese (Lunar) New Year China
February 21 Monday President’s Day US
April 5 Tuesday Tomb Sweeping Day China
May 1 – 2 Sunday – Monday International Labor Day China
May 30 Monday Memorial Day US
June 6 Monday Dragon Boat Festival China
July 4 Monday Independence Day US
September 5 Monday Labor Day US
September 12 Monday Mid-Autumn Festival China
October 1 – 5 Saturday – Wednesday Chinese National Day China
October 10 Monday Columbus Day US
November 11 Friday Veterans’ Day US
November 24 Thursday Thanksgiving Day US
December 26 Monday Christmas Day US

Those who wish to visit the homepage of the US Consulate in Guangzhou please click HERE.

Those seeking issuance of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, new US Passport, or new visa pages for a previously issued US passport are well advised to contact the American Citizen Services (ACS) Section of the nearest US Embassy or US Consulate. Those seeking such services may find processing such requests mare efficient after making an appointment online. In many cases, making an appointment with ACS prior to arrival at the Mission provides Consular Officers with an opportunity to make preparations to better facilitate the processing of a specific request.

Those processing non-immigrant visas such as the B-2 visa for tourists, the B-1 visa for temporary business travelers, the J-1 visa for cultural exchange students, and the F-1 visa for foreign students wishing to study in the USA; may be required to process their applicatyion through a Non-Immigrant Visa Unit abroad.

Those attempting to obtain a US Immigrant visa such as a CR-1 visa or an IR-1 visa in order to reunite with family in the USA may be required to process their application through an Immigrant Visa Unit at a United States Mission abroad. For purposes of application processing the K-1 visa (also referred to as a US fiance visa) is effectively treated as an immigrant visa since K-1 visa holders are entitled to apply for adjustment of status after arrival in the USA provided the couple marries within 90 days of the foreign fiancee’s arrival in the US.

For related information please see: American Visa China.

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10th January 2011

American Citizens and United States Lawful Permanent Residents often travel outside of the USA. In situations where one is traveling abroad it may prove necessary to go to a US Embassy overseas in order to obtain services which can only be performed by a Consular Officer. In order to forestall unnecessary trips to American Posts abroad this blog routinely posts the holiday closing schedules of various US Missions in Asia. This blogger has personally experienced the frustration that can result from traveling to an American Embassy only to find it closed in observance of one of the more obscure American holidays or a holiday routinely observed by the host nation. Hopefully posting this information will keep others from making the same mistake. To quote directly from the official website of the United States Embassy in Beijing, China:

Embassy Holidays for 2011

**        January 3          Monday          New Year’s Day
*          January 17        Monday          Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday
**        February 2-6     Wed-Sun        Chinese (Lunar) New Year
*          February 21       Monday          President’s Day
**        April 5                Tuesday          Tomb Sweeping Day
**        May 1-2             Sun-Mon        International Labor Day
*          May 30               Monday          Memorial Day
**        June 6                Monday          Dragon Boat Festival
*          July 4                 Monday          Independence Day
*          September 5      Monday          Labor Day
**        September 12    Monday          Mid-Autumn Festival
**        October 1-5       Sat-Wed         Chinese National Day
*          October 10        Monday          Columbus Day
*          November 11     Friday             Veteran’s Day
*          November 24     Thursday       Thanksgiving Day
*          December 26     Monday          Christmas Day

*          Americans Holidays
**        Chinese Holidays
***      Chinese and American Holidays

Those interested in services such as the issuance of new visa pages, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, or US Passports are well advised to contact an American Citizen Services (ACS) Section of the nearest US Mission abroad. It may also prove wise to set an appointment with ACS online as doing so often facilitates smoother processing of requests made by those appearing at the Consulate.

For those seeking the homepage of the US Embassy in Beijing please click HERE.

American Citizens and/or Lawful Permanent Residents wishing to obtain family visa benefits for a Chinese loved one are likely to process their visa application through an Immigrant Visa Unit at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. For purposes of visa processing, the K1 visa, although officially a non-immigrant US fiance visa, is treated in much the same way as immigrant visas such as the CR-1 visa and the IR-1 visa.

Those seeking Investment based visas such as the EB-5 visa or employment based visas such as the L-1 visa are usually required to have an immigration petition approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) before the visa application can be processed at a US Mission abroad.

Those seeking a non-immigrant B-2 visa (tourists), B-1 visa (short term business traveler), J-1 visa (exchange visitor), F-1 visa (student visa) are likely required to process their visa application through a Non-Immigrant Visa Unit of a US Mission abroad.

For related information please see: US Visa China.

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28th October 2010

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

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

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

A – American Holiday/L – Local Holiday

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

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

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

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

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26th October 2010

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

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

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

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

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