Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘K-3 Visa China’

23rd February 2011

In recent weeks it has come to this blogger’s attention, via organizations such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and through the website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), that the USCIS has made decisions which has lead to a delay in processing a relatively significant number of I-130 petitions for Immediate relative immigration benefits. To quote directly from the official website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS):

In November 2010, USCIS transferred approximately 36,000 Immediate Relative petitions from our California Service Center to our Texas Service Center. We anticipated that this redistribution of work would result in more timely adjudication of these petitions. Due to a number of unforeseen circumstances at our Texas Service Center, many of these cases have not been processed and are beyond our estimated processing times. We sincerely regret any inconvenience this may have caused you and we are making every effort to remedy this situation as soon as possible.

It is easy to lay blame upon people and organizations. Those reading this piece should note that mistakes occur in life. Businesses, individuals, organizations, and governments do make mistakes and playing the “blame game” often yields little in terms of practical solutions. That said, the USCIS is a government entity and should be accountable for their mistakes. Clearly, the USCIS has taken responsibility for this error and has taken measures to rectify the situation. To quote further from the official website of the USCIS:

On Feb. 7, 2011, we implemented a rapid response plan to expedite the adjudication of these petitions. We have transferred a large number of these Immediate Relative petitions back to our California Service Center to take advantage of resources currently available to immediately process these cases. Petitioners will see an action such as an approval, denial or a Request for Evidence (RFE) on their case from our California or Texas Service Centers by the end of February. Additionally, we have briefed the Department of State’s National Visa Center about these cases.

USCIS’s efforts to solve this problem should not be overlooked. For those seeking an Immigrant visa for a foreign spouse, the K-3 visa has been used in the past to obtain an expedited travel document when the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service has a backlog of cases. In recent months, the United States National Visa Centerpiece  has had an “administrative closure” policy regarding those K-3 visa applications that arrive at the NVC with, or after, their I-130 counterparts. There are some who speculate that there might be more K-3 visas issued as a result of the backlog created from the situation note above. At the time of this writing, it remains unclear as to exactly how American Immigration officials will opt to deal with this matter.

For related information please see: USCIS processing time.

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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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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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