Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘K1 Visa China’

5th June 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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10th January 2011

The following is the holiday closing schedule of the United States Consulate in Shanghai, China as quoted directly from the Post’s official website:

The Consulate, including the Nonimmigrant Visa Unit, is scheduled to be closed on the following dates in observance of year 2011 official American and Chinese holidays.

**        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 who have read through this blog with any frequency may have already noted that the author routinely posts holiday closing schedules of US Posts as a courtesy to travelers abroad. Although the various websites of many US Missions post this information themselves, it can sometimes prove difficult to find for those who are in a rush or for those who have not previously used a US Embassy website. Furthermore, the administration hopes that by gathering many of these schedules together in one place it will prove beneficial for those American travelers and expatriates who routinely travel throughout Asia.

To visit the official homepage of the US Consulate in Shanghai please click HERE.

Those seeking services such as issuance of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, US Passport, or new visa pages for a previously issued US Passport are well advised to contact the American Citizen Services Section of the nearest US Consulate. Please note that some US Consulates abroad allow individuals to make an appointment with the Post to process their request. Making an appointment in advance can greatly streamline the processing of requests since Consular Officers can anticipate some of the needs of the customer prior to their arrival at the Post.

Those seeking visas such as the B-2 tourist visa, F-1 student visa, J-1 exchange visitor visa, or the B-1 business visa are likely to process their application through a Non-Immigrant Visa Unit abroad. Meanwhile, those seeking United States Lawful Permanent Residence for Chinese family members are likely to process their application through an Immigrant Visa Unit at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. For processing purposes, the K-1 visa, a non-immigrant US fiance visa, is generally treated as if it were an immigrant visa since the applicant is entitled to file for adjustment of status within 90 days of entering the USA and after legally marrying the petitioner.

Employment based visa categories such as the L-1 visa or Investor visa categories such as the EB-5 visa generally require the filing and approval of a US immigration petition from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) before a visa application can be processed abroad.

For related information please see: US 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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24th September 2010

In previous posts on this blog, this author has discussed proposed fee increases of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). In a recent announcement from USCIS, this matter again came to this author’s attention as USCIS announced a final rule on the issue. To quote directly from the actual announcement as distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced a final rule adjusting fees for immigration applications and petitions. The final rule follows a period of public comment on a proposed rule, which USCIS published in the Federal Register on June 11, 2010. After encouraging stakeholders to share their input, USCIS considered all 225 comments received. The final rule will increase overall fees by a weighted average of about 10 percent but will not increase the fee for the naturalization application. The final rule will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow,September 24, and the adjusted fees will go into effect on November 23, 2010.

“USCIS is grateful for the valuable public input that we received as we prepared the final fee rule,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “We remain mindful of the effect of fee increases on the communities we serve, and we will continue to work to enhance the services we provide.”

The final fee rule establishes three new fees, including a fee for regional center designations under the Immigrant Investor (EB-5) Pilot Program, a fee for individuals seeking civil surgeon designation, and a fee to recover USCIS costs to process immigrant visas granted by the Department of State. Additionally, the final rule reduces and eliminates several fees, including some for servicemembers and certain veterans of the U.S. armed forces who are seeking citizenship-related benefits. The final rule also expands the availability of fee waivers to additional categories.

USCIS is a primarily fee-based organization, with about 90 percent of its budget coming from fees paid by applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits. The law requires USCIS to conduct fee reviews every two years to determine the funding levels necessary to administer the nation’s immigration laws, process immigration benefit requests and provide the infrastructure needed to support those activities. The final fee rule announced today concludes a comprehensive review begun in 2009.

USCIS’s fee revenue in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 was much lower than projected, and fee revenue in fiscal year 2010 remains low. While USCIS received appropriations from Congress and made budget cuts of approximately $160 million, this has not bridged the remaining gap between costs and anticipated revenue. A fee adjustment, as detailed in the final rule announced today, is necessary to ensure USCIS recovers the costs of its operations while also meeting the application processing goals identified in the 2007 fee rule.

Those with foreign fiances may take note of the fact that within this same announcement it was noted that the petition fees for the fiance visa will be reduced from 455 United States dollars to 340 United States dollars. On the whole, there are some who may not particularly welcome this announcement, but it would appear that the costs associated with providing Immigration services have reached the point that a fee adjustment is in order.

It should be noted that the fees noted above may not be the only costs that arise during the processing of a United States visa. This is due to the fact that the US visa process is somewhat bifurcated as USCIS is tasked with adjudicating the initial immigration petition while a US Embassy or US Consulate with appropriate jurisdiction is responsible for processing visa applications for travel documents sought outside of the United States of America. Recently, the US Department of State announced an increase in fees associated with adjudication of K1 visa applications abroad. That said, other fees were reduced. These fee adjustments seem to correlate to the underlying costs and fees associated with the adjudication of these applications.

For related information please see: K1 Visa Thailand.

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22nd September 2010

Those who read this blog on a regular basis may have noted that recently less attention has been paid to the K1 visa than in the past. This development is partly due to the fact that there has been little to report regarding the US fiance visa as there have been few dramatic changes to the K1 visa process since the beginning of the year 2010. That said, with Comprehensive Immigration Reform possibly on the horizon, there are those who believe that many changes will be made to current US Immigration protocols. In a recent announcement, the American State Department sought comments regarding the DS-156K. This form is specifically used for Consular Processing of the K1 fiance visa. To directly quote an excerpt from the announcement as distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):

We are soliciting public comments to permit the Department to: Evaluate whether the proposed information collection is necessary to properly perform our functions. Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the proposed collection, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used. Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected. Minimize the reporting burden on those who are to respond, Abstract of proposed collection: Form DS-156K is used by consular officers to determine the eligibility of an alien applicant for a non- immigrant fiancee visa. Methodology: The DS-156K is submitted to consular posts abroad.

In the past, the DS-156K might have also been utilized in a K3 Visa application pending before a US Consulate or US Embassy. However, the National Visa Center announced this year that many of the K3 visa applications will be “administratively closed” in cases where the underlying I-130 petition (used for spouse visas such as the CR1 Visa and the IR1 Visa) arrives at NVC simultaneously or prior to the arrival of the I-129f petition for a K3 visa.

In the context of the K1 visa, this request for comments would appear to be an attempt by the State Department to assess the utility of the DS-156K in an effort to streamline the processing of future K visa applications. How the comments will ultimately be used remains to be seen, but any attempt to make the visa process more efficient should be greeted positively by this author as the visa process can sometimes prove to be confusing and cumbersome those American Citizens wishing to bring a loved one to the United States.

For further information please see: K1 Visa Thailand or K3 Visa Thailand.

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22nd July 2010

This author recently discovered that the United States Embassy in China has announced that those seeking non-immigrant visas to the United States of America may seek such travel documents at any US Consulate in China. To quote directly from the website of the American Embassy in China:

Residents of China may apply for a non-immigrant visa at any U.S. Consular Section in China, regardless of the province or city of residence.  We have Consular Sections at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the U.S. Consulates General in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenyang.

Although the basic application process is the same, specific times and application procedures at each visa issuing office can vary.  Before applying for a visa, applicants should check each post’s web site for procedures specific to that post.

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in China provide the following estimates of the next available non-immigrant visa interview appointment date for your reference.  Please be aware appointments are scheduled continuously, and the next available appointment date can change dramatically on short notice.

All appointments must be booked through the Visa Information Call Center at 4008-872-333, which has the most current information about appointment wait times.  Specific appointment procedures can be found here: http://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn/niv_appointment.html.

The information below is a rough guide only.  Please note this information was last updated on 21 Jul, 2010.

Business/ tourist visa appointments (B1, B2, and B1/B2 visa classes)

As of the date above, this post is booking… … appointments for the following date:
U.S. Embassy Beijing 3-Aug
U.S. Consulate General Chengdu 19-Aug
U.S. Consulate General Guangzhou 17-Aug
U.S. Consulate General Shanghai 23-Aug
U.S. Consulate General Shenyang 31-Aug


Student (F, M, J visa classes)

As of the date above, this post is booking… … appointments for the following date:
U.S. Embassy Beijing 28-Jul
U.S. Consulate General Chengdu 6-Aug
U.S. Consulate General Guangzhou 27-Jul
U.S. Consulate General Shanghai 19-Aug
U.S. Consulate General Shenyang 4-Aug

Appointment wait times for particular groups such as petition-based employment applicants, group leisure tours, Amcham applicants, and public affairs passport holders may be different.  Please contact the Visa Information Call Center at 4008-872-333 for more information.

If you require an earlier visa appointment for immediate travel for urgent medical treatment, to meet the start date on your I-20 or DS-2019 form, or for another emergency reason, please see our information about expedited appointments http://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn/niv_expedite.html.

The information on how to apply can be found below:

The U.S. Consulate in Chengdu:
http://chengdu.usembassy-china.org.cn/appointment.html

The U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou:
http://guangzhou.usembassy-china.org.cn/niv-how-to-apply.html

The U.S. Consulate in Shanghai:
http://shanghai.usembassy-china.org.cn/how_to_apply.html

The U.S. Consulate in Shenyang:
http://shenyang.usembassy-china.org.cn/consular5.html

The U.S. Consulate in Hongkong:
http://hongkong.usconsulate.gov/niv_apply.html

It is interesting to note this recent policy shift as most US Diplomatic and Consular missions in other countries require the applicant to apply for their non-immigrant visa at the Consulate with jurisdiction over the place of residence of the applicant. However, these jurisdictional rules may be altered by officials of the Department of State depending upon the prevailing circumstances in the host country. That said, China is a unique country insofar as it has a large landmass as well as a massive population. As a result, special considerations probably ought to be taken into account when discussing those issues associated with optimally serving those Chinese nationals wishing to travel to the USA.

As the economic and diplomatic relationships between the USA and China become increasingly close, Immigration matters will become more important for those conducting Sino-American business or for those from China who simply wish to visit the United States for recreational purposes.

It should be noted that the above announcement would seem to only apply to those seeking non-immigrant visas such as the B2 visa or the F1 visa. Therefore, the above information does not appear, at the time of this writing, to be applicable to those seeking an Immigrant visa such as a CR1 Visa or an IR1 Visa. Furthermore, it would also seem as though those seeking visa benefits under the K visa category (K1 visa, K2 visa, K3 Visa, K4 visa, etc.) will not be able to “forum shop” for the Post of their choice for the ultimate visa interview.

For more information about US Immigration from China please see: US Visa China.

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