Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘K1 visa India’

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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11th January 2011

Those who read this blog with any regularity may have noticed that the administration routinely posts the holiday closing schedules of the multiple United States Embassies and United States Consulates in Asia. This is done in an effort to hopefully forestall fruitless trips to an American Embassy abroad on a holiday. The following was quoted directly from the United States Consulate in Hyderabad, India:

DAY DATE HOLIDAY TYPE
Friday December 31, 2010* New Year’s Day (American)

Friday January 14 Sankranthi (Indian)
Monday January 17 Martin Luther’s King’s Birthday American
Wednesday January 26 Republic Day Indian
Monday February 21 Washington’s Birthday American
Monday April 4 Ugadi Indian
Friday April 22 Good Friday Indian
Monday May 30 Memorial Day American
Monday July 4 Independence Day American
Monday August 15 Independence Day Indian
Wednesday August 31 Idu’l Fitr# Indian
Thursday September 1 Ganesh Chaturthi Indian
Monday September 5 Labor Day American
Thursday October 6 Dusshera Indian
Monday October 10 Columbus Day American
Wednesday October 26 Diwali Indian
Monday November 7 Idu’Zua Indian
Friday November 11 Veterans Day American
Thursday November 24 Thanksgiving Day American
Monday December 26** Christmas Day American

* In lieu of January 1, 2011 (Saturday)

** In lieu of December 25, 2011 (Sunday)

(#)  Exact date to be confirmed according to the lunar calendar

Note: In the year 2011, one Indian National Holiday, Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday, falls on Sunday. The post will observe this holiday on Sunday, October 2, 2011.

Those seeking issuance of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, US Passport, or new visa pages for a previously issued United States Passport are well advised to contact an American Citizen Services Section of the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. In many cases, those seeking such services can make an appointment in advance and thereby streamline the overall process.

For those wishing to visit the official homepage of the US Consulate in Hyderabad directly please click HERE.

Those seeking non-immigrant visas such as the US tourist visa are generally required to process their application through a Non-Immigrant Visa Unit of a US Consulate abroad. In virtually all cases, such applications must be scrutinized pursuant to section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act.

Those seeking family based visas such as the IR-1 visa or the CR1 Visa are generally required to process such applications through an Immigrant Visa (IV) Unit. The K1 visa application, although technically for a non-immigrant US fiance visa, is processed in much the same manner as an Immigrant visa.

Those seeking an EB-5 visa (Immigrant Investor Visa) or an L-1 visa (intra-company transferee visa) are usually required to first obtain an approved immigration petition from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

For related information please see: K1 Visa India.

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11th January 2011

The following was directly quoted from the official website of the United States Consulate in Chennai, India:

The U.S. Mission will officially observe only the holidays listed below.

Date

Day

Holiday

Type

December 31, 2010*

Friday

New Year’s Day

American

January 17

Monday

Martin Luther King’s Birthday

American

January 26

Wednesday

Republic Day

Indian

February 21

Monday

Washington’s Birthday

American

April 14

Thursday

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s Birthday

(not for Karnataka)

Indian

April 22

Friday

Good Friday

Indian

May 30

Monday

Memorial Day

American

July 4

Monday

Independence Day

American

August 15

Monday

Independence Day

Indian

August 31

Wednesday

Idu’l Fitr (Ramzan)

Indian

September 1

Thursday

Vinayakar Chathurthi

Indian

September 5

Monday

Labor Day

American

October 5

Wednesday

Ayutha Pooja

Indian

October 6

Thursday

Vijaya Dasami

Indian

October 10

Monday

Columbus Day

American

October 26

Wednesday

Deepavali

Indian

November 1

Tuesday

Karnataka Rajyotsava Day

(for Karnataka only)

Indian

November 7

Monday

Idu’l Zuha (Bakrid)

Indian

November 11

Friday

Veterans Day

American

November 24

Thursday

Thanksgiving Day

American

December 26**

Monday

Christmas Day

American

* in lieu of January 1, 2011 (Saturday)
**  in lieu of December 25, 2011 (Sunday)

This blog routinely posts the holiday closing schedules of United States Posts abroad because this blogger has personally found himself at an American Mission that was closed due to observance of a holiday. It is hoped that by posting this information it will forestall this from happening to others in the future.

Those seeking the official homepage of the US Consulate in Chennai, India please click HERE.

Those seeking services such as issuance of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, US Passport, or additional visa pages for a previously issued American passport are well advised to contact an American Citizen Services Section of the nearest US Embassy or US Consulate. In many cases, those seeking services may book an appointment online and thereby streamline the overall processing of a request.

Those seeking a temporary visa such as a US Tourist Visa are likely to process their application through a Non-Immigrant Visa Unit at a US Post abroad. Those seeking such visas are generally scrutinized pursuant to the legal presumptions imposed by section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act.

Those seeking a US Marriage Visa for an Indian spouse are likely to process their IR-1 or CR-1 visa application through an Immigrant Visa (IV) Unit at a US Post abroad. In general, the K-1 visa, considered a non-immigrant US fiance visa, is treated in much the same way as immigrant visas for processing purposes.

Those wishing to acquire an EB-5 visa for investment purposes or an L-1 visa as an intra-company transferee must usually have an immigration petition approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) prior to processing a visa application.

For related information please see: US Visa India.

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11th January 2011

Those who read this web log with any frequency may have noticed that the administration tries to post the holiday closing schedules of many of the US Embassies and US Consulates in Asia. This is done in an effort to forestall possibly fruitless trips to a closed US Embassy observing either an American or foreign holiday. The following is the holiday closing schedule of the United States Embassy in New Delhi, India as quoted directly from that Embassy’s official website:

Date Day Holiday Type
December 31,  2010* Friday New Year’s Day American
January 17 Monday Martin Luther King’s Birthday American
January 26 Wednesday Republic Day Indian
February 21 Monday Washington’s Birthday American
April 22 Friday Good Friday Indian
May 30 Monday Memorial Day American
July 4 Monday Independence Day American
August 15 Monday Independence Day Indian
August 22 Monday Janamashtami Indian
August 31 Wednesday Idu’l Fitr Indian
September 5 Monday Labor Day American
October 6 Thursday Dussehra (Vijaya Dashami) Indian
October 10 Monday Columbus Day American
October 26 Wednesday Diwali Indian
October 27 Thursday Govardhan Puja Indian
November 10 Thursday Guru Nanak’s Birthday Indian
November 11 Friday Veterans’ Day American
November 24 Thursday Thanksgiving Day American
December 6 Tuesday Muharram Indian
December 26** Monday Christmas Day American

*    in lieu of January 1, 2011 (Saturday)
**  in lieu of December 25, 2011 (Sunday)

Those seeking services such as the issuance of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, US  Passport, or additional visa pages for a previously issued American passport are well advised to contact the American Citizen Services Section of an American Mission abroad. In  many cases, Americans seeking such services can make an appointment in advance. Making an advance appointment can greatly facilitate the processing of requests as Consular Officers are provided with an opportunity to foresee the customers needs when an appointment is made in advance. In order to make an appointment online one may be required to register an appointment on the US Mission’s official website.

Those seeking the homepage of the official website of the United States Embassy in New Dehli, India should click HERE.

Those seeking visas such as the US Tourist Visa (B-2 visa), US Student Visa (F-1 visa), US Exchange Visitor Visa (J-1 visa), or the US Business Visa (B-1 visa) may be required to process their visa application through a Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) Unit at a US Consulate abroad. In many cases, such applications are scrutinized pursuant to section 214b of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act which can create difficulties for those applicants who cannot show “strong ties” to India and “weak ties” to the United States of America.

Those Indian Nationals with Lawful Permanent Residence or American Citizens wishing to obtain an IR-1 visa or a CR-1 visa for an Indian loved one will likely be required to process their visa application through an Immigrant Visa Unit abroad. Unless it is possible to execute a Direct Consular Filing for such a visa, it is likely that such a visa application would only be adjudicated after the initial adjudication of an immigration petition at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). For application processing purposes it should be noted that the K1 visa, although a non-immigrant US fiance visa, is generally treated  in much the same manner as an immigrant visa application.

Those Indian Nationals seeking an EB-5 visa for immigrant investment purposes or an L-1 visa for an intracompany transferee are generally required to process an immigration petition at USCIS prior to visa application abroad.

For related information please see: K1 Visa India.

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23rd November 2010

The administrator of this blog recently came across a press release from the United States Mission in India. The following is quoted directly from the press release as distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):

New Delhi – In an effort to make the visa application process more convenient for all Indians, the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and Consulates General in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad now accept visa applications from across India at all visa facilities, regardless of the applicant’s home address or city of residence. This is part of Mission India’s ongoing effort to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States.

Following the opening of Consulate General Hyderabad in 2008, the U.S. Mission has looked for ways to best capture the dynamism of India’s growth across the nation. As a result, we also redesigned our consular districts. Therefore, effective immediately, our consular districts will be reorganized as follows: Embassy Delhi: Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bhutan; Consulate Mumbai: Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Diu and Daman, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli; Consulate Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh, Orissa; Consulate Chennai: Karnataka, Kerala, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands; Consulate Kolkata: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, West Bengal

U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer said, “With these changes, we believe our Consulates General and our Embassy in New Delhi will be even better positioned to support and serve Indian visa applicants, as well as American citizens and businesses throughout India.”

Actions such as those noted above can have a tremendous positive impact upon those Indian Nationals seeking United States Immigration benefits as the ability to process such travel documents at any Post in India generally results in a great deal more convenience compared to the policy of keeping Consular jurisdictions mutually exclusive.

Each year, many Indian Nationals seek visa benefits of the United States of America. While some may seek US family visa benefits in order to reunite with loved ones. Other applicants seek non-immigrant visas for short terms stays in the USA. Still others seek employment based visas to the US such as the L1 visa. Meanwhile, there are some who opt to seek United States Permanent Residence by investment through use of the EB-5 visa program.

Policies such as the aforementioned one adopted by the US Mission in India should be applauded as this shows a sincere effort on the part of the Mission in India to take measures which may be beneficial to those seeking visas to America.

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

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23rd October 2010

Those American Citizens with Indian husbands or wives often research issues surrounding the US K-3 marriage visa category in an effort to make informed decisions about American travel documentation. Although the term “K-3 visa” has become a common buzzword used as a colloquial synonym for US Marriage Visa on the World Wide Web, the K-3 category was not always the widely utilized travel document for Indian-American couples reuniting in the United States as the Immigrant visa categories often referred to as CR-1 and/or IR-1 visas were once the only travel documents available to the spouses of American Citizens wishing to take up residence in the USA (note: the IR-1 visa category predates the CR-1 visa category as conditional lawful permanent residence status has not always been imposed upon foreign spouses of US Citizens married less than 2 years).

There was a rather significant backlog of Immigrant visa petitions at the agency now commonly referred to as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) when the K3 visa category was created by Congressional legislation sometimes called the “Life Act” which was signed and executed by President William Jefferson Clinton prior to leaving office toward the end of his term (the K-4 visa, similar to the K2 derivative visa attached to the K1 visa, was a derivative visa category also created by the “Life Act” to be utilized by the children of an Indian K-3 spouse).

Currently, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service does not have the backlog that it once had of Immigrant spousal visa petitions. As a result, the K-3′s utility has been increasingly marginalized as the estimated processing time for CR-1 visa petitions and IR-1 visa petitions has decreased. Relatively recently, the American State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC) promulgated the policy that K-3 visa applications would be administratively closed if and/or when the adjudicated immigrant visa petition arrives at NVC before or with the supplemental K-3 visa petition. This policy has likely lead to some Indian-American married couples to seek Immigrant visa benefits rather than K-3 visa benefits as “administrative closure” precluded further processing of the K-3 visa petition and application.

Those interested in the K3 visa process or the Immigrant visa process are well advised to research all options prior to making any irrevocable decisions. Furthermore, those seeking immigration advice and/or representation should check the credentials of those claiming expertise in American immigration matters as only licensed American attorneys may practice American immigration law pursuant to U.S. law.

Fore related information please see: K3 Visa India or K1 Visa India.

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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.

more Comments: 04

3rd August 2010

This blog frequently posts the holiday closing schedules of US Embassies and US Consulates overseas in an effort to forestall Americans or foreign nationals making an unnecessary and fruitless trip to the Post facilities of a US Mission abroad. The following is the holiday closing schedule for the United States Consulate-General in Kolkata, India as quoted directly from the official website of the US Consulate in Kolkata:

The U.S. Consulate General, the Consular/Visa Section, the Public Affairs Office at the American Center comprising of The American Library(AIRC), USIEF(United States India Educational Foundation) and the United States Foreign Commercial Service at Kolkata, India will observe the following American and Indian holidays in the year 2010.

DATE

DAY

HOLIDAY

TYPE

January 1

Friday

New Year’s Day

American

January 18

Monday

Martin Luther King’s Birthday

American

January 20

Wednesday

Shree Panchami

Indian

January 26

Tuesday

Republic Day

Indian

February 15

Monday

Washington’s Birthday

American

April 02

Friday

Good Friday

Indian

April 15

Thursday

Bengali New Year

Indian

May 31

Monday

Memorial Day

American

July 5

Monday*

Independence Day

American

September 6

Monday

Labor Day

American

October 11

Monday

Columbus Day

American

October 14

Thursday

Durga Puja(Saptami)

Indian

October 15

Friday

Durga Puja(Ashtami)

Indian

October 22

Friday

Lakshmi Puja

Indian

November 05

Friday

Kali Puja

Indian

November 11

Thursday

Veterans’ Day

American

November 17

Wednesday

Id-Ul-Zoha

Indian
November 25

Thursday

Thanksgiving Day

American
December 17

Friday

Muharram

Indian
December 24

Friday**

Christmas Day

American


*In lieu of Sunday , 7/4/10
** In lieu of Saturday, 12/25/10

Some of the popular reasons why American Citizens travel to a US Consular Post or a US Embassy overseas is to obtain new passports, visa pages, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, or notarizations from the American Citizen Services Section of the Consulate. Those seeking such services are well advised to check the operating hours of the American Citizen Services Section of the Consulate as well as the holiday closing schedule in order to forestall a futile trip to the Post due to unforeseen closure.

It should also be noted that many United States Embassies and United States Consulates allow those with business at the post to book appointments online. This provides the Consular staff with an opportunity to better prepare to provide appropriate services to those seeking Consular assistance abroad.

Those seeking a visa to the United States do not deal with the American Citizen Services section of most US Consulates and/or Embassies as American visa applications are generally adjudicated by either the Immigrant visa unit or the non-immigrant visa unit (generally for purposes of Consular adjudication of a visa application the K1 visa is considered an Immigrant visa).

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