Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘American Consulate’

30th May 2011

In a previous posting this blogger discussed issues associated with the EB-2 visa. On the same note, the following posting is a brief discussion of the Employment Based visa in the preference category 3. Readers should take note of the fact that Employment Based visa categories, classified as EB, are substantially different from the E-1 visa and the E-2 visa which are Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor visas, respectively, and somewhat dissimilar from employment based visas.  To quote directly from the official USCIS website,

Sub-categories Evidence Certification
Skilled Workers
  • You must be able to demonstrate at least 2 years of job experience or training
  • You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States
Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.
  • You must be able to demonstrate that you possess a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign degree equivalent, and that a baccalaureate degree is the normal requirement for entry into the occupation
  • You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States
  • Education and experience may not be substituted for a baccalaureate degree
Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.
Unskilled Workers (Other Workers) You must be capable, at the time the petition is filed on your behalf, of performing unskilled labor (requiring less than 2 years training or experience), that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to keep in mind that the chart above is not an exhaustive explanation of the criteria associated with EB-3 visa issuance, but should merely be viewed as a brief overview of eligibility criteria for those thinking about petitioning for EB-3 visa benefits. The criteria for EB-3 visa issuance differ from the EB-1 visa and EB-2 visa criteria by some degree especially in the case of the EB-1 visa as that visa category is generally reserved for extraordinary recipients.

Those pondering petitioning for United States immigration benefits such as the EB-3 visa should bear in mind that the petition adjudication process is not necessarily the only phase of what could be a longer overall process if the proposed beneficiary resides outside of the United States and therefore must submit a US visa application and undergo Consular Processing at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad.

For related information please see: American Embassy.

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29th May 2011

In a previous posting on this blog the eligibility criteria for the EB-1 visa were briefly discussed. In that same vein, this blogger felt further elaboration on other Employment Based visa categories was warranted to provide insight to readers about issues associated with other employment based preference categories. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service‘s (USCIS) official website posted an enlightening chart to provide an overall glimpse of the eligibility criteria which this blogger felt could be of interest to readers. To quote directly from the official website of the USCIS,

Sub-Categories Description Evidence
Advanced Degree The job you apply for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field). Documentation, such as an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that you have at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty. 

Exceptional Ability You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.  Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.” You must meet at least three of the criteria below.*
National Interest Waiver Aliens seeking a national interest waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States.  Though the jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability (see above) and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the national.  Those seeking a national interest waiver may self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them) and may file their labor certification directly with USCIS along with their Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. You must meet at least three of the criteria below* and demonstrate that it is in the national interest that you work permanently in the United States.

Readers are encouraged to conduct their own research into these issues as the chart above is merely presented to provide something of an overview regarding eligibility. The chart above should not be viewed as an exhaustive analysis of the issues at play in a EB-2 petition.

It should be noted that second preference Employment Based petitions are carefully scrutinized as issuance of such visas is intended for those foreign professionals holding an advanced degree or an alien national of “exceptional ability”. Therefore prospective visa seekers are encouraged to note the rather high standards by which those seeking this visa category will be compared during the adjudication process.

Those seeking the visa categorized as an EB-2 are well advised to remember that adjudication of a visa petition at the Department of Homeland Security‘s USCIS may be only one phase of the overall visa process as those residing outside of the United States may be required to undergo Consular Processing at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad.

For readers who have happened upon this blog in the past, the mention of the “national interest waiver” may bring to mind the I-601 waiver or the I-212 waiver which could be argued to be somewhat similar. Another type of waiver that could be construed as similar to the “national interest waiver” is the waiver sometimes granted by USCIS to permit the filing of multiple petitions for a K1 visa within a relatively short period of time notwithstanding the provisions of the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA).

Frequent readers may recall that the EB-5 visa is also classified as an Employment Based Visa although the criteria for EB-5 visa issuance is different from those of the EB-2 most notably as the EB-5 visa petitioner must demonstrate that a substantial investment has been made in the United States in order to hope to attain eligibility for EB-5 visa status.

The United States visa process can be overwhelming at times and for this reason many opt to retain the assistance of counsel. That stated, when retaining the services of anyone purporting to be qualified to provide advice and/or assistance regarding immigration matters it may be prudent to ascertain credentials as, pursuant to relevant US law, only a licensed American attorney is permitted to take in client fees while engaged in the practice of United States immigration law.

For related information please see: Legal.

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28th May 2011

There are many different visa categories statutorily designed for those wishing to work and/or invest in the United States of America. The very plethora of visa categories can make researching immigration issues somewhat confusing for the layman. One visa category that relatively few prospective visa seekers seem to understand is the Employment Based First Preference Visa Category, or to put it more succinctly: the EB-1 visa. The eligibility criteria for this visa category are somewhat stringent compared to other visa categories. To elucidate this fact it may be best to quote directly from and eligibility chart found by this blogger on the official website of United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) at

Categories Description Evidence
Extraordinary Ability You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required. You must meet 3 of 10 criteria* below, or provide evidence of a one-time achievement (i.e., Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic Medal) 


Outstanding professors and researchers You must demonstrate international recognition for your outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. You must have at least 3 years experience in teaching or research in that academic area. You must be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education. You must include documentation of at least two listed below** and an offer of employment from the prospective U.S. employer.
Multinational manager or executive You must have been employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Your employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer. Your petitioning employer must be a U.S. employer. Your employer must have been doing business for at least 1 year, as an affiliate, a subsidiary, or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed you abroad.

Readers should be aware that the above citation is not intended to be utilized as an exhaustive tool for determining EB-1 visa eligibility, but the chart above does shed light upon some of the overall eligibility criteria which will likely be scrutinized during adjudication of a petition.

There are many factors which must be taken into consideration during the adjudication of an Employment Based visa petition. Frequent readers of this blog may recall that there is another visa category classified as EB that is sometimes discussed within these pages. That specific visa is the EB-5 visa which was designed for prospective immigrants wishing to come to the United States to make a substantial investment in the American economy. In the case of the EB-1 visa, the prospective visa holder would be asked to make an investment of sorts in that their extraordinary abilities would be invested in the United States as a likely consequence of issuance of a United States travel document which grants lawful permanent residence to the bearer upon lawful admission to the US by officers of the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP).

Readers should be aware that often USCIS adjudication is not the only phase of the EB visa process as Consular Processing at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad may also be required depending upon the unique circumstances of a given case.

For Information Related To Family Based Visa Petitions Please See: US Visa Thailand.

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26th November 2010

Recently, this blogger was reading a report from the Department of State regarding the statistics pertaining to the United States Visa Process. To quote the report directly:

Immigrant visa issuances during fiscal year 2011 are limited by the terms of INA 201 to no more than 226,000 in the family-sponsored preferences and 140,000 in the employment-based preferences. (Visas for “Immediate Relatives” – i.e., spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21 years, and parents – of U.S. citizens are not subject to numerical limitation, however.) It should by no means be assumed that once an applicant is registered, the case is then continually included in the waiting list totals unless and until a visa is issued. The consular procedures mandate a regular culling of visa cases to remove from the count those unlikely to see further action, so that totals are not unreasonably inflated. If, for example, a consular post receives no response within one year from an applicant to whom the visa application instruction letter (i.e., the consular “Packet 3″ letter) is sent when the movement of the visa availability cutoff date indicates a visa may become available within a reasonable time frame, the case is considered “inactive” under the consular procedures and is no longer included in waiting list totals.

It has be routinely noted on this blog and elsewhere online that the American visa process is somewhat restrictive when it comes to non-immediate relative petitions as there are limited numbers of visas available to the immediate family of American lawful permanent residents and the non-immediate relatives of American Citizens. That said, this was not the portion of the above citation that this author felt was noteworthy. Instead, a central issue for this blogger is that of “culling visa cases”. For those who do not have a great deal of experience dealing with US Immigration matters it may seem rather heavy handed to simply cancel a visa file. However, it should be pointed out that a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad is responsible for reviewing, adjudicating, and processing a large number of visa applications each year. Therefore, in the name of organization and efficiency it is often necessary for cases to be removed from the processing queue lest the whole system become overloaded and inefficient.

Those wishing to obtain a visa to the USA should be cognizant of the fact that failure to follow up with the US Mission with Consular jurisdiction could result in the canceling of one’s visa application thereby resulting in an end to the entire proceeding. This is also true for those who receive a 221g denial as failure to respond within one year of the denial’s issuance could result in the culling of the case file.

Some find that the assistance of an American Immigration attorney can be highly beneficial as such an individual can provide insight into and assistance with the United States visa process. Furthermore, American attorneys working overseas can provide real time assistance with Consular processing at American Missions abroad.

For related information please see: Consular Processing.

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14th September 2010

When Americans are arrested abroad it is a serious issue. Many nations do not have the same legal procedures as the United States. Therefore, the protocols under which an American is tried for a criminal offense abroad can be very different from the rules for charging and prosecuting an individual with a crime in the USA. Fortunately, the American State Department provides assistance to those US Citizens who have been arrested and/or incarcerated overseas. The following is quoted directly from the US State Department website:


SUMMARY: One of the most essential tasks of the Department of State and of U.S. embassies and consulates abroad is to provide assistance to U.S. citizens incarcerated abroad. The State Department is committed to ensuring fair and humane treatment for American citizens imprisoned overseas. We stand ready to assist incarcerated citizens and their families within the limits of our authority, in accordance with international law. We can and do monitor conditions in foreign prisons and immediately protest allegations of abuse against American prisoners. We work with prison officials to ensure treatment consistent with internationally recognized standards of human rights and to ensure that Americans are afforded due process under local laws.

There is little doubt that American Consular Officers provide a tremendous amount of assistance to American Citizens imprisoned or arrested abroad. However, it should be reiterated that Americans traveling abroad may not be subject to familiar laws and regulations. Therefore, prior research of a given nation’s legal system may provide the intending traveler with some insight into the legal system of the country or countries where they may be staying while outside of the USA. To quote the aforementioned website further:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country”s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. As our Country Specific Information explain, penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating the law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, fined, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines. If arrested abroad, a citizen must go through the foreign legal process for being charged or indicted, prosecuted, possibly convicted and sentenced, and for any appeals process. Within this framework, U.S. consular officers provide a wide variety of services to U.S. citizens arrested abroad and their families.

There are a number of services that US Consular Officers can provide, but there are a significant number of areas where US government personnel cannot provide assistance as it may be prohibited by law. To again quote the DOS website:

A consular officer cannot :

- demand the immediate release of a U.S. citizen arrested abroad or otherwise cause the citizen to be released.

- represent a U.S. citizen at trial, give legal advice or pay legal fees and/or fines with U.S. Government funds.

These disclaimers are important to note as many Americans are under the mistaken impression that American Consular Officers are meant to act in a representative capacity with respect to pending criminal charges overseas. This is simply not the case. Therefore, those arrested and/or incarcerated in a foreign country are well advised to contact either a foreign attorney or an American attorney abroad in an attempt to gain insight into one’s options with regard to pending foreign criminal charges. Furthermore, depending upon the country, it may be possible for an American Citizen to arrange for bail. This at least allows the American to be released while awaiting an adjudication on the merits of a pending case.

The issue of foreign criminal charges should not be confused with the issue of pending American criminal charges or a pending arrest warrant. If one has a pending warrant from the United States, then it may be necessary to contact an American attorney in order to ascertain one’s options with regard to both the warrant as well as the underlying case in order to make informed decisions about resolving the matter in a legally acceptable manner.

For related information please see: Warrant For My Arrest.

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14th June 2010

On this blog, we regularly discuss the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. However, we relatively rarely discuss the US Embassies and Consulates located throughout Southeastern Asia. There are many other American Diplomatic and Consular facilities in Southern Asia and one of those Posts is the US Embassy Jakarta. This Embassy is located in the capital city of Indonesia and routinely processes US visas such as the K1 visa, the K3 Visa, as well as the CR1 and IR1 visa categories. Just like any other US Consulate, the Consulate at the US Embassy in Jakarta is also tasked with adjudicating non-immigrant visa applications for categories such as the B1 visa, the B2 visa, the F1 visa, and the J1 visa (to name just a few).

Recently, this author came across an interesting statement from the US Embassy in Indonesia’s website which is quoted here:

The decision whether or not to hire a lawyer is yours alone.  We cannot tell you whether or not to obtain representation, nor can we recommend any specific lawyers.  If you do hire an attorney or other representative, that person may accompany you to your visa interview but may not/not answer questions on your behalf.  You, the applicant, must answer the consular officer’s questions.  If your case is complicated, or if you cannot devote the necessary care to properly prepare, then we encourage you to find a lawyer qualified in immigration law by visiting

Generally, each Consulate sets its own rules regarding participation by American attorneys in the Consular processing phase of the US Immigration process. Some posts refuse to allow anyone except the beneficiary into the Consulate on the date of interview (this policy is generally based upon space considerations) while others allow virtually unfettered participation by American attorneys. Many ask: which is the better approach? For the most part, there is no “best” approach to Consular processing as each country is unique and certain considerations in one country may lead to one type of policy while different circumstances in another country results in a different policy decision by the US Consulate in that country. Furthermore, circumstances are always fluid and policies can change. For this reason, it is always wise to frequently check the status of the regulations at any facility in which one’s visa petition or application is awaiting adjudication.

Recently discussed fee increases are likely to impact those processing through US Embassies and Consulates worldwide as the Department of State recently raised the fees associated with many visa categories most notably those visas categorized as K visas.

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