Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Visa Unit’

16th January 2011

There was a recent story on the website entitled, “Boy, 9, has Disney World trip ruined after US Immigration rules him a threat” it was reported that a 9 year old child was denied a US tourist visa to the United States. To quote directly from the article:

They said there was a risk he would not leave the US at the end of his holiday and refused his application under Section 214 (b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

This blogger noticed in the title of the original article that the use of the term “US Immigration” may have been somewhat opaque as the visa application was likely filed with a US Consulate under the jurisdiction of the United States Embassy in the United Kingdom and not the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in the USA. That said, the article describes the visa application of a child in the United Kingdom and the denial of the application. The child’s parents were attempting to surprise him with a trip to Disney World in the US State of Florida. To quote further directly from the article itself:

Micah [the proposed beneficiary of the US B-2 Visa sought] was born in Britain and has lived in Middlesex all his life with his mum Claudia Lewis.

He holds a South African passport because his grandparents Kathy and Edward, who have lived and worked in Britain since 1990, only got him a South African passport.

They are originally from South Africa.

A letter from Micah’s primary school was included in his visa application confirming he attended the school.

But the US Embassy’s rejection letter to Micah said: “Because you either did not demonstrate strong ties outside the United States or were not able to demonstrate that your intended activities in the US would be consistent with the visa status, you are ineligible.”

His grandmother Kathy, from Brixton, South London, said: “It was going to be a total surprise. He would have loved it.

This blogger highly recommends that those interested in this heartfelt story go to the Telegraph website and read further.

Section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act is a provision which creates a legal presumption in the eyes of adjudicating Consular Officers at every US Mission abroad (US Embassy, US Consulate, American Institute, Visa Units, etc.) that an applicant for a United States visa is actually an undisclosed intending immigrant. Overcoming this presumption often occurs when a Consular Officer feels that, as opposed to the factual citing from the denial noted above, the applicant has shown “strong ties” to their country of origin, or another country abroad, and, simultaneously, “weak ties” to the United States.

In another section of the aforementioned article the author noted that the couple had spent a considerable sum of money purchasing plane tickets in anticipation of the proposed holiday in the USA. As noted in previous postings on this blog, it is not generally prudent in visa application proceedings to assume a particular outcome as issuance of United States travel documents to foreign nationals is not considered a foregone conclusion nor a “formality”. The circumstances mentioned above are unfortunate as they were unexpected and costly (in both monetary and emotional terms). Those foreign nationals wishing to travel to the United States should not make irrevocable travel arrangements until such time as a US visa has been issued and remitted to the applicant.

That said, the one major factor that could materially alter the outcome of another visa application in a case such as this: a UK Passport. As noted in the section quoted above from the US Embassy the applicant did not show “strong ties” to the UK or another country abroad. If the child always lived in the UK, but never possessed a UK passport and, as noted in the above cited section; never lived in South Africa, but was attempting to use a South African passport to travel to the US, then could it be inferred that the child’s ties to either country were attenuated? Possibly, and without knowing further about details, that may very well have been the reason for denial. However, as all cases are adjudicated based upon the unique facts under the circumstances any analysis of the aforementioned denial is merely an exercise in speculation.

It is generally imprudent to continuously resubmit American visa applications when there has been no material change to the facts of one’s case. However, when circumstances do change materially, then a subsequent application may not be frivolous. In the eyes of the law in many jurisdictions a change in nationality, the acquisition of nationality, the registration of nationality, or the naturalization to a new nationality all come with a host of different legal rights, obligations, and privileges not least of these may be a passport. Perhaps, after acquiring a UK Passport on behalf of the child, if eligible for such a travel document, another visa application would be approved? Better yet, upon acquisition of a UK Passport, the child in the article may be eligible for the visa waiver program, although his previous US visa denial would need to be noted in the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) registration system.

Hopefully those thinking of applying for a US Tourist Visa in the future will take note of the fact that one’s nationality is an important facet of any immigration petition or visa application.

For related information please see: US Visitor Visa.

more Comments: 04

13th August 2010

The following is the holiday closing schedule for the United States Embassy in the Philippines quoted directly from the official Embassy website:

Holiday Nationality Legal Date Closing Date
New Year’s Day U.S./PHL Fri, Jan 1 Fri, Jan 1
M. L. King Jr. Day U.S. Mon, Jan 18 Mon, Jan 18
President’s Day U.S. Mon, Feb 15 Mon, Feb 15
Maundy Thursday PHL Thurs, Apr 1 Thur, Apr 1
Good Friday PHL Fri, Apr 2 Fri, Apr 2
Bataan & Corregidor / Heroism Day PHL Fri, Apr 9 Fri, Apr 9
Labor Day PHL Sat, May 1 Sat, May 1
National Presidential and Local Elections PHL Mon, May 10 Mon, May 10
Memorial Day U.S. Mon, May 31 Mon, May 31
Independence Day PHL Sat, Jun 12 Mon, Jun 14
Independence Day U.S. Sun, July 4 Mon, July 5
Ninoy Aquino Day PHL Sat, Aug 21 Mon, Aug 23
National Heroes Day PHL Mon, Aug 30 Mon, Aug 30
Labor Day U.S. Mon, Sept 6 Mon, Sept 6
Eid-ul-Fitr (Subject to Proclamation) PHL TBD TBD
Columbus Day U.S. Mon, Oct 11 Mon, Oct 11
All Saints’ Day PHL Mon, Nov 1 Mon, Nov 1
Veterans Day U.S. Thurs, Nov 11 Thur, Nov 11
Thanksgiving Day U.S. Thurs, Nov 25 Thur, Nov 25
Bonifacio Day PHL Tues, Nov 30 Mon, Nov 29
Christmas Day U.S./PHL Sat, Dec 25 Fri, Dec 24
Rizal Day PHL Mon, Dec 27 Mon, Dec 27
New Year’s Day (CY 2011) U.S./PHL Sat, Jan 1 Fri, Dec 31Th

The administration of this blog frequently posts information such as this in an effort to forestall needless trips to US Embassies and Consulates abroad. This author has traveled to more than one US Embassy abroad only to find the facilities closed in observance of an American or local holiday.

Many Americans overseas find that they require services which can, sometimes, only be performed by an American Citizen Services (ACS) Section of a US Consulate or Embassy abroad.  Services such as this include, but are not limited to: US passport obtainment, visa page addition, promulgation of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or notarial services. In situations where services such as these are sought, Americans are well-advised to check the official website of the US Mission in their area in order to ascertain if appointments with ACS can be booked online. This can greatly streamline the processing of an American’s request as the Consular Officers can be put on notice of the appointment and also, in some cases, of the services sought.

Those seeking visas from a United States Mission abroad should check with the Mission’s Visa Unit in order ascertain how visa interview appointments should be scheduled. Often Immigrant visa applications are handled differently compared to non-immigrant applications (for those interested in US family visa obtainment, the K1 visa [Fiance Visa] is usually treated as an immigrant visa for application processing purposes).

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8th August 2010

The administration of this blog routinely posts the holiday closing schedules of US Embassies and US Consulates in Southeast Asia and India in an effort to provide information to travelers who may need assistance at a local Post. Below is the holiday closing schedule for the US Embassy accredited to Sri Lanka and the Maldives quoted directly from that Embassy’s official website:

The American Embassy will observe the following American and local holidays in 2010.




January  01 (Friday) New Year’s Day American
January  14 (Thursday) Tamil Thai Pongal Day Local
January 18 (Monday) Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. American
February 04 (Thursday) National Day Local
February 15 (Monday) Presidents’ Day American
March 1 (Monday) In Lieu of Holy Prophet’s Birthday Local
March 29 (Monday) Bak Full Moon Poya Day Local
April 13 (Tuesday) Day Prior to Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day Local
April 14 (Wednesday) Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day Local
May 3 (Monday) In Lieu of May Day Local
May 27 (Thursday) Wesak Full Moon Poya Day Local
May 31 (Monday) Memorial Day American
July 05 (Monday) In lieu of Independence Day American
August 24 (Tuesday) Nikini Full Moon Poya Day Local

September 06 (Monday)

Labor Day American
October 11 (Monday) Columbus Day American
November 11 (Thursday) Veteran’s Day American
November 25 (Thursday) Thanksgiving Day American
December 20 (Monday) Unduvap Full Moon Poya Day Local
December 24 (Friday) In Lieu of Christmas Day American

Americans traveling or residing overseas often find themselves in need of services routinely performed by Consular Officers at an American Citizen Services Post. The services most often sought by Americans abroad include: Passport renewal, adding of new visa pages, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, and notarial services. As an example, in Thailand, many Americans wishing to register a marriage in the Kingdom must first obtain a notarized affidavit from the US Embassy Bangkok or the US Consulate Chinag Mai stating that they are legally free to marry.

Those seeking services at a United States Embassy or United States Consulate are well advised to check the holiday closing schedule before traveling to the post. Furthermore, those with business before the American Citizen Services Section of a US Consulate should ascertain whether or not the post takes appointments online. By scheduling an appointment in advance an American Citizen, or foreign national with business before the post, can put the Consular Staff on notice of expected services, which allows for more efficient service, and ensure that a place in line as some appointment times can be pre-booked online.

Those seeking visas are well advised to check with the local visa unit (either non-immigrant or immigrant depending upon the visa category) of the Consulate to learn about appointment booking procedures which may vary from post to post. For more information about United States Immigration please see: K1 visa.

more Comments: 04

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