New Employer, Same Priority Date?

QUICK QUESTIONS

My E-3 employer is no longer in business; can I keep my priority date if I find a new petitioner?

Yes. Per the Foreign Affairs Manual: “Unless revoked pursuant to 8 CFR 205.2 for fraud or misrepresentation, a priority date accorded by approval of an employment-based first, second, or third preference petition is retained by the beneficiary for any other first, second, or third preference petition approved subsequently for the same beneficiary. In all cases, the beneficiary of multiple petitions is entitled to the earliest of the filing dates of the various petitions.”

Your new prospective employer will need, however, to file a new I-140 and complete all the necessary associate paperwork before your interview with a consular officer can be scheduled.

From Our Side of the Window: Affidavits of Support

 

First page of I864 form

Many applicants find the affidavit of support one of the most complicated parts of the visa process. In this post we hope to clear up some of the confusion.

 

Let’s start by understanding the basics of an affidavit of support.  

Do I need an Affidavit of Support when I apply for a visa?

In general, you only need an affidavit of support when you apply as an immigrant to the United States. If you are applying for a visa for a holiday or a vacation, you normally do not need an affidavit of support and don’t need to read this post.

 

What is an Affidavit of Support? An affidavit of support is a document submitted as part of your immigrant visa application. This affidavit shows your petitioner’s ability to financially provide for you after you have moved to the United States. In some cases, it is a binding legal contract that your petitioner makes with the United States government to take care of you.   

Is an Affidavit of Support always necessary for an immigrant visa?

You have to show how you will support yourself, or how you will be supported, once you arrive in the US. In most cases, this means you have to provide an Affidavit of Support. Which kind you need depends on which kind of visa you are applying for:

 

Fiancé(e) visas, K1, K2, K3, K4, Diversity Visas

For fiancé(e) and Diversity Visas, your petitioner should submit the Form I-134 Affidavit of Support. Although it is not a legal document, it shows that you will not become a public charge and require the US government to support you. If you have derivatives traveling with you, it must include them as well.

Your petitioner should also attach his/her most recent tax return with the affidavit. If he/she is not working, then we need proof of assets, such as bank statements, and a letter explaining why they did not file a tax return.

 

F, IR, CR visas

In this case, your petitioner needs to submit the I-864 Affidavit of Support. Along with this document, we need their latest income tax return. If your petitioner did not file a tax return, we need a letter of explanation why they are not paying taxes.  

 

How much money does my petitioner need?

That depends on how many people your petitioner is sponsoring. If you are applying for a family or immediate relative visa, your sponsor will need to show income of at least 125% of the federal poverty guidelines  for the number of people in the household. If your sponsor is in the U.S. military, or if you are applying for a fiancé(e) visa, your sponsor needs to show that they have income that equals 100% of the poverty guidelines.

 My petitioner doesn’t make enough money! What should I do?

There are two ways you can deal with this. First, if there are other people in the SAME household as the petitioner who are making money, they can file an I-864a–a contract between them and the petitioner–agreeing to help support you. They’ll also need to send in their income tax returns as well. We’ll include their income with the petitioner’s. If it all adds up, then you’ve made it over the poverty line. 

And by the way, if your petitioner is married and filing jointly, we either need the petitioner’s W-2, so we can see if he or she makes enough money to support you, OR we need an I-864a from his or her spouse.

 

The other way is to find a joint sponsor, who lives in a different household, and who agrees to support you. A joint sponsor files an I-864, NOT an I-864a, and must make enough money to provide for you as well as all the people already in his or her household. A joint sponsor can ask members of the household to help out – by filing an I-864a, just like the petitioner could do.

 If there’s more than one of you, and a joint sponsor can support some of you but not all, we allow a second joint sponsor. The same rules apply as for a single joint sponsor, except each I-864 form lists only those applicants the sponsor is actually sponsoring. So you and your spouse might be sponsored by your uncle, while your cousin agrees to sponsor your kids.

 

Important note: The petitioner ALWAYS files an I-864 and lists all the applicants, even if he or she doesn’t  make enough money.   

 

What’s a Household, Again?

A household is all the people who live at the same address. If your petitioner has a brother who lives next door and you want him to help out, the brother has to file as a joint sponsor; he’s not a household member.

 

Types of I-864

There are many types of I864 affidavits. It is easy to be confused, but sit tight:

 I-864a

This form is used if the Petitioner or Joint Sponsor has a household member also listed on their tax return.  

 

What About the I-864EZ?

That’s the easy version of the I-864, but only the petitioner can use it, and only if you are the only applicant on the petition. If the petitioner makes enough money to support the household, including you, without any help from anybody else, an I-864EZ will do. We need to see the income tax return, of course. If the petitioner is married and filing jointly, we also need the W-2 form of the petitioner.

    

There’s an exception to all this: I-864W:

If you fit one of these categories below, you should file an I-864W and nothing more. No tax returns, no W-2, no joint sponsors.

  1.  Children under the age of 18 whose biological or adoptive parent is a U.S. citizen
  2.  Self-petitioning widows (IW)
  3.  Aliens who can demonstrate 40 quarters of earnings under the Social Security Act
  4.  Battered spouse or child of a U.S. citizen who has an approved I-360 special immigration petition. 

 

E Applicants

Are you an E visa applicant? Employee visa applicants do not need a sponsor, but you do need to show that you can meet 100% of the poverty guidelines for you and your family with your salary. If you are a follow-to-join applicant, the primary applicant—the person who has the job—must show proof that he/she is making enough money to support everyone traveling to the US.

 

Read the Form Carefully

We’ve tried to make this easier for you, but we couldn’t explain everything. The forms are complicated and you need to be sure you pick the right one and answer all questions correctly. FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS. And be sure we get the original form with the original signatures. No photocopies, please.

 

Need more information?

For more detailed information about an Affidavit of Support you can refer to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website by clicking here. As always, if you have a specific question, ASK! There is always someone willing to answer.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.    How do I pay my visa application fee?

Where you pay your visa fee depends on your visa category. Are you an immigrant visa applicant? If you didn’t pay at the National Visa Center (NVC), you can pay on the day of the visa interview at the Consular cashier. You can pay in cash, travelers check, or by U.S. Postal Order. The Embassy Manila cashier is located on the second floor.

Are you a fiancé(e) visa applicant?—This includes K1, K2, K3 and K4 applicants. You must pay the visa application fee of $240 before you can request a visa appointment.

There are three ways to pay the K visa application fee:

1. Cash payment at any Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) branch. Please note that K visa applicants are required to present a U.S. visa application deposit slip to pay the fee. Before going to the bank, you must print the applicable U.S. visa application deposit slip. Download the deposit slip on the online appointment website: http://ustraveldocs.com/ph/ph-niv-paymentinfo.asp, then take it to the bank to pay the fee.

There is an expiration date on the deposit slip. Bank agents will not accept payments based on expired deposit slips. Upon payment, the bank will issue a receipt. This receipt cannot be replaced. Applicants will not be able to schedule an appointment without the receipt number.

2. Online payment bill option provided by BPI to their clients.

3. Online payment through Bancnet.

For more details regarding K1 visa payment instructions, visit our website at http://manila.usembassy.gov/wwwh3023.html.

 2. I am the principal applicant of a family-based visa petition. Sad to say, my petitioner passed away. Can I still process my visa application?

Although by law a family-based petition like yours is automatically revoked upon the death of the petitioner, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can reinstate the visa petition (Form I-130), even after the petitioner dies. This allows you to continue the process for an immigrant visa. It is important to note that USCIS must first reinstate a petition on humanitarian grounds. You or your representative in the U.S. should contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 to find out more information.

 

If USCIS has reinstated your visa petition, you need to have a substitute sponsor who is a Lawful Permanent Resident or a U.S. Citizen. Cases reinstated for humanitarian purposes retain their original priority date. Once your priority date becomes current for processing, the National Visa Center will contact you and your substitute sponsor regarding completion of documentary requirements.

3.    My priority date is now current for processing! I have submitted all required documents to the National Visa Center (NVC). How long do I wait until my visa interview is scheduled?

Your wait is determined by the date you submit all the necessary supporting documents and when the case becomes documentarily qualified. This means that NVC has reviewed all of your documents and found them to be complete. Your waiting time for an interview date is approximately 3 to 4 months from the date your case is documentarily qualified.

When an interview slot becomes available for you, NVC will send you and your petitioner an appointment letter and will forward the case file to Embassy Manila. We will process the case as soon as we receive the file.

4.    I am the principal applicant. I was issued a visa and I am now in the U.S. I am now prepared to have my wife and children follow me here. What should I do?

If your priority date is current for processing, you and your applicants should visit this website: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph to schedule a visa interview appointment. You can also contact the Embassy’s Visa Information and Appointment Service at (632) 982-5555 or (632) 902-8930 to schedule a visa interview date. The call center is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, except on Philippine and U.S. holidays. Callers in the USA may contact the call center at (214) 571-1600 between 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time).

You should follow all interview preparation instructions, located on the Embassy’s website at http://manila.usembassy.gov/wwwh3238.html. These instructions provide the required documentation and procedures. The applicant or the representative should compile all the required documents and complete the medical examination before the interview date. Please note that the medical examination may take more than one day to complete.

Special for K2 Applicants: Please be aware that K2 applicants (child of a fiancé(e) visa (K1) applicant), must pay the visa application fee of $240 per applicant before requesting a visa appointment. Also, according to U.S. immigration law, issuance of a fiancé(e) derivative (K2) visa must take place within one year from the date the K1 was issued to the principal applicant. We urge you not to wait until the last minute to request a K2 interview.

5.    I was recently petitioned and came to the US. I want my spouse and minor children (below 21) to come to the U.S. on my petition. How do I do this?

The best thing for you to do is contact the NVC and state your request. You may wish to submit Form I-824, which will allow the National Visa Center to determine your spouse and/or your children’s ability to obtain a visa. The National Visa Center mailing address is 31 Rochester Ave., Suite 200, Portsmouth, NH 03801-2915. You can also email NVC at: NVCInquiry@state.gov.

6.    I was told that my case was affected by retrogression. What is retrogression? How long do I have to wait until my case can be processed?

Retrogression means that you were originally able to apply for a visa. However, the visa cut-off dates changed and your priority date is no longer current. Visas in the US have per-country limitations. Sometimes demand exceeds supply, and this changes the cut-off date of when you are eligible to apply for a visa.

 Understandably, you probably wish to obtain an immigrant visa as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there is no provision within the law that would allow the numerical limitations to be waived in any individual’s case, regardless of the circumstances. You just have to sit tight.

Want to check on your status? Visit the State Department’s website at http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_1360.html for information on the movement of priority dates and visa availability.

 7.    I recently got married but my passport is still under my maiden name. Do I need to obtain a new passport that indicates my married name? On the other hand, my friend just had her marriage annulled; does she need to have her name changed in her passport?

First things first: If you are issued a visa, it must be in the same name as your passport. 

Second: As a Filipino woman, you have the choice to choose your surname after marriage. You can keep your maiden name or use your husband’s surname.

If you choose to use your husband’s surname, you can only revert to your maiden name on three conditions: the (1) death of your husband (2) annulment of your marriage or (3) your divorce from a foreign husband.

8.    I am the petitioner of a fiancé(e) (K1) applicant. I am currently unemployed. Can I submit a joint sponsor?

As a petitioner for your fiancé(e), you need to be able to demonstrate your ability to maintain an income at or above Federal Poverty Guidelines (will be linked to federal poverty guidelines when posted on the blog). This will make sure that your fiancé(e) will not become dependent on the US government for subsistence.

If you cannot meet these guidelines it may be possible to have a joint sponsor. BUT you must know that the Embassy will need to consider a number of factors in order to accept this sponsorship. Joint sponsors are not legally bound to address the financial needs of the applicant and may not always be sufficient to overcome the immigration laws we need to follow. The consular officer will make a thorough evaluation of the sponsor. Things we may look at include: the the sponsor’s relationship to the applicant or petitioner, the length of time the sponsor and your fiancé(e) have known each other, etc.

And just a quick note, even if you are unemployed, your fiancé(e) will need to submit the I-134 form along with a copy of your most recent Federal income tax return (Form 1040). If you can’t do this, you should submit other evidence of your assets to meet the poverty guidelines. For example, you may want to submit bank statements, investment accounts, real estate, and/or pension statements. The assets owned by the sponsor and members of the sponsor’s household must be available to support the sponsored immigrant(s) and can be readily converted into cash within 1 year.

9.            I was told that I need an F2B retention letter. What is this document?

If you are a beneficiary of an F2 visa category and your petitioner has already become a citizen, you may have a longer waiting time than before. An F2B retention letter can help you by allowing you to stay in the visa category that has less waiting time. You can ask USCIS to remain in the F2 category instead of automatically converting to the F1 category. This is good, as the F2 category has less waiting time than the F1 category.

How can you take advantage of this?  You may make an appointment with USCIS here

10. An item in my visa packet needs to be corrected. Should I return the visa to the Embassy?

You need to return to the Embassy’s Immigrant Visa Unit only if any of the following items in your visa needs a correction:

  1. Name  
  2. Date of birth
  3. Place of birth
  4. Gender
  5. Nationality
  6. Passport number
  7. Marital status
  8. Visa category.

 11. I already have my visa. Can the plastic and envelope in the visa packet be opened?

You can open the outer plastic envelope to retrieve your passport. But do not open the yellow packet! This is the packet that has the diagonal cut and it contains documentation that helps out with your visa. You need to present this SEALED envelope at the Port of Entry when you arrive.

12. What is CSPA?

The Child Status Protection Act–CSPA–was created to give families relief from administration time so that their children can still immigrate to the US.

CSPA permits certain beneficiaries to technically stay “children,” even if they have already turned 21. CSPA can protect “child” status for many classes of immigrants. But ingat kayo!: Child Status Protection benefits do not apply to everyone or all children!

If your visa petition’s priority date is current for processing and you believe that your child qualifies for immigration benefits under CSPA, he/she may submit a formal visa application at the Embassy. Your child will be required to take the medical examination at St. Luke’s Extension Clinic, submit Form DS-230, a valid passport and birth certificate issued on security paper by the Philippine National Statistics Office (NSO), and remit the non-refundable immigrant visa processing fee of US$230.00 or its peso equivalent to the Embassy’s Immigrant Visa Branch Check-in Counter (Window 38) on any workday at 7:30 a.m.

Submitting a formal visa application is not a guarantee that an immigrant visa will be issued. A consular officer will interview the applicants, review the documents in support of the visa applications and inform them if they qualify for immigrant visas under CSPA. Please be aware that children of K visa applicants are not covered under CSPA.

Please see our recent blog post for more information!

13. Do applicants need to attend a seminar before they depart for the U.S.?

Philippine law requires that ALL Filipino emigrants over the age of 12 attend the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. Only emigrants aged 12 years and younger are exempted from attending this seminar. In your visa packet, you will receive information regarding the seminar.

Want more information on how to register for the seminar?  Visit the Commission on Filipinos Overseas website at: http://www.cfo.gov.ph.

New immigration fee after February 1

Effective February 1, 2013, all individuals issued
immigrant visas overseas must pay a $165.00 USCIS Immigrant
Fee before traveling to the United States.  Only prospective
adoptive parents whose child(ren) is/are entering the United
States under either the Orphan or Hague Process, Iraqi and
Afghan special immigrants who were employed by the U.S.
government, returning residents, and those issued K visas are
exempt from the new fee.  The USCIS below website has more
details on the new fee, including contact information for
USCIS, if there are further questions:

www.USCIS.gov/immigrantfee

 

See below for further helpful information.

Qs and As

———

1. When must I pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee?

You must pay the fee prior to departing for the United States.
USCIS will not issue your green card until USCIS receives
payment.  However, even if you have not paid the fee, U.S.
Customs and Border Protection officers will admit you, as long
as you are otherwise eligible to enter.

2. What if I was issued an immigrant visa before February 1,
2013?  Do I have to pay the fee?

No.  Only applicants issued visas on or after February 1, 2013
will pay the new fee.  The U.S. Customs and Border Protection
(CBP) officers at the airport or land border will review
immigration records to determine when your immigrant visa was
issued.  If the visa was issued on or after February 1, 2013
but the fee was not paid, the Immigrant Visa package will be
collected at the point of entry, but USCIS will not issue a
green card until the $165.00 fee is paid.

3.  Who has to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee?

All applicants issued immigrant visas (including Diversity
Visas), except children adopted under the Orphan (IR-3/IR-4)
or Hague Processes (IH-3/IH-4), Iraqi and Afghan special
immigrants who were employed by the U.S. Government, returning
residents (SB-1s), and K visas, will pay the new fee.

4.  How do I pay the new fee?

You will pay the fee by going to www.USCIS.gov/ImmigrantFee,
clicking on the link to the USCIS intake page on Pay.gov,
answering the questions on the USCIS intake page, and
providing your checking account, debit, or credit card
information.  Because checking payments must be drawn on a
U.S. bank, someone else may pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee on
your behalf.

US Embassy will be closed on December 24

Based on President Obama’s declaration of December 24 as a federal holiday in the United States, the U.S. Embassy in Manila will be closed on December 24.  If your immigrant visa interview was scheduled for December 24, you may appear at the Embassy on December 26, 27, or 28, at 6:15 am, and you will be seen for an interview without an appointment.  You must bring your appointment letter with you to the interview. If you cannot appear for your interview on December 26, 27, or 28, you should contact the U.S. Embassy’s call center at (02) 982-5555 to schedule a new appointment.  The call center will be open as of December 26 at 8:00 am, Philippine time.  The U.S. Embassy in Manila will re-open for business as usual on December 26. 

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and wish you happy holidays.

Nakakatulong: CSPA!

What is the Child Status Protection Act and how can you benefit?

For many visa categories, when a child turns 21 they can no longer receive a visa. Read on if you or your child has a petition and they are afraid that they might “age out,” or become too old to receive the immigration benefits of a child…

It may a long time to process petitions for US visas. The Child Status Protection Act–CSPA–was created to give families relief from administration time so that their children can still immigrate to the US.

 CSPA permits certain beneficiaries to technically stay “children,” even if they have already turned 21. CSPA can protect “child” status for many classes of immigrants. But ingat kayo!: Child Status Protection benefits do not apply to everyone or all children!

Read on to find out if and how you or your child can benefit.      

First, just to be clear, what is “aging out” anyway? It is when a child turns 21 before their immigration visa is adjudicated.

 

So, back to CSPA. How can you benefit? Do you know your visa classification? Are you an IR2 or F2B? An E3? A derivative of one of these visas? If you do not know what visa class you are in, take a look at your petition.   

 

How does one qualify? See the helpful chart below…

 

 Immediate Relative IR2  Preference Classification for Permanent Residence or Derivative F visas/E visas
 
  • If the petition was filed by a U.S. citizen parent for his or her child, the beneficiary’s age “freezes” on the date of filing.

 

  • If the petition (Form I-130) was filed by a permanent resident parent and the parent naturalizes before the beneficiary turns 21, the beneficiary’s age “freezes” on the date the petitioner naturalized.
 

  • CSPA allows the time a visa petition was pending to be subtracted from the beneficiary’s biological age at the time of visa availability so that the applicant is not penalized for the time in which USCIS did not adjudicate the petition.

 

 But wait, there are some more requirements. See below:

  1. You must be the beneficiary of a pending or approved visa petition on or after August 6, 2002.
  2. The beneficiary must not have had a final decision on an application for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa before August 6, 2002.

You need to seek and acquire permanent residence within 1 year of a visa being available…

According to the rules of CSPA, you must do something to show that you have applied for the visa during the time that the visa is available. This could mean that you should submit an application for a visa if you are able to. The date of visa availability means the first day of the first month a visa in the appropriate category was listed as available in the Department of State’s visa bulletin or the date the visa petition was approved, whichever is later.

But wait, there are some exceptions. Individuals may be eligible for CSPA after 1 year of a visa becoming available if all of the following are true:

  1. They are a beneficiary of a visa petition that was approved prior to August 6, 2002
  2. They had not received a final decision on an application for permanent residence based or immigrant visa on that visa petition prior to August 6, 2002
  3. The visa became available on or after August 7, 2001
  4. They met all of the other eligibility requirements for CSPA (see above)

Opt-Out: CSPA can help both children and adults!

Another benefit of the Child Status Protection Act helps out both children and adults!

In some cases it may be better to opt out of CSPA. Like in the Philippines, there may be a longer waiting time for some categories than others. For example, if you are a beneficiary of a F2 visa category and the person in the States petitioning you has already become a citizen, you may have a longer waiting time. CSPA can also help you by allowing you to stay in the visa category that has less waiting time. For example, if you are in the F2 category, you can ask USCIS to remain in the second preference classification instead of automatically converting to a 1st preference classification. You can have a shorter waiting time instead of becoming a F1. The reason that this may be beneficial is that sometimes the waiting time for the second preference visa is shorter than the waiting time for the first preference visa.

How can I take advantage of this?  You can make a request in writing to your USCIS office. The Philippines actually has a USCIS office.

Related links:

USCIS webpage

More detailed information on CSPA

US Embassy Manila CSPA Page–includes an UNOFFICIAL CSPA calculator

Visa Bulletin

Two truths and a lie…

Have you ever heard of the game, “Two truths and a lie?” One of the statements is false. See if you can guess which one…

1. A green card is not like a driver’s license. Even if I lose it, I will still be a lawful permanent resident.

2. As a fiancé(e), I will receive a green card when I step foot on US soil.

3. If I have an Immediate Relative or Family based visa I am a lawful permanent resident as soon after inspection to the US. So, which one is the lie?

Give up? It is… Question number 2!

Let’s go through these questions one by one…

1. A green card is not like a driver’s license. Even if I lose it, I will still be a lawful permanent resident.

Believe it or not, a green card is only evidence of status. This is unlike a Filipino or American driver’s license where the license and the status are combined. For Immediate Relative and Family-based visa categories, you will be a lawful permanent resident as soon as you are admitted after inspection at a US port of entry. What is lawful permanent resident status anyway? It means that you are admitted to stay in the United States as long as you wish. There is no “end date” to your legal stay in the United States.The funny thing is that you don’t need a green card to be a green card holder! And green cards may not even be green! They used to be, then they were not, now they are again! Napaka OMG!

But anyway, if you are a lawful permanent resident or green card holder you generally have authorization to live and work in the US on a permanent basis. The best evidence of that status is called a “green card.” There is an expiration date on your green card. But if you haven’t formally given up legal permanent resident status, you should still be okay even if your card has expired.

2. As a fiancé(e), I will receive a green card when I step foot on US soil.

Wrong! If you are a fiancé, you will not obtain legal permanent resident status until you get married and file an application for adjustment. By law, you need to marry the US citizen who petitioned for you within 90 days. You will need to adjust your status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services right after you get married. You can find more info here: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=fcf75b836ea73210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=3d7fa6c515083210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD3.

3. If I have an Immediate Relative or Family based visa I am a legal permanent resident as soon as I have been admitted with an immigrant visa the US after inspection at a port of entry.

Yes, this is TRUE. You do not have to wait for a green card. As we mentioned before, a green card is only evidence of your status as a lawful permanent resident. Your initial admission on an immigrant visa will include an endorsement stamp by the inspector which will then transform your immigrant visa into temporary evidence of your lawful permanent resident status until you receive your green card.

Thank you for playing!

Your rights as an immigrant

Impormasyon tungkol sa mga legal na karapatan ng mga imigranteng biktima ng karahasan sa loob ng tahanan sa Amerika at mga katotohanan tungkol sa paglisan ng imigrateng patungong Amerika na ang  pamamaraan ay mula sa isang kasal (marriage-based) upang magkaroon ng “visa

Dahilan

Ang mga imigrante ay partikular na mahina sa kadahilanang marami ang mga hindi nakakaunawa ng wikang Ingles,  kadalasan ay malayo sa pamilya at mga kaibigan, at maaaring hindi nauunawaan ang mga batas ng Amerika.  Sa mga kadahilanang ito, ang mga imigrante ay malimit na natatakot magsumbong ng mga karahasan na kanilang nararanasan sa loob nang kanilang tahanan  sa  mga kinauukulan , o maghanap ng mga iba pang paraan upang humingi ng tulong.  Ito ang mga karaniwang dahilan kung bakit  maraming imigrante  ang  nanatili sa mga mapang-abusong relasyon.

Ang pulyetong ito ay magbibigay ng kaalaman ukol sa karahasan sa loob ng tahanan at ipababatid sa iyo ang iyong legal na  karapatan sa Amerika.  Ang “International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) ay nangangasiwa upang ang  gobyerno ng Amerika ay ipaalam sa  imigranteng kasintahan at asawa ng mga Amerikano,  ang kanilang legal na karapatan pati na rin ang talaang  kriminal o karahasan na nangyari sa loob ng tahanan kasangkot ang kanilang mapapangasawa o asawang Amerikano.Isa sa mga layunin ng IMBRA ay magbigay ng sapat na kaalaman sa kasintahan at asawang imigrante tungkol sa proseso ng imigrasyon at kung paano malaman ang daan tungo sa paghingi ng tulong kung ang kanilang relasyon ay nasa mapang-abusong kalagayan.

Ano ang karahasan sa tahanan?

Ang karahasan sa loob nang tahanan ay isang  pamantayan ng pag-uugali na kung saan ang isang matalik na kapareha o asawa ay nagbabanta o  mapangabuso  sa kanyang  asawa o kapareha.   Ang pang-aabuso ay maaaring pisikal na pananakit, sapilitang relasyong sekswal,  manipulasyong emosyonal (kabilang ang ihiwalay ka sa karamihan o pananakot), ekonomiya at /o kaya naman ay may pagbabanta kaugnay sa imigrasyon .  Habang ang karamihan sa mga naitalang insidente ng karahasan sa loob ng tahanan ay kinasasangkutan ng mga kalalakihan na ng nang abuso ng mga kababaihan o kabataan, ang mga kalalakihan ay maaari ring maging biktima ng karahasan sa loob ng tahanan. 

Ang karahasan sa loob ng tahanan ay maaaring sapilitang pag-atakeng sekswal, pang-aabuso sa bata, at iba pang  marahas na krimen.  Ang Karahasang Sekswal ay anumang uri ng sekswal na kaganapan na hindi ka sumasangayon, maging sa iyong asawa, at maaaring magawa ng sinuman.    Ang pang aabuso sa bata ay kinapapalooban ng mga: pisikal na pang-aabuso, (anumang uri ng kapahamakan na ang pinagmulan ay hindi isang aksidente lamang.  Kabilang dito ang  labis na pagpaparusa) , pisikal na kapabayaan (pagkabigo  upang mabigyan ng sapat pagkain, tirahan, pangangalagang medikal o pangangasiwa), sekswal na pang-aabuso, at emosyonal na pang-aabuso (pagbabanta, pag supil ng pagmamahal, suporta o ng gabay).

Sa lahat ng pagkakataon, ang karahasan sa loob ng tahanan, sekswal na karahasan, at pang-aabuso sa bata ay labag sa batas ng Amerika.  Ang lahat nang tao sa Amerika (hindi alintana ang lahi, kulay, relihiyon, kasarian, edad, o estadong imigrasyon) ay may  garantiyang proteksyon mula sa pang-aabuso sa ilalim ng batas.  Kahit sinong biktima ng karahasan sa tahanan  -  isa mang imigrante o isang mamamayan ng estado – ay  maaaring humingi ng tulong.   Ang isang imigrante na biktima ng karahasan sa loob ng tahanan ay maaring  humingi ng proteksyon pang imigrasyon.

Kung ikaw ay nakararanas ng karahasan sa tahanan, hindi ka nag iisa.  Ang pulyetong ito ay naaayon upang ikaw ay tulungan na maunawaan ang batas ng Amerika at kung paano makahihingi ng tulong kapag kinailangan mo.

Need help? Check out the following helpful links!  

National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799 – SAFE  (1-800-799-7233)

1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

www.ndvh.org

 

National Sexual Assault Hotline of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)

1-800-656 – HOPE (1-800-656-4673) 

www.rainn.org

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

1-800- THE –LOST (1-800-843-5678)

www.missingkids.com

  

The National Center for Victims of Crime

 1-800-FYI-CALL (1-800-394-2255)

 1-800-211-7996 (TTY)

 www.ncvc.org

 

Vizard’s Corner! What is the pre-departure seminar, anyway?

Dear Vizard,

Have visa, will travel. Now you just need to attend the CFO seminar!

I got my fiancée visa last week. However, the airline did not allow me to get on my flight as I did not attend this thing called a Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar.  I thought I only needed my passport and my visa to travel. Do I really have to attend this seminar? Is there a way to get out of it?

Sincerely,

Xena Dinavaza

 ——————————————————————————————

 

Hi Xena!  

Filipino law says that anyone emigrating has to attend the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.  Only emigrants aged 12 years and younger don’t have to attend. 

Although the U.S. Government requirement doesn’t require the seminar, we do make this information available to all fiancé(e)s and immigrant visa applicants.  The US Embassy will attach to your visa packet an information sheet so that you know about the seminar. 

Want more information on the seminar? See below for a direct quote from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas:

The Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar is for emigrants petitioned by their parents, siblings, and immediate relatives. Travel regulations, immigration procedures, cultural differences, settlement concerns, employment and social security concerns, and rights and obligations of Filipino migrants are some of the topics on the PDOS Seminar.

Filipino spouses and other partners of foreign national are given guidance and counseling program.  They are given advice on the realities of intermarriage and migration, rights and obligations overseas, available support networks for women in distress, cultural and social realities overseas, and other information which may help them make informed decisions about cross-cultural unions and settlement overseas.

Excerpt from the CFO Information Sheet

 Sounds pretty helpful to me!

 For additional information, such as registration and counseling requirements and the seminar schedule,  please visit the Council’s website at: http://www.cfo.gov.ph/.

Later, skater!

 

Vizard

The Adventures of Bong Voyage: IMMIGRANT DATA SUMMARY (IDS) CORRECTIONS 101

The continuing adventures of Bong Voyage…

Bong Voyage finally received his visa documents. He immediately retrieved his passport from the plastic pouch and checked the information both on his passport and Immigrant Data Summary (IDS). He noticed that there were mistakes in his IDS. He is now calling the Embassy to inquire about his concern…

Jimmy Murdochs from the US Embassy: Good morning. How can I help you today?

Bong Voyage: Good morning Sir. I am calling to inquire about the wrong information on my Immigrant Data Summary.

Jimmy Murdochs: I see. May I have your visa packet, Sir? What particular information was incorrect?

Bong Voyage: As you can see, my city of birth and my father’s name was misspelled in the summary. Could it be a typographical error?

Jimmy Murdochs: Yes. It is a typographical error and we apologize for this. However, let me assure you sir that this type of inconsistency will not pose any problem when you arrive in the U.S.

Bong Voyage: I see. I hope you understand that I am just worried that I might encounter problems when I arrive in the U.S. for the first time as an immigrant.

Jimmy Murdochs: I understand your concern. And I’m so glad you checked your IDS thoroughly. You should know that we MUST correct errors if there’s a mistake in your name, date of birth, gender, marital status, passport number or nationality. So it is important to check your data. But the mistakes we unfortunately made in your IDS do not have to be corrected. Don’t worry. There’s no need to delay your travel because of these errors.

Bong Voyage: That’s a relief. Thank you so much for the clarification!  

Jimmy Murdochs: You’re welcome, Sir.

BON VOYAGE!