VISAtisfied Voyager’s immigration wizard protects you from the evils of wrong information.
I am so happy that I will finally be re-united with my family in the United States because I just received my passport together with my immigrant visa packet last week. I just have a few questions: Is it okay to remove the plastic so I can retrieve my passport? I also noticed that my visa expiration is in two (2) months. Why didn’t I get the full six (6) months validity? My cousin’s husband got his visa yesterday and his will expire in five (5) months.
I hope you can answer my questions, Vizard. Thank you.
Magdalena dela Cruz
A few moments later, Magdalena received this response from Vizard:
Dear Ms. Dela Cruz,
Congratulations on receiving your immigrant visa. You may open the plastic wrapper, but NOT the sealed brown envelope. This envelope contains all the documents you and your petitioner submitted in connection with the visa application process. Please also do not remove the paper stapled to the envelope (the “Data Summary Page”). You will need to hand the envelope over to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the U.S. port of entry.
After you remove your visa from the outer plastic, you should check it for errors and note the expiration date. Different applicants may have different visa validities. Most immigrant visa validity dates are tied to the validity of the medical exam results, but there may be other reasons why the visa validity date is shorter than you expect. Therefore, you must not assume that your visa is automatically valid for six (6) months, or one (1) year, or whatever your family member or friend received.
Please also note that it is your responsibility to know when your visa will expire and to make sure that you can enter the U.S. prior to that date. The latest you can travel is before midnight of the day BEFORE the visa expiration. For example, if your visa will expire on 31-DEC-2011, you will need to travel to the U.S. and arrive BEFORE 31-DEC-2011. In this case, you must begin your travel NO LATER THAN 30-DEC-2011.
Just to be safe, however, I recommend that you travel well in advance of your visa expiration date, but DO NOT purchase your tickets until you have your visa in hand.
U.S. immigration law delegates the responsibility for issuance or refusal of visas to consular officers overseas. They have the final say on all visa cases. By regulation, the U.S. Department of State has authority to review consular decisions, but this authority is limited to the interpretation of law, as contrasted to determinations of facts. Determination of facts involves such issues as social, family, and economic ties, residence abroad, etc. An applicant can influence the Embassy to change a prior visa denial only through the presentation of new convincing evidence of strong ties through a new visa application and interview.
THE K PACKET
The phrase “bona fide” stands for something that is done in good faith without fraud or deceit or something that is genuine.
How do the applicant and petitioner establish that their relationship is real?
One of the elements of establishing entitlement to a fiancé(e) visa involves determining whether the applicant intends to marry the petitioner and that the relationship is not for immigration purposes only. Fiancé(e) visa applicants should be ready to discuss how their relationship began and progressed and provide pictures with the petitioner or any other evidence to indicate that the applicant intends to marry the petitioner.
The interview is the applicant’s main opportunity to clearly establish a valid relationship with the petitioner and their intention to get married within 90 days of the applicant’s arrival in the U.S.
The consular officer has to be reasonably satisfied that the relationship is legitimate and not simply for the purposes of obtaining a visa to the U.S.
The F2B visa category is a family-sponsored immigrant visa petition that may be filed by a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The adult unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of LPRs are classified in the F2B category.
The F1 visa category is a family-sponsored immigrant visa petition that may be filed by a U.S. Citizen. An F1 visa petition is filed for unmarried sons and daughters.
Visa Category Conversion: When Does It Happen?
Visa category conversions happen when there are changes in certain personal circumstances of petitioners or beneficiaries.
F2B – F1 Conversion
In F2B cases, when the LPR petitioner naturalizes, this results in the mandatory visa reclassification of the petition. The F2B visa petition will be converted to the F1 visa category, retaining the same priority date.
However, because of unique circumstances, in the Philippines the waiting period for the F1 category is longer than the F2B category.
Under Section 6 of the CSPA, the applicant can request exemption from the automatic conversion of the visa category from F2B to F1 by submitting to the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS/USCIS) a written statement that he elects to have such conversion revoked.
The Embassy will be closed November 11 in honor of Veteran’s Day.
If you were working in the U.S. and returned home with your I-94 (white form) or I-94W (green form) in your passport, it means that your departure from the U.S. was not recorded properly. It is your responsibility to correct this record; otherwise, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may conclude you remained in the U.S. beyond your authorized stay. If this happens, the next time you apply to enter the U.S., your visa may be subject to cancellation or you may be returned to the Philippines.
You must contact DHS about your departure from the U.S. You should send them a letter explaining what happened, and include information about when you departed the U.S. You may want to consider sending DHS the following information to support your claim:
- Original boarding passes used to depart the U.S.
- Photocopies of entry/departure stamps in the passport
- Dated pay slips from employer indicated you worked in another country after departing the U.S.
- Dated bank records showing transition in another country after departing the U.S.
- Dated credit card receipts
You must mail legible copies or original materials. If you send original materials, you should retain a copy. Send the letter and additional information to the following address only:
DHS-CBP ACS INC.
1084 South Laurel Rd.
London, KY 40744 USA
THE ADVENTURES OF BONG VOYAGE
Bong Voyage has called the Embassy to inquire if he qualifies for protection under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA). He was petitioned by his father, who is still a legal permanent resident in the U.S., and just turned 21 last September.
Bong Voyage: Good morning, sir.
Consul Jimmy Murdochs: Hello, Mr. Bong Voyage. How may I help you?
Bong Voyage: I was hoping you could inform me if I qualify for protection under the Child Status Protection Act. I was petitioned by my father who is staying in the U.S. as a legal permanent resident, and I just turned 21 years old last month.
Consul: I see. Thank you for the information. Sir, CSPA was enacted to address the problem of minors losing their eligibility for immigration benefits because they already turned 21 years old as a result of processing delays on the part of the Department of Homeland Security. It was not intended to benefit applicants who aged out due to unavailability of visa numbers. Have you submitted your documents already?
Bong Voyage: Yes. We have submitted the required application forms and other documents. We have also paid the required fees at NVC.
Consul: Were you able to undergo the required medical examination at the St. Luke’s Extension Clinic here in Manila?
Bong Voyage: I haven’t had my medical examination yet, but I have my appointment with the clinic already.
Consul: Sir, medical examination with St. Luke’s Extension Clinic is required before CSPA is computed.
Bong Voyage: I see. Thanks for the advice. I will proceed to the clinic with my appointment letter.
Consul: Once you’re done with the medical examination, you may contact the Embassy call center to schedule your visa interview ((632) 982-5555). Kindly note that only during your interview appointment will the officer be able to make final determination if you qualify for CSPA or not.
Bong Voyage: So there is still no guarantee that I will be granted the visa after completing all the requirements, including the medical?
Consul: That’s correct, sir. We can’t make a decision on your eligibility for the visa until you make an application, pay the fee, and have submitted all the required information.
Bong Voyage: All right then. Thank you so much for your time.
Before you travel to the United States, make two copies of all important documents, especially your passport (with visa), your employment contract (if applicable), and your identity documents. Give one set of these copies to someone you trust in your home country. If you’re working in the U.S., you will receive an I-94 white card when you arrive. Make one copy in case you lose the original and keep all documents in a safe place.
VISAtisfied Voyager’s immigration wizard protects you from the evils of wrong information.
My mother entered the U.S. in 2002 on an E3 (employment) immigrant visa. She is still a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR/greencard holder). Because I was still in grade school at that time, I was not able to go with my mother to the U.S. But now that I have finished studying high school, I would like to follow my mother to the U.S. and go to college there. Am I still qualified to join her in the U.S.? What do I have to do to apply for my immigrant visa?
A few moments after Feliz sent her letter to Vizard, she received this INCORRECT response from VisaMort (who hacked into her email account and obtained a copy of the email):
Dear Ms. Viajero,
I am sorry to hear that you were not able to go with your mother to the U.S. in 2002 as her derivative child. Because so much time has passed, you may not be able to join her anymore unless she files a separate visa petition for you as the child of an LPR.
For a small fee, I can help your mother file the appropriate visa petition for you so that you may be able to join her, and so that you may pursue your dream of studying in the U.S. I will send you further details in a separate email, if you and your mother are interested.
Luckily, Vizard replied with the CORRECT answer before Feliz could contact her mother with VisaMort’s bad news:
Dear Ms. Viajero,
Yes, you are still qualified to join your mother in the U.S. as a following-to-join (FTJ) derivative beneficiary. There is no statutory time period during which the FTJ derivative child must apply. This means that you can apply for the FTJ derivative child immigrant visa at any time, as long as the following qualifications are met:
(1) You remain the unmarried minor child (below 21 years old*) of the principal applicant (your mother); and
(2) The principal applicant has not died, lost status as an immigrant, or become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
If you think you qualify as an FTJ child derivative and would like to schedule an appointment for a visa interview, you may visit http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph, or call the Visa Information and Appointment Service at (632) 982-5555 and (632) 902-8930. The call center is open Mondays through Fridays, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., except on U.S. and Philippine holidays.
*Unmarried sons and daughters of principal applicants (aged 21 years and above) may apply as FTJ derivative children if they qualify under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).