What is the difference between an income tax return and a W2 (wage statement)?
The income tax return (or Form 1040) is the document that is submitted to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) every April in order to pay federal taxes. It shows how much income a person (or a married couple, if filing jointly) has made during the year and how much tax he/she owes. A blank copy of an income tax return looks like this:
W2s, or wage statements, show the income a person has made from each employer he/she has had over the past year. If a person has more than one job, he/she will receive separate W2s from each job. Each individual (even if filing taxes as a married couple) receives individual W2s. A blank copy of a W2 looks like this:
Why does the Consular Officer sometimes ask for both forms?
Sometimes the Consular Officer will ask an applicant for the petitioner’s income tax return and W2s. The reason for this is that your sponsor may have filed his/her income tax return jointly with his/her spouse. The income tax return shows only the total income that both the husband and wife have earned. If your sponsor signed an affidavit of support form (Form I-864), but his/her spouse did not sign a household member form (Form I-864A), the Consular Officer may want to see how much your sponsor made individually. In this case, the Officer would need to see your sponsor’s W2s, showing all the income he/she personally made over the last year.
See our blog post “Affidavits of Support” for more information about I-864s and tax returns.
Myth: The U.S. Embassy has a daily quota for the number of visas that can be issued.
Fact: U.S. Embassy Manila does not have a quota system or pre-set number of visas that can be issued each day, week, month, or year. Each applicant is assessed on a case-by-case basis using a number of criteria under U.S. immigration law. Consular officer decisions are final. If applicants are denied it is because they do not meet the criteria. If an applicant is not satisfied with the application of the law, he/she can reapply, pay a new fee, and interview with a different consular officer.
Myth: Coming to a visa interview at a certain time of day affects the chances of getting approved for a nonimmigrant visa.
Fact: Each individual is assessed on a case-by-case basis using a number of criteria under U.S. immigration law. These laws are applied consistently throughout the day. If applicants are denied it is because they do not meet the criteria.
My mother filed a visa petition for me and my children on November 22, 2001, under the F1 visa category (unmarried adult son or daughter of a U.S. citizen). Recently, I received a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) requiring me to submit an Affidavit of Support (AOS) and proof of income from my petitioner. My mother is currently living in the United States, but she has retired from work and she is no longer filing an Income Tax Return (ITR). Will my application be denied? My sister is willing to give financial support; can she sign the AOS instead?
Mr. Ricardo Publico
Dear Mr. Publico,
As you may have read in our previous post regarding Affidavits of Support, beneficiaries of alien relative visa petitions (Form I-130) are required to submit an AOS (Form I-864) from the petitioner. This is true even if the petitioner’s income is below the federal poverty guidelines for his/her prospective household size. In your case, since the petitioner did not file an ITR, you should submit a letter to NVC signed by the petitioner explaining why she did not file an ITR. You may indicate that she no longer has any taxable income.
Since your petitioner has to provide proof that you will not become a public charge if allowed entry into the U.S., you will also need to submit an AOS (Form I-864) from a qualified joint sponsor. A joint sponsor may choose to execute an AOS on behalf of all or some of the family members applying for a visa. A maximum of two (2) joint sponsors per petition can be used. If your sister is willing to provide financial support for you, you may ask her to execute an AOS on your behalf. You may forward her I-864, ITR, and proof of her income to NVC.
For detailed information about the AOS requirement and financial sponsorship guidelines, you may visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
This Friday, January 20, 2012, at 2pm, we will premiere “The Visa Hour: Tweet with the Consul General” live on the U.S. Embassy Facebook page. Send your visa questions to the U.S. Consul General using hashtag #TheVisaHour on Twitter, and he will answer questions via live video streaming. Mark it on your calendar and log on to the U.S. Embassy Manila Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/manila.usembassy on Friday!
Also follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/usembassymanila
THE K PACKET
My name was misspelled on my birth certificate. Which name should I use when requesting an NBI clearance?
Philippine police (NBI) or other police clearances should be in the applicant’s current name, birth certificate name, maiden name, and any aliases or nicknames used, including different spellings used of those names.
How do I request a police clearance from Hong Kong (or another country)?
For specific instructions on how to obtain a police clearance for certain foreign country clearances, you may visit our website at http://travel.state.gov/visa/fees/fees_3272.html.
I need your assistance. I am having difficulty requesting a police clearance from Kuwait.
Because police certificates are considered to be unavailable to applicants who no longer reside in Kuwait, Libya, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Korea, and Singapore, applicants are not expected to produce them.
It seems unnatural to pose for a photo in the Philippines and not smile. My Filipino friends and I love to capture moments on film and every photo is full of people in good moods and smiles.
However, if you are applying for a visa to the United States we ask that you present a full face photo with a “neutral” facial expression. This means eyes open, mouth closed, and staring straight ahead. Furthermore, glasses should be removed and long hair pulled back so that both ears are visible. If your photo is deemed unacceptable, there are Kodak photo booths inside the embassy where you can get photos retaken but this can add to the waiting time for your visa interview. Recently several applicants complained that they had to wait in long lines at the Kodak photo booth because many people (including them) had brought unusable photos.
Here are the details from the Embassy website for photo requirements.
One 2″ x 2″ standard photo. The photo must be:
• In color
• Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm) or 50% and 69% of the image’s total height from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. View the Photo Composition Template for more size requirement details.
• Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
• Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
• Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
• With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
• Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis
• Uniforms should not be worn in your photo, except religious clothing that is worn daily.
• Do not wear a hat or head covering that obscures the hair or hairline, unless worn daily for a religious purpose. Your full face must be visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.
• Headphones, wireless hands-free devices, or similar items are not acceptable in your photo.
• Dark glasses or glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable.
Needless to say, your visa application photo is probably not going to be in your top ten profile pictures on Facebook. But following the directions for proper photo submission will make your visa interview process go a lot faster.
For additional information on photo specifications please click here.
Who needs a medical examination? What is the process?
Before proceeding to an appointment at U.S. Embassy Manila, all immigrant visa applicants, regardless of age, must first complete the required medical examination (and be cleared to come to the Embassy).
Medical examinations for aliens applying for U.S. visas are conducted in accordance with the regulations established by the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS). St. Luke’s Extension Clinic is U.S. Embassy Manila’s only designated panel physician and in this capacity conducts all the medical examinations of all U.S. immigrant and fiancé(e) visa applicants in the Philippines.
The cost of the medical examination at St. Luke’s Clinic is US$213.35 for adults (15 years and older) and US$185.35 for children (under 15 years of age), inclusive of immunization/vaccination fees. St. Luke’s does not accept credit card or dollar payments. The fee must be paid in Philippine pesos at the prevailing exchange rate.
St. Luke’s is located at 1177 J. Bocobo Street, Ermita, Manila, and may be contacted at the following phone numbers: (632) 521-0020, (632) 521-8647, (632) 523-8258, (632) 524-6082, and (632) 526-4327. Applicants are advised that the medical exam may take more than one day to complete.
For more information about how medical exams relate to CSPA, please see our article on the “Child Status Protection Act.”
THE ADVENTURES OF BONG VOYAGE
Bong Voyage, our perpetual immigrant visa applicant, is back at the U.S. Embassy for his interview. He is applying in the F2B category, the unmarried son or daughter of a lawful permanent resident (LPR).
Consul Jimmy Murdochs: Mr. Voyage, I see that you are applying in the F2B category. Who is petitioning for you?
Bong Voyage: My mother. She moved to the U.S. 10 years ago.
Consul: Is she now a U.S. citizen, or is she still an immigrant?
Bong Voyage: Still an immigrant, sir.
Consul: Sir, have you ever been married?
Bong Voyage: No, I have never gotten married, but I have three children with my live-in partner. Can I bring my partner with me to the U.S.? We want to get married.
Consul: Sir, unfortunately you cannot bring your live-in partner with you as part of your F2B petition. Once you arrive in the U.S. and get your green card, you may petition for your partner in the F2A category, spouse of a lawful permanent resident (LPR), once you are married.
Bong Voyage: Oh, so I cannot bring her now. What about my children—do I need to wait to petition them too?
Consul: If your children are all under 21 years old, you may register them as derivatives on your F2B petition. They will each have to file separate applications, including the DS-230, NBI police clearance, medical exam, and application fee. The children can accompany you to the U.S. or follow to join at a later date.
Bong Voyage: Thank you. We will start on their applications right away.
Consul: Sir, you say you have never been married, correct? Do you have a CENOMAR, the Certificate of No Marriage Record, stating that you have never been married?
Bong Voyage: No, unfortunately I don’t. Is that a requirement?
Consul: Yes, the CENOMAR is required for all visa categories in which the applicant needs to be unmarried, like F2B, F1 (unmarried son or daughter of a U.S. citizen), and K1 (fiancé). You can get a CENOMAR from the National Statistics Office (NSO), and you need to submit one to us on NSO paper.
Bong Voyage: Okay, I will get the CENOMAR and submit it as soon as possible. Thank you for the information.