I recently came across a website inviting me to register for the U.S. Green Card Lottery. I’ve begun filling out all the necessary online forms, including my financial information, but I can’t help but wonder if this whole “Diversity Visa” thing is a scam; the lottery seems almost too good to be true! Any advice?
Dear Mr. Gonzalez,
While the Diversity Visa program is a genuine initiative of the U.S. Department of State, Philippine citizens are not eligible to submit their names for the annual lottery. This is because the Diversity Visa is not available to natives of countries which have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States within the past five years; the Philippines sent over 50,000 immigrants to the United States in 2010 alone. Indeed, because the rate of Philippine immigration to the United States is so high, it is unlikely that individuals born in the Philippines will ever be eligible to apply for the Diversity Visa.
Therefore, the website you mention is indeed a scam. Remember that only a website URL ending in “.gov” is an official U.S. government website, and that the U.S. government will never request your financial information directly through email. For more detailed information on the types of the Diversity Visa scams that you may encounter, please see U.S. Embassy Manila’s fraud alert. You may also wish to read more about the Diversity Visa at USCIS and the Department of State.
THE K PACKET
I am being petitioned by my American citizen fiancé(e). Can I also bring my child to the U.S.?
A child under 21 years old may be included in the I-129F visa petition as a fiancé(e) derivative beneficiary (K2).
How do I register my child?
A clear copy of the child’s birth certificate issued on security paper by the Philippine National Statistics Office (NSO) must be submitted wherever the case is currently being processed: the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office, the National Visa Center, or the Embassy.
Will my child automatically be issued a K2 visa?
If one of the child’s parents is an American citizen, the child may have a possible claim to U.S. citizenship. If the child’s American citizenship is established, he/she will not need a visa to enter the U.S.—instead, an application for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad and an application for a U.S. passport must be filed on his/her behalf with the Embassy’s American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit. The ACS Unit may be contacted by email at email@example.com regarding this matter. If the ACS Unit determines that the child has no claim to U.S. citizenship, we will resume processing the K2 visa application.
Is there a deadline to register and issue a K2 visa to my child?
Following-to-join K2 beneficiaries have one (1) year to apply and be issued a K2 visa, from the time that the principal applicant was issued a K1 visa.
What if my child turned 21 years old or got married?
Under U.S. immigration law, when a child has aged out (turned 21 years old) or marries before admission to the U.S., he/she will no longer qualify for immigration benefits as a child.
How will my child who turned 21 years old or who got married before admission to the U.S. qualify again for immigration benefits?
In order to qualify again for immigration benefits, he/she must now be the principal beneficiary of a family- or employment-based visa petition filed on his/her behalf. Information regarding the requirements and procedures for filing visa petitions are available from the USCIS website.
For more information, see our blog post “K1 Visa FAQs: Who Should Attend the Interview?”
- Are you a Seafarer?
- Have you had a full validity C1/D visa since 2007?
- Do you enjoy the taste of saltwater?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might qualify for the SeaVRP program!
The SeaVRP or Seafarers Visa Reissuance Program was launched March 5, 2012 to help facilitate renewals of C1/D visas for qualified seafarers of accredited manning agencies.* If you qualify, you will be able to drop off your passport and seaman’s book with Embassy personnel and then a consular officer will evaluate your application without requiring another interview.
No more long waits in line?
No more nervous interviews??
Talaga?! How do I find out if I’m qualified for this program?!!!!!
You must meet ALL of these criteria in order to be considered for the SeaVRP.
Manning Agency Conditions:
Manning agencies accreditation must be up to date and only qualified seafarers will be considered for the Seafarer Visa Reissuance Program. Non-compliant applications will not be processed.
SeaVRP Applicant Conditions:
1. Applicant must be affiliated with an Accredited Manning Agency as determined by the Consular Section of U.S. Embassy, Manila
2. Be a Philippine passport holder
3. Possess a previous full validity of C1/D visa (5 years)
4. C1/D visa must be issued in Manila on or after July 1, 2007
5. No permanent changes in his/her fingerprints (no missing fingers, serious burns or scars)
6. Had his/her last sign off within the last 12 months from any port
7. No visa refusal within the last 12months (any kind of U.S. visa)
8. No criminal history
SeaVRP Application Requirements:
1. Completed DS160 confirmation page, (https://ceac.state.gov/GENNIV).
2. Valid passport
3. All previous passports from the entire period of issuance date of qualifying C1/D visa,
4. One 2 x 2 photo (white background, In color, taken within the last 6mos, full-face direct view, not copied or scanned digitally from other official ID’s or from mobile phones and with a neutral face expression: (must not smile or smirk in front of the camera).
5. Guarantee letter from an Accredited Manning Agency
6. SeaVRP appointment letter
7. Completed SeaVRP U.S. Embassy application checklist (http://photos.state.gov/libraries/manila/279923/Consular_NIV/SeaVRP%20Checklist%202012.pdf).
Additional General Reminders:
1. C1/D SeaVRP new time slot 12:20PM (for qualified applicants only)
2. C1/D Regular new time slots 6:20AM, 7:20AM and 8:20AM
3. B1 (OCS) Regular and Renewal new time slot 9:50AM
*Please be advised that all SeaVRP applications must be supplemented by a completed U.S. Embassy application checklist. Any incomplete SeaVRP applications will not be accepted nor processed. The DS-160 on-line application form must be completely filled out and should have a photo scanned. All passports should be stapled together placing the current passport on top. For manning agencies, remember to keep your accreditation up to date and apply for re-accreditation prior to expiration.
For further details on VRP procedures, go to U.S. Embassy Manila website. (http://manila.usembassy.gov/niv-seavrp.html)
THE ADVENTURES OF BONG VOYAGE
Bong Voyage, our perpetual immigrant visa applicant, is at the U.S. Embassy for his visa interview.
Consul Jimmy Murdochs: Good morning, Mr. Voyage. I see you are applying today for an E3 employment visa. Have you ever left the Philippines before?
Bong Voyage: Yes, I have been to the United States.
Consul: What was the purpose of your travel?
Bong Voyage: I went to visit my sister, who lives in Seattle. We like to have family reunions at her house there. I traveled on a B1/B2 tourist visa.
Consul: I’m glad you had a good trip. How many times did you go to the U.S., and what was your longest stay there?
Bong Voyage: I only went twice—once in 2005 for three months and again in 2010 for nine months.
Consul: Normally the Department of Homeland Security/Customs and Border Patrol (DHS/CBP) will allow visitors on B1/B2 visas to stay in the U.S. for only six months. How were you able to stay in 2010 for nine months, sir?
Bong Voyage: I requested an extension of stay, and DHS granted it to me. I left the U.S. before the date they indicated in my approval notice.
Consul: Do you have a copy of the extension approval? Do you also have your old passport with your valid B1/B2 visa in it?
Bong Voyage: No, sir, I didn’t know I needed to bring them to my immigrant visa interview…
Consul: Don’t worry, you can submit them through the courier service. Everything seems to be in order, but we will need to check your extension approval and cancel your B1/B2 visa before issuing your E3 immigrant visa.
Bong Voyage: Thank you for this information. I will go home and look for these documents and submit them right away.
I was petitioned by my sister in the F4 category (brother or sister of an American citizen). I recently had my visa interview at the U.S. Embassy, along with my husband and my two minor children. With our applications, I turned in all four of our birth certificates. However, the Consular Officer told me that they were unacceptable because they were from the local registry. What does this mean? How can I get the correct birth certificates to submit to the Embassy? Thanks for your help.
Ma. Teresa Mendoza
Dear Ms. Mendoza,
Thank you for writing to me. The U.S. Embassy only accepts civil documents from the Philippine National Statistics Office (NSO): this includes such documents as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates. All civil documents must be on NSO security paper. Unfortunately, we do not accept documents directly from the local registry.
These documents can be obtained through an online request or you may personally visit any NSO branch. You may find the complete list of branches here. The NSO may also be contacted by telephone at (+63) 02-737-1111.
For more information about how to get your civil documents from the NSO, please see this website.