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October 5, 2023

The United States, often referred to as the land of opportunities, is a popular destination for individuals seeking better prospects, whether for education, work, or a new beginning. For those already settled in the U.S. on various visas, it’s natural to wish for their siblings to join them and share in the American dream. While the immigration process for siblings of visa holders can be complex, understanding the available options and procedures can pave the way for family reunification.

Understanding the Immigration Landscape

The U.S. immigration system is vast and diverse, offering multiple pathways for family members to join their loved ones residing in the country. When it comes to siblings of visa holders, the process typically involves sponsorship, either through family-sponsored visas or employment-based immigration avenues.

Family-Sponsored Visas

The family-sponsored visa category allows U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor certain family members for immigration to the United States. While U.S. citizens have broader sponsorship options, permanent residents can sponsor a narrower set of family members, including siblings.

  1. Family Preference Visas: Siblings fall under the Fourth Preference (F4) category for family-sponsored immigration. However, the availability of F4 visas is subject to annual visa limits, which can result in considerable waiting times.
  2. Process Overview: The U.S. citizen or permanent resident sibling initiates the process by filing a visa petition (Form I-130) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once the petition is approved, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing. Following this, the case is transferred to the U.S. embassy or consulate in the sibling’s home country for visa application and interview.
  3. Visa Availability: The waiting time for an available visa can vary significantly based on the sibling’s home country and the current visa bulletin. Patience is crucial, as visa backlogs can extend for years.

Employment-Based Immigration

Another potential avenue for siblings is employment-based immigration. If a sibling is highly skilled, holds an advanced degree, or possesses exceptional abilities, they may be eligible for employment-based visas such as the EB-2 or EB-3 categories.

  1. EB-2 and EB-3 Categories: The EB-2 category is for individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability, while the EB-3 category is for professionals, skilled workers, or other workers.
  2. Process Overview: A U.S. employer sponsors the sibling for an employment-based visa by initiating the labor certification process, obtaining an approved immigrant petition (Form I-140), and progressing towards permanent residency (a green card).
  3. Job Offer and Employment: The sibling must have a job offer from a U.S. employer and meet specific job requirements to qualify for these categories.

Seeking Legal Guidance

Navigating the U.S. immigration system can be challenging, especially when it involves family sponsorship and employment-based immigration. Seeking guidance from an experienced immigration attorney can greatly simplify the process and increase the likelihood of a successful application. Contact ImmiVisa for a consultation to discuss the most suitable options for reuniting siblings coming to the U.S.

Final Thoughts

Reuniting with siblings in the United States is a cherished aspiration for many individuals. While the immigration journey may be intricate, understanding the available options and seeking appropriate legal counsel can significantly contribute to a smoother process. Patience, diligence, and proper guidance are essential elements that pave the way for a successful immigration experience, bringing families together on American soil.

October 2, 2023

The United States, often dubbed the land of opportunity, attracts talent from all corners of the globe. For exceptional professionals seeking to further their careers and contribute to the country’s growth, the EB-1 visa stands as a beacon. The EB-1 visa, designed for individuals of extraordinary ability, offers a direct path to permanent residency for those who have showcased unparalleled expertise in their respective fields.

Unveiling the EB-1 Visa

The EB-1 visa is part of the employment-based immigration first preference category, tailored for individuals with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors or researchers, and multinational executives or managers. Of particular interest is the EB-1A subcategory, which focuses on professionals with extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics.

Extraordinary Ability Criteria:

To qualify for the EB-1A visa, applicants must meet specific criteria showcasing their extraordinary ability. These include:

  1. Sustained National or International Acclaim: Providing evidence of sustained acclaim and recognition on a national or international level within the field of expertise.
  2. Major Awards or Prizes: Presenting proof of significant awards, prizes, or recognitions received for outstanding achievements in the field.
  3. Published Material About the Applicant: Showcasing substantial published material about the applicant in professional or major trade publications, newspapers, or other major media.
  4. Membership in Associations: Demonstrating membership in associations that require outstanding achievements for admission, as evidence of the applicant’s extraordinary ability.
  5. Original Contributions: Providing evidence of the applicant’s original contributions of major significance to their field.
  6. Judge of Others’ Work: Serving as a judge of the work of others in the same or a related field, either on an individual or panel basis.
  7. High Salary or Remuneration: Displaying evidence of a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services in the field.

Benefits of the EB-1A Visa:

The EB-1A visa offers several distinct benefits, making it an attractive option for professionals of extraordinary ability:

  1. Self-Petitioning: Unlike many other employment-based visas, EB-1A applicants can petition for themselves, bypassing the need for employer sponsorship.
  2. Expedited Processing: EB-1A petitions can qualify for premium processing, ensuring a quicker adjudication process and a 15-day timeline for USCIS response.
  3. No Labor Certification: The EB-1A category eliminates the labor certification requirement, streamlining the process and avoiding delays associated with the labor market test.
  4. Direct Path to Permanent Residency: Upon approval, EB-1A visa holders can directly apply for a green card, securing permanent residency in the United States.
  5. Flexibility in Employment: EB-1A visa holders have the freedom to change employers or positions within their field without affecting their immigration status.

Tips for a Successful Application:

  1. Gather Comprehensive Documentation: Ensure you collect extensive and compelling evidence showcasing your extraordinary ability, achievements, and contributions to your field.
  2. Seek Professional Guidance: Work with an experienced immigration attorney to guide you through the application process, ensuring all requirements are met and the best possible case is presented.
  3. Craft a Strong Petition Letter: Pay careful attention to the petition letter, emphasizing your achievements, the impact of your work, and why you qualify as a professional of extraordinary ability.
  4. Highlight Your Original Contributions: Emphasize the originality and significance of your contributions to your field, providing concrete examples and evidence of their impact.
  5. Showcase National or International Recognition: Document any awards, honors, publications, or recognition received on a national or international level within your field.

Final Thoughts:

Mastering the EB-1A visa is a remarkable achievement that opens doors to a fulfilling professional journey in the United States. Understanding the criteria, benefits, and application process is vital for a successful application. With the right approach, professionals of extraordinary ability can make a significant mark in their respective fields on American soil. Contact our Immigration firm for a consultation to discuss your case and how to best approach your own personal criteria.

October 5, 2023

In today’s digital age, influencers have a significant impact on society, culture, and business. The United States, being a hub for creativity and innovation, attracts numerous influencers from around the world. For influencers looking to establish a strong presence in the U.S., understanding the various immigration options is crucial. Among the most suitable visas for influencers are the EB-1A, O-1, and P-1 visas.

1. EB-1A Visa: Recognizing Extraordinary Ability

The EB-1A visa is a prestigious option for influencers who possess extraordinary ability in their respective fields. This category is designed for individuals who have demonstrated outstanding expertise and sustained acclaim.

Key Advantages:

  • Path to Permanent Residency: Successful applicants can transition to permanent residency, making it an ideal choice for influencers seeking a long-term commitment in the U.S.
  • Self-Petitioning: Influencers can petition for themselves without the need for employer sponsorship, providing flexibility and control over the application process.
  • No Labor Certification: The EB-1A category bypasses the labor certification requirement, expediting the application process.

Requirements:

Influencers must demonstrate extraordinary ability through sustained acclaim, major awards, publications, significant contributions, original work, and other forms of recognition.

2. O-1 Visa: Recognizing Extraordinary Talent

The O-1 visa is an excellent option for influencers who possess extraordinary talent and have achieved recognition in their field. It is designed to attract individuals with exceptional skills, expertise, or achievements.

Key Advantages:

  • Temporary Stay: Holders of the O-1 visa can temporarily reside and work in the U.S., allowing influencers to engage in specific projects or activities for their sponsoring employer or entity.
  • Flexibility: The O-1 visa provides flexibility in terms of employment options, allowing influencers to adapt and respond to changing opportunities.

Requirements:

Influencers applying for the O-1 visa need to provide substantial evidence of their extraordinary ability, including awards, publications, testimonials, high salary, and significant contributions to their field.

3. P-1 Visa: Recognizing Athletic and Entertainment Excellence

The P-1 visa is suitable for influencers closely associated with the athletic or entertainment industry. It is tailored for individuals or groups with a high level of achievement in their field.

Key Advantages:

  • Group Eligibility: Influencers who are part of a team or group can enter the U.S. collectively, making it suitable for influencers collaborating or performing as a group.
  • Performance Opportunities: Holders of the P-1 visa can participate in events, competitions, tours, or performances, enhancing their visibility and engagement within the U.S.

Requirements:

Influencers applying for the P-1 visa must meet specific criteria, including a valid contract with a U.S. employer, international recognition, and significant achievements in their field.

Choosing the Right Fit

The choice of the best visa depends on an influencer’s unique circumstances, career goals, and intended duration of stay in the U.S. The EB-1A visa offers a path to permanent residency, making it suitable for those seeking a long-term commitment. The O-1 visa, on the other hand, provides flexibility and temporary residency options, while the P-1 visa is ideal for influencers in athletics or entertainment.

Conclusion

For international influencers looking to make their mark in the U.S., understanding the various visa options is paramount. Each visa category has its advantages, and influencers must carefully assess their situation to choose the one that aligns with their goals and aspirations. With the right visa, influencers can unlock a world of opportunities and further enhance their brand and presence in the U.S.

September 13, 2023
September 13, 2023

The United States has long been a land of opportunity, attracting individuals from around the world who seek to build their careers, businesses, and lives in this diverse and prosperous nation. Employment-based immigration offers a pathway for talented individuals, workers, and entrepreneurs to achieve their American dreams. In this article, we’ll explore the various facets of employment-based immigration, including Temporary Work Visas, Permanent Residence Visas, and Investor Visas.

Temporary Work Visas

Temporary work visas are designed for foreign nationals who wish to come to the United States for a specific job or employment opportunity. These visas grant temporary authorization to work and reside in the country. Here are some prominent categories of temporary work visas:

  1. H-1B Visa: This visa is for highly skilled professionals in specialty occupations, such as technology, engineering, and healthcare. It allows foreign workers to temporarily fill positions that require specialized knowledge and skills.
  2. L-1 Visa: The L-1 visa is for intracompany transferees, allowing multinational companies to transfer employees from their foreign offices to their US offices. There are two subcategories: L-1A for managers and executives and L-1B for employees with specialized knowledge.
  3. O-1 Visa: The O-1 visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement in their field, including scientists, artists, and athletes. It is designed for those who have reached the top of their professions.

Permanent Residence Visas

Permanent residence visas, commonly known as Green Cards, offer foreign nationals the opportunity to live and work in the United States indefinitely. These visas provide a pathway to US citizenship and offer greater stability than temporary work visas. Here are notable categories of Permanent Residence Visas:

  1. EB-1 Visa: The EB-1 visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational managers and executives. It does not require labor certification, making it a preferred choice for many.
  2. EB-2 Visa: This visa is for individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability in their field. In most cases, it requires a job offer and labor certification.
  3. EB-3 Visa: The EB-3 visa is for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers. It requires a job offer and labor certification in most cases.

Investor Visas

Investor visas provide foreign nationals with the opportunity to invest in US businesses, stimulate economic growth, and achieve immigration benefits. Here are two prominent investor visa categories:

  1. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program: The EB-5 program allows foreign investors to obtain a Green Card by investing a minimum of $1.8 million (or $900,000 in targeted employment areas) in a new commercial enterprise that creates jobs for US workers.
  2. E-2 Treaty Investor Visa: The E-2 visa is available to nationals of countries that have treaties of commerce and navigation with the United States. It requires a substantial capital investment in a US business, typically with a lower minimum investment requirement than the EB-5 program.

Benefits of Employment-Based Immigration

  1. Career Opportunities: Employment-based immigrants can pursue their careers in the United States, working in their chosen fields and contributing to the nation’s workforce.
  2. Stability: Permanent residence visas offer long-term stability, allowing immigrants to build their lives and families in the United States.
  3. Entrepreneurship: Investor visas enable entrepreneurs to start or purchase businesses in the United States, fostering economic growth and job creation.
  4. Path to Citizenship: Many employment-based immigrants have the opportunity to become US citizens, further solidifying their ties to the country.

Employment-based immigration is a diverse and dynamic pathway to achieving one’s American dream. Whether you are a skilled worker, a professional, an entrepreneur, or an investor, there are visa categories tailored to your needs and goals. Navigating the complexities of US immigration can be challenging, but with the right guidance and legal support, you can embark on a successful journey toward realizing your aspirations in the United States.

September 13, 2023
September 13, 2023

The United States, with its vibrant economy and diverse opportunities, has long been a destination of choice for investors and entrepreneurs from around the world. For those seeking to pursue their American dream, understanding the nuances of US immigration laws and selecting the right visa category is crucial. US investor immigration encompasses various visa programs that provide foreign investors and their immediate family members with pathways to establish themselves in the United States for business or investment purposes. These programs cater to different needs and objectives, offering either temporary or permanent residency options. Let’s dive into three prominent options: the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, the E-1 Treaty Trader Visa, and the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa.

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, initiated by Congress in 1990, aims to boost the US economy by attracting foreign capital investments and creating employment opportunities for US workers. Here are its key features:

Investment Requirement: Investors must make a minimum capital investment of $1.8 million in a new commercial enterprise within the United States. If the investment is made in a targeted employment area (TEA), with high unemployment or in a rural area, the minimum investment is reduced to $900,000.
Job Creation: The primary goal is job creation. Investors are required to create or preserve at least ten full-time jobs for qualified US workers within two years of their investment.
Conditional Green Card: Successful EB-5 applicants and their families initially receive conditional Green Cards, valid for two years. To obtain unconditional Green Cards, investors must prove that their investment has created the requisite jobs and remained at risk during the conditional period.

E-1 Treaty Trader Visa
The E-1 Treaty Trader Visa is designed for individuals and businesses engaged in substantial international trade between the United States and their home country. Key features include:

Treaty Requirement: The applicant’s home country must have a qualifying treaty with the United States that allows for E-1 visa eligibility.
Trade Volume: To qualify, the business must engage in substantial trade, which generally means a high volume of trade transactions.
Duration: E-1 visas are typically issued for up to five years and can be renewed indefinitely.

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa caters to individuals who wish to invest a substantial amount of capital in a US business. Key features include:

Treaty Requirement: Similar to the E-1 visa, the applicant’s home country must have a qualifying treaty with the United States that allows for E-2 visa eligibility.
Investment Requirement: There is no fixed investment amount, but the investment must be substantial, and the investor must have a significant ownership stake in the enterprise.
Duration: E-2 visas are initially issued for up to five years and can be renewed as long as the business remains operational and meets the visa criteria.
Benefits of US Investor Immigration

Path to Permanent Residency: The EB-5 program offers a direct pathway to US permanent residency for investors and their families, while E-1 and E-2 visas provide temporary residency options with the potential for long-term renewals.
Business Opportunities: E-1 and E-2 visa holders can manage and develop their businesses in the United States, allowing them to shape their American entrepreneurial journey.
Educational Access: Both EB-5 and E-1/E-2 visa holders can provide their children with access to high-quality US education.

US investor immigration, which includes the EB-5 program and the E-1 and E-2 visas, presents diverse opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs looking to pursue their American aspirations. By fostering economic growth, creating jobs, and facilitating international trade and investment, these programs not only benefit participants but also contribute to the cultural and economic diversity of the United States. If you are considering US investor immigration, consult with experienced immigration professionals to navigate the process effectively and embark on your path to the American dream.

February 7, 2022

Congratulations Business Owner, you are looking at expanding your operations into the United States. With all the hard-work you’ve put in to get this far, let’s talk about the most effective methods to work in the United States, whether it being yourself, a manager, executive or a person with specialized knowledge.

WHAT IS AN L-1 VISA?

It is a non-immigrant visa by which foreign companies transfer certain employees like a manager, executive, or person with specialized knowledge to a U.S. company. The U.S. company must be a branch office, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of the foreign company. The L1 visa is an intra-company transfer visa. It allows a US company to transfer a key employee from one of its offices in another country into the United States.

There are two types of L-1 visas:

  • L-1A VISA– The employee who works as a manager or an executive, the visa granted to the employee is called the L-1A visa.
  • L-1B VISA– The employee who works on specialized knowledge, the visa granted is called the L-1B visa.

 

PROCESS OF APPLICATION

The L-1 visa is applied by the U.S. company on behalf of the employee. The U.S. company who is the employer is called the petitioner as it files the petition for the visa and the employee is called the beneficiary. The L-1 type is not eligible for self-petition.

 

DURATION OF THE L-1 VISAS

Under both L-1A and L-1B, the employee must have worked for the company for a continuous period of twelve months in the previous 36 months. The L-1 A visa is first issued for 3 years, then can be extended to 2 more years and for a maximum period of 7 years. The L-1B visa is also initially granted for 3 years and can be extended to 5 years.

 

BENEFITS OF L-1 VISAS

 

  • Fewer criteria to be fulfilled by the employee – The employee should be in a managerial or an executive position for an L-1A visa and for an L-1B visa the employee must be having specialized knowledge. If the employee fulfills these, he/she is eligible for L-1A or L-1B visas depending on his role and knowledge.
  • The employee can live and work in the U.S.A.- The employee having the L-1 visa can live in the U.S. and work for the company. The job is already there and the employer is the petitioner, therefore it is comparatively less complicated.
  • Dual intent visa – The L-1 visa is a dual intent visa which means the holder can intent to permanently immigrate to the U.S. and become a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. in the future.
  • An extended period of stay – The L-1A visa is granted initially for 3 years and can be extended for 7 years. The L-1B visa can also be extended from 3 to 5 years.
  • Spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years become eligible for an L-2 visa. The spouse of the L-1 visa holder and children under the age of 21 years are eligible for L-2 visas. The spouse can get a work permit and can work. The children too can study in U.S. schools and colleges.

 

DISADVANTAGES OF L-1 VISAS

  • Have to be the employee of the company – The person has to be an employee, then only the employer can apply for an L-1 visa. As the L-1 visa is applied by an employer, the person should be an employee in the company for 12 months. The employee should hold the position of a manager, an executive, or have specialized knowledge.
  • Restriction on the extension above a certain limit – The L-1A visa can be extended for 7 years and L-1B can be extended for a maximum period of 5 years.
  • Few companies are eligible- Only those companies are eligible to send their employees who have subsidiaries, offices, branches in the U.S.
  • Limited scope for the employee- The employee who comes on an L-1 visa to the U.S. can only work in the sponsored company and cannot work anywhere else.

 

L-1 VISA AND E-2 VISA

  • The E-2 visa is commonly referred to as the “non-immigrant treaty investor visa”. It is issued to non-immigrants of those countries with which the United States maintains an E-2 treaty on trade and commerce. It allows a non-immigrant individual/entity to invest in an existing U.S.-based business or to establish a new business. The L-1 visa is also a non-immigrant visa issued for working in a company in the U.S. There are certain SIMILARITIES between L-1 and E-2 visas.
  • Both are non-immigrant visas. They don’t grant permanent residency in the U.S. or a Green Card.
  • The employee in case of E-2 and L-1 visas can work only in the same company which sponsored them.
  • The spouse and children can accompany the visa holder on both visas. The spouse can get a work permit and children can study in both the type of visas.

Despite the similarities between the two types of visas, the two visas are DIFFERENT from each other in many ways.

  • ELIGIBILITY – The employee in the case of L-1 can be a national of any country. Whereas in the case of an E-2 visa, the individual has to be a national of an E-2 treaty country.
  • PURPOSE – The sole purpose of entering the U.S. in the case of an E-2 visa is to develop or run a business. In the case of an L-1 visa, the only requirement is that the foreign company should have a branch or a subsidiary in the U.S.
  • DURATION – The L-1 visa is granted for a maximum period of 7 years or 5 years depending on the type whereas the E-2 visa is granted for 2 years but can be renewed till the criteria are fulfilled. The L-1 visa cannot be renewed after 7 years.
  • INTENTION – The L-1 visa is a dual intent visa which means that the intention to go back to the origin country is not there. Whereas in the case of an E-2 visa the intention to go back is an essential condition.

 

CONCLUSION

The L-1 visa can be issued only by the employer for their employee. The employee who has the special knowledge or is an executive or a manager is only eligible for an L-1 visa. There is no requirement of a treaty between the origin country and the U.S. The only requirement is that the foreign company must have a parent, a branch in the U.S.

Few individuals can qualify for both L-1 and E-2 visas. But before applying the purpose of stay, duration, intention to return all have to be seen. Depending on the requirements, the person should apply for the type of visa. As an E-2 visa has no limit to the number of times it can be renewed, it is the best way to stay in the U.S permanently. In the case of L-1 visas, there is a limit of 7 years or 5 years depending on the role, but the holder can apply for a green card or through other ways for permanent residence. Both the visas are for working in the U.S. but both have certain merits and demerits. Depending on the requirement and intention a person or the employer should apply for either type of visa.

Contact us today to discuss the best method for your business, whether an L-1 or E-2 non-immigrant visa are the most effective methods to work in the United States.

 

 

January 15, 2022

It’s normal to be excited and nervous about your US visa application.

Today is the day you have been waiting for!

You just received the email notification of your appointment date and time for a US Embassy interview.

Now you are really nervous!

Whether you are planning to come to the US for school, or to get married, or to work, or any other reasons – none of this will happen without a successful US Embassy interview.

This may be one of the most important interviews you ever have.

While you can expect to be at the Embassy or Consulate for approximately two to three hours, the interview with the consulate officer is over in minutes.

The best thing you can do is be prepared. Know what they will ask and why.

Below are tips and information on how to have a successful US Embassy interview.

Be On Time

In some countries, it is customary to arrive a few minutes or even a half-hour late. This is not the culture at US embassies. 

 

You won’t be allowed in more than 30 minutes before your appointment. But if you are late, you risk the embassy canceling your appointment. Make sure you leave time for traffic and parking. Be on time.

Be Organized

You are bringing lots of documents. Have them neatly organized and be ready to show them to the staff quickly. Fumbling around and searching for documents makes you look more nervous than expected. Prepare ahead and make this simple.

Be Confident and Know the Process

Know the visa interview process is in two steps so you can be prepared.

 

Step One: The interview staff collects your documents and puts the information into their system. They will also take your fingerprint with an electronic scan. Note, the embassy will not process your application if you have a cut on your fingers or thumbs, and they will ask you to reschedule.

 

Step Two: A consular officer will interview you under oath. You have spent months getting ready, but this interview will last only a few minutes.

 

Out of hundreds of questions they might ask you, typically, they ask only about seven to ten questions. (See below on how to be ready for these questions)

Bring Proof of Completed Medical Exam

Before your interview, you must have a medical exam with an authorized physician in the country where you will be interviewed. The embassy must approve your doctor, or your exam will not be accepted.

 

And you must complete your medical exam and the required vaccinations before the interview. 

 

After your exam, your doctor will either send the results straight to the embassy or give them to you in a sealed envelope. Do not open the envelopeBring the sealed envelope and hand it to the consular officer.

Bring ALL Required Documents

Make sure to bring ALL required documents, in original or certified copy form, or your application might be delayed.

 

Every applicant is unique, and your required documents vary depending on your situation. 

 

But here are some documents you must bring:

 

Appointment Letter: This is the letter sent to you with the time and date of your interview appointment.

 

Passport: You and each visa applicant must bring an unexpired passport. It must be valid for six months beyond your intended date of entry into the US.

 

Photos: Each applicant must bring two identical color photos. You can see the requirement here,  Photograph Requirements.

 

DS-260 Confirmation:  You should have already filled out Form DS-260 online. The form is sent to you by the National Visa Center (NVC) before your appointment is scheduled. Bring the confirmation page to the interview. 

 

Supporting Documents: You must bring original or certified copies of all civil documents you uploaded into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).

The embassy staff will return any originals to you but might keep the copies you gave them.

 

English Translations: Some documents might have required an English translation. If you did not send the translated documents to NVC, you must bring them to the interview. 

 

Visa Fees: If you haven’t already paid all your fees to the NVC, you must bring the necessary fees to the US Embassy or Consulate at the time of the interview

 

The Interview with the Consular Office – What Should You Do?

Typically, the entire interview will be over in less than five minutes. The consular officer is there to help you, but they are extremely busy and have a backlog of applicants to interview. Here are the tips to help them as they are trying to help you.

 

At the beginning of the interview, the consular officer will tell you that they base your interview on answers on your form  DS-260. They will inform you that you must take an oath and swear the information is true. And they will explain the penalty for providing false information or false documents to the US Government.

 

This usually makes everyone nervous, but just realize the consular officer tells this to every applicant, and it is just part of the interview. Don’t be anxious about it.

 

Consular officers are trained to “make every effort to conduct visa interviews fairly and professionally.”

 

Here’s what to do:

 

Be Concise: Answer all the questions honestly, openly, and briefly. If they want more information, they will ask for it.

 

Be Confident and Relaxed: You can be confident because you are organized and prepared. When you are relaxed and open, you are perceived as being more honest.

 

Speak for Yourself:  For example, if you are a student, do not bring your parents. If you are getting a fiancé visa, you typically don’t bring your intended spouse. 

 

Either way, the consular officer wants to interview you, not your family or others.

 

You will create a negative impression if you let other people speak for you. 

 

Speaking English: Expect the interview to be in English and not in your native language. The more comfortable you are in  English, the less stressful this will be for you. Practicing your English with a native English speaker is always helpful. If you are coming to study English as a second language, your interview will probably be in your native language. Other than that, practice your English before the interview.

 

Be Truthful – Always: If the consular officer asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, just tell them you don’t know. That is the correct answer. Do not make up an answer, do not lie, and do not exaggerate.

 

Know The Answers: If you think about the type of visa you are applying for, you can pretty much guess the questions they will ask you. (If you need help, contact our office on how to prepare for the questions)

 

For example, if you are applying for a student visa, they might ask the following:

 

Do you plan to return to your home country after completing your studies? They are trying to make sure you understand the terms of the visa and are not planning on overstaying after graduation. Your answer should include the strong reasons you want to go back after your studies, like family, a partner, or a business. Explain what you plan to do when you return home after graduation. 

 

Do you plan on working while in school? The terms of an F1 visa allow you to work up to 20 hours per week while in school (and full time on campus during holidays and vacations if you are registering for the next semester). You might say to plan to focus on your studies but might work some on campus if possible.

 

Or as another example, for a financée visa, they want to make sure it is a legitimate relationship and might ask obvious relationship questions like: 

  • What are your fiancé’s hobbies & interests?
  • What make/model/color is your fiancé’s car?
  • What are your fiancé’s parents’ names?
  • Will there be a problem with the children from his other relationship?
  • Where do you plan to live in the United States?
  • When and how did you meet your fiancé’?
  • How long have you been corresponding with your fiancé’?
  • What is your fiancé’s religious background?

If You Need to Reschedule

If for any reason you cannot make the interview or need to reschedule be sure to contact the embassy and reschedule with them. Here is the list of US Embassies and Consulates where you can find specific instructions.

 

ImmiVisa and the US Embassy Interview Preparation

 

Having a successful US Embassy interview begins with doing all the paperwork, documentation, and submissions correctly.

 

And then, when you get your appointment date and time, preparing is easy.

 

At ImmiVisa taking care of US visa applications and immigration issues is what we do.

 

It is ALL we do.

 

Our specialized team of immigration lawyers can help you find the easiest, least stressful, and least expensive best steps for a successful visa application and interview.

 

We keep up to date with all aspects of visa law and procedures, including US Embassy visa interviews.

 

Whether you just want the most current visa interview information or have any questions about getting a US visa – call us and let us help you with your next best steps.

November 11, 2021

For the past 18 months, travel to the US has been difficult for many and impossible for others.

If you tried to plan a trip, applied for a visa, or wanted to travel to the US during that period, you know the frustration and uncertainty that COVID-19 caused in the US and worldwide.

Harsh US travel restrictions banned travelers to the US from 33 countries, namely 26 European nations (known as the Schengen countries) and the UK, Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, and South Africa. Another 150 countries were not placed under the travel ban.

 

Even with a valid visa, if you were from one of the banned countries, you could not visit friends or family in the US unless you were included in the exemption categories of the ban:

  • US citizens
  • lawful permanent residents;
  • spouses and minor children of US citizens or lawful permanent residents;
  • parents or legal guardians of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident unmarried minor child;
  • siblings of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident child, provided both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
  • Diplomats;
  • Fiancé(e)s of US citizens and their dependents (K visas);
  • Certain Students (F and M visas);
  • Essential visitors, and other categories

As a citizen of a banned country, traveling to the US for the past 18 months was all but impossible.

 

Travel Ban Lifted  – November 8, 2021

But, on November 8, 2021, the US lifted restrictions on international travelers coming to the US from the banned 33 countries.

But if you are a non-US citizen traveling to the US, you must be fully vaccinated – and prove it.

And if you are traveling by air, you must also provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, along with proof of your vaccination.

If you are traveling by land from Canada or Mexico, you still need to be fully vaccinated but do not need to produce a  negative COVID-19  test.

 

CDC Says Fully Vaccinated with an Accepted Vaccine

As of November 8, 2021, if you are traveling to the US, here are the COVID-19 requirements you must follow according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Before boarding a flight to the US from a foreign country, all passengers two years of age and over must

  • Have proof of being fully vaccinated from an approved vaccine, and
  • Have proof of a negative COVID-19 test done within 72 hours before departure

Fully Vaccinated

You can find the requirements for fully vaccinated here, but generally, you are considered fully vaccinated

  • 2 weeks after your dose of an accepted single-dose vaccine, or
  • 2 weeks after your second dose of an accepted 2-dose vaccine,
  • 2 weeks after your second dose of a 2-dose mix and match combination of accepted vaccines.

Acceptable Vaccines

The single-dose J&J (Janssen) vaccine and the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Vaccines are acceptable vaccines to the CDC. Also accepted are some vaccines listed under the World Health Organization Emergency Use protocol, including:

  • AstraZeneca
  • Covaxin
  • Covishield
  • BIBP/Sinopharm
  • Sinovac

Notably missing is Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine (WHO authorization is still pending), limiting the entry of many travelers from Russia and those from Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East who used this vaccine.

Exceptions

Some groups are exempted from the new vaccine requirements, including

  • Minors under 18 years of age
  • Documented medical conditions with vaccine contra-indication
  • Diplomats, and
  • Other categories

American Embassies Visa Processing Not Back to Normal

Even though the travel ban has been lifted as of November 8, thousands of European non-immigrant visa holders are stuck in a visa processing slow down.

In the first six months of President Biden’s administration (2020), the number of visas issued to French and German citizens was half the amount issued the year earlier.

Issuance to Italian citizens was down about 60% for the same period.

For all of Europe, the number of non-immigrant US visas issued in 2020 was one-half of the amount issued in 2019. Some of the declines may be a drop in visa applications. But, likely, many of the applications are simply stuck in processing limbo.

Over the past year, American embassies in Europe simply canceled or postponed visa appointments. There were long delays in getting a new visa or even just renewing a visa.

And while the embassy processing is getting better, it is not back to normal at all.

 

How  Long Does it Take to Get an Embassy Appointment

 

If you want to view the current Visa Appointment Wait Times from the US Department of State, just click here.

Some appointments can be made in a few days or weeks. But for many European countries, some appointments are either weeks or months. And some are being offered on an emergency-only basis.

You will be able to spot an “emergency only “appointment when your State Department website search returns the answer of “999 days.”

 

What Should I Do About Getting a Visa Now

As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, things are getting better.

But because of COVID-19, traveling to the US or getting a US visa is a bit more complicated than before.

And it is hard for you to keep up with the changing COVID-19 requirements, accepted vaccines, US Embassy appointment wait times, and more.

Let us make this easy for you.

At ImmiVisa taking care of US visa applications and immigration issues is what we do.

It is ALL we do.

Our specialized team of immigration lawyers can help you find the easiest, least stressful, and least expensive best steps.

We keep up to date with anything that affects immigration or visas,  including COVID-19 issues and requirements.

Whether you just want the most current information or have a question about getting a US visa – call us and let us help you with your next best steps.

September 13, 2021

Are you a foreign national with advanced educational degrees like a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree, or even a Ph.D.? Does your work have substantial merit and national importance to the US?

If so, you might qualify for green card eligibility under the US Employment-Based (EB) Visa program, in this case the EB-2 visa, and be eligible for the National Interest Waiver (NIW).

An NIW green card application does not need an employer sponsor and can save you substantial amounts of time and money.

The idea is simple.

The US needs highly educated and highly skilled workers. The US established special eligibility requirements under the employment-based green card program to attract foreign professionals with advanced degrees and other highly skilled workers. You will hear this referred to as the EB visas.

But in special cases where the work is of national interest to the US, it is possible to speed up the process by obtaining a National Interest Waiver so you do not need the sponsorship of your employer. Employer sponsorship has its own set of hurdles, timetables and paperwork.

Below we will go over the

  • EB Visa programs in general
  • EB-2 Visa
  • National Interest Waiver qualifications. .

The Five Employment Based Immigrant Visa Programs

There are five EB Categories, and each year, the US makes about 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas available to qualified applicants under these programs.

EB-1 – Priority Worker and Persons of Extraordinary Ability

  • Persons with extraordinary ability include scientists, artists, business professionals, athletes, and others that have sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in their fields of expertise. They can apply without having specific job offers as long as they are going to continue work in the areas in which they have extraordinary abilities.
  • Outstanding professors and researchers with international recognition and at least three years of experience in teaching or research. These applicants are coming to the U.S. to pursue tenure, tenure track teaching, or a comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education.
  • Multinational managers or executives who have been employed for at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer.

EB-2 – Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability

  • Professionals holding an advanced degree. This means more than a Bachelors’ degree or a Bachelor’s degree and at least five years of experience in their profession.
  • Persons with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, meaning a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinary in their field.

EB-3 – Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (Other Workers)

  • Skilled workers whose jobs require a minimum of 2 years of training. (Not seasonal or temporary workers).
  • Professionalswhose jobs require at least a Bachelor’s degree from a US university or college or its foreign equivalent degree.
  • Unskilled workers (Other workers) capable of filling positions that require less than two years of training. (Not seasonal or temporary workers).

EB-4 – Certain Special Immigrants

  • This particular subgroup only receives 7.1% of the available EB visas. It includes categories like certain former employees of the US in the Panama Canal Zone, certain ministers of religion, certain Iraqi or Afghani translators who worked with the US, certain retired NATO-6 civilians, and family members, certain religious workers, and more.

EB-5 – Immigrant Investor

  • Immigrant Investor visa categories are for wealthy foreign nationals who make significant and specific investments in the US.

 

The EB-2 Visa –without the NIW Waiver

If you have advanced degrees or a Bachelor’s degree and the required experience, the EB-2 Visa program may be your best and easiest path to a US green card and permanent US residency.

Even without the NIW waiver, the EB-2 process normally moves faster than the alternative EB-3 program.

Your Employer Needs to Get Certification for You and Your Job

In most cases, the sponsoring employer must get labor certification from the Department of Labor before the foreign national can apply for an EB-2 visa. This ensures that no jobs are being given to foreign nationals that could be filled by qualified US workers.

Your employer has specific requirements of advertising, recruiting, interviewing they need to do for the certification process. The Department of Labor requirements  and certification take time and money.

You Must Meet the EB-2 Qualifications

As stated above, there are two main requirements for the EB-2 visa.

 

To be eligible for an EB-2 permanent worker visa  you must show that you

  • Are a member of a profession and you have an advanced degree or its equivalent, or
  • You have an exceptional ability.

An advanced degree means you earned degrees like a Master’s, Ph.D., Juris Doctor (JD or law degree), or an MD (medicine). You can also qualify with a Bachelor’s degree along with five years of work experience in the field. Usually, this work experience must be after you obtained the Bachelor’s degree.

“Exceptional ability” means you can show your ability in the sciences, arts, or business that will significantly benefit the US economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare in the future.

 

The EB-2 Visa with the  NIW Waiver

No Employer Needed

With the NIW waiver you do not need a sponsoring employer. You apply and petition on behalf  of yourself. Therefore, there is no time or expense for the employer getting the DOL Labor Certification.

 

You Still Must Meet the EB-2 Qualifications

This is the same as above.

 

You Must Meet the National Interest Waiver Eligibility Test

After you meet the EB-2 requirements, you must also satisfy all three parts of the National Interest Waiver test, which are:

·      Your proposed work has both substantial merit and national importance;

·      You are well-positioned to advance your proposed work; and

·      When balancing all the factors, it would be in the national interest of the U.S. to grant you a waiver of the normal job and labor certification requirements.

 

Advantages of Applying for an NIW Green Card

Employer Sponsorship is Not Required. You can file an NIW Green Card application by yourself.

 

A Specific Offer of Employment is Not Required. You can file an NIW Green Card application even if you do not have a job offer from a U.S. employer.

 

Labor Certification is Not Required. Unlike most other EB green card categories, you do not need to get a Labor Certification. This definitely saves time.

 

Less Strict than the EB-1A. If you are considering the EB-1A ( see above ), the NIW green card application is less stringent and USCIS approval rates for are significantly higher.

 

What Should You Do Next?

Your advanced degrees, education, and work experience might qualify you for an EB-2 visa and possibly the National Interest Waiver.

 

This can be a tremendous advantage for you.

 

It all depends on your personal and unique circumstances.

 

Let us help you determine your best path forward to a green card and permanent US residency.

 

At ImmiVisa, we take care of the lengthy, complicated immigration process for you.

 

Our specialized team of immigration lawyers can help you find the easiest, least stressful, and least expensive best steps.

 

Whether you just want information, or you are ready get started, give us a call and learn how to take advantage of these  programs to get your green card and permanent residency.

August 26, 2021

Congratulations!!!

 

You and your partner are in love and want to live in the US, but one of you is not a US citizen.

 

You are worried and confused because  –

  • The immigration forms seem long and complicated,
  • The waiting time seems to take forever,
  • The cost seems high,
  • Dealing with the government makes anyone nervous, and
  • You don’t know what to expect.

Sometimes it seems too much.

You can relax. We can help you like we helped thousands of other people solve their immigration issues.

First, you should understand how this works for you.

A Fiancé Visa or a Marriage Visa – Which is Better for You?

What is your best path to getting the correct visas?

It depends on what is most important to you first.

If your goal is to live together in the US as a married couple as soon as possible, then a Fiancé Visa may be your best choice.

But, if your goal is to get a green card as quickly as you can, sometimes a Marriage Visa is better.

 

The K-1 Fiancé Visa – How Does it Work?

The visa is called the K-1 Fianc(é)e Visa. (In the US, a fiancé is a man and a fiancée is a woman. To keep things simple, we will use the term fiancé for both).

The K-1 Fiancé Visa lets the foreign-citizen fiancé travel to the US and marry their US fiancé sponsor. But you must do so within 90 days of arrival in the US.

Engaged international couples often choose the K-1 Fiancé Visa over the Marriage Visa because it is thought to be easier, quicker and less expensive.

The K-1 Fiancé Visa Timeline and Process

 

Filing the Petition and Embassy Interview

  • The first step is for the US citizen (“Petitioner”) to fill out a Petition for Alien Fianc(é)e Form I-129F  on behalf of their foreign fiancé (“Beneficiary”) and file it with the appropriate  S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) service center.
  • The Petition asks for information about the US fiancé like name, address, employment history, birth date and place, previous marital status, parents’ birth information and more. The foreign fiancé has to answer similar questions plus a few more like any criminal records.
  • Once the Petition is approved, it is sent to the US embassy in the foreign fiancé’s country for further processing.
  • The foreign fiancé is then interviewed at the USembassy in their country. The embassy will require certain documents like a birth certificate, a passport valid for travel to the US six months beyond the intended stay date, evidence of financial support, and more. Eligible children apply for a K-2 and must attend the interview and bring the correct documents as well.
  • If the filing and interview are successful, then a K-1 Fiancé Visa is issued

 

Two Waiting Periods – The Petition and then the Interview

  • It takes about 8-10 months for the USCIS to process Form 1-129F. Then it takes 4 to 6 weeks to schedule the interview at the US embassy in the foreign country.
  • An inaccurate, or poorly filled out, or incomplete Petition can slow down the process.
  • Covid-19 has delayed K-1 processing in some countries and affected the scheduling of some embassy interviews. Call our office at 801-502-0347 for the most current information.

 

Arrival in the US and Marriage

  • 6 Months to Get to the US. The foreign fiancé has six months to travel to the US from the approval date of Form 1-129F.
  • 90 Days to Get Married. You have only 90 days from the arrival date to get married.
  • If You Don’t Get Married. Life happens. If you decide not to get married, the foreign fiancé is not eligible to remain in the US and must leave the country right away. Unfortunately, you cannot change the status of the K-1 to another temporary visa like an F1 or H1B.
  • If You Do Get Married. Hopefully, all goes well and you get married within the 90 days. Congratulations !!! The next step is getting a green card.
  • Green Card Application. If the foreign spouse wants to work in the US, your next step is to get a green card by filing Form I-485, called Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

 

The Marriage Visa Timeline and Process

The other visa option is to apply for a US visa after you get married.

The process, timeline and forms are different from the K-1 Fiancé. Many people feel this process is more complex, confusing, takes longer and costs more.

 

Marriage Visa Process.

  • Form I-130. Like with the Fiancé Visa, with the Marriage Visa you must first file a petition with the USCIS. This petition is called Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130. The purpose of this form is to establish the existence of a relationship to alien relatives who wish to immigrate to the US. In your case, you will be establishing your marital relationship.
  • The information asked for is similar to the Fiancé Visa Petition. The US spouse (“Petitioner”) fills out the form and provides information about names, addresses, work history, where you got married, names of former spouses (if any), and more.
  • Petition Approved. Once the petition is approved, it is assigned a case number and processed. You will be asked to submit the appropriate fees and some documentation like an Affidavit of Support, civil documents and more
  • Visa Interview. If the file is determined to be complete, the petition and the documents are sent to the US embassy in the foreign spouse’s home country. An interview is scheduled. You should bring valid passports to the interview and any other needed documents that you did not already supply.
  • (CR) visa or (IR) visa. If all goes well, the foreign spouse will be issued a visa. If you have been married for less than two years (from the date the foreign spouse enters the US), you will be issued a conditional resident (CR) visa. If your marriage is more than two years, you will be issued an immediate relative (IR) visa. The process can take 8 to 11 months to get to this point.
  • Green Card Application. If the foreign spouse wants to work in the US, your next step is to get a green card by filing Form I-485, called Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

 

How Long to Get A Marriage Green Card?

 

This is a great question with no simple answers. The amount of time it takes to get a green card depends on many factors, but mainly on two questions.

1- Does the foreign spouse live in the US or abroad?

 

2- Is the US spouse a US citizen or a US green card holder?

 

Getting a green card can take from 9 months to more than 3 years.

For example, if the foreign spouse lives in the US and is married to a US citizen, then it is possible to file Form I-130 (establishing the marriage relationship) and Form I-485 (green card application) at the same time. Your total time might be from 9-14 months.

Other scenarios will take longer. To find out how long your situation will take, just give us a call at 801-502-0347.

 

What Should You Do Next?

Getting married is a joyous occasion but weddings can be stressful, especially when one of you is moving to the US.

Let us help you.

 

At ImmiVisa, we take care of the lengthy, complicated immigration process for you.

 

Our specialized team of immigration lawyers can help you find the easiest, least stressful, and least expensive best steps.

 

Whether you just want information, or you are ready get started, give us a call and start your path to the becoming a happily married couple living in the US.