Hi, How Can We Help You?
  • Address: 2901 Bluegrass Blvd Suite #200, Lehi, UT 84043
  • Email Address: [email protected]

Author Archives: admin

December 1, 2021

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 17, 2021

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.

 

 

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.

August 18, 2021

Despite the wreckage that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on international travel, both investor and trade visas remain powerful options for foreign nationals seeking to immigrate to the United States.

The United States is the world’s largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI’s). In the year 2020, the United States received more than $156 billion through FDI’s. As a result, U.S. policymakers have always been keen to promote business travel to facilitate foreign trade and investments. The specific visas available for foreign investment and trade are the E-2 and E-1 visas, respectively. This article will explore the benefits and trade offs of each of these visas and discuss the eligibility requirements for each of them.

Who is Eligible for E-2 Visas?

E-2 Visas are issued to investors who are nationals of a “Treaty Country”. A Treaty Country is a country that has signed a treaty of commerce and navigation or a qualifying international agreement with the United States. In some cases, a country may be designated as a treaty country by legislation. Currently, the United States has a treaty of commerce and navigation with 136 countries, out of which the investors from 81 countries are eligible for E-2 Visas.

Does that mean that all nationals from Qualified Treaty Countries are eligible for E-2 Visas? No. E-2 Visas are provided to those investors who have invested or are in the process of investing a “substantial amount of capital” in a legal U.S. business. These investors are known as “Treaty Investors” and such business is known as the “Investment Enterprise”.

A Treaty Investor must be the 50% (or more) owner of the investment enterprise. If such an investor does not own at least 50% of the business then they must possess the operational control of such business.

What is the meaning of the term “Substantial Amount of Capital”? This is a relative term and there is no predefined dollar amount! Whether or not an investment is substantial will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Different businesses require different levels of capital. Hence, the amount of substantial capital for any business will depend upon the nature of such business.

The law provides that an investment must be substantial having regards to the total cost of either purchasing an already running business or establishing a new business. In other words, the investment must be proportionately higher than the cost of acquiring or establishing a business. Also, such investment must be sufficient for the smooth running of the business.

Does investing in a Non-Profit Organization make one eligible for an E-2 Visa? No, the E-2 Visa is provided to investors who have invested or who are in the process of investing money in a business producing goods or services for profit. Also, such business must be active, legal, and bonafide.

Does investing money in an entity operating at a loss mean I’m not eligible for an E-2 Visa? Not necessarily. As a general rule, the business in which the foreign national is investing money must have sufficient current and future earning capacity to generate income in excess of the reasonable living expenses of the investor and their dependents. In other words, if the investment enterprise is simply marginal—only generating income for the investor and their family— then the investor may not be eligible for E-2 classification.

But it is a known fact that most businesses require some time to generate sufficient income to start payments to their owners. The law provides that the investor may be eligible for E-2 classification if such business is at least capable of generating sufficient income within a period of five (5) years. If you have any questions about this point, please consult with an experienced immigration attorney.

What is the Difference between Treaty Investor and Treaty Trader?

Both treaty investors and treaty traders must be nationals of a designated treaty country as previously discussed. The treaty trader, classified under the E-1 visa, is for foreign nationals who enter, work, and stay in the United States with the sole purpose of engaging in “substantial international trade”. Unlike E-2 treaty investors, E-1 treaty traders do not invest a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.

August 7, 2021

Every foreigner entering the United States of America has a conditional authorization granted by USCIS, the U.S. consulate, or the U.S. border. This is commonly known as a visa. Individuals who are recipients of non-immigrant visas come into the U.S. for specific purposes. Commonly for school, work, medicals, vacation, or something else.

If you are within the United States and require changing the purpose of your entry after you arrive, this is possible through a Change of Status.  If you are in this situation, you may need to get a different visa depending on the entry requirements of your current non-immigration status. The new visa should be in the category that defines the change, such as switching from education to work.

There are various ways of getting a new non-immigrant status in the U.S. Each change offers benefits and some drawbacks. Discussing this with an experienced U.S. immigration lawyer should be considered before making a decision.

Consulate Processing

The consulate processing option is used strategically or to save time. For example, it is applicable when you are not in the U.S or if you travel abroad for a extended period of time. In this situation, you need to go to the U.S. consulate or embassy to get a new visa. This allows you to re-enter the country in your new status.

 

Change Your Status in The U.S.

For this option, you can submit your change of non-immigrant status application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

This provision allows individuals to change their non-immigrant status from the U.S. Once this is approved, you will obtain a new status. However, no new visa will be issued.

 

Pros of Changing Your Nonimmigrant Status through Change of Status in the United States of America

  • The applicant is allowed to stay in the United States during the processing period.
  • Family members are usually allowed to change their non-immigrant status along with the primary visa applicant.
  • The primary applicant can avoid the hassle that comes with a visa application.
  • Changing your non-immigrant status allows you to pursue a different path either as a student, a skilled worker, or another available non-immigrant status.

 

Cons of Changing Your Nonimmigrant Status through Change of Status in the United States of America

  • During the processing time, you must stay in the United States. If you leave the United States, your application gets canceled.
  • Leaving the U.S. during the application process can result in denial and the requirement of reapplying at a consulate.
  • There is a possibility that your application might be denied. If that happens, you can be required to leave the U.S.
  • If you must travel outside of the country, you must obtain a matching visa stamp. The only exception is when you are traveling for less than 30 days to Mexico and Canada.

 

So Should You Change your Nonimmigrant Status in the U.S.?

This decision is dependent on the Eligibility and requirements.

  • The primary applicant has to be in the U.S. at the time of application.
  • Your immigration status during the period of the application period must be valid.
  • The change can only take place if you meet the requirement of the new non-immigrant status.
  • Remember that not all non-immigrant visas permit you to make such changes to your immigration status.
  • If you entered the country on a visa waiver program, you can’t change your immigration status.

Conclusion

The visa categories available for non-immigrants are over 40. Each of these categories has different limits and requirements. New doors might open up for those who decide to change their immigration status in the U.S.

It would be best if you considered the processing time and expiration dates before changing your non-immigrant status. We recommend discussing with an experienced U.S. immigration lawyer such as US Immi Visa, who can help arrange your Change of Status or Consulate processing. Contact us for a free consultation.

July 17, 2021
July 17, 2021

Are you one of the nearly 6 million nationals of Singapore or one of the 19 million nationals of Chile who wants to come to the United States? If so, congratulations–if you are interested in working in the United States, you have a built-in path specifically for you through the H-1B1 visa.

Of course, this visa is not exactly a “free for all”– there are certain conditions that an applicant must satisfy in order to apply for an H-1B1, namely, they must demonstrate the following:

That the job offered is a “specialty occupation”, meaning that the occupation requires a theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) is the minimum entry requirement for occupation in the United States;
That the foreign national possesses a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent); and,
That the employment is only for a “temporary basis” (i.e., although the H-1B1 can be renewed indefinitely, the foreign national must demonstrate that they do not intend to remain or work permanently in the United States).

However, assuming that an applicant satisfies these requirements, the H-1B1 process is an amazing opportunity. The primary difficulty in moving forward with this application is in knowing how to complete the process. Having successfully completed numerous H-1B1 applications (both through a foreign consulate and through change of status applications in the United States), we are well familiar with the process. We hope the following step-by-step guide provides you with assistance in understanding the general process of applying for an H-1B1 visa in greater detail:

1. Verify Petitioner’s Employment Identification Number (EIN) — Before proceeding with the filing, a U.S. petitioner should get their EIN verified by emailing a copy of EIN documentation to [email protected] . The subject line should say “Attn: LCA Business Verification Team”. It should only take a few hours on average for them to verify the EIN.

2. Obtain SOC/O*Net Code — Next, the Petitioner will need to confirm whether the offered job is in fact a “specialty-occupation” (i.e., one that requires at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent to perform) as required by federal regulations. It is most helpful to reference the following websites in selecting a code:
(1) For salary, consult with FLC Data Center: https://www.flcdatacenter.com/
(2) For SOC/O*Net Code, google occupation name and frequent O*Net site to find the most accurate code. https://www.onetonline.org/

3. File Labor Condition Application — After the EIN is verified and the SOC/O*NET code is selected, the Petitioner should then proceed with filing the ETA-9035 (e.g., the Labor Condition Application) with the Department of Labor at https://flag.dol.gov/. It takes approximately six (6) days for the LCA to be certified. Please note that the LCA should not be filed more than 180 days before the Employee’s proposed starting date.

4. Send LCA/Notice of Filing to Employer — While the LCA is pending with the Dept. of Labor, the Employer should either forward a “Notice of Filing” apprising other workers in the same employment position as the offered job, or, post the LCA itself at the place of employment. The employer should post the Notice of Filing or the LCA wherever the Employer normally publishes any notices.

5. Complete Forms and Supporting Documents — With all of the foregoing work done, the next step depends on whether the Petitioner is filing for a change of status in the United States or through consular processing is to complete the following forms:

a. Change of Status with USCIS

If the proposed employee is in the United States and wishes to file for a change of status without leaving the U.S., the employer should file the following forms with USCIS:
Filing Fees
Form I-129, fee of $460.00
ACWIA Fee (either $750.00 or $1,500.00 depending on whether the Employer has 25 or less employees)
Anti-Fraud Fee of $500.00
Form I-129
Form I-129H
Form I-129W
Certified ETA-9035; and,
All required documents (listed below).

b. Consular Processing
Alternatively, if the applicant is applying for an H-1B1 visa abroad, the Petitioner will not file any paperwork–the Beneficiary will complete the required DS-160 and schedule their own appointment at the foreign consulate, the filing fee is only for $205.00 USD. The Beneficiary will also need to bring all of the required documents to their interview for the H-1B1 visa.

Required Documents: To file the H-1B1 application, the following documents should be provided:

From the Employer:
Job Offer Letter
Job Description (Describe Duties, Hours, Proposed Salary, Etc.)
Employment Contract
Evidence that Business is Bona-Fide (i.e. Taxes, Utility Bills, Bank Statements, Photographs, etc.)
O*NET Job Summary
Postings of Similar Jobs (to show that they require BA/BS Degree, specialty occupations)
From the Employee:
Resume from Employee
Evidence of Employee’s BA/BS Degree (or Academic Equivalency Evaluation if they have a foreign degree)
If you are presently in the United States, Evidence of Maintenance of Non-immigrant Status (i.e. I-20s, I-94, etc.)
If applicable, evidence of qualifying relationship between derivative and primary applicant.

We hope the following information is helpful to you in considering the totality of the process involved in applying for an H-1B1 visa. The ImmiVisa Law Group is skilled in preparing H-1B1 applications in a number of different industries and job positions. We are available to provide further consultation with both employers and prospective employees to discuss this process further. Please schedule a consultation today for further questions.

Disclaimer: The article is provided only for general information, convenience and reference purpose only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Please consult with an attorney before proceeding with your application.

July 2, 2021

I often field the question “how can I get work authorization in the United States without a job offer?” For many, the solution is to apply for a family-based immigrant visa through a spouse, parent, or child who is a resident or citizen. But for those who do not fall in this category (or are unwilling to sign up for the latest dating app to change that), there are a few options available for self-petitioning independent of any employer or relative.

Here is a list of the three most common visas available for aspiring applicants to apply standalone, without any family member or employer as a petition.

EB-1A Extraordinary Ability Green Card
The EB-1A is a self-petitioned immigrant visa for individuals with “extraordinary ability” in science, business, athletics, arts, and education who can show that they are at the “very top of their field of endeavor”. For additional information regarding the qualifications required for the EB-1A visa, please visit the USCIS Webpage for “Employment-Based Immigration: First Preference EB-1” or contact our office for a consultation.

While it is difficult to quantify what a person of “extraordinary ability” looks like, we have had success with a vast array of applicants from a variety of backgrounds and industries, including the following:

A musician who wrote music for popular YouTube artists
A mixed-martial artist trainer who trained several prominent UFC and Bellator Fighters
An aerospace engineer who worked for major aerospace companies, possessed proprietary patents in the industry, and had published books related to aerospace
A model who had won a major international modeling competition and had worked as a brand ambassador for various corporations
A corporate attorney who worked for some of Europe’s largest law firms and was renowned as a world subject-matter expert

One of the benefits of the EB-1A is the availability of premium processing, where an applicant can pay an additional fee of $2,500 and USCIS will adjudicate the application (e.g., either approval or issuance of a request for evidence) within 15 days. For these reasons, I generally recommend anyone who is eligible for EB-1A to pursue this option over other employment-based visas.

EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW)
The EB-2 NIW is a self-petitioned immigrant visa for foreign nationals who either (1) are professionals holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or (2) have exceptional ability in the fields of sciences, arts, or business. Similar to the EB-1A, the EB-2 NIW provides a much faster process for applying for a green card without a petitioning employer. The EB-2 NIW excuses a foreign national from having to obtain a labor certification (e.g., generally a prerequisite process for filing an employment-based immigrant petition for a green card that is lengthy and expensive) filed by a petitioning employer.

If you have an advanced degree (i.e., baccalaureate or foreign evaluation plus five years of post-baccalaureate, progressive work experience, master’s degree, doctoral degree, etc.), or have sufficient evidence that you possess “exceptional” ability in science, art, or business (evidenced by providing certain evidence listed at the USCIS Website for Employed-Based Immigration: Second Preference EB-2) you should consider applying for a national interest waiver.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this application is in determining whether an applicant’s “proposed endeavor”, the foreign national’s plan to continue work in the United States, possesses substantial merit and national importance to the United States. While it is difficult to say for certain what a qualifying endeavor looks like, we have had success with a vast array of applicants from a variety of backgrounds and industries, including the following:

A pharmacist who wanted to work with the United States Military
A physician whose endeavor was focused on conducting vaccination research for diseases afflicting livestock
An electric engineer whose endeavor was dedicated to improving transportation safety of railroads
A petrol-chemical engineer who wanted to conduct proprietary research related to environmentally friendly oil extraction methods.

Again, as long as you can demonstrate that you are qualified and that your endeavor is in the national interest of the United States, it is worth determining if an EB-2 NIW is right for you. Please contact our office should for questions regarding your eligibility for a national interest waiver.

E-2 Treaty Investor
The third most common “standalone” visa that our office works with is the E-2 visa. E-2 classification allows foreign nationals from certain treaty countries (qualifying countries are listed at the U.S. Department of State Website) to come to the United States for the purposes of investing and directing a bona fide business in the United States.

To qualify, an applicant must demonstrate that they have invested a “substantial amount” of capital in a U.S. business and demonstrate that they own at least 50-percent ownership in the investment enterprise.

The question I often encounter is, what exactly counts as a “substantial amount of capital”? The law does provide some additional guidance to help answer this question. USCIS policy guidance states that substantial capital may be found where the amount of capital invested is enough to ensure that the investor can successfully operate the enterprise. Generally, the lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionally, the investment must be to be considered substantial.

As a benchmark for the inquisitive, we have experience with numerous E-2 visas through a number of various businesses, including in the following industries:

Real Estate “Fix and Flips”
Hospitality Management
Retail Stores
Telecommunication Operations
Brick-and-Mortar Restaurants
Food Trucks

What Should YOU do?

I list only three of the most common visa types I encounter for applicants who are still looking to immigrate to the United States or otherwise gain work authorization without a sponsoring employer, job offer, or relative. There are other visas, including the E-1 Treaty Trader nonimmigrant visa and the EB-5 Immigrant Investor immigration visa, that I did not discuss in this article that are also available as visa applications independent of a petitioning employer. For more information regarding what visa or application is best for you, please reach out to our office today.

June 18, 2021
June 18, 2021

1. WHAT IS A TN VISA?

TN stands for Trade NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). It is a non-immigrant employment visa that allows citizens of North American countries, namely Canada and Mexico, to engage in business activities at a professional level within the U.S. The purpose was to strengthen business and trade relations between the three countries; the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Among the types of professionals eligible to seek admission as TN non-immigrants are accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.

There are two types of TN status.

  1. TN-1 is for Canadian professionals,
  2. TN-2 is for Mexican professionals.

The TN Visa is valid for one year, but it is granted for three years as per the current laws and regulations. The TN visa can be renewed indefinitely until you have the intention to stay permanently in the United States or if there is no longer employment under the NAFTA list.

2. REQUIREMENTS FOR TN VISA

There are few requirements a Mexican or Canadian have to meet before applying for a TN Visa.

  • The applicant has to be a citizen of Canada or Mexico (Permanent Residency won’t suffice).
  • The profession should be on the NAFTA list. There are 60 professions on the list.
  • There has to be a pre-arranged part-time or full-time job with a U.S. employer.
  • There is no intention to stay permanently in the U.S.
2.1 TD VISA FOR THE SPOUSE AND CHILDREN OF TN VISA HOLDERS

A TD visa is the dependant visa for TN visa holders, which is valid until the TN visa holder’s visa expires. This visa is for spouses and children under 21 years of TN visa holders eligible for non-immigrant TD visas. They do not qualify for a work permit but are permitted to study in the United States.

3. PROS OF TN VISA

  • A TN visa holder can work as a professional in the U.S for a U.S. company or a Canadian or Mexican company doing business in the U.S.
  •  The process for Canadians under this category is relatively quick, with no petition required. Canadian’s can obtain a TN visa at the border crossing.
  • While the requirements are fulfilled, the TN visa holder can renew indefinitely.
  • TD visa/status for the dependents of the TN visa holders is valid until the time the TN visa holder’s status expires.
  • There is no cap or limit for Canadians under this category.

4. CONS OF A TN VISA

  • The TN visa is not a dual intent visa. This means you cannot have the intention to stay in the U.S permanently.
  • The spouse and children are not eligible for a work permit or authorized to work in the U.S.
  • The profession has to be listed in the NAFTA list, which is currently only 60 occupations.

5. CONCLUSION

The TN visa, or TN status as it is sometimes called, is a type of visa that a citizen of Canada or Mexico can apply for. The applicant must have a job listed in the NAFTA list before applying. The application procedure is not complicated, and for Canadians, it is much simpler. The Canadians or Mexicans who do not come under the list of NAFTA professionals can apply for another type, i.e., H1B visa. These other visas allow for Dual Intent, meaning if the applicant intends to become a permanent resident of the U.S., they can apply for it with that intention. There are other visas like L1 or E visas. The applicant should apply as per his purpose, duration, and intention of stay. The applicant should also remember the merits and demerits of the visa and apply accordingly.

At US Immi Visa, we are a dedicated team specializing in TN and TD visas, able to help you through the entire process. Whether you are a Mexican or Canadian citizen, we can help guide you through the process. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss TN visas.