Removing conditions on permanent residence when the U.S. petitioner dies

For those who receive a green card through a marriage that is less than two years old on the date the green card is received, Section 216 (d) (2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides that a conditional permanent resident must file a joint petition to remove conditions on residence I-751 within 90-day period before the second anniversary of receipt of conditional resident status – count back 90 days from the second anniversary of the Permanent Resident Card. Waiting until the last few days to send the I-751 petition with supporting evidence is a bad idea. It should get to the USCIS before the conditional green card expires. It is always a good idea to have proof of delivery.

One of the most common questions asked by those who get a green card by a marriage that is less than two years old is, “how and when do I remove the conditions on my green card?” Sometimes the U.S. spouse may be unwilling to file a joint petition and there may be issues of domestic abuse. In a few cases however the U.S. spouse may have died after the beneficiary spouse obtained conditional permanent residence but before the two year anniversary of obtaining conditional permanent residence[1]

For those who receive a green card through a marriage that is less than two years old on the date the green card is received, Section 216 (d) (2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides that a conditional permanent resident must file a joint petition to remove conditions on residence I-751 within 90-day period before the second anniversary of receipt of conditional resident status – count back 90 days from the second anniversary of the Permanent Resident Card. Waiting until the last few days to send the I-751 petition with supporting evidence is a bad idea. It should get to the USCIS before the conditional green card expires. It is always a good idea to have proof of delivery.

A son or daughter of the foreign spouse who achieves conditional residence within 90 days of the principal beneficiary (the foreign spouse) may be included on the same I-751 form even though such a combined petition attracts a separate biometric fee for each son or daughter regardless of age. Otherwise the son or daughter must file a separate petition.

The permanent resident status of a conditional permanent resident who fails to file the I-751 on time, will end, unless the person can show good cause that excuses a late filing. Such a person will also begin to accumulate unlawful presence which can lead to 3 or 10 year bars from the United States, if they leave.

Section 216 (c)(1) further has two requirements for removal of the condition – a jointly filed petition and an in person I-751 interview. The service can waive an I-751 interview if it is satisfied of the bona fides of the marriage based on the petition and supporting evidence. But the USCIS sometimes conducts random interviews of joint petitioners or waiver requesters.The service is more likely to waive a joint interview if the case is well-documented but may still need an interview if verification of the information through its fraud unit turns up derogatory information.

For a person who cannot file jointly because of reasons other than death of the petitioning spouse (e.g. I-751 divorce), Section 216 (c) (4) of the immigration and Nationality Act provide for hardship waivers of the joint filing and interview requirements under certain conditions. For such hardship waivers the CPR must submit a letter with the I-751 petition.

But when the petitioning spouse dies during the 2-year conditional period the law does not require a joint petition and interview and no separate I-751 waiver is required other than that requested on form I-751. Therefore the conditional resident petitioner should select (c) in Part 2 of the I-751 form and provide documentary evidence of the death as supporting evidence. The death of the petitioning spouse does not, however relieve the I-751 petitioner from the burden to prove that the marriage which ended in death was in good faith and was not entered into solely for evading the immigration laws.

A conditional permanent resident under section 216(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, who is seeking to remove the conditional basis of that status and who has timely filed the petition and appeared for the interview required under section 216(c)(1), does not need a separate section 216(c)(4) hardship waiver if the petitioning spouse died during the 2-year conditional period.

Approval

If satisfied that the marriage was not for the purpose of evading the immigration laws, USCIS may approve the petition without an interview. If the USCIS approves the petition it will remove the condition on permanent residence as of the second anniversary of receipt of conditional permanent resident status and issue a new Permanent Resident card through the mail.

RFEs, or requests for more evidence

Where the initial filing is deficient the USCIS may issue a request for more information or evidence or RFE. Failure to respond would lead to a denial due to abandonment.

If the RFE is not properly responded to the USCIS may schedule an interview. If the conditional resident alien fails to appear for an interview about the petition the alien’s permanent residence status will be automatically terminated as of the second anniversary of the date on which the alien obtained permanent residence[2].

Denial

If USCIS intends to deny the petition it will provide a Notice of Intent to Deny stating any reasons for so intending. The petitioner may then send rebuttal evidence which USCIS must consider. If the petition is ultimately denied the alien’s permanent resident status will end as of the date of the written denial.

Review of denial

A person whose i-751 petition was denied can

1. request the USCIS to certify the case to the Administrative Appeals Unit[3]

2. file a motion to reopen the case based on new facts, or a motion to reconsider the case citing valid reasons[4], or

3. seek review of the decision in removal proceedings. In such proceedings ICE must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the petition was properly terminated [5]. But the petitioner bears the burden of proving eligibility for the petition or waiver of the joint filing requirement. He or she must be prepared to submit evidence of a good faith marriage and the death of the U.S. spouse.

[1] This situation is different from a case where a foreign national obtained permanent residence based on being the widow(er) of a US citizen. In such a case, the widow(er) spouse should not file I-751.

[2] 8 C.F.R. 216.4

[3] 8 C.F.R. 103.4 (a) 4,5

[4] 8 C.F.R. 103.5

[5] 8 C.F.R. 216.3, 1216.3

Share This Post

Often asked questions about affidavit of support form I-864

Do not let confusion over the affidavit of support requirement delay you bringing your spouse or family members to the United States or cause the consular officer to deny your family members their immigrant visas. Here are some often asked questions and their answers.

Q. What is an affidavit?

A. An affidavit is a statement that is either sworn to before someone authorized to administer oaths such as a notary public (e.g. an affidavit of marriage) or signed under penalty of perjury (e.g. an affidavit of support form I-864.)

Q. What is an affidavit of support for an immigrant?

A. It is a legally enforceable promise by the sponsor to show that the intended immigrant has adequate means of financial support and is unlikely to become a financial burden to the United States (A Public Charge). The sponsor also promises to reimburse any federal or state agency that provide certain means tested benefits to the sponsored immigrant and to inform the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of any change of address (Form I-865) within 30 days of the change while the agreement is still in force.

The law requires an affidavit of support in most family based immigrant and some employment based immigrant cases. The petitioner must either submit an affidavit of support on Form I-864 or Form I-864EZ. Certain classes of immigrants who are exempt from the affidavit of support requirement (e.g. self-petitioning battered spouse or child of US citizen) must still submit Form I-864W, Intending Immigrant’s Affidavit of Support Exemption along with their application for an immigrant visa or for adjustment of status.

Even if an applicant has a valid affidavit of support, consular officers may still consider the applicant’s age, financial status, health, education and skills, and family status in determining whether the applicant is likely to become a public charge.

Do not let confusion over the affidavit of support requirement delay you bringing your spouse or family members to the United States or cause the consular officer to deny your family members their immigrant visas. Here are some often asked questions and their answers.

Q. What is an affidavit?

A. An affidavit is a statement that is either sworn to before someone authorized to administer oaths such as a notary public (e.g. an affidavit of marriage) or signed under penalty of perjury (e.g. an affidavit of support form I-864.)

Q. What is an affidavit of support for an immigrant?

A. It is a legally enforceable promise by the sponsor to show that the intended immigrant has adequate means of financial support and is unlikely to become a financial burden to the United States (A Public Charge). The sponsor also promises to reimburse any federal or state agency that provide certain means tested benefits to the sponsored immigrant and to inform the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of any change of address (Form I-865) within 30 days of the change while the agreement is still in force.

The law requires an affidavit of support in most family based immigrant and some employment based immigrant cases. The petitioner must either submit an affidavit of support on Form I-864 or Form I-864EZ. Certain classes of immigrants who are exempt from the affidavit of support requirement (e.g. self-petitioning battered spouse or child of US citizen) must still submit Form I-864W, Intending Immigrant’s Affidavit of Support Exemption along with their application for an immigrant visa or for adjustment of status.

Even if an applicant has a valid affidavit of support, consular officers may still consider the applicant’s age, financial status, health, education and skills, and family status in determining whether the applicant is likely to become a public charge.

Q. When must the affidavit of support be filed?

A.  It is filed as part of the Adjustment of Status Application package. But if processing at a US consulate the National Visa Center (NVC) will send an Affidavit of Support processing fee invoice and payment instructions to the petitioner. After the petitioner has paid the fee and obtained a receipt he or she will get the proper instructions about completing the Affidavit of Support forms. He or she must be sure to complete the form properly and send tax returns and other supporting documents such as a job letter on company letterhead stating his or her income to the NVC with the applicants name and NVC case number at the upper right hand corner of each document.

Q. Who is eligible to be a sponsor?

A. A sponsor on an affidavit of support must satisfy all the following three requirements;

  1. A U.S. citizen, national or LPR;
  2. At least 18 years old; and
  3. Domiciled within the United States or in any U.S. territory or possession.

Q. Does the sponsor have to be employed?

A. No. The sponsor has other options besides income to show adequate financial support for the sponsored immigrant if his income falls short of the minimum requirement for his family size. He may show adequate assets, usually between 3 and 5 times the shortfall. The sponsor can also count the assets and income of household members (Form I-864A) to prove adequate support for the intended immigrants or seek a joint sponsor with the required minimum income as a last resort. If the intended immigrant has significant assets (e.g. real estate, stock, bonds) which are available, then this may also be counted.  Therefore a retired or temporarily unemployed person can still be a sponsor though current use of welfare benefits is a negative factor.

Q. If the household members join their income and assets, because the petitioner does not have enough income, must the household members file a change of address form with USCIS?

A. No. Only sponsors must inform the USCIS of a change of address. Household members who execute Forms I-864A, Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member have no obligation to inform USCIS when they change address.

Q. How does income does my sponsor have to show and how does she prove income?

A. The key is using the federal poverty income guidelines Form I-864P to find the minimum income requirement for the family size unit of the sponsor. The sponsor must be able to show the minimum income for his or her family unit size. While a bigger family unit size increases the minimum income requirement it does allow the sponsor to include more household member’s income.

The minimum income requirement is 125 percent of the federal poverty guideline for a given family unit size. But if, the petitioner is actively serving in the US armed forces, the minimum income requirement is 100 percent. The sponsor should verify his or her income with certified copies of federal tax returns for three earlier years. Additionally notarized copies of employment letters should also be used.

Q. How do I determine family unit size for my case?

A. The family unit size includes the following persons even if they do not live at the same residence (count each person once[1])

  1. The sponsor
  2. The sponsor’s spouse
  3. The sponsor’s unmarried children under 21 unless they are emancipated
  4. Any person  claimed by the sponsor as a dependent for tax purposes on the most recent tax return
  5. The number of aliens the sponsor has sponsored under past Forms I-864 for whom the sponsor’s support obligation has not terminated
  6. Any of the sponsor’s spouse, child, adult son or daughter, parent or sibling residing with the sponsor if including their income would be helpful, and
  7. The sponsored immigrant and all accompanying derivative family members (spouse or dependent children of sponsored immigrant) under current Form I-864, even if such persons do not or will not have the same principal residence as the sponsor.

Q. Must the co-sponsor be a relative?

A. No. But a relative should be used where possible.

Q. Can the income of joint sponsors be joined together to satisfy the minimum income requirement?
A. No. Each joint sponsor must satisfy the income requirement on her own or combine assets/income with the intended immigrant or with members of her household.
I hope this helps you to comply with the affidavit of support form requirement.

Share This Post

Filing Tips – USCIS forms

There is little room for forgiveness for some errors such as having the wrong missing the end date on your I-94. Similarly, when making applications or petitions to USCIS it is important to pay close attention to minor details in filing out forms. This is because simple inaccuracies in a USCIS filing can lead to the delay or denial of your petition.

In the immigration application process there is little room for forgiveness for some errors such as missing the expiration date on your I-94. Similarly, when making applications to USCIS it is important to pay close attention to minor details when filing forms. This is because simple inaccuracies in a USCIS filing can lead to the delay or denial of your petition. 

Here are some general filing tips for USCIS forms:

  1. Most USCIS forms have an accompanying instruction sheet. Read and follow all form instructions for USCIS filing fees, filing location, and eligibility requirements.
  2. If hand writing your application, make sure all entries are neat and legible. For legibility and neatness, it is best to fill out the forms online and print them for review and signature.
  3. When entering information on your application or petition, be sure to keep your information within the box or space provided.
  4. Use black or blue ink only. Do NOT use highlighters or red ink on your application as they may make your materials undetectable when scanned.
  5. Make sure that you are using the latest edition of the form. The correct, most current edition of every USCIS form is always available for FREE download on its website.
  6. Ensure that printed forms do not have the data fields grayed out. Information entered into grayed-out data fields will not be detected by the machine scanners.
  7. Make sure that you provide all required supporting documentation and evidence.
  8. Make sure that you provide accompanying English translations for all supporting documents written in a language other than English.
  9. Review each line of the forms twice; once before you sign it and again before filing.
  10. Be sure to sign your application.
  11. Be sure that you mail all pages of the application.
  12. If you must change your form, we recommend that you begin with a new form, and not try to white out information. USCIS scanners may see through the white correction tape or fluid and make your form incorrect, possibly leading to processing delays or rejection.

Remember that there are no half-visas or green cards and accuracy and attention to detail is very important to get your case approved. Hope this helps.

Share This Post

The marriage green card interview – what you need to know

After you have filed your adjustment of status package including the marital petition, form I-130, form I-485 application to adjust status and form I-765 application for employment authorization document, USCIS will send you a biometrics notice to take fingerprints followed by a notice in the mail telling you when and where to attend a green card interview. To be sure you get the interview notice you must change your address with USCIS while your applications are pending by mailing a completed and signed form AR-11 Change of Address form or completing a Change of Address online.

After you have filed your adjustment of status package including the marital petition, form I-130, form I-485 application to adjust status and form I-765 application for employment authorization document, USCIS will send you a biometrics notice to take fingerprints followed by a notice in the mail telling you when and where to attend a green card interview. To be sure you get the interview notice you must change your address with USCIS while your applications are pending by mailing a completed and signed form AR-11 Change of Address form or completing a Change of Address online.

Purpose of the marriage green card interview

The purpose of the interview is to verify your eligibility for adjustment of status, the good faith of your marriage and the financial status of the petitioner. While you should stay calm and stay confident in your marriage you should also prepare for this interview. An immigration officer may deny even people in legitimate marriages who do not convince him or her that their marriage is in good faith and not solely for gaining immigration benefits.

What to do before the interview

You must attend all interviews when you receive a notice. In the very rare event, you cannot attend because of an emergency you must contact the USCIS service office as soon as possible to ask that it re-schedules the interview. Please be aware that requests to re-schedule an interview are often not well received. If you do not know the exact location of the USCIS office and the parking arrangements you should do a test drive to make sure you can get there on time. Collect and organize green card interview documents

Before the interview you must make sure that originals of all documentation submitted with your application including birth certificates, marriage certificates and passports, official travel documents, and Form I-94 (even if they have expired) are well-organized in a file for easy access when requested by the immigration officer. In addition you should include up to date copies of bills and statements that show joint responsibility for living expenses of your home as well as commingling of funds (e.g. joint bank statement). If you have had any child(ren) together you should bring along the birth certificate(s) of the child(ren) and photos of the two of you with the child(ren).

The green card interview - married couple and baby at home

 

In the weeks before the interview: Communicate with your spouse and pay attention to the minor details of your marriage

In addition to organizing the green card interview documents in an orderly file, you should communicate with your spouse about the details or her live (current and past) and the details of yours, when you met and how your relationship developed. You should also pay particular attention to the layout of your house and life together (e.g. who pays what bill). If you are not living together you probably will be found out and you application will most likely be denied. The USCIS is looking for evidence that you are actually living together as husband and wife and trust each other. Remember that it is your responsibility to prove that your marriage is genuine and was not entered into to get around immigration laws.

On the day of the interview

On the day of the interview be sure to carry the interview documents and the USCIS interview notice. Make sure that you and your spouse dress appropriately and arrive for the interview on time. If you do not speak English you should bring along an interpreter with you who is not your spouse. You may also be accompanied by your attorney.

After you have passed security at the USCIS office you will hand in the interview notice at a reception window and wait to be called. When the immigration officer is ready he or she will call you and lead you to his or her office.

The interview

The immigration officer will ask you to raise your right hand and swear (affirm) to tell the truth. If you have a translator, the immigration officer will also swear in him or her to give exact translations. It is important that the translator translate each question and each answer sentence by sentence. The translator must not explain things or answer questions on your behalf.

As you are under oath be sure to tell the truth. Giving false testimony under oath will not just result in denial of your green card but it is also a crime.  You should listen carefully to the officer and only answer the questions that the immigration officer directs to you personally. Do not answer any questions addressed to your spouse without first asking permission from the immigration officer if you may do so. If you do not know the answer to a question, say you do not know.  If you did not hear the question, ask the immigration officer to repeat the question.

  • The immigration officer will ask to see the original documents based on your application. These include your original passport, I-94 and proof that your spouse is a U.S. citizen or LPR.
  • The officer will then test whether your marriage is in good faith by asking you questions that a married couple are expected to answer. Be ready to answer private questions about yourself, your spouse, how you met and your relationship – your living arrangements. Typical questions for green card interviews are about how you met, where you were you living at the time, what were each of you doing when you met, the day-to-day activities of your spouse and the physical arrangement of your house or apartment. You should know the name of spouse’s parents, workplace and supervisor and all the basic things about your spouse. The interviewer wants to find out how comfortable and trusting you are with each other. For a marriage relationship the key words are ‘trust’ and ‘communication with each other.’
  • The immigration officer may then ask about the financial status of your spouse.

The green card interview decision

A lot depends on the particular immigration officer but if the immigration officer decides that you have a bona fide marriage he or she will approve your application. It is likely that he or she will give you a decision on the spot and you will get a green card in the mail in a few weeks. Alternatively he or she may tell you to await a decision by mail.

Stokes Interview

If you fail to convince the immigration officer that your marriage is a bona fide marriage, it is very likely that USCIS will schedule you for a follow-up Stokes interview. The Stokes interview is similar to the first interview except that you and your spouse will be separated and asked more in-depth and personal questions. The immigration officer will  compare your answers to those of your spouse and if there are any discrepancies  you will be given an opportunity to explain the discrepancies.

Gary Goodin, Immigration Attorney

Copyright © 2011, the Immigration NavigatorTM

Share This Post

K1 Visa Petition and supporting documents

The petition is the first step in the k1 visa process before the foreign fiancé applies for a k1 visa at a United States consulate. A U.S. citizen petitioner must first file a K1 visa petition for her foreign fiancé, the beneficiary. The petitioner will complete and sign form I-129F providing USCIS information about her including her criminal history, if any. She will also provide information about her foreign fiancé and child (ren), if any. The petitioner must send I-129F petition and supporting documents to USCIS. If the petitioner has not yet met her foreign fiancé she should plan her trip or their meeting with the supporting evidence in mind and gather the proper evidence of the relationship.

What is the K1 Visa Petition and how is it different from the K1 Visa Application?

The petition is the first step in the k1 visa process. A U.S. citizen petitioner must first file a K1 visa petition for her foreign fiancé, the beneficiary, at a USCIS office in the United States. The petitioner must complete and sign form I-129F providing USCIS information about her including her criminal history, if any. She will also provide information about her foreign fiancé and his child (ren), if any. The petitioner must send I-129F petition and supporting documents to USCIS. If the petitioner has not yet met her foreign fiancé she should plan her trip or their meeting with the supporting evidence in mind and gather the proper evidence of the relationship.

If USCIS approves the K1 visa petition of the U.S. citizen the beneficiary can then apply for a K1 visa at a U.S. consulate where he lives.

K1 visa petition – photo of a couple’s second meeting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Documents for a persuasive K1 visa petition

  1. Evidence of Petitioner’s U.S. Citizenship – front and back of U.S. Birth Certificate, Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship or Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Form FS-240 or all pages of a valid unexpired U.S. Passport.
  2. Copy of evidence that the petitioner and fiancé have met in the past two (2) years.
  3. Relationship letter – how the relationship started and developed and the circumstances of your face to face meeting within the last two (2) years.
  4. Petitioner’s Letter of Intent to Marry“Dear Sir/Madam, I [petitioner’s name], state that I am legally able and willing to marry [beneficiary’s name] and intend to do so within 90 days of her (his) arrival in the United States. Yours truly, Signature, Print Name and Date.
  5. Beneficiary’s Letter of Intent to Marry“Dear Sir/Madam, I [beneficiary’s name], state that I am legally able and willing to marry [petitioner’s  name] and intend to do so within 90 days of my arrival in the United States. Yours truly, Signature, Print Name and Date.”
  6. Divorce decree if either petitioner or beneficiary had earlier marriages.
  7. Form G-325A and passport-style photograph for petitioner. Print name lightly on back of photograph.
  8. Form G-325A and passport-style photograph for beneficiary. Print name lightly on back of photograph.
  9. If the petitioner has ever been convicted any of any crimes specified in Form I-129F Part C she must give certified copies of court and police records showing the charge and disposition (e.g. sentence, community service, probation, dismissal).The petitioner must do this even if her records are sealed or she was told that she no longer has a record.
  10. Evidence of an ongoing relationship. These include
    1. Affidavits of persons with personal knowledge of the relationship (e.g. parents of the petitioner or beneficiary)
    2. Photographs (dated) showing the couple together that tells the story of their relationship using pictures.
    3. Correspondence between the parties – copies of e-mails, letters, telephone bills to prove an ongoing relationship
    4. Receipts for engagement ring or major gift between the parties. An engagement ring is not required but it maybe more persuasive to prove that the relationship is genuine and that the couple intends to marry.
    5. Receipt of money transfers to or from fiancé, if any
    6. Receipts for hotel stays in both names
    7. Flight itinerary to met or visit fiancé – circle the dates. They must show that a meeting occurred within the last two (2) years of the petition date.
    8. Copies of boarding passes (save these)
    9. Passport entry and exist stamps for the country where your fiancé lives
    10. Documentation of wedding plans (invitations and receipt for deposit on a reception hall)
    11. Adoption record, court order, adoption record as evidence of any name change or use of multiple names. An explanation letter may also be proper where the use of different names by the same party could be confusing.

A petitioner must send I-129F filing fees and exact photocopies of unaltered documents. Any documents containing a foreign language are to be accompanied by a full English translation which the translator has certified as complete and correct.

Notice of Action

The USCIS will create an “A” file for the foreign fiancé once they receive the petition. A first Notice of Action is sent to the U.S. citizen acknowledging receipt. Then USCIS will next send a second Notice of Action indicating that it has approved the petition.

Approved K1 Petition sent to the U.S. consulate where the  fiancé can apply for a K1 visa

USCIS will send the approved petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing. The NVC will send it to the U.S. embassy or consulate where the fiancé will apply for a K-1 visa. An approved K1 visa petition is valid for four months from USCIS action. The k1 visa application by the fiancé can now begin.

If you want to know how to get a fiancé visa or have issues with a fiance visa for the United States commonly called the k 1 fiance visa please give my law firm a call at 1-888-747-1108 or contact us through the Contact Us form

Share This Post

K1 Visa Process – For K1 Visa Applicants

Once the USCIS approves the k1 visa petition it will then send it to the National Visa Center for forwarding to the proper consular post. Once the consulate receives the petition it will issue a letter to you stating that the consulate is ready to begin processing your k 1 visa application.

The Consulate will send you a set of document often called Packet 3 in order it to process your case. Sometimes the Consulate will not include the above forms. Rather it will send a letter with the applicant’s case number and a visa sheet with step by step instructions on how to go ahead. If this is the case the applicant can download the forms from the consulate website and return them to the Consulate.

A k-1 visa is a single entry visa that permits admission of the fiancé (e) of a U.S. citizen, as a non-immigrant for 90 days to marry that U.S. Citizen and apply for adjustment of status (a green card).  The minor unmarried children of the k1 beneficiary who go with or follow to join her are typically granted K2 visa status.

Wedding Bands

 

Approved Petition

Your K-1 process begins when your U.S. Citizen  fiancé(e) files Form I-129F on your behalf with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) district office responsible for where he or she lives or intends to live (if U.S. citizen is abroad).

Notice of Action

Once your fiancé (e) has received a notice of action you should begin assembling the relevant documents to support your application as some documents may take much time to get.

Documentary Preparation

You should assemble the following documents in support of your application as some may take much time to get.

  1. Passport(s) valid for travel to the United States – for you and any dependent children accompanying or following to join you.
  2. Birth Certificate(s) – Obtain the original, certified copy of the birth record, or secondary evidence for each family member (yourself and all minor unmarried children) even if the children are not immigrating with you.
  3. Evidence of the end of earlier marriages – final divorce decree, annulment or death certificate.
  4. Police Certificates for each applicant aged 16 year and over. Obtain police certificates from the police authority where you live or any place where you have lived for 6 months since you have reached 16 years old.
  5. Proof of relationship to the petitioner – gather your letters, dated photographs showing you together as a couple, affidavits from people with person knowledge of the relationship, e-mails, telephone bills, documentation of wedding plans and invitations. Airline tickets, visa stamps and receipt for the engagement ring may also be used

You should give accompanying certified English translations of all documents not in English, or in the official language of the country in which application for a visa is made. The translation must include a statement signed by the translator that states that the:

(i)                 Translation is correct, and

(ii)               Translator is competent to translate.

Packet 3

Once the USCIS approves the petition it will then send it to the National Visa Center for forwarding to the proper consular post. Once the consulate receives the petition it will issue a letter to you stating that the consulate is ready to begin processing your k 1 visa application.

The Consulate will send you a set of document often called Packet 3 in order it to process your case. Sometimes the Consulate will not include the above forms. Rather it will send a letter with the applicant’s case number and a visa sheet with step by step instructions on how to go ahead. If this is the case the applicant can download the forms from the consulate website and return them to the Consulate. In Packet 3 should find:

  • K1 Visa Checklist Form IV-15
  • Form DS-230 Part I (Biographic Data) – You must complete and return this form immediately for the Consulate to process your case. Each person applying for a visa must complete biographic data Form DS-230- Part I, regardless of age. You may photocopy the form you received insufficient copies for each family member.
  • Form DS-156 in duplicate (non-immigrant visa application). If your unmarried children under 21 are accompanying you, two copies of Each Child must complete Form DS-156. Please do not sign this form. You must sign it in front of the consular officer on the day of your formal interview.
  • Form DS-156K in duplicate (Non-immigrant Fiancé (e) Visa Application). Please do not sign this form. You must sign it in front of the consular officer on the day of your formal interview.
  • Form DS-157 in duplicate (Supplemental Non-Immigrant Visa Application) – only required for men aged 16-45
  • Information sheet DS-2000 (Lists evidence which you or your fiancé (e) may present to meet the public charge provision of the law). Your fiancé (e) may file Form I-134 with supporting documentation.
  • Sometimes the Consulate will send information about scheduling a Medical Examination at this time.

Complete and send back the following forms to the Consulate:

  • Form DS-230-I (Part I only) for each person applying for a visa, regardless of age
  • Leave unsigned Forms DS-156
  • Leave unsigned Forms DS-156K
  • Form DS-157 (if applicable)
  • Form IV-15 -if required documents are already prepared.

If not already done so, assemble the relevant documents required in support of your application, and mark the documents off on Form IV-15 as you collect them. Do not send these documents to the Consulate.

Sign and date Form IV-15 and forward to the Consulate.

Packet 4

Upon receipt of the above documents, the Consulate will continue any extra processing and tell you about the scheduling of the medical interview and the appointment for the formal visa interview.

Schedule and have the Medical Examination. Arrange for a medical examination with one of the physicians listed on the attached visa instruction. You are responsible for the cost of the examination. A medical examination is also required for each child who will go with you.

Photographs – take Two (2) 2 x 2 Photographs for each applicant according to the specifications on the visa instruction sheet.

Attend scheduled interview with all your unmarried children under 21. Bring supporting documents such as evidence of your relationship to your U.S. citizen fiancé (e), two photographs for each applicant, birth certificates and final divorce decree if any to the k1 visa interview.

If approved, the Consulate may need you to pick up the passport with the visa from the Consulate later.

Sealed Packet – Do Not Open

Consular Officer will give you your passport(s) containing the K-1 visa (K-2) and a sealed packet containing the civil documents you provided, plus other documents prepared by the U.S. Consulate. It is important that you do not open the sealed packet. Only the DHS immigration official should open this packet when you enter the United States.

K1 Visa Validity

Do not finish arrangements for travel to the United States, dispose of properties, or quit your job until the consulate delivers the passport(s) with the k 1/k2 visas to you. A k1 visa is generally valid for six months. You must travel and apply for admission to the United States within that six month window.

After admission on your k1 visa you have 90 days to get married to your U.S. citizen  fiancé (e) or leave the United States. The DHS will issue an entry document (Form I-94) to you (the  k1 fiancé(e)) valid for 90 days. If you marry within 90 days, you can can apply to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) through the filing of a Form I-485.

Gary Goodin, Immigration Attorney

Copyright © 2011, the Immigration NavigatorTM

Share This Post

Certificate of non availability – Birth Marriage certificate not available

The US Consulate or USCIS will presume that an applicant who fails to produce or send required documents is ineligible for a visa or other benefit (e.g. a green card). The good news however is that the applicant still prove eligibility using secondary evidence.

If a birth or marriage certificate is unavailable, an applicant must offer proof by obtaining a certificate of unavailability from the government agency where such documents originate. The State Department Country Reciprocity Schedule indicates what type of country documents are unavailable for applicants from particular countries.

In addition to obtaining a certificate of non-availability (also called certificate of unavailability) the applicant must also bring or send secondary evidence of the event such as; a passport,
church records, baptismal records, adoption decrees, hospital records, school records, and affidavits.

A visa applicant is responsible for bringing the original or certified copies of required documents to a visa interview to prove his or her eligibility for a visa. The USCIS may need a petitioner or beneficiary to send photocopies of the original or certified copies with a petition or application. Sometimes however birth or marriage certificates or other required documents (e.g. court documents, police records) are non-existent or cannot be obtained from a government agency in certain countries.

Reasons for non-availability

Sometimes a marriage or a birth is never registered. Registration of births was voluntary in India before 1970. War and civil unrest may destroy government archives (e.g. Liberia). In countries such as Cambodia, some birth and marriage records for certain periods are simply unavailable.

Proving birth and marriage by certificate of non-availability and affidavits

The US Consulate or USCIS will presume that an applicant who fails to produce or send required documents is ineligible for a visa or other benefit (e.g. a green card). The good news however is that the applicant can still prove eligibility using secondary evidence.

Certificate of non-availability or “no record certificate”

If a birth or marriage certificate is unavailable, an applicant must offer proof by obtaining a certificate of unavailability from the government agency where such documents originate. The State Department Country Reciprocity Schedule indicates what type of required country documents are unavailable for particular countries.

 
Baptismal Record - Unavailable Birth Certificate


 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secondary evidence of birth or marriage including affidavit

In addition to obtaining a certificate of non-availability (also called certificate of unavailability) the applicant must also bring or send secondary evidence of the event such as;

  • a passport,
  • church records,
  • baptismal records,
  • adoption decrees,
  • hospital records,
  • school records, and
  • affidavits.

The applicant should offer two separate affidavits to prove a birth or marriage.  The affiant, preferably a parent, is a person who was alive at the time of the birth or marriage.

The contents of affidavit

The affidavit of birth or marriage should state

  1. The full name of the affiant
  2. The date and place of birth of the affiant
  3. The affiant’s relationship to the applicant
  4. Full information about the event – when and where it took place
  5. How the affiant is familiar with the event (e.g. birth or marriage).

Additionally the affiant must sign the affidavit before a notary. For foreign language documents submitted to USCIS a certified translation into English must also be submitted.

I hope this helps to get your visa approved when supporting documents are unobtainable.

Share This Post

How to Register a Change of Address for Foreign Nationals

With limited exception non-US Citizens including lawful permanent residents (green card holders) must notify the Department of Homeland Security of their change of address within 10 days of moving. This requirement has been more enforced since September 11, 2001. The failure to register a change of address is punishable by a fine, imprisonment or removal from the United States.

USCIS Change of Address

With limited exception non-US Citizens including lawful permanent residents (green card holders) must let the Department of Homeland Security know of their change of address within 10 days of moving. This need has been more enforced since September 11, 2001. The failure to register a change of address is punishable by a fine, imprisonment or removal from the United States.

Change of Address

 

 AR-11/AR-11SR

  • The AR-11 form is a general change of address form that changes your address within the master database of USCIS an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. You can change your address manually using a printed Form AR-11 or you can do it online using the electronic AR-11. However completing this legal requirements and submitting the necessary AR-11 forms does not update an address on any applications or petitions pending before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Individuals affected by special registration must complete AR-11SR, Alien’s Change of Address Card. Form AR-11 SR can only be mailed and cannot be filed online.

 Application or petition pending before USCIS

If there is an application or petition pending for you before the USCIS, in addition to filing form AR-11, you must let the USCIS know of your change of address according to the instructions contained on the Notice of Action form. You should give them a copy of your receipt notice, your USCIS A#, your old address and your new address.

Appeal Pending before an Immigration Judge (IJ)

In addition to filling Form AR-11 with USCIS, if you have a case pending with before an Immigration Court, you must let the Immigration Court know within 5 working days of your move by completing Form EOIR 33/IJ for the court in your particular state. Form EOIR-33/IJ is available on the Department of Justice website. Giving notice to the court Form EOIR-33/IJ is not the same as giving notice to the Department of Homeland Security, DHS. The foreign nation with a pending case before an immigration court should also give separate notice to the DHS using form AR-11. 

Appeal Pending before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)

If you there is an appeal pending for you with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), in addition to filing Form AR-11 with USCIS, you must let  the BIA know within 5 working days of your move by completing Form EOIR 33/BIA. You cannot let the BIA know of a change of address electronically. Form EOIR 33/BIA is available on the Department of Justice website. Giving notice to the BIA on Form EOIR-33/BIA is not the same as giving notice to the Department of Homeland Security, DHS. The foreign nation with a pending case before the BIA should also give separate notice to the DHS using form AR-11.

 If you have any questions about change of address or a failure to register change of address (an immigration violation) please consult an immigration attorney of your choice.

 

Share This Post

What if I can’t make it to a scheduled USCIS interview?

With limited exceptions, failure to appear for a scheduled interview can result in the denial of the related application or petition for abandonment. An unintended failure to appear for an interview may result when the notice of scheduled interview is sent to the wrong address because of USCIS processing errors for a timely filed change of address form AR-11. It can also result by an alien’s failure to file a timely change of address while an application or petition is pending.

An applicant, a petitioner, a sponsor, a beneficiary, or other individual residing in the United States at the time of filing an application or petition may be required to appear for an interview. With limited exceptions, failure to appear for a scheduled interview can result in the denial of the related application or petition for abandonment.

An unintended failure to appear for an interview may result when the notice of scheduled interview is sent to the wrong address because of USCIS processing errors for a timely filed change of address form AR-11. It can also result by an alien’s failure to file a timely change of address while an application or petition is pending.

An immigration interview is conducted because it is required by statute, regulations, agency policy or because there is a question of material fact that the adjudicator cannot resolve without an interview. Any interview may be required to determine the applicant’s or beneficiary’s credibility. Interviews are not scheduled if not required or if a material fact can be determined by other means. They are intended to be investigative and non- adversarial (as opposed to, say, a court proceeding involving two attorneys, each representing a particular side before a judge).

A scheduled interview (or fingerprinting) can be rescheduled if prior to the date and time of the interview an applicant or petitioner requests a rescheduled interview and show good cause. The applicant or petitioner should follow the instructions on the interview notice. The request may be made by mail, fax or telephone (in emergencies). The applicant or petitioner or his representative must show why he is unable to appear at the scheduled date and time because of circumstances beyond his control. The adjudicator will use her discretion to determine whether good cause exists for rescheduling the interview (or fingerprinting). If the adjudicator determines that good cause exists, the adjudicator will reschedule the interview and mail a new interview notice. The adjudicator is also required to reschedule an interview if a logged change of address notification is confirmed for the interviewees so that the interviewees may not have obtained notice of the interview.

 

Share This Post

B2 visa extension of stay

I came to the US from Jamaica on a visitor visa to spend some time with my daughter and see my grandchildren. Three months ago month my daughter slipped on ice and broke her leg and now she relies on me to move around and accompany her when she goes out. The doctor treating my daughter said her leg will take two more months to heal but only one month remains on my I-94 form.

How do I extend my stay in the United States?

To maintain your non immigrant status you must file an application for extension of stay before your current period of authorized stay, on your I-94, expires. It is important that you file immediately. If you fail to apply for an extension before your current authorized stay expires, in the future you could be denied readmission into the United States or a green card.

The application process to extend your stay depends on the type of non-immigrant status that you have. In your case because you have B2 non-immigrant status you must use USCIS Form I-539 with the required fee and supporting evidence. The application must be made to the USCIS service center with jurisdiction for your area.

Required documentation

Original or Photocopy (front and back) of your I-94 Arrival-Departure document. If your I-94 is lost you must file and submit USCIS Form I-102 with the appropriate fee together with Form I-539.
Photocopy of your passport showing that it is valid for the period of your intended stay.
Written statement/letter

You must also submit a written statement explaining in detail;

The reason for the extension,
Departure arrangements, and
Any effect the extension would have on your permanent residence and employment in Jamaica.

I came to the US from Jamaica on a visitor visa to spend some time with my daughter and see my grandchildren. Three months ago month my daughter slipped on ice and broke her leg and now she relies on me to move around and go with her when she goes out. The doctor treating my daughter said her leg will take two more months to heal but only one month remains on my I-94 form.

How do I extend my stay in the United States?

To keep your non immigrant status you must file an application for extension of stay before your current period of authorized stay, on your I-94, expires. It is important that you file immediately.

The application process to extend your stay depends on the type of non-immigrant status that you have. In your case because you have B2 non-immigrant status you must use USCIS Form I-539 with the required fee and supporting evidence. You should direct the application to the USCIS service center with jurisdiction for your area.

Required documentation

  1. Original or Photocopy (front and back) of your I-94 Arrival-Departure document. If your I-94 is lost you must file and send USCIS Form I-102 with the proper fee together with Form I-539.
  2. Photocopy of your passport showing that it is valid for the period of your intended stay.

Written statement/letter

You must also send a written statement explaining in detail;

  1. The reason for the extension,
  2. Departure arrangements, and
  3. Any effect the extension would have on your permanent residence and employment in Jamaica.

Supporting evidence

A signed affidavit from your daughter explaining why you are seeking to delay your departure would be persuasive. Your daughter should also get a letter written by a recognized, licensed health care practitioner treating her. The practitioner should write the letter on his or her own professional letterhead stationery and it should state the specific (explained) medical condition that has caused you to seek an extension to spend more time with your daughter and grandchildren.The letter should also specify the dates involved in your daughter’s injury and that the practitioner expects the medical condition to end at a specified time.

You should also send a copy of your return ticket to Jamaica showing the date of your intended departure. You should show that you have funds to support yourself for the period of the intended stay in the U.S. If you have a job in Jamaica you should send a letter from your employer temporarily excusing you from work for the extra time you will spend in the United States.

What if authorized stay has expired?

The USCIS may exercise discretion to excuse your failure to apply before the end of your authorized when;

1.the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control

2. the delay is right for the circumstances

3. you have not violated your non-immigrant status in other ways (e.g. unauthorized work)

4. you are still a good faith visitor to the United States, and

5. you are not in deportation or removal.

Processing time and effect of prompt application

The processing time for I-539 applications can take up to 3 -4 months. The time in which your application is pending will continue your authorized stay in the United States. The current filing fee for a Form I-539 application is available here. If USCIS approves your extension of stay application it will do so in six month increments.

Online Resources

B Visa Refusal Rates by Country

 

Share This Post