How Denied B2 effects K1 Fiance Visa

Denied B-2 Visa: How it affects your K-1 Fiancee Visa Application

“I met this great gal online. She lives on the other side of the world. we haven’t met in-person yet. and I want to meet her face to face.” BUT…… “I am: too busy, afraid of flying, got no time, don’t like travel, don’t travel well, too expensive, It is better that she should come to me, ….”

Unfortunately there is no such thing as a “girlfriend” visa.

The closest alternatives are a B2 Visitor visa (sometimes called a tourist visa) or a K1 Fiance Visa.

But a fiancee visa requires that the couple has already met in-person, and not only that but that they are serious and want to marry. Often the guys most eager to pursue a visitor visa, aren’t quite ready to commit.

This leaves the B-2 Visitor visa.

 

Continue reading “How Denied B2 effects K1 Fiance Visa”

Visitor Visa Mistakes

Many Fiancee’s Attempt to Shortcut immigration by applying for B2 Visitor Visa

Couples who REALLY need Fiance or Spouse visas sometimes attempt to game US immigration by applying for a B2 Visitor visa. This could lead to disaster. Here the Visa Coach warns about the worst mistake a fiance can make, which could destroy future chances to get any type of visa to the USA.

 

What is the Biggest Mistake a Fiance Can make when applying for a B2 Visitor Visa

Todays topic is: What is the Biggest mistake your fiancee can make when applying for a Visitor Visa?

Continue reading “Visitor Visa Mistakes”

Visitor Visa for Fiance or Spouse

Obtaining a Visitor Visa for your Fiance: Avoid spoiling her chances?

 

Visitor Visa for K1 Fiance

“I met this great gal online. She lives on the other side of the world. we haven’t met in-person yet.  I want to meet her face to face.”

BUT……

“I am:  too busy,  afraid of flying, got no time, don’t like travel,
don’t travel well,  too expensive,  she should come to me, ….”

There is no such thing as a “girlfriend” visa.

The closest alternatives are a B2 Visitor visa (sometimes called a tourist visa) or a K1 Fiance Visa.

But a fiancee visa requires that the couple has already met in-person, and not only that but that they are serious and want to marry. Often the guys most eager to pursue a visitor visa,  aren’t quite ready to commit.

Continue reading “Visitor Visa for Fiance or Spouse”

90 Day Fiance Visa

90 Day K1 Fiancee Visa Rule

By now you may have come across a reality TV show called “90 Day Fiance”. This show is about couples who after surviving a long distance romance, have received their fiance visas, and are now together in the USA.

The rules for a Fiance Visa is that the couple must marry before the foreign fiance has been in the USA for over 90 days. If not, then the fiance must leave returning to his or her home country on day 90.

 

Continue reading “90 Day Fiance Visa”

2021 Income Requirements for Marriage Based Immigration

2021 Income Requirements for Marriage Based Immigration

Usually about 9 months in after applying for a fiance or spouse visa, or at the get-go when applying for green card and permanent residency, you will have to provide clear evidence of your income to convincingly demonstrate your future family will not need welfare or other public benefits. It is best to understand what the exact dollar requirements are early, before moving forward, so that you can make sure you have all that is needed, or if you are lacking so that you have time to find a financial co-sponsor.

In order to successfully petition for your spouse or
fiancee to come to the USA, or obtain a Green Card after marriage,
in the USA, you the US sponsor must demonstrate to US Immigration that you have
enough income coming in, to support your new spouse, and whole household.

The minimum financial requirement is that you must have income
equal to and preferably more than 100% of the poverty
income level where you live to be eligible to sponsor a
Fiancee Visa, and over 125% of the poverty level to be
eligible for Spousal Visa or Adjustment of Status.

And often, even when applying for a fiance visa the consular officer might
apply the higher 125% range, at his/her discretion. So its best whenever
possible to aim to exceed the higher standard.

Each year the Department of Health and Human Services
publishes their Poverty Guidelines.

As of March 2021, for residents in the
continental US the Financial Eligibility requirements
are as follows.

Required Annual Income (For Fiancee Visa)
$17,420, if 2 Persons in Family or Household
$21,960, if 3 Persons in Family or Household
$26,500, if 4 Persons in Family or Household

For each Additional person add $4,540

Required Annual Income (For Spousal Visa or Green Card)
$21,775, if 2 Persons in Family or Household
$27,450, if 3 Persons in Family or Household
$33,125, if 4 Persons in Family or Household

For each Additional person add $5,675

The Financial eligibility thresholds are lower for
active military, and higher for residents of
Alaska or Hawaii.

Proving your Income.

Normally you provide your most recent Federal Tax Return,
3 to 6 pay stubs showing ‘Year to date’ earnings,
plus a letter from your employer confirming your
job, and what your expected annual pay is.

If your income might be low, but you have
‘money in the bank’ your cash assets, can be used as
a alternative for annual income.

‘Cash’ assets are assets which can be easily converted
(sold)to cash. For example: stocks, bonds, certificates of
deposit, cash in the bank

You may have a lot of other assets such as your car, boat, coin
collection, business or investment property but because these
can NOT be easily turned to cash immigration will not accept
them as alternatives to annual income.

The one exception to an asset that is hard to convert, but
CAN be counted is your home. If the market value of
your home is higher than your mortgage you may use
the equity just like a cash asset.

$5 cash assets is the equivalent of $1 annual income

For example, a retired Fiancee Visa sponsor living in California,
with NO income, and no dependents would need to have
5 times $17,420 or $87,100 in cash assets to quality for the Fiancee Visa.

Alternatively a combination of income and assets can work.

For example, if the sponsors income is $10,000 per year,
then his annual income is short by $7,420 so he should have 5 times
that amount or $37,100 cash or convertible assets
to qualify.

$17,420 – $10,000 = $7,420 x 5 = $ 37,100 cash assets needed.

This is calculated by subtracting $10,000 from the annual
requirement of $17,420. And then the difference of $7,420
times Five equals $37,100 of cash assets needed.

What if you don’t have enough income OR assets?

In that case you could ask a relative or friend to act as a co or joint-sponsor.

Just like buying a car, your joint-sponsor could ‘co-sign’ your loan.

When a joint-sponsor is used the size of the household increases.
The combined household (for the financial calculations) would include
the household size of the sponsor combined with the household
size of the co-sponsor.

For example, a college student petitioning for his fiancee,
asks his father to joint-sponsor.

Both the college student and the father would each complete an
affidavit of support. The student’s household is just 2 persons,
himself and his fiancee. The father’s household would be father, mother, and the two siblings
still living at home.

Thus the combined household would be 6 persons,

and the combined income of both sponsor and joint-sponsor
would have to be $35,580 or more.

A joint-sponsor can be used for any Spousal Visa or
Adjustment of Status petition, and can be used for MOST
Fiancee Visa petitions.
However, not all consulates allow the use of a joint-sponsor for a Fiancee Visa.

For example: Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Nigeria do not.

If you are applying for a Fiancee visa and need a joint-sponsor,
before filing the petition, best is to contact the consulate directly and
confirm whether the consulate’s policies permit the use of a
financial joint-sponsor or not. If they won’t allow a co-sponsor then
switch plans, marry then apply for a spouse visa, and your co-sponsor
can be used when needed.

This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach

K1 Fiance Visa Timeline during Covid-19 Pandemic

Covid-19 delays K1 Fiance Visa Processing Timeline

The whole world has been inconvenienced by the Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic.

Fiance visa applications already in process at the time quarantines started are still
on hold. There are many months of backlogged cases. New applications continue to be filed and face
delays.

While USCIS is currently processing cases faster than usual, the State Department due to
worldwide Embassy closures is slowed to a crawl.

Cases now hurry up “through USCIS” and then wait at “Department of State”.

Today, my purpose is to explain what is happening behind the scenes at USCIS, NVC
and the US Embassies so that you and your partner will understand what to expect
and how to deal with it.Hopefully knowledge should help you sleep better.

I am Fred Wahl the VisaCoach and I work for you to prepare and craft
your applications to submit to US Immigration. Sometimes callers
ask me “Do I fill in the forms for them,or do they have to do it themselves?”.
Absolutely, it will be ME filling in all the needed forms and putting together your
Application.

After we submit your application, I do not abandon you. I remain with you on this journey.

I continue by your side personally helping and guiding you until that happy day your
foreign partner calls to say she or he is “on the way”.

And please watch to the end of this video because around that time I
will explain you may be able speed up your case’s approval.

Now, lets talk about “how the Covid-19 pandemic has effected the processing of K1 Fiance Visa cases”

At the time before the Pandemic quarantines began, fiancee visa’s typically took a total
of about 8 to 10 months from submission of application till issuance of visa.

This normally included 6 to 8 months processing at USCIS, followed by 2 to 3 months
under the Department of State at their National Visa Center, NVC and at the US Embassy and Consulate.

USCIS closed their public offices in March. They no longer allowed visitors, or conducted
interviews. At the same time, country by country, borders were closed,
flights were cancelled, stay at home orders occurred, non-essential businesses closed.

USCIS employees did not really suffer. Their jobs and pay continued. Front office employees were
relocated to work temporarily in their back offices.

Review and processing of cases continued as usual except there were more hands
available to work on cases.

At the same time, a lot of couples who normally would be filing their new applications,
decided to delay taking action. Maybe their flight was cancelled keeping them from making
that final trip needed to gather evidence or to meet for the first time, maybe waiting
to find out how the pandemic would effect their job and income.

What happened then was that USCIS had extra staff to process cases, and at the same time
less new cases were filed. They received only 4 out of 10 of the usual number of new cases.
So 100% employees, and 40% of expected cases, resulted in new cases being processed and
passing through USCIS stage faster. Instead of it taking 6 to 8 cases, many current cases
only take 2 to 3 months.

Good news is most recent Fiance Visa cases get through the USCIS stage twice as fast as normal.

Bad news is next step is NVC and consulate interview. And that is currently where
there log jam occurs.

On March 20, due to the Pandemic, most US consulate’s abruptly closed their gates without warning

All visitors and even those applicants with confirmed, previously scheduled interviews were locked out.

On the day the consulates closed, each had about two or three months worth of cases already booked
with interview dates scheduled and confirmed. And more in their pipeline awaiting a chance to
book an interview. All of these cases were instantly put on hold.

Once USCIS has completed their review of an application, the case is passed on to the State Department’s
National Visa Center, NVC.

Routinely NVC only briefly touches a K1 Fiance visa application, generally only working on it long enough
to identify where it should be sent, assign a Department of State, case number, sending an email
to the US sponsor letting him/her know the new case number then finally shipping it via courier
to the overseas consulate where your fiance will be interviewed. Usually this only takes a few weeks.

For the remainder of March and part way through April, NVC continued to process cases as usual. Touching,
assigning, emailing and shipping cases.

As the consulate by that time already had many months of cases on hold, and did not know
when or how they would be able to reopen, then simply let thse new arrivals, pile up. Planning
to handle them, whenever.

Eventually, NVC decided it made more sense to stop sending cases overseas and instead to hold these
cases at NVC. This has been the case since April, Pending cases are piling up.

Unfortunately, NVC did not bother to notify you what was going on.
The email from NVC, expected to arrive in a few weeks, was not sent. No notices have been sent.

No news at all

This has caused much concern from applicants, disappointed and frightened that no news
means their case has been lost. No good news that a case is on it’s way to the consulate,

Well, your case has not been forgotten,

NVC is just sitting on your case, remaining quiet, patiently waiting for the day that the
destination consulate advises it has reopened, cleared it’s backlog and is ready to accept more cases.

As the consulate probably already has a few months of scheduled cases, plus more cases in their pipeline
on the day of closure, each consulate has a considerable backlog of applications that need to be cleared
once they reopen.

It will probably take the consulates many months, again, after they reopen, to clear that backlog.

Once they do, they will then contact NVC advising they are ready to receive the cases that have
been held at NVC.

Eventually, many months after reopening, it will be business as usual. In the meantime expect continued
delays.

Watch your consulates website for info of if and when it reopens. That will give you a starting point
to estimate how long your case still has to go.

One area that concerns most, is that when USCIS completes their review of your case and approves it,
USCIS officially gives you exactly 4 months to get your visa. Officially if you have not gotten it
or taken serious steps to book the interview your case is denied. Since your case is likely to be
delayed, and as the reason is due to the pandemic, and because USCIS, NVC and the consulate is
well aware of this situation, do not fear that your case will be denied due to non-action. All USCIS
expiry dates for cases in this situation will automatically be extended.

Some countries have reopened, some are reopening faster than others, and some of our consulates
have reopened already. Unfortunately for fiance visa applicants, the consulates are not viewing
clearing the backlog of fiance visa cases as a high priority. The consulates that have reopened
are giving priority to spouses and children of US citizens, and is trying to clear those cases first.

There is one exception, and that may apply to you. When applying for a fiance visa, if your fiance has
children under the age of 21, they may be included with the parents fiance visa application and can
come with parent to the USA. However the child is only eligible if under 21 and lands in the USA
before his or her 21’st birth day.

If your application includes a dependent child who is approaching 21 years of age,

and runs the risk to “age out”, most consulates will agree to expedite your case and treat
it as a high priority..

Good luck, stay safe, and well, try to be as patient as you can while your case is in process.

How to get Social Security Number during Covid 19

You don’t realize how important it is to have a social security number until
you don’t have one. The SSN is required to open up bank accounts, get medical insurance, get a drivers license,
work, and even to be able to be charged lower income tax on a filing as married tax return.

It’s important, it’s necessary, but has been nearly impossible to get during the Pandemic.
Social Security requires an in-person meeting, to apply for the number. And as
Social Security closed offices to the public back in March, this puts your new
immigrant fiance or spouse in between a rock and a hard place.

Fortunately, I recently went through this process with a client of mine, and in this
video will teach you what I found out, so you can get an SSN for your fiance or spouse.

Now, lets talk about “How to get that elusive Social Security number while Social Security offices
are on Covid 19 lock down.”

Normally to obtain a Social Security number (SSN), after immigrating to the USA on a spouse,
relative, or fiancée visa, one goes in person to the nearest Social Security Administration
(SSA) office presents identification and receives the SSN a month later.

Unfortunately during the COVID-19 pandemic most Social Security offices are closed and not
allowing in-person visits. This has caused a lot of frustration and delays for new immigrants
who need a social security number in order to open up bank accounts, get insurance, and apply for work.

Fortunately, you can still get the SSN. Here’s how.

The procedure is not publicly described at their websites, so to find out exactly what to do and how,
you MUST make a few phone calls to SSA to find out how and what to do in your area.

That’s exactly what I did recently and now I will share my experience with you.

K1 Fiance Visa

A recently arrived K-1 fiancée visa traveler, is eligible to obtain a Social Security number
by applying between day 15 and day 60 after arrival. Even though publicly and officially SSA
is closed to the public and not conducting in-person interviews, in practice they are conducting
some interviews and currently WILL do so for your Fiance Visa partner.

The way to do this is as follows:

Step 1: Google search for the telephone number of your local Social Security office, Call them. Identify yourself
that you need a first time, Social Security number for a recently arrived K-1 fiancée visa holder.

The key words to emphasise are “FIRST TIME”. The first operator you call probably can’t help, but should redirect you to
another number, at another office. You may need to make a series of phone calls. Rinse and repeat until you
finally reach the single, there is always one, actual office in your area that is handling First Time cases.

Step 2: Over the phone, provide detailed information about your fiancé including his/her local contact information and telephone numbers.

Step 3: Eventually, few days, or weeks, you will be called back and your Fiance provided a date to come in for
an in-person interview. The caller ID will says “US Government”‘. But it is not a spam call. It is Social Security.
I almost blocked the call cause I get many spam calls claiming to be something they are not. But this is legit.

An appointment date will be set, usually for a few days later. Your fiancé should bring passport, a filled in SSN application
(https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf) and I-94. The I-94 is available online. https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/,

It’s also a good idea to bring original and a photocopy or a certified copy and photocopy of your Fiance’s birth Certificate.
Eventually the Social Security number will be issued.

If you are already married, and if your new spouse has changed last name to yours, also bring the marriage certificate and a photocopy.

Social Security may or may not issue the SSN in the married name. Either way is OK, but is worthwhile to ask as it would save
you another trip later.. If they prefer to issue in the maiden name, and they regularly do insist on this because they
often only will issue the SSN to the name shown on the passport and I-94.

It is not a problem. Later once you get green card or work authorization return to Social Security, hopefully by then the pandemic is past,
and update to the new married name.

Regular Immigration (Spouse or Relative)

In the case of regular immigration, such as your spouse arriving on a CR1 or IR1 visa or a family member,
or diversity lottery winner, the process is similar.

Step 1: Google search for a local Social Security office’s telephone number Call and identify yourself that you
need a first time, Social Security number for a new immigrant. Emphasize “FIRST TIME”. The first person you call
probably can’t help, but should redirect you to another number, at another office. Rinse and repeat till you are
talking to the office in your area assigned to handle such cases.

Step 2: They will give you their mailing address and instruct your immigrant to mail them, passport and the filled in
social security number application form.

Step 3: Send to the Social Security Office,the immigrant’s passport, it show have his/her arrival visa,
and the social security number application form. https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf
Use certified mail with tracking. You don’t want to take any chance that your passport gets lost.

Step 4: Eventually the Social Security office will call, and schedule a time to go to the
designated office, meet with the clerk and be approved for the SSN. There the clerk checks your passport id page
matches the applicant. Passport is returned at that time. And social security number is issued by mail a few weeks later.

This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach

Effects of Biden Presidency on Fiancee, Spouse + Green card Immigration

President Trump promised a “Wall” to reduce immigration. While only partial progress on a concrete and steel wall was accomplished, great strides were made in limiting legal immigration via a paper wall of stringent policies that greatly increased the complexity and difficulty of passing through the immigration process.

President-Elect Biden has yet to take office, however I do expect that within the first hundred days of his taking office, deliberate executive action will be taken in an attempt to unravel the “Trump effect” on immigration.

This is GOOD news for Applicants.

Today I am going to forecast how I expect the Biden Administration’s occupancy of the White House to affect your application.

President Trump vowed to reduce immigration. And he was successful.  Over 450 executive and administrative adjustments, both major and subtle, were made to toughen immigration rules and procedures. He instituted extreme vetting, where all applicants are more highly scrutinized than ever before, Banned entire countries from being allowed visas to the USA, added tighter Public Benefits eligibility requirements which created a virtual “wealth test”, and instituted a pervasive organization wide culture change in the way that USCIS views and treats immigrants.

United States Citizenship and Immigration service (USCIS), once viewed immigrants as its clients, to be served. It’s officers traditionally believed they were following a pro-immigrant, humanitarian mission. The mission was to help refugees escape persecution, American Companies bring in needed talent, and reunify families with their loved ones.

Many officers initially joined USCIS in order to pursue that noble mission. In the recent four years many of these same officers, disillusioned, have resigned, as under Trump, the priorities changed from helping eligible immigrants come to the USA,  to finding ways to keep them out.

In 2018, under the Director selected by Trump, USCIS’s official mission statement was drastically altered. Removed were references to a “nation of immigrants” and to immigrants as “customers” whom the agency serves.  Now the mission statement basically reads “enforce immigration laws”. Immigrants are no longer customers, now they are suspects. USCIS’s Budget for fraud prevention and detection doubled between 2016 and 2020

Here’s my forecast of what’s going to happen after President-Elect Biden takes office..

#1 New USCIS Director

To reverse the current “anti-immigrant” culture at USCIS will require a top down management change. That will start when President-elect Biden  chooses a new director of USCIS, and assigns him or her the mandate to return USCIS to it’s prior mission of treating immigrants as clients, not adversaries, and working towards assisting them navigate lawful, and proper immigration. With new top down guidance, USCIS should relax it’s restrictionist “extreme vetting” and move to return to its earlier, more Humanitarian mission.

#2 End of Immigrant Harassment

While detailed and proper screening of applicants is reasonable, unfortunately in recent years the application review process has deteriorated from normal and expected due diligence into in essence, in many cases, deliberate  harassment. Requests for evidence ( RFE’s) were frequently issued for non-material reasons.

Cases were denied for similarly trivial issues such as leaving fields that were not applicable, blank. Or incorrectly writing not applicable as NA vs N/A.

Revised Forms with no real modifications,  would be announced and instead of giving adequate time usually one or two months for applicants to change over to the new versions, only One, single,  day notice was given. And the applications that were already in the mail which had used the earlier nearly identical version, and which was the correct one to use on the day of mailing,  were rejected.

Cases that previously would not require an interview, would be held and delayed many months awaiting availability of already overworked and limited interviewing staff.

For a few months this summer, even cases which had successfully gone through the entire tedious process, including interview and official APPROVAL, were put on hold, waiting many months for the printing of their approved work, travel and green cards. A long term contract USCIS had with the printing company had expired. And even though the contract’s expiry date, and need for replacement was known, long, realistically years in advance, no action on USCIS’s part to replace the contract and obtain alternative printing was taken, at least not until a court order forced USCIS to take proper action.

This change of attitude will rely on the New top management at USCIS. Their leadership will be critical to return USCIS to a culture of helping immigrants versus holding them back.

#3 Faster Processing

Less energy wasted by USCIS staff seeking excuses to delay individual cases, will result in more efficient, smoother and overall faster processing of cases.

#4 Lower Denial Rate

With restriction of immigration no longer being the guiding rule of the day, expect the cases that were previously denied due to trivial and non-material issues, or which were not given opportunity to clarify and justify misunderstandings now should receive a fairer hearing, and the approval rate should rise accordingly..

#5 Fee increase to be adjusted downwards

USCIS does not receive taxpayer dollars to pay for its operations. Instead it is self funded by the fees it charges immigrants. Originally to be effective on October 2, USCIS had requested an overhaul of its fee structure. The fees for some applications such as green cards and US citizenship went through the roof, they increased tremendously.

At the moment, this fee increase is temporarily on hold, halted by a court injunction.

The new fees requested are calculated based on what USCIS feels is needed to pay for its operations. I expect that under the Biden Administration the future, “user friendlier” USCIS, will find that since less time and energy is wasted, deliberately trying to obstruct the immigration process, that their operations will be more efficient, and less costly. Once the cost accountants do the math again, the fee increases needed may be found unnecessary, or only a smaller increase is needed.

#6 End to “Trump” or “Muslim” Travel Ban

The so-called “Muslim ban” that bans the issuance of visas to the USA from citizens of 15 countries, Chad, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Myanmar, Nigeria, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Venezuela and Yemen will be lifted.

#7 Public Benefits “wealth test” Dropped

The most effective stumbling block to Legal immigration, to come out of the Trump administration was the broadening of the definition of what constitutes a public benefit. This new definition has been used to make it much more difficult for an immigrant to be deemed eligible to receive a green card and permanent residency in the USA. Not only are applicants required to prove that they never received public benefits, but must also convince the officer that in the future, no matter what happened, they would not possibly, conceivably, never, ever need public benefits forever into the future. This “wealth test”, and it’s extremely complicated resulting application paperwork will be removed or at very least greatly relaxed.

How Soon for these changes to happen ?

Immigration is not a hot-button issue for President-elect Biden as it was for President Trump. After the first few popular and headline grabbing executive orders are announced, namely dropping of the “muslim ban” and :”wealth test”, and appointment of a new USCIS Director, the rest of the job to reverse  the “Trump effect” will most likely be left in the hands of the newly appointed USCIS management.

We all hope President-elect Biden chooses the new USCIS Director well. This choice will determine how fast and how well the intricate unraveling of so many changes, procedures, policies and overall mentality that the Trump administration injected into US immigration takes place.

It’s going to take time. It may take years, and perhaps more than one administration to get back to where we once were.

Covid Vaccinations required for US Immigration

US requires Covid Vaccinations for Immigration

Starting October 1, 2021 Applicants for immigration visas to the USA such as CR1 spouse and CR2 Dependent visas and including those who arrive on a K1 fiance visas who after marriage apply for adjustment of status, to get Green Cards, must all have approved Covid vaccinations

Update: DOS has amended their policy. Now K1 visa applicants must show proof of covid vaccinations at their consular medical, not only after arrival when applying for adjustment of status.

And if multiple vaccinations are required,

all must be administered before the granting of Visa or Green Card.

Not only the Pfizer, Moderna Johnson & Johnson vaccinations approved for use in the USA will be acceptable but any covid vaccination that is approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) will also be acceptable.

Alternative vaccines such as AstraZeneca,  Covishield and Covaxin, Sputnik, Sinopharm and Sinovac, among others are currently acceptable to meet the vaccination requirement.

If the appropriate vaccines are not available, or not age-appropriate, such as for children under 12, or are medically inadvisable due to allergic reactions or other medical issues, an automatic waiver is granted.

This will be handled by the Clinic providing consular medicals, or the USCIS civil surgeon in USA while confirming vaccinations.

If the application has moral or religious objections she or he will need to apply for waiver, which would be granted or denied at US immigration’s discretion

This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach,
here to personally guide you on this journey.

 

Spouse + Fiancee Visa Service for Ex-pats

VisaCoach’s assistance for American Ex-pats to apply for Spouse or Fiancee visas while remaining outside the USA during the process

If you are currently outside the USA, living together with your foreign partner and now are ready to relocate back to the USA and bring your partner with you.

I have good news.

You do not need to leave him or her, return alone to the USA, then apply for them to eventually follow. Instead you can apply for the fiance or spouse visa from outside the USA.
You don’t have to separate. You can remain together for the entire process.

I was an ex-pat living in Asia myself for about 20 years. I did this for myself and my wife Joyce.

I can help you too.

Most couples we help are involved in long distance romances. They communicate via webcam and text,
and only get the once in a while, rare opportunity, to spend in-person time together after long trips over
international waters.

But some lucky couples, like you, are not separated by international borders. Instead they live together, outside the USA.
And once they are ready to relocate to the USA, they ask :
“Must the American return to the USA alone to apply for a fiance or spouse visa? Is there a away they can avoid long separations?’

The happy answer is they Can remain together. No long separation is necessary.

Your visa application can be submitted while they remain outside the USA. And once your fiance or spouse visa is issued,  you as a couple, hand in hand, can together can board the flight to your future lives in the USA.

I lived as an expat, living outside the USA, primarily in Taiwan and Hong Kong for about 20 years. I am very familiar with that lifestyle and the issue of bringing one’s spouse and family back to the USA. In my case when my oldest child was 6 years old I knew it was time to return as I wanted to enroll him in kindergarten and public school in the USA.

I regularly help expatriate couples prepare their petitions while they are living together outside the USA. We work together using email, Internet (I provide a password access page for you where I post specific instructions and documents for your case), and by priority mail or courier.
This is the procedure VisaCoach follows for Ex-pat cases, that allows the you to remain outside the USA for the whole process.

1. After I get to know you and your partner I set up an account page for you online at VisaCoach.com. There I post a personalized checklist of all documents and evidence needed for successful preparation of your case. I also prepare all the forms needed for the application which require your signature.

2. You follow your checklist and collect the civil documents, evidence, photographs and various proofs of bona fides. You print out the documents that have been prepared for your signature and sign them. You combine all into a single envelope, then send to my offices via international courier such as DHL or Fedex.

3. On receiving your envelope, I carefully comb through it’s contents to prepare your application. If you were living in the USA I would mail the application directly to you. But as you are overseas that is not convenient, as it means two more times passing through international customs, to send the application to you, and then for you to send it back to USA to USCIS’s offices. So what we do instead is scan the completed application package into a pdf and post it at your VisaCoach account page for you to review.

4. If you find anything you wish to change, you let me know, and these changes are made immediately, posted online. Again for you to review. Finally, once you are 100% satisfied, we mail the approved application directly to USCIS on your behalf.

5. Eventually your case will arrive to the US State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC). I will guide you through that stage. This one can be done all online.

6. NVC will forward your case to the consulate assigned for your partner’s interview. In the run up to the interview I will guide you on preparation for the interview. Such as practice questions, final checklists and how and where to arrange the interview.

7. On completion of the interview, I guide you through arranging for your partners green card.

8. That only leaves it for you to settle your affairs outside the USA, book your flights and return to USA to start this next chapter in your lives.

For an ex-pat there are two important issues that need to be planned for the interview.

How can you pass the financial eligibility requirement?

and

How can you demonstrate your “intent” to relocate to USA

Financial Eligibility

An ex-pat you probably are earning your living by working outside the USA. Well, that means that once your partner gets approved for her or his visa, you are going planning to quit your foreign job and find a new one in the USA. This means that as far as supporting your family the foreign income goes away. You will have to show you are financially eligible by some other way.

Usually this means already having enough cash assets in USA financial accounts or equity in a your home located in the USA, or asking for help from a friend or family member living in the USA to be your financial joint-sponsor. If none of these methods are available, then you will have to consider returning to USA early and find a job there.

Intent to Relocate to USA

US immigration takes immigrating to USA very seriously indeed. And when approving your fiancee or spouse’s visa must be convinced that the visa is going to be used for the correct purpose, for relocation and permanent residence in the USA. Some expat couples only want to visit the USA temporarily, perhaps for shopping, meeting relatives, for an occasional “home leave” and would like to have the “green card” to make that possible. Sorry, but for that is not considered acceptable by US immigration. They MUST be convinced you plan to relocate permanently.

So you will be required as an expat to demonstrate your sincere intention to relocate to USA by presenting evidence of your plans to move home, such as correspondences on potential places to live, to work, or to attend school. US based bank accounts, proof of disposing foreign assets, transferring monies to your USA accounts, drivers licence, voting records and
quotations from moving companies are all useful for this purpose,

This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach

Expedite your K1 Fiancee or Spouse Visa

Expediting your Fiancee or Spouse Visa Application

Getting your case processed and getting your partner to the USA faster than average is not possible for most. 99% must wait in line like everyone else.

However in a few cases if a couple has a legitimate reason, US immigration will grant special treatment to expedite their case skipping to the head of the line.

US immigration may agree to expedite your case, for one of the following reasons:

Imminent US Military deployment

  • Medical Emergency
  • Imminent Danger
  • Fiancées Child in danger of ageing out
  • Extreme Hardship
  • Let’s talk about each in turn.

Imminent US Military deployment

If the American sponsor is on active duty, and has orders cut for deployment, or is in a category that faces immediate deployment on short notice, US immigration is willing to expedite the case so that the service man or woman has time to settle his partner in the USA before
deployment begins.

For such cases, we submit copies of deployment orders, or proof that the service men’s skill set was such even while no deployment was currently in the works, it might happen on short notice.

All imminent deployment type waiver requests we have submitted were granted.

Medical Emergency

What if you or your partner suffer a serious medical issue?

In some cases that would be deemed acceptable to allow expedited processing.

For example, perhaps your foreign partner has a condition that requires the type of medical assistance or expertise, only offered in the USA.  One of VisaCoach’s clients needed treatment at the Mayo Clinic and her case was approved for expedite.  And we have had cases where the US sponsor is hospitalized, and upon discharge needs full time home care
to aid in his recovery.

Imminent Danger

Imminent danger usually means that the foreign partner’s life is in danger.
This could be due to direct or indirect threats, civil unrest, and/ or natural disasters.

The more specific we can prove that the threat is personal to the individual, the better the chance the request for expedite will be granted.

Fiancées Child in danger of ageing out

When applying for a K1 fiance visa, the foreign fiancee’s children can be included in the same application. However the child is only considered a child until his or her 21’st birthday.  This means the application process must be complete, the interview held, the visa issued, and the child on the
flight to USA before midnight on the 21’st birthday.

So if a case has been in process and it appears likely that the child will “age out”, US immigration will put that case ahead of the others in order to allow the fiance parent and children to arrive to USA together. Last summer at the height of Covid quarantines shut downs in Vietnam, we successfully not only got the consulate to expedite our case, but to allow the interview while
officially the consulate was closed and not providing any interviews.

Extreme Hardship

Extreme hardship, is a catchall category, that allows US immigration to expedite a case, to alleviate the extreme hardship of either you or your foreign partner is experiencing.

Emphasis is on the word “extreme”. They do understand that being separated from your partner, with your life’s on hold waiting for the wheels of immigration to turn is a hardship. But that is a normal and expected hardship one accepts when entering into a long distance romance, not considered “extreme”.

As an sample of an “extreme” hardship that we have worked on was when
the home of my client’s Philippine fiancé was destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda. The entire town she lived in was declared a disaster area. We immediately submitted evidence of what was happening and her case was expedited. In another recent case, my American client was suffering extreme stress and anxiety attacks from being separated from his partner. We submitted his diagnosis and doctors recommendations and his request to expedite was granted.

I have helped prepare expedite requests for many VisaCoach clients.

In order to be successful, our requests had to be for legitimate and compelling reasons, that US immigration would understand and relate to, and each request had to be supported with solid verifiable evidence.

Do not submit a Frivolous Expedite Request

It is tempting to submit an expedite request, just to see if it will work, even
though the underlying reason and evidence really are not enough.

Well, submitting such a request is a bad idea. In good faith US immigration takes all requests for expedite seriously. On receipt of an expedite request,
a case is taken out of the normal processing line up and given to specialized reviewers. For example if the request was based on medical reasons it will be taken aside and reviewed by Medical experts.

If the request is legitimate, then all is well and the case remains outside the normal queue and zooms to the top of the processing pile.

But if the case is not found to provide acceptable reasons, then it is be returned back to the regular processing queue back to whatever stage it was in.

All the time needed, and this can be many months to evaluate a request basically ends up added to the the time the case would have normally experienced if left to process as normal.

So instead of saving time, a frivolous request ends up lengthening how long you are separated from your partner.

This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach,
here to personally guide you on this journey.

 

2021 Income Requirements for K1 Fiance Visa

2021 Income Requirements for K1 Fiance Visa

Here is the “VisaCoach Minute”. I am going to Cut to the chase,
with concise answers to frequently asked questions.

And if you want a more detailed explanation, click on Detailed Explanation on Income requirements and how to demonstrate eligibility via income, assets, home equity or use of a joint-sponsor.

Today’s question is “What are the 2021 Financial Eligibility Requirements for Fiance Visas”

As of March 2021, for residents in the continental US the Financial Eligibility requirements are as follows.

Required Annual Income (For Fiancee Visa)

$17,420, if 2 Persons in Family or Household
$21,960, if 3 Persons in Family or Household
$26,500, if 4 Persons in Family or Household

For each Additional person add $4,540

This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach

Ways to satisfy in-person meeting requirement during Covid

How to satisfy in-person meeting requirement during Covid

 

If you are like most couples planning to apply for a Fiancee or Spouse Visa
you probably have been stymied, stopped, halted, prevented from moving forward with your case, due to Covid-19 and the world wide travel restrictions and quarantines that have kept you home, and your partner also stuck in her or his home.

You have been unable to travel, unable to meet in-person, and because you are unable to satisfy this critical in-person meeting requirement of immigration, you have been stuck. Well I have some good news for you,
and some suggestions on how you may be able to “think outside the box” and can move your case forward and bring forward the happy day when your partner is FINALLY able to join you for a happy life together in the USA.

During 2020, most couples had their lives on hold, unable to apply to bring in their fiancé or spouse because they were unable to travel, unable to meet, unable to meet US immigration’s requirement for a recent in person meeting.

But now, we seem to have come around a corner. A lot of countries seem to have loosened up their quarantine restrictions. Perhaps this is because vaccinations are on the way, or perhaps it’s simply Covid fatigue. But regardless of the cause, now, much more than at any time since Covid came on the scene last year, more and more people are traveling.

Certainly not all countries have yet opened their borders, but many have,
and many that have opened currently have relaxed or no quarantine requirements.  For example Brazil, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Turkey have very relaxed quarantine restrictions.

What this means is that couples with partners from those countries could meet, pursue their relationships, and apply for immigration without delay.

This opportunity to meet does not need to be restricted only to those couples with a partner physically present and living in an “open” country.


Many of my couples are thinking “outside the box”. Instead of waiting to meet when their foreign partner’s country opens, instead they push their cases forward by meeting somewhere else. They meet not in their respective home countries, but in a third country.

Often they meet in a country neither has ever been to before. They explore a new country, and have a new experience together, touring, sightseeing and most important, getting to know each other. At the same time they satisfy the final immigration requirements needed before submitting their applications.

Yes, it is certainly true that I always counsel my clients that the best way to demonstrate bona fides is by meeting where your partner lives, works, has ties, has family and while visiting to make the effort to meet everyone important in your partner’s life  (while at the same time taking date stamped photos).

But today’s situation, under Covid 19 is unique. And frankly “needs must”.
So, If it appears to be many, many, many, more, lonesome months before a trip to your partner’s country is likely, then I suggest you immediately “think outside the box”. Go and find an alternate location where you both can meet.

What about the interview? Won’t the officer deny because I didn’t meet my partner’s family?

Well, I think the officer will understand. And my philosophy when working on your case, is that we don’t want to leave anything to chance. So we want to make sure that the officer does understand EXACTLY what you did and why you did it. For each of my applications I always help clients write a history of their courtship. How they met, why they are a good match and what their plans for the future are. We present them to the reviewing officer
as an honest and sympathetic couple.

I also take advantage of this letter, to include clarification on anything about your case that appears out of norm. We ensure the officer understands why you did not meet the family,
by getting ahead of his doubts by presenting your reasonable explanation that you wanted to do this,
but due to travel restrictions during Covid 19 you were unable to.
This defuses the situation before it becomes a problem.

Where can you meet?

In choosing an alternative destination country you have two considerations.
“Which country will allow your partner to enter, either visa free or with an easy to get visa?” and “Which country has relaxed quarantine requirements?”

As always these days, start with Google. Search for countries that allow an American as well as, your foreign partner to travel to with either no visa, or an easy visa to acquire.

Then do a search on countries with relaxed quarantine restrictions.
Compare the two lists for matches. Then choose the country most convenient, and enjoyable for the two of you.

For example when I search for “where can Philippines go without a visa”
a website listing a few dozen countries that welcome Filipinos and don’t require visas.

Then I searched “where can I go without quarantine” and found another website listing many countries that offered easy travel.

I discovered that both Colombia and Brazil would allow a Philippine partner to travel without need for a visa, and have no quarantines. Both appear attractive as destinations, and I have many VisaCoach clients who have recently been traveling to these countries and have already submitted
their applications. More are currently in process.

So I suggest, you take control of your destiny, and if currently unable to travel to your partner’s country, widen your travel choices, think outside the box, and bring your partner to join you life together sooner than later.

This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach

Expedite Request before Fiancee’s K-2 Child Ages Out

What to do when the Child of your Fiancee is about to turn 21 and their K1 and K2 visas are still in process and not yet approved?

The child of your fiancee is eligible to be granted and use a K2 Fiancee Dependent visa up to the eve of his or her twenty first birthday.

So you apply for your fiance and child before the child turns 21, the process
takes place, the visa is issued and the child has up until midnight the eve of his or her birthday to board the flight to the USA.

One day late and the child can not come to the USA, at least not on a K2 visa.

Under normal circumstances the fiance visa takes under a year, and the couple that apply well before the child is 20 usually have no problem in getting parent and child’s visas on time without fuss.

However, under Covid there have been many delays, USCIS is performing much slower than pre-covid normal, and many consulates due to local quarantines in the countries where they are Located due to closures and partial reopenings have added many months, and in some cases like the Philippines, years of delay before visas can be issued.

In this case, if your application has been properly filed, if it is getting
close to the time it looks likely that the child will “age out”, US immigration
does look favorably on requests to expedite.

During processing your K1 and K2 case will be either at USCIS, the National Visa Center, or the destination consulate. When it looks like the case will be approved too late, the sponsor directly contacts the processing location where the case is, explains the situation and makes the request.

On a successful request the case is forwarded immediately to the consulate and usually the consulate makes special accommodations to speed up the interview date and visa issuance.

This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach,  here to personally guide you on this journey.

USCIS Processing Times

2022 USCIS Processing times: Bad news for All !! 

If your case has been in process during 2022, you are probably pretty disappointed when learning how USCIS processing timelines have deteriorated from previous Years. Currently it is taking around a year for spouse and fiancee application and much longer for green card and removal of conditions applications.

Previously USCIS got their work done much faster. Their policy for processing was to complete review of cases within five months or less. For a short while during the Obama administration many of our cases passed USCIS in only three months.

During the Trump administration, the executive branch deliberately slowed immigration. The policy for what was expected processing time, stretched to 7 months.

Sadly the good old days are gone. Under President Biden, currently in 2022, most cases for fiancé and spouse visas are taking over a year, just to get through USCIS.

And for Fiance or Spouse Visas, after USCIS approval the State Department takes over and typically another 6 months are generally added before your partner gets the chance to visit a US consulate for the final interview before visa issuance.

NEW Definition for “normal processing time

Previously when the policy was a standard target, such as five months, at month 6, an applicant could reach out to USCIS reporting that the case is late, past normal processing time, and initiate an internal review to hopefully speed things up.

USCIS officers worked against a clear policy deadline. During the Trump administration The policy turnaround time stretched to seven months. Then an applicant could complain at around month eight.  And hopefully get some positive feedback.

No longer is USCIS applying this simple guideline, for how long they should take with a case. Instead, they review each service center, measure how long that service center is already taking for 80% of their cases to complete processing. Then the policy states that “the current performance” is also performance standard. This means that regardless of how slow a center is performing, there Is no pressure to speed things up, only to continue at their current pace.

The performance is measured on an ongoing basis, so if processing slows down, the target slows as well. So whatever is happening, is by definition NORMAL. USCIS does not aim for an efficiency target, instead whatever pace they have, is ok. There is no incentive to improve.

USCIS posts online current processing times

One would have hoped that this visibility is for the applicant’s benefit, so that the applicant knows what to expect. However the real purpose of the posted information is to create a guideline to control the applicant, by enforcing a “DO NOT CONTACT US (USCIS)” by
posting the lackluster performance that USCIS Is at, and stating
the application is not ALLOWED to inquire/complain about his or her case until a few months past the current experience.

To legitimize their new system, USCIS posted a widget at their website that you can visit to learn how slow your case is expected to take and how long after that expected timing, you are allowed to complain.

As of August 24, 2022 the following are the “expected” times for USCIS processing of Fiance and Spouse Visas. The first column is the time it takes for 80% of case review to be completed, the second is the earliest an applicant is ALLOWED to chase his or her case.

 

Fiancee Visa 80%  of Cases Complete within Earliest time after which Inquiry/Complaint
can be filed
California 13.5 months 15 months
Nebraska 4.5 months 6 months
Potomac 4.5 months 7 months
Texas 23 months 15 months
Vermont 5.5 months 31 months

 

 

Spouse Visa 80% of Cases Complete within Earliest time after which
Inquiry/Complaint can be filed
California 10.5 months 13 months
Nebraska 10.5 months 13.5 months
Potomac 12 months 15 months
Texas 11.5 months 15 months
Vermont 16 months 21 months


As the above table shows there is a wide variety of performance results from the different processing centers.

Some centers seem to be unusually fast, some unusually slow.. The
stats are a bit misleading, as the majority of cases will go through California, and only a few ever actually are sent to one of the other
centers.

Can you choose which center for your case?

It would be awesome to be able to select the fastest center to process your case, sorry, but that option is not available. All cases are first submitted to designated lockboxes. Once at the lockbox, a clerk decides to which processing center to forward your case.This is ostensibly to balance the load, so that all centers should have about the same performance. As the tables above show, such load balancing is not working out too well.