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

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

Visitor Visa damage to Fiancee or Spouse Visa?

Does applying for a visitor visa hurt your chances for a fiancé or spouse visa ?

A B1/B2 visitor visa application does not necessarily negatively impact your K1 or CR1 case providing the foreign applicant adheres to the truth and does not reapply so many times as to appear to be desperate to travel to the USA. 

“Does applying for a visitor visa hurt your chances for a fiancé or spouse visa ?

Short answer is “No”.

However there are two important qualifications to that simple answer.

#1  Truth Only Please !!

People who won’t be around later to suffer the consequences of a bad decision, such as travel agents, employers and colleagues, will advise your foreign partner that in order to be approved for a visitor visa he or she should bend the truth, actually LIE,  and make up reasons to convince the consular officer why he or she will definitely, positively return to home country.

Usually this is pretending to be married or pretending to have children. Or when asked the purpose of the trip, will deny knowing the American partner. Everything said to the officer is recorded, falsehoods will eventually be discovered. and will jeopardize approval of a fiancé or spouse visa.

Make sure your partner, strictly adheres to the truth. Visitor visa denied or granted, telling the truth will   pays off in the long term.

#2 Take No for an Answer. 

If denied for the visitor visa, don’t apply again and again and again. Multiple repeated applications for a visa that you’re partner is not going to get, will lead the consular officer to suspect your partner is desperate to come to the USA.

The officer might follow that negative line of thought, and wonder if the current application,  for a fiamce or spouse visa is only a means to a desired end, and you are only a pawn in the process.

To wrap up. There’s no problem in applying for a visitor visa and getting denied, providing all questions were answered honestly, and your partner does not keep reapplying.

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

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

End to consulate backlogs:K1 Fiance Visa + CR1 Spouse Visas

US Immigration to clear K1 Fiance Visa + CR1 Spouse Visa Pending Interview Backlogs

Good News, the US Government is taking action to clear Fiance + Spouse Visa applicants who have been waiting on Consular Interviews. After 15 months of curtailment

of consulate services, US immigration has about 500,000 cases on hold pending interviews. To address this issue, $5.6 billion dollars is budgeted by Department of State and $345 million is budgeted by USCIS for manpower and facilities to help clear the backlog.

It has been a rough ride for the past 15 months for Fiancee and Spouse visa applicants.

On March 18, 2020 in fear of the spread of Covid 19, US Embassies and Consulates around the world
locked their doors to the public, cancelling all scheduled visa interviews.

Some of my clients had even traveled long distances to attend their interviews, and without
receiving any warning from the Embassy arrived in time for their interviews only to find the gates to the consulate locked
and were turned away by the guards.

And very sadly some of these clients, who at that time were at their very end of their application process and had only the
interview remaining are still waiting even today.

Normally with a Fiancee or Spouse visa case once it leaves USCIS it goes to the State Departments
offices in New Hampshire called the National Visa Center or NVC. The cases usually don’t stay at NVC
for very long, before being forwarded overseas to the destination consulate for the interview.

Well due to Covid 19, instead of NVC being just a short layover for a case, NVC has become a warehouse.

Cases are being held, stockpiled at NVC awaiting good news from consulates advising that they have resumed normal operations
and are open to the public for interviews.

Some consulates reopened within a few months. some consulates still remain closed..

In February 2017 at the beginning of President Trumps presidency,
there were almost 3,000 cases in process, temporarily on hold at NVC.

this February 2021, due to Covid 19’s throttling down of consulate operations, there are now roughly100 times more, about 300,000 cases
on hold, warehoused at NVC.

So what can be done?

Well, good news. Plans are in the works to address the problem.

And this is the same problem and the same solution we have all experienced at our local grocery store.

You’ve done your shopping and you want to pay. Well the checkout line is long,
and it’s taking forever to finish your transaction and get out of there. So what
does the store management do. Do they let customers leave without paying? No.
What they do is put another cashier on the till and open another checkout line.

US immigration is going to do the same thing. They are not going to let applicants
skip the interview, but what they are going to do is open up more facilities, and
hire more officers to conduct interviews and issue visas.

President Biden’s current budget proposal is to grant the US state department
$5.4 Billion to hire 1,200 officer and expand facilities. Also added to the budget
is $345 million for USCIS to address their backlog as well.

So far already, the State Department has doubled up on interview availability in
Mexico, by now opening up the US embassy in Mexico City to also conduct visa
interviews in addition to the consulate in Juarez, which previously had be the
only location were immigrant visas were issued. I expect that this trend
will continue where additional secure locations are found to help add more
“check out lines” for visa interviews to take place.

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

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

10 Tips for Immigration Success

Going online to USCIS dot gov, and looking at the forms there, it can be
easy to fool yourself, that to file an application all you need to provide is
name, address, social security number, and just like placing an order
with amazon, your partner will be dropped off at your doorstep in no time.

Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. There are a lot of small details and issues that
must be correctly taken care of in order to prepare a complete and, well most important, persuasive application.

Truly this is a case of ART over Science to do a good job.

Today I will share with you, what we do at VisaCoach, to go the extra mile, to help our client’s
successfully get through the US immigration process.

How to Make your Immigration Application stronger and more likely for success.

Tip #1 Stay Current

Keep Up to Date and current on US immigration rules and procedures. If immigration requirements, Fees, or forms change it’s critical to be on top of it. Take care that correct forms are used, correct fees are paid and whenever possible time submission of your application if possible to save yourself from changed and more difficult eligibility requirements.

For example on February 24, US immigration drastically increased the complexity and evidence requirements to apply for Adjustment of Status. We helped dozens of clients rush to submit their applications before
that big change took affect. Even now many new tougher standards have been proposed by US immigration for future implementation.

Tip #2 Complete all forms Properly.

Each form, each part, each question, should be carefully reviewed, the instructions understood and factually, and properly filled in.

Tip #3 Mandatory Evidence

Depending on the application, many documents are mandatory, they are required and MUST be provided without exception. Such as visa photos,
birth certificates, tax returns, divorce decrees, marriage certificates, criminal records etc. Failure to provide all required evidence will cause an RFE (request for evidence to be issued). And if not promptly provided after this second and last change, will cause summary denial.

Tip #4 Optional Evidence

Not on the government checklists and not officially stated as required as part of the original application. BUT in my opinion, this is what is most important, and most critical for your ultimate success. And the heart of the VisaCoach “front loaded” application philosophy, is to include with the application quality evidence, that demonstrates your relationship with your partner is “bona fide”

US immigration starts reviews of your application for immigration benefits that your application is fraudulent. Then automatically assume you are “guilty, until proven innocent”. So, to be successful you must overcome that assumption and show them that your situation is “bona fide”. You must prove that there is no sham, no fraud. You must go the extra mile to demonstrates that the two of you are a real, authentic, genuine, bona fide couple.

Tip #5 Quality not Quantity

We choose evidence that is relevant, that is material. Only use a logical, reasonable amount, do not be excessive. If corresponding for only a few months it is not helpful to provide copies of each and every dialog, hoping to impress by the number of pages or words. Attempting to “pad” the evidence, to make it appear more than what it really is, hoping to overwhelm the reviewing officer, never works. We select just enough to make a valid point, then move on to the next type of relevant evidence.

Tip #6 Tell your story

With EVERY application at VisaCoach, we ALWAYS include a well drafted letter, that clearly outlines the course of your relationship, how you met, how your relationship developed, why you chose each other, what are your plans for the future. We present the two of you as two sympathetic human beings, entitled to the reviewing officer’s understanding, respect and fair treatment. This helps to set the stage to convince him or her that you are two people with an honest, bona fide a relationship, are genuinely planning to spend your future life’s together. and DESERVE approval.

Tip #7 Explain red flags

If there are red flags in your situation, then as part of the letter telling your story, get ahead of the problem, by clearly identifying the issue, and explaining YOUR side of the story. This way we prevent the reviewer from using his imagination to take your red flag down a dark path. Instead by openly addressing the issue, explaining it, and clarifying why it is reasonable, or not a problem, we successfully defuse this “time bomb” before the consular officer gets locked in to a negative appraisal..

Tip #8 Improve Weak Evidence.

Sometimes, you simply do not have the evidence that is normally expected for your situation. Cameras and cell phones get lost, users get locked out of online accounts, culture or other factors cause your relationship to be less public usual, even storms and natural disasters can sweep away what you had. Yes, all these things have at one time or another happened to my clients. The rising tide for evidence, that usually can be generated, after the fact, are written statements from witnesses. We “fill in the cracks” of the evidence that supports your story, but asking people who the two of you have met along the course of your courtship to explain what they witnessed.
To be effective, do not provide a “John and Jane are nice people and I recommend immigration trust them.” because that kind of letter is useless. Immigration is not interested in advice from someone they do not know or trust. Instead what the letter SHOULD be about are the simple facts. No opinions asked for. Only a simple statement where the writer introduces who he or she is, what the relationship the author has to the couple, and include description of clear, specific instances of personally, in-person witnessing the couple when the couple was in-person, and ( I will repeat cause it is important) when the writer was also in-person with them at the same time. Describe the events, meetings, parties or functions, what was going on, who was there, the date, etc, etc.

The best candidate to write the affidavit is someone who does not have a personal “axe to grind” and does not benefit if the couple gets the visa. For example, someone at arms length such as a minister, doctor, teacher, colleague, boss, coworker. All are deemed more reliable than a close family member.

Tip #9 Practice Interview Questions

Before attending the interview go over and practice sample interview questions with your partner. We provide these to our clients and subscribers to the VisaCoach monthly newsletter. At the interview you must be confident, and that is only possible when can calmly and clearly answer any question thrown at you, about you, your partner, your relationship and plans for married life in the USA. Both you and your partner should agree with the answers, because it sometimes happens sometimes that you will both be separately interviewed, and asked the same question. For best chance of approval, both of your independent answers should be the same.

Tip #10 Consulate’s Requirements

Each consulate has a detailed checklist that is strictly followed of which documents and material MUST be brought to the consulate on the day of the interview. The list varies country by country but normally includes originals of civil documents, police clearances, household or singleness certificates, financial evidence and so on. Before the interview study the list of what is needed, and WITHOUT FAIL bring all that is needed..

Arriving short handed, even if you have a really pleasant and successful interview, even when the officer says “you are approved. just send in the missing items and we will issue your visa”, WILL cause lengthy delays.

The consulate officer and staff at the consulate expects your case to be in order and originally planned to issue the visa immediately, job done, then move on to the next case. If you forgot a required document, you have now upset the flow of your case.  And your case is filed away.

You might promptly submit the missing piece the next day, and then wait many months for your visa. Your case has been filed, and will remain, untouched low priority, waiting for the consular reviewers to eventually “circle back” to re-open and complete processing of your case.

These tips are what we normally follow here at VisaCoach for each and every one of our cases. I hope these tips will be useful to you, and hopefully if you are one of our clients will give you a better idea of what is going on behind the scenes.

This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach

Where Americans Can Travel Without Quarantine

Conditions are changing and will continue to change as the pandemic goes on. The good news for those who are itching to travel sooner than later: The list of where US citizens can go is slowly expanding. As of early September, here’s where Americans can visit right now with no quarantine required.
Note that though a test isn’t required, you may be tested upon arrival (randomly, or if you’re showing symptoms) and asked to isolate until you get your results. If you’re sick and do need to quarantine, it may be at your own expense.

  • Albania
  • Belarus
  • Brazil (health insurance covering Covid is required)
  • Dominican Republic (passengers will be randomly selected for a breath test)
  • Kosovo
  • Maldives (confirmed hotel required)
  • Malta (only if you spend 14 days in an approved country first)
  • Mexico (travelers must arrive by plane)
  • North Macedonia
  • Serbia
  • Tanzania (health screening may include a test on arrival)
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
Testing rules are all over the place.

Some countries require a negative test from the last 72 hours while some allow tests that are five days old; some require a test before you board, and others test on arrival. In some countries, a single test is all that’s needed and in others you may need to be tested again depending on the length of your stay.

Bottom line: check each country’s requirements carefully.

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Armenia
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Costa Rica (only visitors from select states are allowed)
  • Croatia (with proof of booked accommodation)
  • Dominica
  • Dubai
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • French Polynesia
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya (travelers from California, Florida, and Texas must quarantine for 14 days)
  • Montenegro
  • Rwanda
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Barts
  • St. Maarten
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • The Seychelles
  • Turks and Caicos

Additionally, Belize, El Salvador, and Namibia have announced plans to reopen soon. Unfortunately at this time there’s no word on when other countries, including those in the EU, may begin welcoming Americans again.

K1 Fiance Visas get Priority Interviews during Covid-19 Pandemic

K1 Fiance Visas NOW approved for Priority Interviews (during Covid-19 Pandemic)

Today, there is good news on the K1 Fiance Visa process
during Covid 19.  The US State Department has just announced, that they will now ALSO treat K1 Fiancee Visas as a high priority for interviews at open and partially opened US consulates world wide.

US consulate service shuttered themselves off at end of March 2020, most consulates closed their doors. Scheduled
interviews cancelled without notice. All cases put on hold.
At that time, there were most likely about 3 to 4 months of cases in the pipeline for each consulate. For the next
5 months more cases got through their USCIS approval, and
were added to the backlog, either at the consulate level
or remaining at NVC.

As per a previous update on the K1 Visa Processing timeline during the pandemic, this is good news as we expect things to speed up greatly

In the last few months, some consulates have reopened fully
for business, and some have opened their doors, just a crack. Officially closed to the public, but quietly started to contact some of their pending cases inviting a
select few to enter the consulate for interviews and
visa issuance.

This was good news. It was especially good news for
the spouses and children of US citizens.
Because their cases, but only their cases, were made a priority.

The consulate tackled these cases first, slowly, with
social distancing, interviewing these lucky few applicants and issuing their visas. About
a half dozen of VisaCoach spouse visa clients have been
recently interviewed, approved and on their way to the USA.

Well that was good news for them. But other cases, and remember there now are about 9 or more months worth
are still on hold, and in most cases
hearing nothing from NVC or the Consulate.

But just a few days ago, the US State Department
announced that it’s OFFICIAL policy, world wide
is to now add K1 Fiance visa applicants to the
high priority list.

This means, that good progress has been made
clearing the backlog of spouses and children, and
now they are deciding “Who is next?”.

Well, if you have a Fiance visa case pending, it is
good news for you. Your case will be next.

On August 31, Monday, the State Department posted this announcement at their website.

Now, K1 Visa applications are the newest high priority.

This means you should be hearing from the consulate
or NVC soon, either that the consulate is ready
to interview you or NVC is sending your case
to the consulate.

Finally, light at the end of the tunnel. So watch your email for good news.

Many applicants are worried that their four month, USCIS
approval would expire. I already expected and advised
my clients not to worry, that extension would be automatic. So for clarity, to calm more nerves, the State Departments announcement also mentioned this. The announcement confirms that if processing of your case was delayed due to Covid 19, then the consulate can (read that as will) extend your case’s validity.

This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach