Category Archives: US Visas

Visa Lottery Interview Must Haves

Registrants for the U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery find out whether or not they have won a chance to apply for a visa in May of the year following their registration with their confirmation numbers.

For the DV 2015 the registration period will take place in 2013 and winners will know if they can apply for a visa in May of 2014.

After winners have applied for a visa, they will have to schedule a visa interview.

This interview is an important part of the process to immigrating to the U.S.

Green Card Lottery winners will generally have their interview at a foreign consulate of the United States.

Applicants should be aware that they need the below things when they go in for their interviews.

  • All relevant forms that the applicant received from the consulate
  • Proof of financial stability in the form of bank statements or a Form I-134, Affidavit of Support
  • Long form birth certificates for the applicant, the spouse of the applicant and any children of the applicant (note: even if these relatives will not be accompanying the principal applicant, their birth certificates must be included
  • A marriage certificate if the principal applicant has a spouse. Divorce certificates or death certificates must also be included if the principal applicant or his or her spouse was previously divorced or widowed
  • Proof of educational qualification this is generally met by a high school diploma
  • All members of the applicant’s party must have passports that remain valid for at least six months past the date of the interview.
  • Police certificates must be obtained for each member of the application party from every country they have lived in since age 16.
  • Military records should  be brought to the interview if extant
  • Two passport-style, color photographs of each of the applicant’s party
  • Medical examination reports for each member of the application party

 

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Family Visas Ending?

Many people who cannot use the family-based immigration program in the United States eventually turn to the Green Card Lottery.

That is the Green Card Lottery’s purpose after all, to provide the opportunity for immigration to those who may not be able to through other means.

However, many more people may have to take advantage of the Green Card Lottery if certain parts of the immigration system in the United States are changed or done away with.

One of the aspects of the immigration system that has recently undergone some criticism is the set of family-based preferences. If removed, this would mean that siblings and adult children of U.S. Green Card holders and citizens would not be eligible for family-based immigration.

However, they could be potentially eligible for the Green Card Lottery.

The only requirements for the Green Card Lottery are location and education.

An applicant must be from a country that has not had a significant number of immigrants sent to the United States in the past five years. The U.S. State Department releases a list of ineligible countries around the time of the registration period for the Green Card Lottery.

Applicants must also have either a high school education on two years of experience in a job that took two years to train for. This profession needs to be approved by the Department of Labor as well.

Applicants can look to register in the Green Card Lottery (DV-2015) in October 2013 and they can find out whether or not they have won in May of 2014.

Visa applications are to be filed between summer of 2014 and the end of 2015.

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DV-2015 Dates

The Diversity Visa Lottery registration period for 2013 is officially called the DV-2015. During this period of time, immigrants will be given the opportunity to enter into the Green Card Lottery.

Green Cards are United States immigration documents that allow their holders the right to live, work and study within the country. Green Cards are also necessary for the citizenship application.

The DV-2015 Dates, that is the relevant dates for registration, are uncertain at the moment. The State Department requires confirmation from Congress in order to initiate the program and as Congress has not authorized the lottery yet, the dates remain unknown.

However, it is highly unusual for the Diversity Visa Lottery program to not be authorized. It is likely that the announcement has simply been delayed.

Previous years may serve as a source of estimation for DV-2015 dates.

The registration period should begin sometime in early October of 2013 and end in early November of 2013. No other applications will be accepted outside of this time-frame for registration in the Green Card Lottery.

On May 1, 2014, the winners of the Green Card Lottery will be announced and registrants can enter their registration numbers into the State Department’s website.

When checking the State Department’s website, applicants will be given another number, which will be used to track one’s place in the Visa Bulletin.

The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin is a document that is released monthly and announces which petitioners and applicants of immigration visas can now actually apply for their visas.

Green Card Lottery winners can apply for their Green Cards when their number come up in the Visa Bulletin sometime between summer of 2014 and December of 2015. However, it is a good idea to apply for the actual visa sooner than later.

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Immigration Medical Exam: Doctors

Winners of the Green Card Lottery will be able to proceed to the process of applying for the actual immigration visa.

Without this immigration document, the winners will not be admitted to the United States.

The application process is very similar to that of any other visa applicant regardless of their basis of immigration.

Part of the process is a medical examination. The purpose of this step is to see if the applicant is healthy enough to come to the United States and become a permanent resident.

This examination cannot be conducted by any doctor. Rather, the United States Department of State and Citizenship and Immigration Services require that the doctor be from their list of civil surgeons.

What Is a Civil Surgeon?

Civil surgeons are medical doctors who have been chosen and designated by the United States government to be official medical consultants for the immigration process.

In order to become a civil surgeon, these doctors must apply and be qualified by the appropriate authorities.

Their duties include the administration of various health tests including:

  • Vaccinations
  • Tuberculosis tests
  • Permanent Residence health requirements
  • Assessments of mental health
  • Assessments of substance abuse
  • Assessment of syphilis and Hansen’s disease
  • Other requirements of the Center for Disease Control

How to Find a Civil Surgeon

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) maintain a civil surgeon locator for the U.S. on their website. This is to be used by immigrants who are already in the United States and who are adjusting their status to permanent resident.

Residents of other countries should contact the consulate or embassy nearest to them, during their visa application process to find a nearby civil surgeon who can qualify them for an immigration visa.

Green Card Lottery winners will mostly be in contact with foreign diplomatic missions during this process, as this examination may not be conducted in the United States for them.

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Immigration Medical Exam: Exclusionary Conditions

Winners of the Green Card Lottery are instructed by the Kentucky Consular Center to then apply for a visa to the United States.

While the registration for the Green Card Lottery is relatively simple and does not require a lot out of its applicants, the visa application is quite a bit stricter.

There are applications, examinations and interviews that immigrants must pass through in order to get a visa. This is true for all visa applicants and not just for Green Card Lottery Winners.

Many people who win the lottery are eventually disqualified during the visa application.

One part of the examination will be a physical health examination to determine if one is healthy enough for entry into the United States for permanent residency.

There are some conditions that may automatically exclude an immigrant from coming to the U.S.

Exclusionary Conditions

Not all of these conditions will result in automatic rejection, but one should know what to do to maintain eligibility.

  • Tuberculosis. Immigrants who test positive for tuberculosis must supply a certificate from their doctor that shows that they were properly treated for their condition.
  • Syphilis. Immigrants who have had syphilis in the past must show that they were properly treated for the disease. An explanation for no treatment must also be submitted if that is the case.
  • Mental illness, substance abuse, history of violent behavior. Immigrants with any of these conditions must provide certification showing their treatment and prognosis to the immigration doctor.
  • Chronic Illness. Immigrants with chronic illnesses which may or may not involve the regular intake of drugs, should be familiar with their disease and the medication they take.

After passing the medical examination, immigrants are even closer to becoming permanent residents of the United States!

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US Visa Versus Green Card

While one cannot pit a US Visa against a Green Card (they’re effectively just different steps in a process which ultimately terminates at citizenship) for the purpose of this blog we will examine the salient differences between a Green Card and a US non-immigrant visa.

For the sake of a visual comparison here is a compare and contrast table between the two immigration statuses. As you can see below, the Green Card is a far more stable status than just a United States Visa and is hence why it is so preferred.

 

Benefits: Green Card US Visa
Basic human rights while in the United States? Yes Yes
Temporary? No Yes
Permanent? Yes No
Employment Authorization? 1 Yes Depends
Travel throughout the US? 2 Yes Depends
Study at an American university? 3 Yes Depends
Path to citizenship? 4 Yes No
Access to American social benefits? Yes No
Can be revoked at any time? 5 Yes Yes

 

  1. Some non-immigrant visas allow for employment authorization, but they are few and are limited to a specific time limit. Green Card holders can work freely in the United States indefinitely.
  2. While non-immigrant visas do not explicitly limit a person from travelling in the United States, their visa may have been granted based on some program (such as school or work) which may hinder a person’s travelling aspirations.
  3. Foreign students must apply for a student visa to study at a university in the US. Permanent Residents, or Green Card holders, need only apply for acceptance to the learning program.
  4. Most visitors with non-immigrant visas must leave the country before they can re-enter. However, Green Card holders can apply for citizenship after about five years.
  5. Any immigration status whether a visa or a Green Card can be revoked at any time, however, it is far more unusual and difficult for the government to take away the benefits of a Green Card.
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Visa Denials

Visa DenialThe visa forms and processes may be different for different types of US visas, but there is one thing common to all visas – the visa interview. All visa applicants will be interviewed at an American embassy or consulate. There are very few exceptions. At the end of the interview, the consular officer will decide whether to approve or deny the visa application.

US immigration law determines whether a visa application is approved or denied. There are several reasons for denial. Based on the law, the reasons vary. Sometimes visa applications are denied due to insufficient information, missing documents, incomplete application, etc. In such cases, providing the missing information or documents allows the application to be reconsidered. There are other reasons which make the denial permanent. Things like drug or criminal activities make a person ineligible for a visa permanently.

There are instances when a person found to be ineligible for a visa can get a waiver. After adjudicating a visa application, the applicant is informed whether the application has been approved or denied. When an application is denied, a reason is provided for the denial. The conuslar office also mentions whether applying for a waiver of the ineligibility is possible.

Ineligibility for a Visa

US immigration laws and the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) list the reasons for ineligibility for a visa. Ineligibility means the applicant does not meet certain requirements. Some ineligibilities are temporary and can be fixed by the applicant or the US petitioner for some immigrant visa cases. Other ineligibilities are permanent and the applicant will always be found ineligible under that section of law how many ever times he or she chooses to make an application. This is the case always, unless the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) allows an application for waiver of that ineligibility.

List of Visa Ineligibilities

Travel.state.gov lists some examples of visa ineligibilites as given below:

The visa applicant:

  • Did not fully complete the visa application and/or provide all required supporting documentation – INA section 221(g)
  • Did not establish eligibility for the visa category being applied for or overcome the presumption of being an intending immigrant – INA section 214(b)
  • Did not demonstrate proof of adequate financial support in the United States; therefore denied under public charge – INA section 212(a)(4)
  • Misrepresented a material fact or committed fraud to attempt to receive a visa – INA section 212(a)(6)(C)(i)
  • Previously remained longer than authorized in the United States – INA section 212(a)(9)(B)(i)

Applicants can refer to the website for a complete list of all visa ineligibilites.

Re-applying After a Visa Denial

An applicant whose visa application was denied may re-apply for a visa in the future. If the visa was denied under INA section 221(g), the applicant will either have to provide the information or documents requested by the consular officer or wait for additional administrative processing to be done. In this case, there is no need for a fresh application. For visas denied under sections other than 221(g), the applicant will have to file a new application and pay the required fees again. Proof of change in circumstances since the previous application need to be provided.


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America Reforms Student Work Visa Program

Changes in rules for US J-1 Summer Work and Travel (SWT) Program

The US Department of State has issued new regulations and vital reforms to the J-1 Summer Work and Travel Program. This is a program which brings more than 100,000 students from foreign colleges to the United States, every year.

These changes are a result of various allegations regarding the misuse of this student work visa program recently. The US State Department had received reports regarding the widespread misuse of the student work visa program in the year 2010.

Many the foreign students who entered the United States on US J-1 visas were found to be employed in strip clubs and many students were admitted to work under compulsion. Many other foreign students who had entered the United States on US J-1 visas were also found to be living and working in highly lamentable conditions.

The main intention of this US student-exchange program is to understand the American culture. But this program has resulted in nothing other than swaying away from the purpose for which the act created. Hence the State Department decided that new tougher rules will definitely stop such misuse of the very popular student-exchange program. New rules will make sure the foreign students who enter the United States will be treated fairly. The new rules will also see to the safety, security and welfare of the foreign students in the United States. It will also see to that the foreign students get jobs where they will interact with the Americans and get an exposure to the culture of the United States.

This US SWT program is very popular because, it attracts a large number of foreign students to enter the United States and work there for a period of four months. Around 100,000 foreign students come to the United States every year under the US J-1 Summer Work and Travel Program.

This program was created to give opportunities to the post-secondary international students to come to the United States and earn, along with experiencing the American culture, during their summer holidays.
Eligibility requirements to participate in this US SWT Program is very simple. A student who is pursuing full-time studies or a degree at any of the accredited educational institute or a bona-fide student of post-secondary education is eligible to apply for the US SWT Program.

Certain new rules will be effective immediately. Few other new rules will take effect in November. One of the significant rules which would prohibit the participants from working in manufacturing and construction industries, will also be effective in November. The rules also prohibit the participants from working in businesses in which the primary working hours are between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Few new rules are designates 49 companies the State Department as official “sponsors,” who would help the students to get visas, find jobs and housing. It will also ensure that the participants are treated decently. The State Department also wants the employers to ensure that the jobs that are offered are genuinely seasonal and temporary and it will not displace US workers. Through this program, the participants are required to come to the United States during their summer breaks.

Employers who hire foreign students over an American can save up to 8 percent because they need not pay Social Security, Medicare and unemployment taxes. The foreign students are also required to have their own health insurance.

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