Tourist Visa to USA

Simple Ways to Get Your U.S. Tourist Visa Fast

In the immigration profession, the most frequently asked question is how the visa applicant can get a tourist visa to America and to get it fast.  You can spend countless hours scouring the internet and find immigration forums with well intended posts but be completely befuddled by the immigration process. Here are some simple ways to get your U.S. tourist visa fast.

Be prepared. While this may seem common sense, it still boggles legal professionals when they encounter prospective tourists who expect to get their tourist visa within a few days. You have to plan in advance of your trip and during especially peak months such as June – August, be prepared to wait a little bit longer for the visa interview. So if you know you want to come to the States to visit your friend in December, or even considering it, then put in your tourist visa application in August or September as the U.S. Embassy will more than likely give you an interview before your travel date given that it’s months in advance.

Get your documents ready. If you are applying for a tourist visa to America, you probably found on the U.S. Embassy website that there’s a list of documents that they want to review at your interview. Moreover, these documents must be in English and legible. Prepare your financial statement, employment letter, invitation letter, and your supporting documents in advance so that at your interview you are prepared to hand it over to the interviewing officer.

Be organized and know your stuff. If you ever sat in the waiting area at the U.S. Embassy and watch the people passing through you will see that many come in with thick portfolios, bulging briefcase, or a late tote bag filled with documents and folders. Realistically the visa officer only has a few minutes to interview you and during those precious moments you want to show them your best and strongest evidence. They want to see qualitative evidence of what you have to prove your ties to your home country. So you have a few minutes to impress on them the solid evidence you brought with you Not only do you need to have your documents in an organized fashion but you had better KNOW and VERBALLY express what documents you have with you. You do not have time to rummage through your over-sized tote bag to dig out that employment letter.  And by the way, the slot in the window is not big enough for you to slide your binder through so start throwing it out.  Organize your paperwork so that your strongest and compelling evidence is on top, for instance your employment letter should be on top, next your evidence of financial or property ownership, and then your proof of financial responsibility for your trip. You got 10 minutes so you have to argue your case fast.

Be realistic. Quite simply, some cases are approvable. This means that regardless of what you bring or how well your interview went you do not meet the criteria for a U.S. tourist visa. For instance, if you have committed a crime in the past, whether in the States of abroad and regardless of the type of crime, this is a direct violation of the B1 or B2 Tourist Visa condition. Issuing you another visa may not be possible, but consult with an immigration professional about your particular case. Additionally, if you’ve withheld information or basically misrepresented information in the application, then it decimates your chances of obtaining another visa. In fact, if you currently have a tourist visa to America, any violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act could result in your visa being revoked.

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International Adoption

Adoption and Hague

Differences between I-600 and I-800 Adoptions

The I-800 process applies to orphan adoptions that are covered by the Hague Convention and US implementation IAA. The I-600 process continues to apply to those orphan adoptions that are not covered by the Hague Convention.  For all cases filed after April 1, 2008, if an orphan adoptee is from a Hague Convention member country, I-800 procedure mustbe usedBoth I-600 and I-800 do not require two year co-habitation or two year custody and typically speed up the process for adopted child of a qualified U.S. Citizen to immigrate to the U.S. and become U.S. Citizens. While I-600 orphan adoptions and I-800 Hague Convention adoptions are similar, there are some noteworthy differences.

1. Qualifying countries:

Hague Convention adoptions (I-800 process) apply only to countries that are party to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and where the convention has entered into force. These countries are referred to by the Department of State as “Hague Countries” or “Convention Countries.”

Orphan adoptions (I-600 process) apply to any non-Hague country.

2. Child qualifications:

Both Hague Convention adoptions and Orphan adoptions are for “orphan” children. However, each process has a different definition for a qualified child.

For the Hague Convention adoptionI-800 process, a child is considered a qualified Convention adoptee if his birth parents, or parent in the case of a child with only one sole of surviving parent, or other person or institution with legal custody of the child, give their written consent to end their legal relationship with the child and allow the child’s emigration and adoption. A child may also be considered a convention adoptee if his birth parents are incapable of providing proper care for the child and have placed that child for adoption. It is therefore possible for a child to qualify for a Hague adoption even though he has two surviving parents.

A child is qualified for the I-600 orphan adoption process  [if he no parents due to death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by or separation or loss from both parents. A child is also considered an orphan when his sole or surviving parent is unable to take proper care of the child and has released the child for emigration and adoption. However, if both parents of the adoptee are alive, the adoption can not be classified as orphan adoption under I-600.

3. Required forms and filing procedure:

Hague Convention adoptions require Form I-800A and Form I-800. Form I-800 cannot be filed until after USCIS has approved Form I-800A. Applicants or their agents may not adopt the child or obtain custody of the child until after Form I-800A has been approved and Form I-800 has been conditionally approved.

Orphan adoptions require that Form I-600A and then Form I-600 be filed or that Form I-600 be filed alone. In adoption cases, the applicants or their agents can adopt the child or obtain custody of the child prior to the submission of Form I-600A or I-600.

4. Approval notice validity periods:

Approval notices for Form I-800A are valid for 15 months from the date of approval unless an extension is requested using Form I-800A, Supplement 3. There is no filing fee for the first extension; the fee for additional extension requests is $340.

Approval notices for Form I-600A remain valid for 18 months from the date of approval unless an extension is requested. Applicants can request one extension by submitting a written request to the USCIS office where Form I-600A was submitted. There is no filing fee for the extension request. However, applicants will not be allowed to request more than one extension for Form I-600A approval.

Please note, I-130 family-based immigration petitions are still applicable in Hague and Non-Hague countries and exist independently as the process for non-orphan adoptions.


Removal of Condition on Permanent Residence

If your marriage was under two years at the time of your application then USCIS places a condition on your temporary green card. The immigration laws presume that this marriage was entered into solely for the purposes of immigration and the petitioning resident and the conditional resident must prove that they did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the U.S.

1. A U.S. citizen or a permanent resident and his spouse must apply together to remove the conditions on the spouse’s residence. They should apply during the 90 days before the second anniversary as a conditional resident. Usually, the expiration date on the alien spouse’s green card is also the date of his second anniversary as a conditional resident. If they do not apply to remove the conditions in time, the alien spouse could lose his conditional resident status and be removed from the U.S.

2. If the conditional resident has been battered or abused by his U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, the alien may apply to remove the conditions on his permanent residency at any time after he becomes a conditional resident, but before he is removed from the U.S.

3. If the marriage becomes not viable, that is, the couple is separated or no longer shares a household, the petition to remove the conditions of residence shall not be denied provided that the conditional resident can show that the marriage was entered into in good faith and with a genuine desire for a marital relationship, and not solely for immigration purposes.

4. If the couple is divorced, the alien may also apply to remove the conditions on his permanent residence at any time after he becomes a conditional resident, but before he is removed from the U.S.

5. If the alien spouse’s child received conditional resident status within 90 days after the alien spouse did, then the child may be included in the alien’s application to remove the conditions on permanent residence. However, the child must file a separate application if the child received conditional resident status more than 90 days after the alien spouse did.


Travel Document

Re-entry permit is a document that allows certain aliens to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad without an immigrant visa or non-immigrant visa. Such aliens must be granted Advance Parole before leaving the United States. If they have not obtained Advance Parole prior to traveling abroad, they may not be permitted to re-enter the United States upon their return without obtaining some kind of visa. However, this rule is not strictly enforced sometimes.

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Employment Authorization Documet EAD

Individuals who are temporarily in the United States and eligible for employment authorization may file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

It is also sometimes known as a work permit. The EAD, or work permit, is in the form of a laminated card with the alien’s name and photo and an expiration date. With an EAD, an alien may legally work in the United States for any employer until the expiration date is reached. The current filing fee is $360

The general categories of aliens that may apply for an EAD include (but are not limited to):

  1. F-1 student seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) in an occupation directly related to her studies. After having been enrolled full-time in an approved school for at least nine months, alien students are eligible to apply for an EAD.
  2. F-1 students offered off-campus employment under the sponsorship of a qualifying international organization.
  3. F-1 student seeking off-campus employment due to severe economic hardship. Alien applicants must submit any evidence, such as affidavits, which detail the unforeseen economic circumstances that caused the request, as well as evidence that the applicants have tried to find off-campus employment with an employer who has filed a labor and wage attestation.
  4. J-2 spouse or minor child of an exchange visitor. Applicants must submit a written statement, with supporting evidence, showing that the employment is not necessary to support the J-1, but is for another purpose.
  5. Adjustment Applicants. After or at the time an alien files for adjustment of status (I-485), the alien applicants may file an EAD application.
  6. M-1 students seeking practical training after completing their studies.
  7. K-1 Nonimmigrant Fiance(e) of a US Citizen or a K-2 Dependent. Applicants can file an EAD application within 90 days from the date of entry.
  1. Family Unity Program beneficiaries. If aliens have been granted status under this program, they may file an EAD application with a copy of the approval letter.
  2. L-2 visa holders
  3. Asylees (granted asylum)
  4. Asylum applicants (with a pending asylum application) who filed for asylum on or after January 4, 1995. If the applicant filed a Request for Asylum and for Withholding of Deportation on or after January 4, 1995, he/she must wait at least 150 days before he/she is eligible to apply for an EAD. 
  5. Refugees
  6. Those Paroled as a Refugee
B1 Visa

Visa for Maid or Domestic Servant

Applying for a visa for your maid or domestic servant to come to the US with you, be prepared that most of these B1 Tourist Visas are routinely denied. The vast majority of these applicants will most likely be unable to qualify for a visa to enter the United States.  Additionally, the visa application fee must be paid before the application is processed and it is non-refundable.  The fee applies regardless of whether the applicant is granted or refused a visa.

When reviewing a domestic employee visa application, the Consular Officer must consider the employer’s legal status in the United States.  U.S. law requires that the domestic employee work for an employer who falls into one of the following categories:

  • a U.S. citizen employer temporarily assigned to the United States, who is subject to frequent international transfers lasting two years or more as a condition of the job as confirmed by the employer’s personnel office and is returning to the United States for a stay of no more than four years; or
  • an employer who is seeking admission into, or is already in, the United States in B, E, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, or Q non-immigrant status.

By regulation, neither domestic employees of U.S. citizens who permanently reside in or are resuming permanent residence in the United States, nor domestic employees of U.S. Legal Permanent Residents, can obtain non-immigrant domestic employee visas.  If the employer of the domestic servant is a U.S. citizen who is moving back to the U.S. on a permanent basis, the employer cannot bring a domestic employee back to the U.S.

Also, if only one spouse has a qualifying status, the domestic employee will not be eligible for a non-immigrant visa, because both spouses must have a qualifying status (e.g. a visa cannot be issued to a domestic employee whose employer includes a U.S. citizen spouse and a Legal Permanent Resident spouse, because Legal Permanent Residents are not qualified employers).

The employer has to pay the prevailing wage and all medical and insurance as required by law.


IV Interview Document Checklist – What to Take with You to a Visa Interview

The following list is a general reminder on what everyone should bring to a visa interview. Remember, however, that each case is different and you must bring the specific documents that our office tells you to bring. This list is no substitute for a consultation with an Attorney.


1.    Passport(s)

Take any passport that you have owned, even if expired. Sometimes the interviewer may
ask to see your old passport to see what visas you have obtained in the past.

2.    Birth Certificate(s)

Take a certified copy of your birth certificate (and the birth certificates of any family members who may be immigrating with you).

If you cannot get a certified copy, please ask us what alternatives are acceptable.

3.    Certificates of Marriage, Divorce, and Death

If you are married or have ever been married, take with you proof of the marriage, even if you have been divorced or separated. All certificates must be a certified, official government document. Church documents are not acceptable.

If you are divorced, bring the official document of divorce.

If you are a widow or widower, bring an official certification of your spouse’s death. If
you have an obituary or similar newspaper report, bring that, but remember that the interviewer will probably want something official.

4.    Police Certificate

Bring police clearances from every country you have lived for more than six months since you turned 16 years old. Get a clearance even if you have never been arrested! You do not need one for the United States.

5.    Medical Examination and  Supplement (Immunization Records)

Bring your medical examination and supplement with you. DO NOT open the sealed

6.    Employment Information

  • Employment letter or proof of financial support

You need to prove that the government will not have to support you if you get an immigrant visa.

If you have employment waiting for you in the United States, bring a letter from that employer confirming you have a job offer.

If you are being sponsored by a family member, you will need to provide an I-864
“affidavit of support” from either a U.S. Citizen relative or a Legal Permanent Resident relative.

If you have won the Lottery you must  either provide an I-134 “affidavit of support”or a letter of employment (Note: The affidavit does not have to be from
a family member in this instance)

7. Diplomas and other educational certificates

Bring the originals, even if they are not in English. If anything is not in English,
obtain a certified translation and bring it with you to the interview.

Immigration Papers

8. Immigrant Visa Application (Form OF-230II)

Bring completed form with you. Sign the form in the presence of a Consular Officer.

9. Approval Notices

Bring the notices for ALL visas you have ever received, whether they are temporary or permanent.

10. Other Records

Take any official records that are necessary for your case such as military records or criminal records, tax records, payroll records, W-2s, and pay stubs.

11. For special cases-Waiver Application

Some visa applicants have made mistakes in their past and are “excludable,” which means they are technically ineligible to enter the United States. If this applies to you, consult your Attorney before taking any further action.

The visa interview is much like a job interview. You should dress well, be prepared, and give the interviewer the impression that YOU are the right person for the visa.

Understand the visa process and the purpose of the interview. Remember the interviewing tips you have learned from our office.  Help the interviewer approve your case by being prepared.

K1 Visa Denial and the 221(g) Blue Sheet

k1 visa couple K1 Visa Denial and the 221(g) Blue SheetAny American citizen who has met and fallen in love with someone abroad and wants to bring their future spouse to America has to file a K1 Fiance(e) Visa on Form I-129F.  This form and supporting documents are sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service or USCIS for approval. As a general procedural process, the initial I-129F Petition is routinely approved with the National Visa Center or NVC after performing a paper review and forwarding the case to the Embassy where the fiancée resides.

The NVC is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the filing fee is paid, the required passport photos are attached, the Biographical Data Form is included, and the forms are signed. It is not the NVC’s role to determine whether the fiancée abroad is eligible for the K1 visa, which is the role of the Department of State after a thorough investigation and personal interview.

While the initial I-129F process is quite painless, most couples are bewildered when they receive a “blue sheet” or 221(g) from the Embassy abroad. The blue sheet is issued if the consular officer finds that the evidence submitted did not satisfactorily demonstrate that the couple had entered into the premarital relationship to marry. Implying that the relationship was entered into to evade immigration law and gain immigration benefits, which is a violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act or INA. The blue sheet technically cites a provision of the law in the INA under section 221(g) wherein the officer believe there’s insufficient evidence to approve the case and will require further investigation into the statements or evidence submitted.

Simply the consular officer believes that the relationship between the U.S. citizen petitioner and the beneficiary was not sufficiently established to overcome the legal presumption that the marriage was entered into to evade immigration law.  The consular officer either found a discrepancy at the personal visa interview with the fiancée or a discrepancy in the documentary evidence submitted. Alternatively, the consular officer discovered new and damaging evidence after investigating the fiancée’s background, or at the very least raised some red flags that require additional review. In cases such as this, should consult with an experienced U.S. immigration lawyer who specializes in consular processing to review the case thoroughly and provide you with some legal advice.

Due to the high volume of marriage fraud and immigration sham cases originating from countries such as China, Vietnam, and the Philippines, K1 visa applicants from these countries should submit substantial evidence of their courtship including email, cards, letters, chat logs, phone bills showing number of calls and length of calls. A sample of email threads the couple has over the years and any receipts of bills associated with any purchases made for either party. If applicable then it’s wise to submit a detailed and signed statement describing how the couple met, which includes the details about the trip(s) made to visit the beneficiary in her home country, the proposal, the acceptance, about meeting the family, and about their hopes and dreams for their future together in America.

Saying this though, you have to keep in mind that some cases are just not approvable because the fiancé has an inadmissibility issue that will not be cured by proving the sincerity of the relationship. For K1 visa fiancé’s who have a communicable medical condition such as HIV or Tuberculosis, a criminal conviction, overstay violations in the past, or misrepresentation, the fiancé has to apply for a special I-601 extreme hardship waiver.