Massive Visitor Visa Interview Delays Mean High Stakes for Applicants

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Below is a table of the current interview wait times for B-1/B-2 applications at certain embassies and consulates around the world. Despite promises from the Department of State, the massive wait times in most countries, as you can see, have not been reduced.  City October 7, 2022 March 24, 2023 May 19, 2023 Rio de Janeiro 347 449 449 Sao Paulo 338 554 595 Brasilia 315 469 483 Mumbai 825 332 507 New Delhi 833 247 379 Hyderabad 459 246 351 Chennai 780 680 337 Kolkata 767 357 490 Guadalajara 806 664 731 Mexico City 641 695 730 Tijuana 555 541 567 Lagos 735 486 563 Abuja 850 409 307 Madrid 380 329 335 Paris 520 50 93 London 34 89 90 Berlin 58 87 42 Prague 100 16 105 Outrage is growing among the American business community, as wait times exceed 1 year (!)  for an interview at dozens…

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Top 15 Trends and Observations in 212(a)(6)(C)(i) Visa Decisions – Part III

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Here, we finalize our list of the top 15 trends and observations relating to Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) – findings of willful, material misrepresentations: 11. The Role of ICE/HSI.   Most individuals who have either submitted a work or immigration petition or application or entered the United States are familiar with the government agencies involved in those processes – US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), respectively.  And many are familiar with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as the “immigration police”: ICE enforces US immigration laws within the United States.  But not many are aware that the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) branch of ICE has officers embedded into certain consulates overseas and that those officers make findings of inadmissibility. ICE denies that it makes such findings – its position is that it is the consular officer who makes such findings, not ICE.  However, we have seen internal government…

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Top 15 Trends and Observations in 212(a)(6)(C)(i) Visa Decisions

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Unlawful presence (212(a)(9)(B)), misrepresentations (212(a)(6)(C)(i)), and alien smuggling (212(a)(6)(E)) continue to be the most frequently invoked inadmissibility bars to entry to the United States by consular officers.  And while unlawful presence based on overstays in the United States is a relatively straightforward legal decision, determinations of willful, material misrepresentations and alien smuggling are not.   How does one define “materiality”? Was the misrepresentation actually “willful”? What does it mean to “aid and abet the illegal entry” to the United States? This 3-part blog will focus on the latest trends in consular misrepresentation (“6Ci”) decisions; later, we will address recent trends in smuggling (“6E”) adjudications. Notwithstanding the pandemic and the limited operations of consular posts, the rendering of 6Ci determinations continues unabated.  In the pandemic years of FY2020 and FY2021, consuls entered more than 17,000 misrepresentation findings. During this time, we have observed the following: Politics is Overestimated. Many thought that with…

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Visa Myth #975 – “But They Gave Me 6 Months to Stay in the US!”

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At least a couple of times a month I get a similar, frantic phone call. “I just applied for a new visa, but it was denied. The consul didn’t like the fact that I spent 5 months in the US on my last trip.  I told him that the airport inspector allowed me to stay for 6 months. I didn’t do anything wrong!”  Or “My visa has been revoked. But I didn’t do anything wrong.  When I arrived in the US, they gave me 6 months to stay, so I did. I didn’t violate any laws, so why are they revoking my visa?!?” The revocation is done by either the consul or the airport inspector the next time the visa holder arrives in the US. There are many “red flags” here considered by the consul or airport inspector: The visa holder must remember that when he applies for a visa…

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FAQ on New Public Charge Rules – Part 2: Trouble ahead for Older Immigrants, Diversity Lottery Winners, and Immigrants without Job Offers, English Skills, or University Education

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On February 22, we published Part 1 of this FAQ. Since then, the Department of State, including all embassies and consular posts outside the United States, implemented the new rules. What practical changes have gone into effect? It is still too early to know exactly what each embassy and consulate will require from immigrant visa applicants.  However, in the few weeks since the rules went into effect, it appears that embassies and consulates processing immigrant visas are requiring 1) the completion and submission of the Form DS-5540 and 2) asset and income documents confirming the information in the Form.   The new Form DS-5540 asks about the immigrant visa applicant’s 1) age: 2) health; 3) household size; 4) assets; 5) current and future income; 6) liabilities; 7) past usage of public benefits in the US, if any; 8) education; and 9) trade/vocational skills. Documents confirming assets, such as real estate appraisals…

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FAQ on New Birth Tourism Rules

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The Trump Administration announced new rules regarding birth tourism, which took effect on January 24, 2020.  Already, misinformation has cropped up. So to provide some clarity, the below FAQ is provided: Whom do the new rules affect? They only affect applicants for B visitor visas; they do not impact current holders of visas nor citizens of  Visa Waiver Program countries who can enter the US without a visa. May current holders of visas and those who hold passports from Visa Waiver Program countries enter the United States to give birth? The Department of Homeland Security, which include Customs and Border Protection inspectors at ports-of-entry, has not announced any new policies or reinterpretations of allowing entry for those who enter to give birth.  In the past inspectors permitted women to enter the US to give birth as long as they could show the ability to cover the cost of birth.  However,…

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Department of State Releases 2019 Visa Refusal Statistics – and They Ain’t Pretty

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Visa refusals continue to skyrocket under the Trump Administration – and it doesn’t seem to matter whether the applicants are from countries considered “friends” or “foes” of the United States.  While the refusal rates for some countries, such as Vietnam, Philippines and Pakistan, have remained relatively stable, other countries have seen a significant jump.  Brazil, Nigeria, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and China have each seen increases of more than 25% over the past two years, with India and Mexico not far behind.  Below are the visa refusal statistics for B visas for fiscal years 2017-2019. Country % of B Visa Applicants Refused in FY-2017 % of B Visa Applicants Refused in FY-2018 % of B Visa Applicants Refused in FY-2019 % Increase from FY-2017 to FY-2019 Brazil 12.34 12.73 18.48 49.75 China 14.57 17 18.22 25.05 India 23.29 26.07 27.75 19.14 Mexico 22.5 24.93 26.66 18.48 Nigeria 44.95 57.47 67.20 49.49…

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Myth #1: A 214(b) Denial is Only for a Lack of “Ties”

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I am often contacted by those refused visas under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and asked: “How can this be? I have great ties to my country. Married, kids, a good job.  How can they say I don’t have enough ties?” Unfortunately, many do not understand that “ties” are only a part of the 214(b) equation; another factor considered by consular officers is whether the purpose of the trip to the US corresponds to the type of visa applied for. A gentleman recently contacted me about B-1 business visa refusals under 214(b). His problem was not that he lacked ties to his home country, but that he planned to work in the United States on the visa.  It sounded like he received bad advice from an incompetent attorney, and then “dug his own grave” by attempting to obtain the visa under varying pretexts. His case was sympathetic…

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How Does the Department of State Count Visa Denials? Or “When is a Visa Refusal Not a Refusal?”

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In our previous blog, we highlighted the worldwide B visa refusal rates.  But those DOS published rates do not convey the entire picture. As any politician knows, when making any tally, the actual number is not important, but how one determines that number that is. The Department of State is no different. The Department of State publishes adjusted refusal rates.  The actual refusal rates are not published.  In all likelihood the actual refusal rate is higher, and perhaps in some circumstances, substantially so. So how does the DOS “adjust” its statistics?  It does so by only counting the last consular action on a particular applicant in a fiscal year. For example, if a businessman applied for a visa and was denied two times in 2015, and on his third attempt, he receives a visa in 2015, only the issuance will be counted; the two refusals will not be counted.  If…

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