Immigration Assistance Philippines | Immigration Attorney | Immigration Law Firm | Visa Guidance Layer in Pasig Malate Manila Cavite Marinduque

Articles about the immigration

The Immigration Blog – By New York Attorney Harley Barrales, Esq.*

New York, USA – Blogs are supposed to be both informative and entertaining. To achieve it, I intentionally divided this blog, first, to include a scenario, or by laying down the foundation as lawyers call it and second, by addressing the substance of the inquiry in the section I call the “Heart of the Matter”.

If you prefer a matter-of- fact approach to immigration, I recommend that you jump ahead to the section I mentioned, otherwise, read on the scenario to get a little entertainment. By the way, please take time to read the disclaimer provided at the bottom of this blog. It is a little legalese but in short, it is saying that the interpretation and narration found in this article are of general nature and should not be interpreted as a legal advice.

VISITING AMERICA

Manila, Philippines - Summer is approaching and you are thinking where to spend two to four weeks of vacation as well as the left-over bonuses or tax refund that you received. You have been to Boracay, Palawan and all other cool beach spots in the Philippines and now you are thinking of a vacation overseas. Then the vision of Sarah Jessica Parker from “Sex in the City” or Gordon Gekko from “Wall Street” popped up in your head and you tell yourself “This year, I want to go to New York City or Disneyland or Hollywood!” You get excited for a minute but reality hits you in the head. You haven’t been to the US before and the US Embassy in Manila has the notorious reputation of denying majority of the application for visitor visa. Now you are nervous and excited at the same time. You really wanted to visit the US, but you do not know what to do.

But then you caught your lucky break.

It is Friday and you are winding down in your favorite coffee place, waiting for your order of caramel macchiato. Then a “dude” wearing jeans and rocker shirt with a nice Calvin Klein suit, leather strapped chronograph watch who, like you, was waiting for his coffee tells you “Hi”. You talked for a moment and then when you asked him what does he do for a living. You almost shriek when you heard his response that he is a lawyer from New York and that he practices US Immigration laws. He told you that he is in the Philippines on a vacation and he gave you his card. Now you are excited, you want to ask him a lot of question about your vacation. So you did your due diligence by “googling” his name and verifying his credentials. It all checks out, so the following day you call up the + (63) 9175030001 that is indicated in his calling card as his Manila office , and scheduled for an in-person interview. Below is the transcript of the conversation:

THE HEART OF THE MATTER
NON-IMMIGRANT VISITOR VISA

Q: What is the kind of visa that would allow me to visit the United States?
A: There are generally 2 types of non-immigrant visitor visas that would allow a foreign national to visit the United States. These are B-1 visa for business-related travel and B-2 visa for pleasure or medical treatment. Practically, there is not much of the difference between the consequences of these visas except that it touches the representation that you, as an applicant, make to get the visa.
Q: What do you mean by practically B1 is not different from B2 ?
A: Absent any annotation in your B1 visa that limits the purpose of your visit, you can use B-1 or B-2 visa to travel in any state in the United States. Both does not give you the authorization to work, and in both cases, you have to prove that you are going back to the Philippines based on the demonstration of “strong ties” .
Q: What do you mean by strong ties?
A: There is no exact definition of what strong ties means, so I can only explain it to you in a concept form. The law (Section 214(b) of INA) otherwise says that you, as an alien applicant is presumed to have the intent to immigrate, or to permanently stay in the US at the time of your admission until you prove otherwise. You see, even before you step before that “bank teller” looking window, the officer on the other side of that glass panel is already thinking that he is going deny you unless you convince him.
Q: I am still confused. Can you explain more, with example?
A: What I am trying to says is that “strong ties” simply means that you have the strong reason that you will go back to the Philippines. It could be a job, business, house, family, fat bank account. Consider also that there is a known history that there are many of Filipinos who went TNT in the US makes this degree of proof a little harder, so you have to prove that you have something “big” that you will lose if you do not return after your intended visit to the US.

Also, it goes without saying that you need to show that you have the ability to support yourself during your visit. Obviously, you cannot just say that you were invited by your friends or family and that all of the expenses will be paid by them including your travel, lodging and food expenses. You have to show that you have more than enough money to support yourself and your travel party for the entire duration of your intended stay.
Q: Ok, I got it. So what are the procedures to apply for visitor visa?
A: Effective December 1, 2010, the US Embassy in Manila introduced new procedures for applying for non-immigrant visa. ( http://manila.usembassy.gov/wwwh3024.html ) The primary change of this procedure is that instead of using a printed application form, the Embassy is now requiring that the DS 160 or the Non-Immigrant Visa Application to be filled up on-line using this site: https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/. Follow the instruction enumerated in that website, like the paying of the fees, scheduling appointment, etc. And also remember that you have to appear in person when applying for the visa, unless under some exceptional circumstance like medical reasons where the applicant is physically impossible to be physically present in the US Embassy.
Q: I know my friend did all that, but he was still denied. If that is the case, what are the chances of me getting approved considering that we are almost similarly situated. We work for the same company, have the same salary. He even has a car and I do not own one!
A. The typical reason for the denial of visitor visa application is what I mentioned before that he was unable to establish strong ties at the time of the application. This could be for a variety of reasons that are personal and unique for each applicant. His denial has nothing to do with your approval.
Q: Can my friend re-apply?
A. Your friend is not here so I will not answer that question with respect to him. But if you will say that what you mean is “whether a person who got denied can apply again?” , the I will answer you – absolutely YES. You can apply as many times as you want. But will you be approved is another story. Obviously, you cannot apply for the same reason that you were denied because you can expect the same result over and over again. What you can do is to assess your circumstance which caused the denial, and then when you have discovered that what weakens your position, then work on to change that. In other words, there has to be a substantial change in your circumstance before you apply again since your last denial.
Q: Will hiring a lawyer guarantee my chances of getting a visa?
A. Excellent question by putting me on the spot. The honest answer is that no lawyer can guarantee the approval of your visa application, regardless of his name or reputation. However, hiring a lawyer can improve your chance of getting a visa approval because he can pre-screen your case and inform you of your position BEFORE the actual event of the interview. The lawyer can point to you the circumstances that prevents you from clearly demonstrating to the Consular Officer your “strong ties”, go over your documents, prepare you for the interview and so on. For example, you might claim that you have a saving account worth One Million Pesos but accidentally forgot to ask from the bank a certificate AND the passbook or CD certificate to show to that effect, then you are most likely to be toast.
Q: Thank you.
A: Welcome. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.
Atty. Maria Aurora Paredes Sore Romano
Private Lawyer
P: +63 2 353-8744
P: +63 2 998-8722
M: +639175030001 (Globe)
     +639998028298 (Smart)
F: +63 2 353-8744
info@pslawoffices.com
"We are both grateful for the great work Atty. Mariel did for us. Minda's annulment has been accepted here in Malta and because of her good work, it has been accepted here that we are legally married. We thank her a million."

- Alfie and Minda Lewis, Europe



"My annulment case was indeed a success!! It was handled efficiently by Atty. Ma. Aurora Paredes Sore Romano. Thanking her so much for the great job. I wouldn't be as happy and contented now without her expertise!"

- Jen Molbog, Australia
 
 

Immigration Assistance Philippines | Immigration Attorney | Immigration Law Firm | Visa Guidance Layer in Pasig Malate Manila Cavite Marinduque