America in 3D Livestream: The Visa Hour (Part 2)

CONSULAR OFFICER: [INAUDIBLE] – visa and [INAUDIBLE] what you told us about your application, and they’re the ones who are going to decide how long you get to stay And, generally speaking, overall, many exceptions, but generally speaking, if you got a B1/B2 visa that’s good for a 10-year multiple entry, which is our standard now for the Philippines, they’re going to let you stay for up to six months That doesn’t mean you have to stay there for six months and it doesn’t necessarily mean you should stay for six months Because if you go there for six months, and you come back here for a month, and you go back for another six months, and you come back for a month, and you do this over and over And the next time you come up for a visa, we’re going to wonder what’s going on here You’re spending more time in the United States than you are in the Philippines Why didn’t you immigrate and get it over with? That’s not a valid use of a tourist visa So just because you can stay there for six months, doesn’t necessarily mean you should Think about what you’re doing there, what your purpose is, because we’re going to ask you about that OK “What are the qualifications of an individual [INAUDIBLE] “to be granted a visa – what are the documents needed to get a visa?” There are other questions We’re going to start with that one We have about 20 or 30 different kinds of non-immigrant visas and the qualifications for them are all different Again, the website will list them Let’s talk again – I’m assuming this is a standard tourist visa because most of the other kinds of visas, like an H visa, which is a working visa, an L visa, which is another kind of working visa, somebody in the United States has to ask for you to come to the United States So we’re talking generally about a standard tourist visa The qualifications are: you have to have ties to thePhilippines, you have to have a good purpose for visiting the United States, and you have to intend to return, and you have to be able to convince the Consular Officer at the window because, again, by law, we have to assume that you’re not going to come back This is the law We have to assume you’re intending to immigrate And it’s your job to convince us that you’re not going to immigrate And, by the way, we see plenty of people who have immigrant petitions pending We see plenty of people who have many relatives in the United States I can’t say that’s going to be good or bad You may get in, you may not You have to convince us You have to tell us you’ve got a father in the United States Your father petitioned for you 20 years ago Tell us this and we’ll work with you to find out what your intentions are If you intend to come back, if you convince us of that no matter what the situation is Then, what are the documents needed? Again, the documents – you have to have the DS-160 which is filed online You have to have a passport that’s good for six months after your departure – after you depart to the United States, and you have to have a color photograph, 2 x 2, which is described again on the website Everything after that depends We don’t normally – we don’t usually look at too many other documents Here’s something I wanna explain: We have about between 200,000 and 300,000 people applying every year for non-immigrant visas We have 75,000 to 80,000 people applying for immigrant visas I’ve got an average of 10 Officers on a day when a 1,000 to 1,500 people a day may come to my window I worked it out once – I have about 3.5 minutes from the time I ask you to come to my window, the time it takes you to walk to my window,

the time it takes me to go over the application, to ask you questions, to make my decision, and start the process for the next applicant I’ve got about 3 to 3.5 minutes, so I’m not going to look at a document if I don’t have to I’m not going to spend any more time than it takes me to make up my mind I’d love to sit and chat Everybody who comes to my window is a fascinating person They’ve got lovely stories to tell I wish I had time to hear them, but I don’t I wish I had time to read over your resume I wish I had time to listen to your life story I don’t have the time So I’m not going to look at a document unless I have to really make up my mind one way or the other Again, a minor child – I’m going to wanna see the parent, I’m going to wanna see the birth certificate, I’m going to wanna know that this is really your child Generally speaking, other than that, I just don’t have the time for it “My daughter-in-law who is a nurse has passed the test for the U.S.” I assume that’s the – that’s the registered nurse test? [INAUDIBLE] “She is assigned in Sacramento, “but due to the recession in the U.S., the [INAUDIBLE] “is temporarily stopped “Can she just apply for a visa to be ready if the hiring will be opened again?” OK I don’t know Who asked the question? Is this an H visa, which is a temporary worker, or is this an E-3 visa which is a permanent immigrant? OK, either way, this is a visa that you’re going to go work there It’s driven by the petition in the United States If the petition is ready – if the petitioner is ready to accept the worker – to accept your daughter-in-law as a nurse, we’ll need a current letter from the petitioner, whoever she’s going to be working for, saying, “Yes, I’ve got the money You’ve got a job Come over.” If she has that, then we’re ready for her If she doesn’t have that, then she’s going to have to wait until – because that’s one of the things we’re going to ask for Do you have a job waiting for you in the United States? And the visa application – we generally count for at least a year, sometimes longer They can ask to extend it That’s the petitioner in the United States talks to USCIS in the United States and says, “We’re working on it We need more time Can you delay it?” But that’s their job to do When she comes to my window with the application in hand, she’s got to convince me that she’s got a current job waiting for her in the United States, however long it takes to do that OK? MODERATOR: We’ve got one more Dan CONSULAR OFFICER: “My sister-in-law lives in New Jersey “She was able to meet an owner of a home care “I am a registered nurse now “The home care owner wants to directly hire me Is the direct hire possible?” Again, we’re talking about employment in the United States The only way to get a job in the United States is that somebody in the United States files a petition with the Department of Labor and the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Service – it’s called an I-130 – it’s on the website They file this form and the Department of Labor looks at it and says yes or no And they can file the – it depends – I mean, if you want to come temporarily, that’s an H visa If you want to come permanently, that’s an E-3 visa Either way, the owner of the home care in the United States has to say I want this person I want your sister-in-law to come work for me in the United States Department of Labor, do you approve this? Once the Department of Labor says yes, it comes to us And here I’ll say also that permanent employment is you’re going to immigrate on an employment visa which is an E-3.1 or in this case an E-3.2 visa, again, there’s a waiting period I think right now it’s about five years, because again, we have a quota, the same as we have for family visas And so when the application becomes current, same as with the family visa, the petition date – your approval date on the petition is now current, you’ll get a letter – the petitioner will get a letter – and at this point we need to have a current letter of employment from the petitioner saying “I’ve still got a job “It’s ready for you Here’s the salary Here are the benefits Here are the conditions.” And at that point, your sister-in-law will come to my – make an appointment and come to my window and I’ll look that over, and I’ll make a decision on that basis For a temporary work visa, that’s an H visa

It’s a little faster, but again, the same process; somebody in the United States has to tell the Department of Labor I want your sister-in-law to come work for me for a year, two years, three years, and then come back to the Philippines We’re going to look at that on that basis It’s a lot faster, but again, it’s not an immigrant visa It’s just coming to work for a few years MODERATOR: We have questions posted on the board They’re from Facebook We have received questions from our Facebook page CONSULAR OFFICER: I don’t think I need to read this one out loud OK, again, you’re kind of asking me to make a decision And I’m not at the window and I don’t have the application I would say, generally speaking, again, what I said before, we don’t usually look at bank books We don’t usually look at other documents Once in a while we do, but generally speaking, we don’t What we want is, “are you going to return to the Philippines after you’ve been to the United States on a visit?” If you can convince me and, again, I’m not going to tell you if this is convincing or not because I don’t have your full record in front of me, but if you can convince me that your ties to the Philippines are strong and that your purpose is good, and that your intent to return to the Philippines is good, yes you can get in But you have to convince me at the window with your record, with your application and you have to be in front of me I’m not going to answer whether you’re going to get in or not based on this OK? Next? MODERATOR: Thank you We have another question CONSULAR OFFICER: You’re welcome OK, we’re talking about an immigrant visa Now, for most categories of immigrant visa there’s something – there’s a condition called “public charge.” What this means is that you come to the United States and the tax payers want to know that you’re not going to be a public charge – that they’re not going to end up paying for you because you and your family can’t afford the cost of living in the United States We don’t want you to go on welfare We don’t want you to go on Medicaid We want to know that whoever is sponsoring you – your petitioner, generally – has enough of an income to overcome public charge And the actual number varies We’ve got a chart and it says that if you live in the United States, generally, or if you live in Alaska or you live in Hawaii, and you have this many people in your household, including the immigrant, this is the minimum annual income that you have to have in order to avoid a public charge The petitioner can’t always do that A lot of times they can’t, so they ask for a joint sponsor, which is what we’re talking about here The co-sponsor is really a joint sponsor; somebody who either lives in the same household or who lives at another household and who has agreed to help sponsor the immigrant to avoid the public charge And, by the way, when you sign the form – it’s called the I-864 – that’s a binding contract So the sponsor really has to mean it because the petitioner – the applicant can take the sponsor to court and the contract will be upheld So we’re going to look at the petitioner’s form, and the petitioner always has to sign one, and if the petitioner can’t make the public charge guidelines, then we’re going to look at the joint sponsor’s form as well So if the joint – I didn’t – there’s the question, OK – business ITR is probably not – it’s going to have to depend I don’t have – I can’t do this without seeing the actual papers in front of me But again, remember, the joint sponsor is committing his or her personal income – her personal funds to help support the immigrant, to keep them off the public charge So it’s probably more helpful if we look at the personal income because a business income is often adjusted for tax purposes to make it look like there is no income

I want to know what income the joint sponsor actually has available to keep the person off the public charge Let me take an example, and I’m making up numbers, so these are not real numbers Let’s say I’ve got a household of five people You live in the United States – in the continental United States You’re gonna need $10,000 of income You’re going to need a lot more than that, but I’m making up the number You’re gonna need about $10,000, OK? The petitioner, the father, let’s say, is retired He gets $1,000 a year I gotta have a joint sponsor who can make up $10,000 If the joint sponsor has a business and the business makes $20,000 a year, but has $19,000 expenses, that’s $1,000 for the joint sponsor to spend That’s not enough If the business makes $100,000 a year, and the joint sponsor gets $20,000 net from the business, that’s enough But when I look at a business ITR, I have to know that this is money the joint sponsor has to spend It didn’t go to the stockholders, it didn’t go to the business partners What money does the joint sponsor actually have to spend? So that’s probably why a personal ITR would be better And as far as the question of the security of the system, we have various ways of making sure that the documents come directly to us and through the United States and through the diplomatic pouch, and that they don’t get into other people’s hands because we handle confidential material all the time If necessary, you can talk to USCIS about how to get the documents to us so that nobody else will see them except those who are authorized by law to do so Next question? MODERATOR: All right We’ll take the last question from Facebook That’s it CONSULAR OFFICER: That’s it? MODERATOR: Yeah, we only had two Are there any more questions from the public? We still have a bit of time [INAUDIBLE] CONSULAR OFFICER: OK, again, this question has more personal information than I really want to read out in public It just has to do with marriages and divorces Let me just answer it generally If you are married to an American citizen and the marriage is legal, that is to say, you are legally able to marry and your spouse was legally free to marry, we’ll look at it on that basis The question is about what other people in the United States are doing legally about that as long as the other person is not legally married – as long as your American spouse is not legally married to anyone else at the time of your marriage That’s what we’re interested in So – you know what, come – whoever wrote this, come see us at the visa booth afterwards And, again, I’m not going to get into too many details because I don’t have the full application in front of you, but I may be able to answer a personal question a little bit more I’m not going to answer the rest of this at this time MODERATOR: Last one? Are there any more questions? All right AUDIENCE MEMBER: OK, one last one CONSULAR OFFICER: OK, one last question AUDIENCE MEMBER: Assuming a tourist applicant has declared let’s say 1 million pesos, what is the most acceptable document to the U.S. Embassy to prove that person really owns that amount of money? CONSULAR OFFICER: You’re talking again about a tourist visa, right? OK Once again, it depends I’m sorry I can’t give you a better answer than that because every situation is different We don’t have a fixed category We don’t say, “You’re making 2 million pesos a month. OK “You’re making 10 pesos a month Not OK.” I mean, well, those are obvious But we don’t have a fixed amount We don’t have a fixed list of documents that we look for We look as much as we can, in those 3.5 minutes

or 3 minutes even, we look at your total picture: Who are you? What are you doing? What are your ties? What’s your intent? What’s your purpose? There isn’t any one document that we look at that tells us this You know, it may be necessary, it may not – usually it’s not – we look at your presentation at the window, what you tell us, what we know about you, what you tell us on the application All of that weighs in There isn’t one document that’s going to change my mind one way or the other OK? MODERATOR: All right Thanks everyone for your questions CONSULAR OFFICER: Thank you very much MODERATOR: Everybody, let’s give a round of applause to Dan Kohanski