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How would I extend my visa?
You may get an application form from the Visa Extension Section located at the ground floor Annex building, Bureau of Immigration.
Fill up the form; provide a photocopy of your passport, visa, and latest arrival card, valid extension of stay, if any and other pertinent documents which will support your application.
How long will it take me to extend my visa?
For non-restricted citizens, one (1) day using the express processing lane and one (1) week using the regular processing lane.
For restricted nationals, it will take three (3) days using the express processing lane and one (1) week using the regular processing lane.
What is the maximum extension of stay that can be granted to me?
For non-restricted nationals, the Chief of Visa Extension Section may grant you two (2) months for every extension but not to exceed the maximum period of one year.
For restricted nationals, the Chief of Visa Extension Section may grant one (1) month for every extension but not to exceed a maximum period of six (6) months.
For restricted nationals, the Commissioner and the Associate Commissioners have the right to approve the length of stay based on the merits of your application.
After a year of stay in the country, the Commissioner and the Associate Commissioners will again be the ones to approve your stay based on the merits on your application.
Will it be necessary for me to appear personally for the extension of my visa?
You may or may not appear provided; you will ask assistance from any of the accredited travel agencies or law firms of the Bureau.
But if it is necessary, you will appear before the Chief of Visa Extension section or any of the Commissioners for the clarification of your application.
How many days should I allot for the filing of my extension to avoid overstaying?
You should file your application seven (7) days before the expiration of your approved stay TOURIST VISA.
How Do I Financially Sponsor Someone Who Wants to Immigrate to the U.S.?
Under the law, every person who immigrates based on a relative petition must have a financial sponsor. If you choose to sponsor your relative's immigration by filing a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, then when the time comes for actual immigration you must agree to be the financial sponsor and file an affidavit of support. If you do not meet the financial qualifications at that time, you must still file a Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, and accept responsibility, but you and your relative must also find other individuals who meet the requirements and are willing to make this commitment and also file affidavits of support.
What is the purpose of the affidavit of support? Who has to have an affidavit of support in order to immigrate? What are the financial qualifications for an affidavit of support?
I filed the I-130 immigrant petition for my relative but I do not meet the minimum income requirements. Can anyone else be a financial sponsor?
What is the purpose of the affidavit of support?
The affidavit of support helps ensure that new immigrants will not need to rely on public benefits such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. If a person for whom you file an affidavit of support becomes a permanent resident and is later given certain public benefits, the agency that gave the benefits can require that you repay that money.
Who has to have an affidavit of support in order to immigrate?
Anyone applying to be a permanent resident through a family member must have a financial sponsor. A sponsor is also required for a family member coming to work for a relative, or for a company in which a relative owns 5 percent or more of the company. Petitioners, those persons sponsoring someone's immigration, must file an affidavit of support. If they do not, then their sponsorship is not complete, and the person will not be given, permission to immigrate based on that petition.
What are the financial qualifications for an affidavit of support?
The law requires a sponsor to prove an income level at or above 125% of the Federal poverty level.(For active duty military personnel, the income requirement is 100% of the poverty level when sponsoring his/her husband, wife, or children.)If your income does not meet the requirement, your assets such as checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, or property may be considered in determining your financial ability. Federal poverty levels are updated each year by the Department of Health and Human Services.
I filed the I-130 immigrant petition for my relative but I do not meet the minimum income requirements.
Can anyone else be a financial sponsor?
If you do not meet the financial qualifications, the income of certain other household members can be added in to your income level if they sign a contract on Form I-864A, Affidavit of Support Contract between Sponsor and Household Member, agreeing to make their income and/or assets available for the support of the relative applying for permanent residence. If you still cannot meet the financial qualifications, another person must complete a separate affidavit of support to become a joint financial sponsor of the person's immigration. The joint sponsor must meet all sponsorship requirements separately, including the minimum income requirements for his/her household, and must be willing to assume, along with you, financial liability for the sponsored immigrants(s).All sponsors must be U.S. citizens and be at least 18 years of age when they file the affidavit of support.
For more information, refer to USCIS, July 2006 issue at www.uscis.gov
NIV Section 214(b) Visa Denials
Liza was excited. In three days her friend Timothy would come visit her in the United States. Suddenly, the phone rang. Liza couldn't believe her ears! Sadly, Timothy told her, "I cannot come the Consul said I am 214(b)."
On any given day throughout the world some visa applicants find themselves in Timothy's situation. They hear the consular officer say, "Your visa application is refused. You are not qualified under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act."To be refused a visa when you are not expecting it causes great disappointment and sometimes embarrassment. Here is what a 214(b) visa refusal means and what applicants and friends can do to prepare for a visa reapplication.
WHY IS THERE A VISA REQUIREMENT?
The United States is an open society. Unlike many other countries, the United States does not impose internal controls on most visitors, such as registration with local authorities. In order to enjoy the privilege of unencumbered travel in the United States, aliens have a responsibility to prove they are going to return abroad before a visitor or student visa is issued. Our immigration law requires consular officers to view every visa applicant as an intending immigrant until the applicant proves otherwise.
WHAT IS SECTION 214(b)?
Section 214(b) is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It states:
Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status.
To qualify for a visitor or student visa, an applicant must meet the requirements of sections 101(a) (15) (B) or (F) of the INA respectively. Failure to do so will result in a refusal of a visa under INA 214(b). The most frequent basis for such a refusal concerns the requirement that the prospective visitor or student possess a residence abroad which he/she has no intention of abandoning. Applicants prove the existence of such a residence by demonstrating that they have ties abroad that would compel them to leave the U.S. at the end of their temporary stay. The law places the burden of proof on the applicant.
Our consular officers have a difficult job. They must decide in a very short time if someone is qualified to receive a temporary visa. Most cases are decided after a brief interview and review of whatever evidence of ties an applicant presents.
WHAT CONSTITUTES "STRONG TIES"?
Strong ties differ from country to country, city to city, individual to individual. "Ties" are the various aspects of your life that bind you to your country of residence: your possessions, employment, social and family relationships.
As a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, imagine your own ties to the United States. Would a consular officer of a foreign country consider you to have a residence in the United States you do not intend to abandon? It is likely that the answer would be "yes" if you have a job, a family, if you own or rent a house or apartment, or if you have other commitments that would require you to return to the United States at the conclusion of a visit abroad. Each person's situation is different.
Our consular officers are aware of this diversity. During the visa interview they look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural and other factors. In cases of younger applicants who may not have had an opportunity to form many ties, consular officers may look at the applicants" specific intentions, family situations, and long-range plans and prospects within his or her country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.
IS A NIV DENIAL UNDER SECTION 214(B) PERMANENT?
No. The consular officer will reconsider a case if an applicant can show further convincing evidence of ties outside the U.S. Your friend, relative or student should contact the embassy or consulate to find out about reapplication procedures. Unfortunately, some applicants will not qualify for a nonimmigrant visa, regardless of how many times they reapply, until their personal, professional, and financial circumstances change considerably.
HOW CAN I HELP?
You may provide a letter of invitation or support. However, this cannot guarantee visa issuance to a foreign national friend, relative or student. Visa applicants must qualify for the visa according to their own circumstances, not on the basis of an American sponsor's assurance.
WHAT CAN YOU DO IF AN ACQUAINTANCE IS REFUSED A VISA UNDER 214(B) FOR LACK OF A RESIDENCE ABROAD?
First encourage your relative, friend or student to review carefully their situation and evaluate realistically their ties. You can suggest that they write down on paper what qualifying ties they think they have which may not have been evaluated at the time of their interview with the consular officer. Also, if they have been refused, they should review what documents were submitted for the consul to consider. Applicants refused visas under section 214(b) may reapply for a visa. When they do, they will have to show further evidence of their ties or how their circumstances have changed since the time of the original application. It may help to answer the following questions before reapplying:
(1) Did I explain my situation accurately?
(2) Did the consular officer overlook something?
(3) Is there any additional information I can present to establish my residence and strong ties abroad?
Your acquaintances should also bear in mind that they will be charged a nonrefundable application fee each time they apply for a visa, regardless of whether a visa is issued.
WHO CAN INFLUENCE THE CONSULAR OFFICER TO REVERSE A DECISION?
Immigration law delegates the responsibility for issuance or refusal of visas to consular officers overseas. They have the final say on all visa cases. By regulation, the U.S. Department of State has authority to review consular decisions, but this authority is limited to the interpretation of law, as contrasted to determinations of facts. The question at issue in such denials, whether an applicant possesses the required residence abroad, is a factual one. Therefore, it falls exclusively within the authority of consular officers at our Foreign Service posts to resolve. An applicant can influence the post to change a prior visa denial only through the presentation of new convincing evidence of strong ties.
FAQS about NIV Application Procedures
If I present a letter of guarantee of return from a person of high stature, will I get a visa?
A letter, even from a highly placed person, does not necessarily establish the applicant's ties outside of the U.S. U.S. law requires each applicant to qualify for a visa in his or her own right.
Isn't it better not to disclose that I have close relatives living in the United States, that I have an immigrant visa petition on file, or that I have previously been denied? What are the consequences if I conceal or misrepresent information or submit fraudulent documents?
Full disclosure is best. We understand that many people have relatives in the United States but intend only a short visit, or have immigrant visa petitions on file but do not plan to immigrate at this time. It is therefore to the advantage of the applicant to disclose these facts. When an interviewing officer uncovers any attempt to conceal or misrepresent facts, the application will be denied and the applicant may, in certain cases, be ruled permanently ineligible to enter the U.S.
Citizenship and immigration Service Issues Final Rule Regarding Affidavits of Support
Q. What is the "Affidavits of Support on Behalf of Immigrants" final rule?
A. The Affidavits of Support final rule adopts, with specified changes, an interim rule published by the former Immigration and Naturalization Service on October 20, 1997 and made effective on December 19, 1997 (62 FR 54346). This final rule responds to public comments to the interim rule and addresses several issues raised by the interim rule, including: who needs an affidavit of support; how sponsors qualify; what information and documentation sponsors must present; and when the income of other persons may be used to support an intending immigrant's application for permanent residence. The final rule makes the affidavit of support process less burdensome for sponsors while continuing to ensure that each intending immigrant has a sponsor who has sufficient income and/or assets to support the immigrant(s) he or she is sponsoring. The final rule allows the sponsored intending immigrant to establish that he or she is not likely to become a public charge (e.g., receive certain federal or state means-tested benefits).
Q. When is this final rule effective?
A. This final rule is effective July 21, 2006. It will apply to any application for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status that is decided on or after July 21, 2006 even if the case was filed before July 21, 2006.
NOTE: The following Q as briefly discuss some of the changes to the affidavit of support process made by the "Affidavits of Support on Behalf of Immigrants" final rule.
Q. Does the final rule provide exemptions for the requirement to file an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864)?
A. Yes. The final rule eliminates the affidavit of support requirement in cases where the sponsored immigrant establishes on the basis of Social Security Administration records that he or she has already worked, or can be credited with having worked, 40 quarters of covered employment. The final rule also eliminates the requirement of a Form I-864 in the case of the child of a U.S. citizen that, if admitted for permanent residence on or after February 27, 2001, would automatically acquire citizenship immediately upon entry under section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the Act), as amended by the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. In addition, there is no need for an affidavit of support for certain children who accompany their immigrant parent's) to the United States, but are born after issuance of the immigrant visa to the parent(s) (that is, children who immigrate under section 211(a) of the Act).
Q. Does the final rule establish any new forms?
A. Yes. The final rule establishes two new forms: the EZ Affidavit of Support (Form I-864EZ) and the Intending Immigrant's I-864 Exemption (Form I-864W). If the petitioner is the only sponsor and he or she is relying only upon income from his or her employment to meet the affidavit of support requirements, the petitioner will be able to file a short form Affidavit of Support, the new EZ Affidavit of Support (Form I-864EZ). Form I-864W provides eligible immigrants a more expeditious means to establish that they are not required to have an affidavit of support filed on their behalf. The final rule also amends Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, and Form I-864A, to conform them to the final rule.
Q. When will USCIS begin to accept Form I-864EZ, Form I-864W, and the amended Form I-864 and Form I-864A? Will USCIS continue to accept old versions of Form I-864?
A. USCIS will begin to accept Form I-864EZ, Form I-864W, the amended Form I-864, and the amended Form I-864A immediately. USCIS will continue to accept old versions of the Form I-864, but only until October 19, 2006, a grace period of 90 days from July 21, 2006, the effective date of the final rule.
Q. If I have already submitted an old version of Form I-864, do I now need to submit a new Form I-864?
A. No. If you submitted an old version of Form I-864, you should not submit a new Form I-864
Q. Does the final rule change the instructions for preparing the Affidavit of Support?
A. Yes. The final rule requires each sponsor to submit as initial evidence only his or her single most recent federal tax return rather than a return from each of the sponsor's three most recent tax years, pay stub(s) covering the most recent six months, and an employer letter. In addition, it will no longer be necessary to sign an Affidavit of Support, EZ Affidavit of Support, and Contract Between Household Member and Sponsor (Form I-864A) in front of a notary public, immigration officer, or consular officer. Rather, as permitted by Federal law, the forms will provide that they are signed "under penalty of perjury." Both of these measures lessen the burden on sponsors and household members without reducing the legal standing or enforceability of the documents they sign.
Q. Does the final rule change how many joint sponsors an immigrating family can have?
A. Yes. In addition to the primary sponsor (who signed the visa petition), the final rule allows two joint sponsors per family unit intending to immigrate based upon the same family petition. No individual may have more than one joint sponsor, but it will no longer be necessary for all family members to have the same sponsor. If two joint sponsors are used, each joint sponsor is responsible for supporting only for the intending immigrant(s) listed on that joint sponsor's Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.
Q. My sponsor's income has varied from year to year. What year is most significant in determining the sufficiency of my sponsor's income?
A. The final rule clarifies that the sponsor's income in the year in which the intending immigrant filed an application for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status, rather than the earnings last reported to IRS, generally bears the greatest evidentiary weight in determining whether the affidavit of support is sufficient. However, USCIS may request updated evidence and decide the case based on the updated information.
Q. It looks like my sponsor's household income meets or exceeds the poverty guideline for his or her household size. How does the final rule change the instructions on calculating household size?
A. The final rule allows, but does not require, sponsors to include the income of any relative in the household who is not a dependent if (1) the sponsor includes the relative as part of the sponsor's household size, and (2) the relative completes a Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member (Form I-864A).
Q. Does a household member have to be living in the household for any specified amount of time under the final rule?
A. No. The final rule eliminates the requirement that household members must have lived in the sponsor's household for at least six months before their income may be included in household income. Instead, the final rule allows the income of household members, including the intending immigrant, to be included if the income will continue from the same source after the beneficiary attains permanent resident alien status.
Q. My sponsor has used means-tested benefits in the past. Will this affect their ability to sponsor me?
A. No. The supplementary information that was published with the final rule clarifies that use of certain means-tested public benefits does not affect a person's ability to sponsor an intending immigrant.
Q. My sponsor and/or joint sponsor is using significant assets as part of his affidavit of support. Does the final rule change the requirements for significant assets?
A. Yes. The final rule reduces the value of assets that immediate relative spouses and children of U.S. citizens must have to fill the gap between earned income and the poverty guidelines from five times the difference to three. The gap is reduced further for those sponsoring adopted children who will qualify for citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act, but who do not qualify immediately upon entry.
Q. My original petitioner cannot sponsor me because he or she died. What relief is available to me under the final rule?
A. The final rule implements the Family Sponsor Immigrant Act of 2002, Pub. L. 107-150, which allows the beneficiary of a petition the use of a "substitute sponsor" after the death of the original petitioner if the original petition had been approved prior to the petitioner's death and other conditions are met. In order to be a "substitute sponsor," you must be the spouse, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sibling, child (if at least 18 years of age), son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, or a legal guardian of the intending immigrant. The final rule also provides that, if a petitioner files a petition to classify the beneficiary as a spouse of a United States citizen petitioner and then dies, the petition will be treated as approved as a Petition for American, Widow(er) or Special Immigrant (Form I-360) if (1) USCIS or legacy INS approved the original petition before the petitioner died, and (2) on the date of the petitioner's death, the beneficiary satisfies certain requirements.
Q. My sponsor lives abroad. Does this mean he or she cannot sponsor me?
A. It depends upon where your sponsor has his or her legal domicile. To file an affidavit of support, a sponsor must have his or her domicile in the United States. Under the final rule, a sponsor is domiciled at the place of his or her principal residence. Therefore, your sponsor may file an affidavit of support if he or she shows, by a preponderance of the evidence, that his or her domicile is still in the United States because he or she is only residing abroad temporarily. The final rule also clarifies that a sponsor who is not domiciled in the United States may submit an Affidavit of Support if the sponsor shows, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he or she will establish his or her domicile in the United States no later than the date of the intending immigrant's admission or adjustment of status. Thus, the sponsor must arrive and establish domicile in the United States before or at the same time as when the intending immigrant becomes a lawful permanent resident through adjustment of status or admission on an immigrant visa at a port of entry.
Q. If I am in removal proceedings, and have applied for adjustment of status, who has jurisdiction to review my affidavit of support?
A. The final rule clarifies that when an alien applies for adjustment of status in removal proceedings, the immigration judge's jurisdiction to adjudicate the adjustment application includes authority to review the sufficiency of the affidavit of support.
Q. May USCIS disclose a sponsor's social security number and last known address to a benefit-granting agency?
A. Yes. The final rule clarifies that USCIS may disclose a sponsor's social security number, as well as the sponsor's last known address, to a benefit-granting agency seeking to obtain reimbursement from the sponsor when an alien applies for a benefit.