US Immigration News – VisaJourney
US Immigration News and Commentary

US Visa Fees to Increase – Sept 2014

September 2nd, 2014

money-03Nonimmigrant and immigrant visa application fees for certain visa categories will change on September 12, 2014. All visa applicants must pay the fee amounts in effect on the day they pay, with the exception of Immigrant Visa application processing fees paid domestically to the National Visa Center (NVC), which will be effective as of the date of billing.

Fees that will decrease are not refundable. If you paid a visa fee before September 12, 2014 and that fee decreased, we cannot give you a refund.

Fees that will increase (nonimmigrant fees only): Visa fees paid will be accepted 90 days after the new fees go into effect, as follows:

- If you paid your visa fee before September 12, 2014, and your visa interview is on or before December 11, 2014, you do not have to pay the difference between the new and old fee amounts.

- If you paid your visa fee before September 12, 2014, and your visa interview is on or after December 12, 2014, you will be required to pay the difference between the old and new fee amounts – no exceptions.

The US Department of State has a complete list of new/modified fees >> Sept 2014 New US Visa Fees

USCIS Customers Can Select Delivery Service to Receive Documents

August 12th, 2014

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To ensure your overnight delivery requests are not delayed, please remember to:

  • Include a prepaid air bill when you submit your application, petition, or response to a request for evidence. The best way to avoid delivery errors is to provide a prepaid shipping label obtained directly from the delivery service. This will avoid the need to write in an account number. Enter your name in both the “to” and “from” fields on the air bill.
  • Never list USCIS as the sender and do not mark “bill to sender.”
  • Pay all delivery costs in advance and include the prepaid air bill with your submission.
  • If the delivery costs are not paid in full, USCIS will send the documents to you by regular U.S. mail. For additional information on using a delivery or courier service, please visit USCIS.

    The other side of deportation: An American struggles to prepare for life without husband

    May 27th, 2014

    LAWRENCE, KAN. — Each ordinary moment now seemed worthy of preservation, so Madina Salaty, 45, turned on her cellphone camera and hit record. “Four days left,” she said, her voice and the video both shaky as her husband leashed the dog and headed toward their front door. He walked past the framed picture of their wedding in 2011, past the University of Kansas flag on their porch, past the perennials they had planted together in the garden. He led the dog onto the wide sidewalks and manicured lawns of downtown Lawrence, where the lampposts were painted red, white and blue.

    “We are going on a walk,” Salaty said, narrating the video, focusing the camera on her husband, Zunu Zunaid, 37. He turned back to her and smiled.

    “Hi, baby,” he said.

    “Hi, baby,” she said.

    It is the latter of those separations that has increasingly become the focus of attempts to overhaul the country’s immigration policies, since more than 100,000 American citizens lose a spouse or parent to deportation each year. President Obama has asked the Department of Homeland Security to review the “humanity” of its deportation procedures. At a time when nearly one-fourth of undocumented immigrants have children or spouses who are citizens, the government now faces a choice between two priorities: Deport undocumented immigrants who have broken the law? Or protect the citizens those immigrants so often provide for?

    …continued at Washington Post.com

    U.S. adds Chile to Visa Waiver Program, dropping $160 entry fee

    March 2nd, 2014

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    That means Chilean citizens who qualify will not need to pay a $160 entry fee.

    The move is expected to greatly facilitate business and leisure travel between Chile and the United States.

    It could also mean that U.S. citizens entering Chile will not need to pay, though that remains unclear.

    I just returned from Chile and this is my experience.

    When I visited Chile in 2006, I paid $100 U.S. cash to enter at Santiago airport. After I got a new passport, I needed to pay $140 (by credit card) to enter in 2012.

    This year, my entry fee was valid for the life of the passport, so I did not need to pay a $160 fee. Chile calls this a “reciprocity fee,” charging U.S. citizens the same rate to enter Chile that the U.S. government charges Chileans to enter the United States.

    Chile has not announced whether it will drop the fee it charges U.S. passport holders to enter, in response to the U.S. change on May 1.

    [ read complete story at Oregon Live ]

    Program Benefiting Some Immigrants Extends Visa Wait for Others

    February 19th, 2014

    family apartMany thousands of Americans seeking green cards for foreign spouses or other immediate relatives have been separated from them for a year or more because of swelling bureaucratic delays at a federal immigration agency in recent months.

    The long waits came when the agency, Citizenship and Immigration Services, shifted attention and resources to a program President Obama started in 2012 to give deportation deferrals to young undocumented immigrants, according to administration officials and official data.

    The trouble that American citizens have faced gaining permanent resident visas for their families raises questions about the agency’s priorities and its readiness to handle what could become a far bigger task. After Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio said on Thursday that the House was not likely to act on an immigration overhaul this year, immigrant advocates are turning up their pressure on Mr. Obama to expand the deferral program to include many more of the 11.7 million immigrants in the country illegally.

    Andrew Bachert is one citizen caught in the slowdown. After he moved back to this country in August for work, he thought he and his wife, who is Australian, would be settled by now in a new home in New York State, shoveling snow and adjusting to the winter chill. Instead his wife, Debra Bachert, is stranded, along with the couple’s two teenagers and two dogs, in a hastily rented house in Adelaide, where the temperature rose in January to 115 degrees.

    read the full article at NYTimes.com

    St Luke’s Medical Exam Experience for K1 Visa Applicant

    February 10th, 2014

    St Luke'sReposted with the permission of a VisaJourney Member who recently had their medical exam at St Luke’s.

    VJ Member Joyce writes,

    Hi readers! I am taking a short break from my beauty blogging to help other US immigrants like me by sharing my medical exam experience at St. Luke’s Medical Center Ermita. All US immigrants / K1 visa applicants are required to undergo a medical exam. St Luke’s Medical Center Extension Clinic at Ermita is the ONLY health care facility accredited to give the medical exam for US immigrants.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Happy Thanksgiving to All!

    November 27th, 2013

    thanksgivingThis Thursday, millions of families will celebrate Thanksgiving with roasted turkey, buttery mashed potatoes, and (with only a slight amount of guilt) another piece of pumpkin pie. From our family at VisaJourney, we wish you the happiest of holidays with your family — both at home and abroad. For those that have family overseas waiting to arrive in the US, we hope your cases are processed quickly and next year you will share this holiday at home together!

    Thank you again from our family to yours, and best wishes this holiday season!

    Online USCIS Customer Service Tools Unavailable Nov. 23-24

    November 22nd, 2013

    index USCIS will conduct system maintenance from 6:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Saturday, November 23 through 6:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday, November 24. If you need to use these services this weekend then plan to use them in advance of this time frame.

    During this time, the following online tools will be unavailable:

  • Check My Case Status
  • e-Request
  • e-Filing
  • Check Processing Times
  • Change of Address Online
  • Civil Surgeon Locator
  • [ source ]

    USCIS Reminds Filipino Nationals Impacted by Typhoon Haiyan of Available Immigration Relief Measures

    November 18th, 2013

    hurricane

    USCIS understands that a natural disaster can affect an individual’s ability to establish or maintain lawful immigration status in the United States. Therefore, Filipino nationals impacted by Typhoon Haiyan may be eligible to benefit from the following immigration relief measures:

  • Change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even when the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;
  • Extension of certain grants of parole made by USCIS;
  • Extension of certain grants of advance parole, and expedited processing of advance parole requests;
  • Expedited adjudication and approval, where possible, of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
  • Expedited processing of immigrant petitions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs);
  • Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate; and
  • Assistance to LPRs stranded overseas without immigration or travel documents, such as Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards). USCIS and the Department of State will coordinate on these matters when the LPR is stranded in a place that has no local USCIS office.
  • For more information on USCIS humanitarian programs, visit www.uscis.gov or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.

    [ source ]

    USCIS I-129F Teleconference Q&A Nov 21st

    November 11th, 2013

    indexU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites you to participate in a teleconference on Thursday, November 21, 2013 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Eastern) to discuss Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e).

    During this engagement, USCIS officials from the Texas Service Center will provide an overview of Form I-129F, discuss filing requirements and be available to answer your questions.

    To Register for this session please visit the registration page to confirm your participation. Be sure to provide your full name and organization by following the steps below:

    - Enter your email address and select “Submit”
    - Select “Subscriber Preferences”
    - Select the “Event Registration” tab
    - Complete the questions and select “submit”

    Once your registration is processed, you will receive a confirmation email with additional details.

    If you have any questions regarding the registration process, or if you have not received a confirmation email within two business days, please email USCIS at Public.Engagement@uscis.dhs.gov.

    [ source ]