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Jacob2010

221g, I-134 problems

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: China
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Hello all, this is my first post here.

My fiancee had her interview a few days ago and we got a blue form explaining that we needed. The refusal reason was "Need original I-134 forms". I originally sent scanned copies of everything, but apparently that wasn't satisfying to the interviewer. Anyway, here is what they want now:

  1. 3 years' tax returns from our cosponsor
  2. Certified tax returns for the last 3 years for the cosponsor
  3. I-864 from me
  4. I-864 from the cosponsor
  5. Letter from the cosponsor explaining why he is willing to sponsor
  6. Letter from me explaining how I was able to afford to send money to my fiancee, and for what purpose it was sent (this statement must be notarized)
  7. Notarized copy of my passport

We can get all these things but I am trying to find out if there is a problem with leaving things blank on the I-134. I left several blanks on question 7 of my I-134 empty, particularly the one about my bank balance. I understood the part "I have on deposit in savings banks in the United States" to mean that I have a savings account, which I think was probably wrong. Now I have to fill out the I-864 and also explain where the money came from, and probably provide the original I-134 forms.

I certainly can give all the evidence they want, I just didn't think my meager checking account would be worth listing because it isn't really "savings". Do you think there will be a problem if I list it on the I-864?

Edited by J & JJ

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: China
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Hey ! Welcome to Guangzhou IV Unit !

If yer docs aren't stellar or pristine by interview day,

and if you get a chance to submit something else -

many times they 'go overboard' on what they ask for.

You've 'hit' the 'overboard' section - someone is smelling something, at GUZ IV. IMO, an I-864 request is a really bad thing, you omitted something major, and they are dinging you, whilst still allowing you to 'submit new stuff' in the hopes of visa approval.

I strongly suggest you give them everything they want - do not leave any form block unfilled.

FWIW - 'certified tax returns' take some time to get, if dealing with the 'national hotline' (4 to 11 weeks) - but can 'get some speed' by going into a local IRS office - can usually print them right there, and certify them, right there (be prepared to wait up to 1/2 day at the local IRS office).

Edited by Darnell

Sometimes my language usage seems confusing - please feel free to 'read it twice', just in case !
Ya know, you can find the answer to your question with the advanced search tool, when using a PC? Ditch the handphone, come back later on a PC, and try again.

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: China
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You've 'hit' the 'overboard' section - someone is smelling something, at GUZ IV. IMO, an I-864 request is a really bad thing, you omitted something major, and they are dinging you, whilst still allowing you to 'submit new stuff' in the hopes of visa approval.

I strongly suggest you give them everything they want - do not leave any form block unfilled.

FWIW - 'certified tax returns' take some time to get, if dealing with the 'national hotline' (4 to 11 weeks) - but can 'get some speed' by going into a local IRS office - can usually print them right there, and certify them, right there (be prepared to wait up to 1/2 day at the local IRS office).

Thanks for the quick reply! Our documents were OK, I think, which makes me think this is somewhat of an overreaction. I didn't have bank statements but the cosponsor had everything. The only problem I could see was that those forms were not original, which makes sense since this is supposed to be some sort of contract.

Those certified tax returns are going to need fees of $67 each. We also think it will take up to 2 months to get these forms, since my cosponsor already mailed the application for those.

My main concern was that when I fill every blank on the I-864 and give them bank statements showing my wages, student loans, and a gift from my father, I don't want them to think that I was deceiving them by omission on the I-134.

Edited by J & JJ

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Vietnam
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If you sent a scanned copy of your I-134 then your documents were not ok. A scanned or photocopy of a signed document is useful for lining your bird cage and not much else. But you already knew that... :blush:

I don't know the IV unit at the consulate in GUZ like Darnell, but I can give a sort of general VJ observer kind of opinion. You apparently sent some money to your fiancee, and she apparently showed evidence of this at the interview. However, your I-134 apparently shows income so low that you not only needed a co-sponsor, but they're wondering how the heck you managed to afford to send the cash to your fiancee. I don't know about GUZ, but I know this would be extremely fishy at some other consulates - it would smell like somebody else is footing the bill to help your fiancee get a visa, and they ain't doing it just to be nice to you. They might even suspect that you are being paid to help her immigrate.

If your co-sponsor is a relative of hers then you're probably sunk. :(

The consulates in many countries are suspicious that the primary motive for a fiancee or spousal visa might be reunification with family in the US and NOT a sincere relationship with the petitioner. This suspicion grows substantially when the petitioner is in a weak position financially (there's a monetary incentive for him/her to play along), and the suspicion literally explodes when it appears the petitioner is spending money they don't have in order to appear to bolster the visa case. I'm afraid it's not going to look good if you have to explain that money you sent her came from a gift you received from somebody else.


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If you sent a scanned copy of your I-134 then your documents were not ok. A scanned or photocopy of a signed document is useful for lining your bird cage and not much else. But you already knew that... :blush:

Actually, I wanted to send the originals. I saw this: USCIS Signature Requirements, months before it became an issue. But both my cosponsor and my fiancee insisted it was a waste of money, everything would fly through no problem. What could I do in the face of such opposition? Now in the best case this will be a waiting game.

You apparently sent some money to your fiancee, and she apparently showed evidence of this at the interview. However, your I-134 apparently shows income so low that you not only needed a co-sponsor, but they're wondering how the heck you managed to afford to send the cash to your fiancee. I don't know about GUZ, but I know this would be extremely fishy at some other consulates - it would smell like somebody else is footing the bill to help your fiancee get a visa, and they ain't doing it just to be nice to you. They might even suspect that you are being paid to help her immigrate.

If your co-sponsor is a relative of hers then you're probably sunk. :(

I'm not surprised, but I did include a letter explaining that I live at home, don't have to pay utilities or rent, etc. In fact, if I wouldn't have eaten out almost every day in the past year, I should have a few thousand saved. I got to borrow $7000+ in student loans, all of which I got to keep...

The my fiancee is friends with both the cosponsor and his wife, and indeed this guy's wife is Chinese. I can imagine why that would be suspicious, but the fact is he's just a nice guy.

The consulates in many countries are suspicious that the primary motive for a fiancee or spousal visa might be reunification with family in the US and NOT a sincere relationship with the petitioner. This suspicion grows substantially when the petitioner is in a weak position financially (there's a monetary incentive for him/her to play along), and the suspicion literally explodes when it appears the petitioner is spending money they don't have in order to appear to bolster the visa case. I'm afraid it's not going to look good if you have to explain that money you sent her came from a gift you received from somebody else.

My dad only paid for the bulk of the plane ticket to China. I intended to borrow it from him but he insisted that I didn't have to pay him back.

Do you think they will decide in our favor, if we give everything they ask for?

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Vietnam
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I'd give them a little more than they ask for. Did you file a tax return last year? I imagine probably not, if you're getting money from a student loan. If you didn't file a tax return in the most recent tax year then they want an explanation why you weren't required to file. Having income below the required filing threshold is a good reason not to file, but not such a hot thing for an affidavit of support. Being a STUDENT is a darn good reason for having little or no income. Explain this to them.

They are suspicious about your co-sponsor's motives. Your co-sponsor needs to explain, in no uncertain terms, that he's doing this because you and your fiancee are his friends. If there is no family relationship between your co-sponsor (or his Chinese wife) and your fiancee then your co-sponsor's letter should make this clear. Friends - not family. Your co-sponsor should also explain how he came to know your fiancee.

If neither you nor your co-sponsor know any of her family in the US then make this clear, as well.

Explain that your dad helped you pay for your trip to China. This won't seem suspicious since you're a student. You have probably the best possible excuse for not having enough income to sponsor on your own. If you have any information about your prospects for future earning potential after graduation, it wouldn't hurt to explain this also.

I'm really curious about the "notarized copy of your passport". Surely, these people know that a notary in the US can do little more than act as a legal witness. A notary's stamp on a copy of your passport does not, in any way, certify that the original document is legitimate. A notary doesn't have that sort of ability or authority. Notaries are primarily used to witness a signature. You could bring in an old newspaper, tell them it's your passport, and the notary will check your ID and then stamp the copy for you. Very curious. :wacko:


12/15/2009 - K1 Visa Interview - APPROVED!

12/29/2009 - Married in Oakland, CA!

08/18/2010 - AOS Interview - APPROVED!

05/01/2013 - Removal of Conditions - APPROVED!

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Actually, I'm on assistantship, so I get paid not so little. I did file taxes last year but not for several years before that. My income is sufficient for my living condition, and I took the loans specifically to make sure that I would not run out of money before this process completed. I was doing just fine financially before I met the girl. I'm thinking I need to give them copies of bank statements and loan papers, as well as the check from my dad, to ensure that there can be no further objections to my remittances.

I think we addressed the cosponsor's motives part in our submission, but it was via copies and not the originals. I can't imagine how his statement could be better, except perhaps if it was notarized. I'm really wishing that someone else in my family will sponsor after she gets here, but they're all unwilling or unable to do it at the moment. I guess that's no problem as long as he gets approved the first time.

Indeed, I'm in an employable field. I could probably double their threshold if I got hired, but I'm in grad school and I don't want to leave without at least a masters. I'm also a little afraid to look for a job and destabilize my situation right now, but that option is looking more attractive all the time.

Here is what it asks for about the passport, exactly: "A notarized copy of the petitioner's passport, clearly showing the Chinese visa and entry/exit stamps. Copy the entire passport, even if some pages are blank. Properly notarize each page as seen and compared to original copy by notary. All entry and exit dates must be legible."

I suppose the notarization is to ensure that the passport has not been tampered with. Few people have the resources to fake a passport or a visa (electronically or physically), so if the notary compares the original and the copy and says they're the same and the original looks authentic, that should be good enough. Passports and visas have security features that people can't easily replicate. Also, notaries are not allowed to lie, I'm pretty sure.

I'm wondering what it would cost to notarize each page. For me this should be easy because the notary only has to look closely at maybe 3 spots in the passport; the rest of the pages are blank. Only the Chinese writing could pose an issue. If the notary is careful and can't read Chinese, that may take a while to check.

Edited by Jacob2010

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: China
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Note to those who have the same problem with the passport as I do: The passport is almost proportional to a letter-sized sheet of paper, so you can enlarge copies of all "important" pages to fill a sheet of standard paper. Perhaps this is more trouble than it's worth if you don't know how to do it, but I did it. I don't think having the notary write on the image will be a problem.

Edited by Jacob2010

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Vietnam
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Here is what it asks for about the passport, exactly: "A notarized copy of the petitioner's passport, clearly showing the Chinese visa and entry/exit stamps. Copy the entire passport, even if some pages are blank. Properly notarize each page as seen and compared to original copy by notary. All entry and exit dates must be legible."

I suppose the notarization is to ensure that the passport has not been tampered with. Few people have the resources to fake a passport or a visa (electronically or physically), so if the notary compares the original and the copy and says they're the same and the original looks authentic, that should be good enough. Passports and visas have security features that people can't easily replicate. Also, notaries are not allowed to lie, I'm pretty sure.

I'm wondering what it would cost to notarize each page. For me this should be easy because the notary only has to look closely at maybe 3 spots in the passport; the rest of the pages are blank. Only the Chinese writing could pose an issue. If the notary is careful and can't read Chinese, that may take a while to check.

That's the thing. A notary is neither trained nor authorized to certify a passport is genuine. They have no idea whether the passport you're giving them to copy is real. They would not even imply that they are certifying that the original looks authentic. The only thing they can certify is that the copies are genuine copies of the document you gave them, and only if they themselves produce the copies.

You are correct that a notary is not permitted to intentionally lie, and certifying that a piece of paper is a genuine copy of an authentic passport would be lying - they don't know if the original passport is authentic. Yes, passports have security features that are difficult to reproduce, and a CBP officer has the equipment to determine if it's authentic - a notary does not. With the equipment I have in my home office (all of which was purchased at local computer shops) I could easily produce a very realistic looking passport, including the holigraphic film on the bio page. A notary would never know the difference, but a CBP officer at an airport would detect it immediately.

Only the US Department of State can certify that a copy of a passport is a genuine copy of an authentic document, and they do that with an apostille stamp.


12/15/2009 - K1 Visa Interview - APPROVED!

12/29/2009 - Married in Oakland, CA!

08/18/2010 - AOS Interview - APPROVED!

05/01/2013 - Removal of Conditions - APPROVED!

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That's the thing. A notary is neither trained nor authorized to certify a passport is genuine. They have no idea whether the passport you're giving them to copy is real. They would not even imply that they are certifying that the original looks authentic. The only thing they can certify is that the copies are genuine copies of the document you gave them, and only if they themselves produce the copies.

You are correct that a notary is not permitted to intentionally lie, and certifying that a piece of paper is a genuine copy of an authentic passport would be lying - they don't know if the original passport is authentic. Yes, passports have security features that are difficult to reproduce, and a CBP officer has the equipment to determine if it's authentic - a notary does not. With the equipment I have in my home office (all of which was purchased at local computer shops) I could easily produce a very realistic looking passport, including the holigraphic film on the bio page. A notary would never know the difference, but a CBP officer at an airport would detect it immediately.

Only the US Department of State can certify that a copy of a passport is a genuine copy of an authentic document, and they do that with an apostille stamp.

I still think it's not trivial to duplicate. The passport itself is not easy to duplicate, as it has microprinting and a sewn binding. Not to mention, they have your information in their databases. Also, upon inspection, the Chinese visa also has microprinting. Few people have color printers capable of microprinting, and also giving the holographic image. Who knows what kind of scanner is required to accurately capture such an image, also. Modification of a passport is more likely. So the reasons I can come up with why this is an OK policy are the following:

  1. This request is given on the presumption that the US citizen has a valid passport (and the application is worth the consulate's consideration) to begin with. They can confirm the passport details with the Dept. of State records.
  2. Presumably the cost of a trip abroad is competitive with the cost of a convincing reproduction of the passport, visa, and stamps.
  3. If a normal person attempts a forgery or modification, they will be a little paranoid at the prospect of having their work examined. They may even give up. Criminals might also give up for fear of being banned from the US.
  4. The notary has little incentive to participate in any fraud, as they need to put up a bond to get the authority to notarize (I think, at least...). If you go to a notary who suspects fraud they may notify the DOS.
  5. The consulate will still see the copy, so if it is a fraud it would have to be extremely good and also notarized to pass this test. The notary should not approve a blurry or illegible copy, as per the instructions.
  6. The consulate is limited by what is practical, so a policy that catches most of the con artists most of the time is good enough for them. If you try to modify the stamps or the visa you will probably get caught at the notary. If they still have doubts after all your evidence they can call you to appear at a local office of the USCIS.
  7. Lastly, this could be a delay tactic. This is the conclusion you may be leaning toward.

I also think it could be a delay tactic because my fiancee and I have many pictures together and phone records too, but who knows what the interviewing officer was thinking.

Edited by Jacob2010

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: China
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ya, I think this 'scanned set' of AOS docs was the thing that bit you, opened up this can of worms, really.

You've other issues with the I-134, but that's been covered already.

Edited by Darnell

Sometimes my language usage seems confusing - please feel free to 'read it twice', just in case !
Ya know, you can find the answer to your question with the advanced search tool, when using a PC? Ditch the handphone, come back later on a PC, and try again.

-=-=-=-=-=R E A D ! ! !=-=-=-=-=-

Whoa Nelly ! Want NVC Info? see http://www.visajourney.com/wiki/index.php/NVC_Process

Congratulations on your approval ! We All Applaud your accomplishment with Most Wonderful Kissies !

 

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: China
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After reading online a little, it seems that notaries are not qualified to certify the authenticity of any document. This article explains some stuff:

http://www.***removed***/immigration/notarized-copy.html

Another article explained that it is not possible for the notary to certify the authenticity of any document. They can only compare or maybe witness signatures, depending on where they reside. I might have to let the notary copy each page in their office, if they do not want to spend time comparing Chinese characters on the original and copy.

Edited by Jacob2010

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Here is more information about the issue of certifying copies of documents: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Certified_copy#Copy_certification_by_U.S._notaries

Unfortunately it seems that my state is one of those that doesn't allow notaries to make "Certified True" copies. I will have to talk to a notary to find out, I suppose.

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Notice that many of the states that DO allow a notary to make a certified true copy place restrictions on what they are permitted to certify. Also, note the notarial declaration. The notary is only certifying that the copy is a true copy of the original document, but they are not certifying that the original document is authentic. They have no way of knowing that.

If you've already sent copies of your passport with the petition, then it sounds as if the consulate thinks you might have doctored up the copies. Either that, or it's a boilerplate request. Dunno. I don't often read about the consulate requesting copies of the petitioner's passport. I'm not sure what they suspect, or why they're asking for this.

BTW, it's not the printing or the hologram that makes a passport difficult to duplicate. Even an amateur can produce a fraudulent passport that will pass a casual inspection by someone who doesn't know what they're looking for. Those features are designed to stop an amateur from producing a passport that will stand up to close visual scrutiny by someone who knows what to look for. The hardest thing to reproduce is the embedded RFID chip.


12/15/2009 - K1 Visa Interview - APPROVED!

12/29/2009 - Married in Oakland, CA!

08/18/2010 - AOS Interview - APPROVED!

05/01/2013 - Removal of Conditions - APPROVED!

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: China
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If you've already sent copies of your passport with the petition, then it sounds as if the consulate thinks you might have doctored up the copies. Either that, or it's a boilerplate request. Dunno. I don't often read about the consulate requesting copies of the petitioner's passport. I'm not sure what they suspect, or why they're asking for this.

I asked my fiancee about that, and she said that the interviewer noted that the copy I sent of the info and visa pages was not clear. I think that's the fault of the printer she used (at a shop, I thought), since it was a sufficiently large file when I sent it. I'm surprised she didn't consider that before going, since this is a very obvious requirement for any copy. But the passport copy isn't listed in the requirements, so maybe that's why she wasn't careful. This wasn't the only evidence she had that I went, as she had my boarding passes too.

The copy of my two passport pages came out to be a 16 MB pdf, which had only 2 pages in it. That prints out quite OK on my printer at 600 dpi. I think the entry/exit stamps should have been inked a little more (some parts of the stamps did not make a good impression), but that's not my fault. One thing I hate is how the Chinese consulate just stuck the visa in the middle of my passport. It looks SO misplaced. It's not like I intend to fill my passport in the next 10 years, but I would like my records to be in order. I read online that the Chinese are careless like that with passports.

Edited by Jacob2010

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