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ESTA Denied For Syrian-Belgian Friend

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Belgium
Timeline

Hi Everyone,

My good friend Ibrahim is Belgian with Syrian roots. He has the Belgian Nationality and a Belgian Passport.

He wanted to come travel through the States, NYC and LA, so he applied for his ESTA.

They asked him to come to the Embassy in Brussels for questions about his trip.

They obviously asked him a bunch of annoying questions about Syria, how often he goes there, etc. He last visited his family back home in 2011.
At the end of the interview the man told him he "wasn't convincing enough" and told him to try again next time.

Esta denied.

I am helping him apply again and am looking for tips to help him out.

Do you think taking family photo's of his trip to Syria will help? Things that prove he was just there on a vacay visiting his grandmother..
Maybe add emails of good ol' American friends he has in the States to prove he's not meeting terrorists here?

What do you think?

He's 21 years old, incredibly bright and a very talented musician and I can't get over this whole situation. They treated him very poorly and were incredibly rude to him at the Embassy. It's really infuriating to me tbh. He's Belgian so he should have no problem at all. He's a student, he works a nice job, his career is picking up, he has a clean record, never been in any kind of trouble what so ever!!!

Any and all advice is welcome!

Thank you so much.

xo


03/02/2015: filed I-129F at the USCIS Texas

03/13/2015: received confirmation (Form I-797), file will now get routed to the USCIS California Service Center for processing. We wait :)

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Belgium
Timeline

He can't get ESTA because of the changes to the rules. But he can try for a regular tourist visa (B2).

Can't - as in never?

Or can't as in - they can refuse him but it can also totally depend on who interviews him? Like, does he still have a shot?


03/02/2015: filed I-129F at the USCIS Texas

03/13/2015: received confirmation (Form I-797), file will now get routed to the USCIS California Service Center for processing. We wait :)

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Ghana
Timeline

Can't - as in never?

Or can't as in - they can refuse him but it can also totally depend on who interviews him? Like, does he still have a shot?

Refuse, deny..they are all the same thing in this scenario.

He doesn't qualify. He can apply and go all the way to the end but same result.


(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)(L)

CR- 1

Interview :  11/15/2016

Result: AP  (form 221 (g))

Correspondence with Embassy: Tons of emails, Facebook posts, tweets, Congressman inquiry

Complaint letter with OIG : 12/29/2016

Case dispatched to diplomatic pouch : 01/11/2017

Case dispatched from diplomatic mail service to NVC : 01/23/2017

Case arrived at NVC: 01/26/2017

NVC sent case to USCIS : 02/09/2017 (system update)

Case receive by USCIS (text & email notification): 03/07/2017

 

Reaffirm Petition Timeline for folks in GHANA.. Please update your information..Thank you!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1k0NXnbJdyEIRR1_Dr4t3yXmsM0tBbq-tZsj0-o3cMV0/edit?usp=sharing

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Can't - as in never?

Or can't as in - they can refuse him but it can also totally depend on who interviews him? Like, does he still have a shot?

He cannot use ESTA/travel under the Visa Waiver Program until the rules change. He can apply for a tourist visa instead.


* I-130/CR-1 visa by Direct Consular Filing in London
3rd May 2013 - Married in London

7th May 2013 - I-130 filed
4th June 2013 - NOA2 (approved)
16th July 2013 - Interview (approved)
30th July 2013 - POE San Francisco
29th August 2013 - 2 year green card arrived

 

* How? Read my DCF London I-130 for CR1/IR1 Spouse Guide

* Removal of Conditions (RoC) via California Service Centre
1st May 2015 - 90 day RoC window opened
6th May 2015 - I-751 filed (delivered 8th May, cheque cashed 18th May)
7th August 2015 - Approved / GC production

27th August 2015 - 10 year green card arrived

* Naturalisation (Citizenship) via Phoenix Lockbox

* San Francisco Field Office:
1st May 2016 - N-400 window opened
20th August 2016 - N-400 filed

26th August 2016 - NOA1
13th September 2016 - Biometrics

12th January 2017 - Biometrics (again)
30th May 2017 - Interview (approved)
7th June 2017 - Oath

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Can't - as in never?

Or can't as in - they can refuse him but it can also totally depend on who interviews him? Like, does he still have a shot?

Did you open the link?

Under the Act, travelers in the following categories are no longer eligible to travel or be admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):

  • Nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country).

  • Nationals of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria.

These individuals will still be able to apply for a visa using the regular immigration process at our embassies or consulates. ..Beginning January 21, 2016, travelers who currently have valid Electronic System for Travel Authorizations (ESTAs) and who have previously indicated holding dual nationality with one of the four countries listed above on their ESTA applications will have their current ESTAs revoked.


USCIS

January 16, 2015 I-130 Mailed, Chi lockbox January 20, 2015 Priority Date, January 21, 2015 NOA1 notice date, Assigned VSC, January 23, 2015 Check Cashed, electronically March 5, 2015 NOA2

NVC

March 27, 2015 NVC received April 6, 2015 Case#, IIN# assigned April 8, 2015 Paid AOS + IV fee Invoices May 5, 2015 AOS + IV package submitted May 11, 2015 Scan Date

June 11, 2015 DS-260 submitted June 25, 2015 False checklist (for ds260).. hello? June 30, 2015 Answered checklist Aug 5, 2015 Escalated to Supervisor review Aug 13, 2015 Case Complete

Consular

Sept 10, 2015 Interview Scheduled Sept 11, 2015 P4 Letter received Sept 21, 2015 file In transit from NVC Sept 23, 2015 file at Embassy

Sept 28, 2015 Medical Oct 14, 2015 Biometrics Oct 15, 2015 Interview (Approved) Oct 19, 2015 IV visa Issued Oct 23, 2015 Passport Pickup

POE

Nov 2, 2015 Entered the US Nov 16, 2015 Applied for SSN, walk-in Nov 20, 2015 Social Security Card recd Jan 15, 2016 GC received

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Can't - as in never?

Or can't as in - they can refuse him but it can also totally depend on who interviews him? Like, does he still have a shot?

He is prohibited from using ESTA. He can get a B2 tourist visa. They are different things.


AOS for my husband
8/17/10: INTERVIEW DAY (day 123) APPROVED!!

ROC:
5/23/12: Sent out package
2/06/13: APPROVED!

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Can't - as in never?

Or can't as in - they can refuse him but it can also totally depend on who interviews him? Like, does he still have a shot?

He travelled to Syria in 2011 and thus no matter what he does (until such a time these restrictions are lifted), he will not be eligible to enter the US under the Visa Waiver Program.

This is because the US is on high alert over ISIS and terrorism at present.


ROC from CR-1 visa (Green Card expiration date was Nov 24th 2016)

 

Link to the evidence I submitted. Be sure to send evidence spanning your entire marriage (especially for K-1) or as far back as you can. Just one or two bank statements will not cut it. I primarily focused on the two years of living here since I came in on a CR-1. If you don't have the fundamentals (i.e. joint accounts/policies), you can explain why in the covering letter. E.g. "While we do not have joint utilities, we both contribute to them from our joint bank account".

 

September 26th 2016: I-751 package sent to CSC

September 28th 2016: Package delivered
September 30th 2016: Check cashed
October 3rd 2016: NOA1 received with receipt date of 09/28/16
November 3rd 2016: Biometrics received with appointment date of 11/14/16.
November 14th 2016: Attended biometrics appointment
October 30th 2017: Infopass appointment to get I-551 stamp
February 26th 2018: I-751 case number (aka the NOA1 receipt number) becomes trackable
March 14th 2018: Submitted service request due to being outside of processing time.

March 15th 2018: ROC approved. 535 days (1 year, 5 months and 17 days)

March 29th 2018: Card being produced

April 4th 2018: Card mailed out

April 6th 2018: Card in hand. Has incorrect "resident since" date. Submitted service request on I-751 case (typographical error on permanent resident card) and an I-90 online.

April 2018 - August 7th 2018: Tons of service requests, emails and now senator involvement to get my corrected green card back because what the heck, USCIS. Also some time in May I sent a letter to Potomac telling them I want to withdraw my I-90 since CSC were handling it.

August 8th 2018: Card in production thanks to the direct involvement of Senator Sherrod Brown's team

August 13th 2018: Card mailed

August 15th 2018: Card in hand with correct date. :joy:

October 31st 2018: Potomac sends out a notice stating they have closed out my I-90 per my request. Yay for no duplicate card drama.

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Belgium
Timeline

Consider reading the DOS link provided in the second response.

First it says no but then it says "case-to-case basis" and "we will continue to explore whether and how the waivers can be used for dual nationals of Iraq, Syria, Iran and Sudan."

So basically it'll still depends on who you interview with?

Like, the whole thing is so vague??


03/02/2015: filed I-129F at the USCIS Texas

03/13/2015: received confirmation (Form I-797), file will now get routed to the USCIS California Service Center for processing. We wait :)

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Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Spain
Timeline

Hi Everyone,

My good friend Ibrahim is Belgian with Syrian roots. He has the Belgian Nationality and a Belgian Passport.

He wanted to come travel through the States, NYC and LA, so he applied for his ESTA.

They asked him to come to the Embassy in Brussels for questions about his trip.

They obviously asked him a bunch of annoying questions about Syria, how often he goes there, etc. He last visited his family back home in 2011.

At the end of the interview the man told him he "wasn't convincing enough" and told him to try again next time.

Esta denied.

I am helping him apply again and am looking for tips to help him out.

Do you think taking family photo's of his trip to Syria will help? Things that prove he was just there on a vacay visiting his grandmother..

Maybe add emails of good ol' American friends he has in the States to prove he's not meeting terrorists here?

What do you think?

He's 21 years old, incredibly bright and a very talented musician and I can't get over this whole situation. They treated him very poorly and were incredibly rude to him at the Embassy. It's really infuriating to me tbh. He's Belgian so he should have no problem at all. He's a student, he works a nice job, his career is picking up, he has a clean record, never been in any kind of trouble what so ever!!!

Any and all advice is welcome!

Thank you so much.

xo

Because of the terrorist attacks from middle eastern people with European passports chances are that he will have a really hard time getting any US visa, just because he has a Belgian passport doesn't mean we will be treated as a native one outside of Belgium. Actually European airports have been requested to question middle eastern people with European passport if needed , things are changing drastically for immigrants in Europe.

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Filed: Timeline

He's Belgian so he should have no problem at all.

But he's not Belgian. He's Belgian with Syrian roots. BIG difference as Syria = terrorism.

Visiting the US is not a right but a privilege. They have every right to deny entry to someone they don't trust.

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Belgium
Timeline

But he's not Belgian. He's Belgian with Syrian roots. BIG difference as Syria = terrorism.

Visiting the US is not a right but a privilege. They have every right to deny entry to someone they don't trust.

Great. But that doesn't mean that this isn't very frustrating and incredibly unfair to some. I just wanna show my friend around my new hometown.


03/02/2015: filed I-129F at the USCIS Texas

03/13/2015: received confirmation (Form I-797), file will now get routed to the USCIS California Service Center for processing. We wait :)

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