We get many e-mails and calls from people in trouble with visa processing that are really heartbreaking. So I felt compelled to post a page that gives a list of some of the more common big mistakes and bad information sources that have caused most of these problems.
Unfortunately, once you get off on the wrong foot in the process, the U.S. Consulate case adjudicators go after your honey like a junk yard dog, believing a fraud case was discovered. They go by a fraud profile and it's the reason why 42% of K1 visa cases are denied.
Sources of major mistakes that cause serious delays and denials:
- Do It Yourself (Some people are born masochists).
- Immigration web forums and sweetheart forums. (The one time "experts").
- Government Web Sites ("How to:" and "Instructions")
- Form Instructions (on petition and application forms)
- Lawyer's web sites (Implications and omissions)
- How laws are made - Something few lawyers understand and the public MUST understand when reading government instructions and information.
Hey, I can do this myself. After all, it's only a few forms and they have instructions. What can I possibly do wrong? Just follow their instructions. Right? Wrong!
Most of those who do it themselves end up paying more because of unrealized mistakes made in the processing. Over documenting the petition filing and supplying wrong or insufficient documentation at time of the visa interview. Such things cause unusual delays and a lot of expensive tail chasing. Most who decide to use a service like ours are more afraid of the forms than the real threat - the case adjudicators. Few even know what that is. Most who get through this alone without some major hitch, are just very lucky.
The Case Adjudicators - Ever hear of those guys? The Case Rider - Know what that is? The Fraud Profile - Ever see one? Let's not forget, 41% of K1 (a bit less for K3 visas) visa cases get denied AFTER the visa petition filing gets approved! Why? Because they only see the tip of the ice berg and know nothing about the internal process. These items must be very seriously considered because they are NOT published anywhere. These are the land mines.
Many of our clients send us pre-filled forms - they've read all the instructions, web forums, and USCIS site. Yet 95% have some errors and at least 60% have SERIOUS errors.
Read below and read it all. Take your time. Thinking, believing and hoping are not KNOWING. Even lawyers claim, "A man who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client."
I firmly believe that Immigration discussions on Web Forums is the result of self defense from lawyers. Doing it yourself just HAS TO BE better than using a lawyer. Right? Remember, a web forum is a committee of amateurs and novices. To consider this a resource of information is like testing a jar of liquid with your finger to see if it's sulphuric acid or not.
Consider that on immigration web forums, there are only about 10 to 30 active writers with just one "expert" being followed by a handful of confused individuals reporting their progress. The sum total experience involved is a few cases while immigration professionals have thousands of case experiences. Also remember that you don't find failed case commentators on these forums. Human nature is not to wave a flag and say, "Hey, I failed."
No matter how identical one person's case is to another, they are NOT treated the same because each has different case adjudicators. There's NO substitute for experience with these bureaucratic creeps. "Thinking" or "believing," is NOT knowing!
Support groups are a fantastic idea and have helped so many people in so many ways. But Immigration as a subject is riddled with complex laws and bureaucrats with bad attitudes. How many income tax forums do you find?
Government web site instructions and "requirements" are NOT LAW. They're only statements of policy. In fact, some things they "require" are against the law. The supreme court has nailed this issue down numerous times. Each Dept. of Government is regulated by law as to what they are required to do. If they "require" something that is not in the law, they are committing a crime, and frequently do.
Web site instructions MAY "request" certain things. But MAY NOT "require" them if not authorized by law. A Public Act, Statute Law (United States Code), INA, FAM, etc., DO NOT have the force and effect of law upon you. ONLY the Code of Federal Regulations ("CFR") does. We see USCIS using "INA", "FAM" and "USC" which in themselves mean nothing unless specifically backed up by the Code of Federal Regulations. For details see....
Here's an example of a USCIS published memo that blatantly contradicts the law according to simple language.
Section 832 (D)(2)(A) of the IMBRA Act:
Subject to subparagraphs (B) and (C), a consular officer may not approve a petition under paragraph (1) unless the officer has verified that - ''(i) the petitioner has not, previous to the pending petition, petitioned under paragraph (1) with respect to two or more applying aliens; and
''(ii) if the petitioner has had such a petition previously approved, 2 years have elapsed since the filing of such previously approved petition. (Bold emphasis, mine).
First: A "consular officer" is part of the U.S. Dept. of State, not USCIS (DHS), and MAY NOT approve or disapprove a petition!! So, we have a contradiction created within the law itself. Anyone knows a consular officer works for the U.S. Dept. of State.
Second: A USCIS memo, dated July 21st, 2006, states:
"B. Filing Limitations
IMBRA imposes limitations on the number of petitions a petitioner for a K nonimmigrant visa for an alien fiancé(e) (K-1) may file or have approved without seeking a waiver of the application of those limitations. If the petitioner has filed two or more K-1 visa petitions at any time in the past, or previously had a K-1 visa petition approved within two years prior to the filing of the current petition, the petitioner must request a waiver." (Bold emphasis, mine).
Whoa! That's not what the laws says! The law said, "two or more applying aliens," and not a word about K-1 or alien fiancé(e).
So what's wrong with that? Assume a petitioner filed a petition for a person, the person came to the U.S., and decided not to marry. A year later the couple decided they just didn't know each other well enough at first, but now do. So the petitioner files again. Congress says they can. USCIS says they can't! [Argument on the The Immigration Portal].
Form instruction authors are guilty of deceptions and omission of critical information. Here's an example: Form I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status ( OMB No. 1615-0023; Expires 09/30/08 ), gives a section on eligibility:
"Who May File?" is anything but clear on allowing a person visiting the U.S., to marry here and be able to file for adjustment of status. However, under.....
"Who Is Not Eligible to Adjust Status?" is a paragraph stating:
"You were admitted to the United States as a visitor under the Visa Waiver Program, unless you are applying because you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen (parent, spouse, widow, widower or unmarried child under 21 years old); ... " (Underlined emphasis, mine).
Note how the eligibility statement is HIDDEN in the wrong section as an EXCEPTION. This same form twists and omits a number of other crucial requirements and limitations. Only one example is listed above.
I can find critical omissions and deceptions on ALL the USCIS forms. Many are intended to gather information (not required by law) that can be used against you!
Supporting documentation: This requirement is the most abused "requirement" used by both the USCIS and Consulates. It's arguable just what IS required, however, only the case adjudicator determines that. Therefore, satisfying the case adjudicator is the only person you can believe, yet they are NOT accessible for answers to outsiders.
There are lawyers and shysters.... learn to know which is which.
Most people justly fear lawyers. However, there are some good ones in the world, but how do you identify them?
How often have you heard of lawyers being referred to as Shysters? Time to learn where that term comes from:
unethical person: an unscrupulous person, especially a lawyer or political representative ( slang insult )
[ Mid-19th century. Origin uncertain: perhaps from the name Scheuster , a New York lawyer in the 1840s known for his unethical methods. Alternatively from German Scheisser “bastard,” formed from German term "Scheisse" meaning “excrement.” ] (Encarta dictionary)
NOTE: Ultra liberal, secularist MicroSoft, just removed that last part in (Oct. 2005). So we found one that's goes into MUCH more detail on "shyster" It's really a hoot, you've just got to read it! "Shyster" is a common term for lawyers!
Finding a good one (process of eliminating the shysters):
Immigration law firms or agencies that boast many thousands of cases processed, are usually stretching the truth, or inferring that all claimed cases pertain to K and Relative visas. In comparing these claims with USCIS reports, such claims can't be true.
100% Guarantee - is often advertised by such sites. BEWARE - this only guarantees the petition will be approved. Yes, the 41% of K1 visas that get denied, all had approved petitions! Read the details of that guarantee on their site!!
Firms or agencies that boast, "We do all the work" are blatant liars! There's no way they can do all the work since they cannot gather all the required historical information on such things as:
Your parents history of birth, place and present residence.
Your fiance(e)'s parents history of birth, place and present residence.
Your resident and employment history.
Your fiance(e)'s resident and employment history.
Children of your fiance(e), names, DOB's, residence, etc.
The list goes on an on - Only YOU can gather this information and supply it to the firm or agency. YOU DO THE WORK!! They, as we do, collect this information by questionnaire, but you have to supply it!
Firms or agencies that don't send you the final forms are taking control away from you and protecting their behinds from law suits from you. We get many emails or callers that complain about this.
Firms or agencies that don't answer emails or return calls, once the case is filed, is common. We can post email complaints about this as we get them regularly. When you first contact them, a good measure is how much time do they give you on their "free consultation?" What kind of questions do they duck?
A Good Firm or Agency should:
Be interested in your real situation.
Show an interest in uncovering potential problems that may crop up.
Should know what case adjudicators attitudes are about support documents and have significant experience at this human factor in the process. See more...
Should show all the related fees on their web site - not hide things and not play games.
Sites inflating the Truth:
See Common Sense Law! Thank God I'm not alone out here in the Internet world.
The details of processing K1 visa and K3 visa cases are NOT TAUGHT IN LAW SCHOOL. So where did these lawyers get their education on such? It can ONLY come from being in the trenches a long time, doing thousands of these cases. Most of these Immigration Lawyer web sites make outrageous claims. Example: If a couple of lawyers did 1200 such visas per year, as one pair claim, that would be 20% of ALL the K visas! Two lawyers do all that? If so, they sure didn't do much work on the cases.
There are at least 30 other law firms / agencies that do these K visa cases. If you add up the claims on the Internet, or consider the total number of lawyers supposedly doing K visa cases, you'd believe the total annual number of K visa cases would be in the TENS of THOUSANDS.
However, an INS report, "International Matchmaking Organizations: A Report to Congress (February 1999)" states: (Read it yourself).
"In his earlier work, Professor Scholes (1997) estimated that as of 1996, the number of marriages resulting from mail-order agencies annually was 4,000. In his most recent study in the spring of 1998, he estimated the number to be within a range of 4,000 to 6,000. He attributes this increase to the growth in the number of women listed annually, from about 100,000 in 1996 to 150,000 currently." (Bold and underline emphasis, mine).
The actual number of completed cases has dropped since 9/11 and passage of the IMBRA law. Remember that these 30+ firms / agencies / lawyers have bills to pay and need to eat. Therefore they ARE earning a living at this (or something) or only doing this on the side, therefore lying like thieves.
A firm stating they do X number of cases per year, are more likely including, various other visa or legal cases and simply including these in their numbers. That's inflating the truth by insinuation! Shysters are grand at that. Nobody but NOBODY is doing anywhere near 20% of the K visa cases. Do the bloody arithmetic!
Do you know the American Bar Assoc. is a club of lawyers protecting lawyers? Do you know that AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Assoc.) supports those who created the IMBRA laws? I don't belong to either one, I like to sleep at night. We were invited to join the Better Business Bureau (much to my surprise). The BBB was formed by consumers to protect consumers. Get to know me.
Law begins as a Public Act, passed by Congress (House and Senate), then signed by the President. Then a bunch of slick lawyers, deep inside the bowels of Congress, codify this public act into Statute Law and publish it.
The Public Act is what Congress wants in somewhat loose terms. The Statute Lawyers translate or set this up in more practical terms and call it a statute. Like who's going to be responsible for the administration, and step by step instructions on the implementation of the Act. The term "statute" means to "set up." So these slickers set up the Act into a loose form of law called a "statute."
It's really amazing how the government and lawyers commonly use common parlance (slang) terms in statute law. Words like "bona fide" etc., so they can be loosely argued in any way they want. Like Bill Clinton said, "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is." One would think that's the final word on the law. Not so!
The Secretary of a department of government, or commissioner of a section charged to administer an Act (by statute) the wish of Congress (the Act), must write Regulations to promulgate the details of the statute. These regulations must be precisely written to be concisely construed. And further, must be published in a public register ( The Federal Register ) for view and approval by the public. ( California Bankers Association vs. Schultz [416 US 21, 39L.Ed.2d 812, 94 S Ct. 1494] ) See interesting article on this regarding immigration. Good-bye "USC," "FAM" and "INA" codes. Those who go by these citations should grab both ears and pull real hard.
An Immigration Act must be set up by statutes. The Immigration Commissioner is then responsible to see that the Code of Federal Regulations is written to precisely explain what detailed steps and forms (which must bear a valid OMB number) are necessary to carry out the administration of the statute. Once the Code of Federal Regulations is completed, it must be published in the Federal Register for 60 days as a public notice that this Act and Statute is going to have the force and effect upon the Citizens (YOU). The 60 days is to allow the "public" to object on grounds of constitutionality. Hardly anyone got a peek at the IMBRA law before the 60 days was up. Because it was snuck into the law at the last minute and hardly anyone knew enough to look for it.
The Code of Federal Regulations must spell out the form to be used and define it's need. Most forms have questions that are not included in the CFR and are moot and not required to be answered. For example: Form I-134 Affidavit of Support is not defined in the CFR or even mentioned.
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