Sunday, June 15, 2008

First Week Home

My wife is home and we are slowly readjusting to living together. I picked her up at the airport on Monday evening. Our experience should assist other couples going through the complex Immigration system which I felt was extremely confusing and frustrating. I believe that our attorney did a good job on our case, but I did not like his style of doing business. I believe he should have warned us of any potential problems that we could encounter before we actually married. I never heard of a 10 year bar penalty until it happened to us. My future postings will reflect advice on how to proceed with writing a hardship waiver, and of course, I do not feel that anyone should attempt to pursue one without an experienced Immigration Attorney. It took me 6 months to write my petitioner statement for the waiver packet, and a lot of the important elements that I came up with, were not thought of right away. It is very easy to forget about details that should be put into a waiver. I did have an advantage due to a college degree in the Medical field. I believe that this truly helped me. I am the one who came up with the material for the waiver, not the attorney. The attorney looked it over and made some minor corrections and content suggestions. And, reiterated the legal aspects of similar cases.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Visa Is Being Delivered

After 20 months of separation, my wife's visa is being delivered by Delbros Courier Service in Manila. The point that I would like to make is we never should have had to file a hardship waiver for a 10 year bar. 178 days of unlawful presence does not justify a 10 year bar. I am still looking into any other legal actions that I may have for the incompetence of the embassy staff.

Friday, May 30, 2008

My Wife is in Manila

I called my wife last night and she is currently in Manila. She has attended the Medical exam at the St Lukes Medical Clinic Embassy Annex. She is upset having to leave her family on such short notice, and not knowing whether she will fly back to the southern end of the Philippines to say goodbye. The Embassy does not communicate well, and has not told us if she will receive her Visa at her appointment, as requested by my Congressional Representative. Normal procedures dictate that the applicant return to their home address and await a courier delivery which takes about 1 month. My wife can board flights until 06/15/2008 therefore, if the courier service is used, she will have to give birth to our first child in the Philippines. In addition, a birth certificate and Visa application will have to be submitted at the embassy before our child can come to the United States. This will generate even more income to the embassy therefore, I believe they will delay issuing the Visa since they are so hungry for money. If my wife receives her Visa at the appointment, she will fly to the United States directly from Manila without seeing her family until we visit the Philippines on a future vacation.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Wife's Embassy Appointment

I stayed up until 5 am talking to the embassy staff last night. We have been awaiting permission for her to attend another embassy appointment. I have contacted my representatives both in the Senate and Congress. I informed them 2 weeks ago that my wife, whom is expecting our first child, cannot board any more flights after 06/15/08 because she will be too far into her pregnancy. Most airlines forbid traveling while pregnant after so many months. I cannot believe that the embassy told me that her appointment was scheduled for 07/22/08. Is there any communication between my representatives and the embassy? After calling several times and being placed on hold, they moved her appointment to 06/03/08. I was also informed that my wife would have to pay for another medical exam because her prior one expired. Now, who is responsible for the prior medical exam expiring? If the visa was granted the first time, we would not be in this situation. So, another expense of $215.38 is being given to the most dysfunctional embassy in the world. Maybe they deny visas to generate more income!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Long Period of Separation and Financial Burden

My wife has been in the Philippines now for 20 months. Remember, I had to send her back to the Philippines because the law states that a non-immigrant cannot adjust status in the United States with a K3 visa. The attorney we hired charged us around $4000.00 with the expenses included. In addition, we had to pay for visa fees and affidavit of support fees which cost us approximately $700.00. In addition, I had to support my wife the entire 20 months that she was in the Philippines and provide her with airline tickets to the Philippines, and back and forth to the embassy, she had to take a 1 hour flight to the embassy from her mother's house. Conservatively, I would put this expense at $3000.00. Since the Consular Officer denied her visa and refused to issue the visa after our attorney appealed, I had to hire a Medical Doctor to write a Psychosocial report on our hardships. This cost me an additional $2500.00 in expenses. I earn a modest salary and this forced me to withdraw money from my retirement plan and added an additional $1900.00 in tax burden. The hardship waiver filing fee was around $600.00. I am producing this blog to help other couples in the same situation. And, I am hoping my blog will help me recoup some of my expenses with the advertisements posted on my pages.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Since my wife was out of status and the two conditions did not exist, Immigration Judge order, USCIS adjudication problem discovery, then the law requires Unlawful Presence to be counted from the I-94 port of entry record. The I-94 form is the time authorized by the attorney general to stay in the United States. Therefore, Unlawful Presence does not begin until the last day of the authorized stay. A three year bar is imposed after an alien stays in the U.S 181 days counted from the authorized date stamp which is placed by the Port of Entry Officer. A 10 year bar is imposed for 365 or more days after an alien stays in the U.S. which is also counted from the I-94 date stamp. My wife received a 10 year bar for 178 days of Unlawful Presence. Remember Status and Unlawful Presence are two different terms. The Consular Officer at the embassy said that Unlawful Presence is counted from the date that the divorce is final. Our attorney appealed with the AAO office requesting a legal advisory opinion. I have never received anything from the AAO office at the State Department. The form that the consular officer filled out even says 365 days of unlawful presence not status. Hello, where did this officer learn how to count? The law says that a consular officer can deny a visa even if it is in violation of the law.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Since my wife came to the U.S on a non-immigrant K3 marriage visa, she could not change her status in the United States because the first husband divorced her claiming he was having extreme personal problems and could not handle the stress of the marriage. Therefore, since she was divorced on the previous marriage visa, she was considered out of status. Immigration regulations state that a status violation does not constitute a person to be unlawfully present in the United States unless an Immigration judge issues an order or the Immigration Agency, USCIS, finds an error while adjudicating a case. In our situation, an Immigration Judge never issued an order, and the USCIS never found an error while adjudicating our new marriage petition because we were issued an approved I-130 marriage petition. See the large approved I-130 petition at the top of my blog.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My Wifes 10 year Bar and the Hardship Waiver

I am an American Citizen, a disabled Veteran from the U.S. Army, and I want to share my Immigration experience to help others whom have been separated from their foreign spouses due to draconian U.S. Immigration Laws. I met my wife in the beginning of 2005 in the New York City area. She is a native of the Philippines and absolutely the nicest woman that I have ever met. We married in Manhattan on July 14,2005. We consulted a prominent Immigration Attorney in the New York City region one week before our marriage to make sure we were following the law. I am just starting my story and hope to finish this posting within the next few weeks. When I first married my wife, I did not have any knowledge of Immigration law and thought that the marriage was the only real thing that we had to do in order to keep us together in the United States. How wrong I was to assume that the marriage alone would prevent any major problems with the U.S. Government.

The U.S Government had a problem with my wife because she came to the United States on a marriage visa and that particular marriage ended in divorce. This causes the U.S Immigration officials to assume fraud and they therefore fall into a state of paranoia and have what I like to describe "a cow". There are 2 classes of Visas, what is needed to enter the United States when you are from a foreign country. There are Immigrant Visas and Non-Immigrant Visas, and among those two classes are several different types, but my discussion is going to be limited to marriage visas. The government has a letter for everything under the sun for visas, K1,k3 are the common types for marriage minded couples. I cannot understand why K1 is used for a fiance visa and k3 for a marriage visa, how confusing. How about an F visa for fiance and an M visa for marriage. Maybe the officials in the U.S. Immigration System should have the designation of BS for bull and something else, I am trying to keep this blog clean, but you get the idea, I am sure.