Social Security Card Basics

Did you know that anyone in the United States can obtain a Social Security card? There are three types of social security cards, and each has a distinct function. Today we will discuss each one so you can see how they relate to immigration and resident status.

1. Unrestricted Social Security Card: These cards are for anyone authorized to live permanently or indefinitely in America (citizen or permanent resident status). This is the most desirable card as it provides the easiest access to jobs and social services.

2. Restricted Social Security Card: These are issued to a person that is authorized to work in America for a limited period of time.

3. Non-working Social Security Card: These cannot be used to apply for work but can be used to open accounts at financial institutions and for tax identification purposes.

If applying for a restricted social security card, know that you must prove (via the appropriate documentation) that you are authorized to work in the US, unless your employer has already been approved for I-129 petition documentation on your behalf. Do not expect to be approved for a restricted social security card and obtain work if you are a visitor to America, or have non-immigrant (foreign national) status.

That being said, there are two instances when non-immigrants can legally work in the U.S.: the sponsor company has received special permission to employ the employee for a specific job and has proved that the worker and the job fall under specialized requirements; or, there are extenuating circumstances such as a post-secondary student residing in America completing practical training to support their career.

When immigrating, visiting for an extended period of time, or sponsoring an immigrant, you must know the restrictions on the various types of social security cards available. Visit www.ssa.gov and www.ssa.gov/people/immigrants to learn more.

The Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens

During the spring, the Trump administration issued the Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens, which served to update the regulations for compliance with the law. The memorandum also helps to make sure that those ineligible for immigration status do not receive federal benefits.

This is very important news for anyone planning to sponsor an immigrant. Your affidavit of support means that you are, in effect, “co-signing” for that person. Your signature makes you responsible for the immigrant financially – should they require assistance after arriving in America, it is you that will have to provide the funds or reimburse the government for providing assistance to the person you sponsored.

While the memorandum is new, the ideology behind it is not. In force since 1977, section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act states that sponsors are responsible for the cost of any means-tested benefits (such as food stamps and health care) that the immigrant procures.

Although this law was very rarely enforced in the past, the Trump administration has made it clear that they now intend to enforce this rule. If sponsoring an immigrant, be very sure that they – or you – have the financial means to ensure they do not wind up relying on government benefits. Failure to observe this will cost you.

Embassy Closing in Manila

USCIS Field office closing (Not the Embassy)

On July 5th, 2019, USCIS will permanently close its field office in Manila, Philippines, as part of the Trump Administration’s efforts to improve legal immigration processing. After this date, there will be no USCIS field office located in the Philippines.

Over the years we at Olvis have had many expats that came to the Philippines and got married and after several years decided that they wanted to take their wife and return to the United States, because they were resident in the Philippines they could do what is called a Direct Consular Filing. This allowed the US citizen to go to the US Embassy in Manila and file directly. This process was much faster and the visa was usually done in less than 60 days. With the closing of the field office this process is no longer available and all spouse petitions need to be filed in the United States

The office began redirecting Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to the USCIS Lockbox on May 14, 2019. For U.S. citizens residing in the Philippines there is no more direct consular filing (DCF) you will now need to submit the I-130 petition for Alien Relative or Spouse by mail with the USCIS facility in Chicago.

USCIS has posted a listing of where each application should be sent to after the office closes. Please click this link for a more complete understanding as to what petitions are affected. Field office

It is important to understand that the USCIS field office is not the same as the U.S. Embassy. The US Embassy in Manila is still open for business, and processing visa interviews. The closing of the USCIS does not affect the processing of Fiancée and Alien relative petitions that have been filed in the United States.

Adjust Status after marriage K-1 Fiancée visa

Adjust Status after marriage K-1 Fiancée visa

Now when you enter the United States on a K-1 Fiancée Visa you must marry within 90 days. The important thing to keep in mind is you can file for adjustment of status any time after the wedding. However USCIS likes to have you file promptly after the wedding. Keep in mind you cannot work or travel outside the US until you receive your green card or advance parole travel document and your employment authorization document. We’ve seen a lot of cases where someone comes to the United States on a fiancée visa, got married but did not file for adjustment of status and then they had to go back home for a family emergency, or went to Mexico for a honeymoon only to find out that they couldn’t get back into the country. If this happens you will have to file a spousal visa and start the immigration process all over again. Just remember you don’t have to file for adjustment of status as soon as you get married but it is the best thing to do. We recommended that you file for adjustment of status as soon as possible after the wedding when we do this we also file for an employment authorization at the same time so you can travel and work.

Keep in mind that if you leave the USA for any reason without having your status adjusted that you will not be able to return to the US unless you have applied for the adjustment of status and have applied for and received an advance parole document.

Tax-Return Transcripts from the Internal Revenue Service or IRS are better than tax returns

Tax transcripts from the IRS showing income are far better than tax returns to show proof of income.

IRS tax transcript are better proof of income because by just providing your tax return does not actually prove that you’ve filed with the IRS or that you paid any taxes. Anyone can fill out a Federal Tax Return in just a few minutes and sign it and make copies. IRS transcripts are from the IRS, Internal Revenue Service, and they show documented income that’s been filed with the IRS.

If you provide your tax returns instead of transcripts, you’ll also have to provide your W2s, or 1099s with the transcripts you will not need to provide them.

Tax transcripts are free, and you can order them online through the IRS website. It usually takes about 15 days to obtain your transcripts. When you order the transcripts it is best if you order for the last 3 years as you will need that information later in the Immigration process.

The Olvis Visa Services Story

A message from the founder and president of Olvis Immigration and Travel Services with his lovely spouse celebrating 33 years in the Visa Services business.

Over 30 years ago when I first came to the Philippines to meet a pen pal I had been corresponding with, while on the plane about 40,000 feet over the Pacific somewhere I started thinking to myself that I must be out of my mind to fly 10,000 miles to meet some lady from a far different country and culture that I did not really know anything about. I can tell you truthfully that when I landed in Manila If I could have turned around and gotten back on the plane I would have done it. Anyway I met the lady and decided that maybe I was wrong and this was not so bad after all she was a wonderful lady and within 2 weeks we decided to get married.

Now here I am in a strange country not knowing anything about getting married there or what to do fortunately, my lady friend knew an attorney that was also a judge, I was introduced to him and he said oh this is no problem I will help you through the process as I do this many times each year for foreigners that come to get married, well I did not have much of a choice at this point so we used the Judge he got us through the entire process of the wedding pretty much painlessly. At this point I figured that I could take my wife and get on the plane and go home, End of Story, Right?

Well, keep in mind that this was in the days before the internet so there really was not much information out there. Anyway the judge then told me that I had to do immigration paperwork to bring my wife to the USA and that she could not just get on the plane and go and that It would take about 90 days, BUT for a small additional fee he would take care of all the US immigration paperwork, well once again I did not seem to have much of a choice so I paid him $500.00 to do the immigration. The wedding was fine the Immigration was a disaster after waiting for about 7 months to get it done and sent to U.S Immigration it turned out that he was doing what most attorneys do he was practicing Law, with my time and my money and the petition was denied for several reasons it was not a little mistake it was a whole lot of mistakes, forged documents and general carelessness on his part.

At this point I decided that maybe I should do something different. I had a friend that worked at the US immigration office in my states Capitol city so I went to see her as she was the chief of that office and offered to help me, she gave me all the forms and went over them with me line by line. So then I went home and typed them all up and took them back to her for review before I submitted them, she went over them line by line with me and assured me that they were perfect so I submitted them for the 2nd time to Immigration. This time it took less than 30 days for them to send it back because of missing documents and other mistakes. So back to my friend at Immigration and we did the whole thing over again and again I sent it off to Immigration this time it took almost 90 days for them to deny the petition.

At this point I am beginning to wonder, I had contacted several Immigration attorneys here in the USA but they were very expensive and did not seem like they really knew what they were talking about, especially when it came to answering questions about what my wife had to do there in the Philippines. So what options did I have, spend 2 or three months trying to navigate the Immigration process myself or pay another attorney to PRACTICE on me again and charge me a very large fee and would not make me any kind of guarantee that it would actually fly. So I got everything I could find on the subject and studied carefully and having already learned a lot from my past mistakes I DID IT ALL BY MYSELF and yes 90 days later she was here in the USA with me, it seems that I knew more about the process then the people in the immigration office.

Well after my wife arrived here in the U.S.A one day we were in the grocery store shopping and we ran into another guy that was going through the same headaches and he told us about his friend that also had the same problems, so I decided right then and there that I would help them if I could, so I prepared the visa applications for both of them and guess what they both received the visa. From that point on I decided to help as many people as I could. I have done visa processing every day for the last 30 years and hope to continue for many more.

SAME SEX Fiancee Visa applications

With the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) The US Immigration Service and Manila Embassy are now granting visas for U.S. Citizens wishing to sponsor their same-sex Fiancé/Fiancée. Olvis Immigration has successfully processed many same sex- Fiancé Visa petitions in the last three years and our service is experienced, sensitive and ready to prepare your same-sex petition. Same sex marriage visas have also been approved by USCIS. However since same sex marriages are not legal in many countries including the Philippines we only prepare the Fiancé/Fiancée visa as this is the only alternative.

Please feel free to contact our office any time for further information. Toll free from the USA 1-866-636-8666 Or to contact us locally from within the Philippines 032-231-7625 or 032-268-8279

Postal Letters Very Important

Proof of an ongoing relationship Postal Letters. This Section is to better educate both the sponsor and the beneficiary with beneficial tips in the do’s and the don’ts while developing your K1/K3 case. Every Sponsor who exercises their right as a U.S. Citizens in regards to petitioning a non-immigrant Alien to the U.S.A. with the […]

Visa assistance problems in foreign countries

Have you been to the Philippines or other foreign country and found the love of your life? Gotten married or engaged only to realize that you need to do paperwork? The last thing you need at this point is visa assistance problems!

While you were there, you hired what you thought was a reputable travel agency, so called visa consultancy or attorney, someone that gave you a great story about their success rate and how much better they were than others, how they were cheaper etc. You paid them either a sizable down payment or the whole fee up front only to find upon your return to your home country that these people no longer exist, the agency has dissappeared or when you do manage to get someone on the phone you get a story like “Mary is not in today” or the person you need to talk to “is not around today try again tomorrow” or you get someone that speaks broken English that is so bad you are wondering why you even bothered.

Visa assistance problems are more common than you imagine!
You have spent many dollars to this point only to find you have nothing or you have entrusted your all important immigration paperwork to someone who has no idea what they are doing. They have the money, you have nothing! Don’t fall into this trap, come to the professionals at Olvis who with over 30 years of experience can confidently guarantee that your petition will be approved in the fastest possible time. Someone that you can call anytime and get answers to your questions and concerns and someone that speaks your language.

K1 Fiancee Visa

  • Do you have an approval notice from the USCIS for the spouse or K-1 Fiancée visa application that you or your attorney in the USA did and are now wondering what are the next steps and just what does your lady in the Philippines have to do next?
  • Does the stark realization suddenly hit you right between the eyes that the visa application that was submitted to USCIS by you or your attorney was just a very small part of the process?
  • Do you ask yourself who is there to help my lady get through the maze of paperwork that she has to endure as well as prepare her for the dreaded embassy interview?
  • Are you wondering how can I or my attorney assist her at this point and who is there for her, to authenticate and verify all of her documents and make sure she is properly prepared for the embassy interview?
  • Are you wondering who will book her airline or boat tickets to Manila for the medical and interview and who will handle her hotel reservations while she is there and how will I pay for these things?