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?

Form I-765 USCIS Work Permit

If you are temporarily in the United States, the USCIS Work Permit Form I-765 is used to request an Employment Authorization Document. If you are authorized to work in the United States without restrictions you must also use this form to apply for a document that shows this authorization. Individuals who are not US citizens and want to work in the US should get authorization to work in the country. To get authorization, they can do so by filing the I-765 form. Since they belong to a different national origin, though, foreigners or aliens can work after the I-765 form is approved.A valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is issued in the form of a plastic card which looks like a credit card. The information seen on the card contains personal details of the person who has applied it, such as name, birthdate, country of birth, sex, photo, alien registration number, and others. Any foreign national in the US with a valid EAD can work for an employer in the country. Non-US citizens can file an I-765 form with the USCIS Regional Service Center closest to where they live. Each applicant should file a separate application.

Some instances where a foreign national can apply for an Employment Authorization Document:

  • Spouses and children of foreign government officials
  • Foreign nationals of refugee and asylum status
  • F1 and M1 students of certain categories
  • B1 non-immigrant employees of US citizens and foreign airlines.
  • Spouses of L and E visa holders and spouses and children of J visa holders.
  • Foreign nationals of V non-immigrant status and who are under the temporary protected status.

The following circumstances are examples of Employment Authorization Documents issued by the USCIS:

  • Renewal EAD – The Employment Authorization Document issued for the EAD that has expired will be issued only under the same category.
  • Interim EAD – Requested by the foreign employee if his EAD has not been denied or approved within 90 days.
  • Replacement EAD – Issued for previously released Employment Authorization Documents that were stolen, damaged, lost or having errors in the information like a misspelled name or wrong birthdate.

In case a person has filed an I-485 application which is to register permanent residence or adjustment of status after July 30, 2007, there is no need to pay a filing fee of an I-765. The I-765 application can be filed at the same time as the I-485 or filed separately at a later stage. The employment authorization document is a mere work permit and authorizes one to work in the United States. Depending on the category, one has to file the I-765 form and take the advantage and right of working in the US, which is a dream for many of the foreign nationals. If you need assistance in filing an I-765, contact Olvis Immigration and Visa Services today!

Getting a CR1 Spouse Visa

To petition your wife or husband from the Philippines, you will need a CR1 Spouse Visa. CR1 Visas are immigrant visas that are issued to foreign spouses of American citizens. The visa process is to be completed by the foreign spouse outside the United States, after the US citizen spouse files and approves the proper petition with the USCIS. Upon its issuance and approval, the foreign spouse may enter the United States with their visa and pass through the arrival port of entry where they can become a permanent resident immediately. The Green Card or Permanent Resident Card will be received in the mail at their US address in a few weeks. To properly obtain the CR1 visa, the American citizen and his foreign husband or wife must be legally married; they should have had a civil or church wedding and have authenticated their registrar marriage certificate at the NSO in the Philippines. If you are not married, you may use a K1 Fiancée visa. The US Law does not allow polygamy, so if either individual has been married before, there should be evidence that all previous marriages have been annulled. If applicable, a death certificate or divorce certificate that indicates the marriage has been terminated should be submitted. Divorce or death certificates must be certified copies, since this will be required by USCIS.

There only difference between the Immediate Relative IR1 Visa and the Conditional Resident CR1 Visa is the USCIS issues the CR1 visa to couples who have been married less than two years and the IR1 visa for those who have been married more than 2 years.

The average time to get a CR1 or IR1 visa is approximately 9 to 12 months from the date of filing. An American citizen cannot take his or her Filipino spouse back to the United States right after the marriage until the visa has been issued.

To know more about how to file a CR1 or IR1 visa, contact Olvis Immigration and Visa Services today. We will be more than happy to answer your inquiries and assist you on obtaining your visa every step of the way.