The Visa Hour: Immigrant Visas

SCOTT: Hello everyone, and welcome to this month’s episode of The Visa Hour Today we’re focusing on immigrant visas, which are for people who want to relocate to the U.S. permanently And we do hope that you saw last month’s episode where we talked about nonimmigrant visas, for people who want to visit or study in the United States temporarily My name is Scott I work at the U.S. Embassy here in Manila as a consular officer, and I work in the Immigrant Visa Section MARGOT: And my name is Margot I also work here at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, also in the Consular Section along with Scott I very recently worked in the Immigrant Visa Section I’ve now moved on to the Nonimmigrant Visa Section But I’m here to answer your questions today about immigrant visas So please send us your questions about moving to the U.S and we will answer them live here on The Visa Hour To send a question, you can post it on Twitter using the hashtag #TheVisaHour or post it on the U.S. Embassy Facebook page SCOTT: Speaking of Twitter and Facebook, make sure you follow the U.S. Embassy Twitter account at And like our Facebook page at Now, before I start with questions, you want to make sure you know about other resources for learning about U.S. visas MARGOT: Check out the Visa Wall on our Facebook page where you can find lots of useful information about all kinds of visas, both immigrant and nonimmigrant Also check out our visa blog, VISAtisfied Voyager, at If we’re unable to get to one of your questions, please send us an email We have a number of different email addresses For NIVs – nonimmigrant visas – our email address is For immigrant visas, our email address is And for questions about American Citizen Services, our email address is SCOTT: And you can always find useful information on our website at MARGOT: So I think we’re ready for the first question now So our first question comes from [INAUDIBLE] and [INAUDIBLE] via Facebook “What are the requirements to qualify for an immigrant visa?” SCOTT: Well it actually depends No matter what, actually, no matter what the preference is or the category, you need to be the beneficiary of an approved petition So if you are engaged to somebody in the U.S and you’d like to relocate to the U.S. with them, or if you have a job offer from someone in the U.S who is petitioning you for an immigrant visa, or if you have a family member in the U.S. – in any of these cases, the person who is petitioning you needs to file paperwork with the Department of Homeland Security And the office within that is known as USCIS So they need to submit the paperwork for you You need to supply any documents from the Philippines that might be required And then DHS – Homeland Security – will need to approve the petition So that’s for all immigrant visa categories, that’s what you need to do Any other questions? MARGOT: I think we have another one from Twitter SCOTT: Okay So, let’s see, courtesy of Wil Gaza “What’s the waiting period for getting our visa number if we’ve received the approval?” MARGOT: Well, that’s a really good question, Wil It really depends on the type of immigrant visa that you’re applying for There are some immigrant visas that have no waiting period Once your petitioner files a petition with DHS and all of the paperwork is processed, then we can start processing your visa immediately These types of visas include things like a fiancé visa, a spouse visa, or the parent of an American citizen visa Now, then there are types of immigrant visas that do require some waiting And in the Philippines, there are some categories where the wait is quite a long time For example, the longest wait time is the F4 visa, which is the brother or sister of an American citizen And right now, that wait time is over 20 years in the Philippines, unfortunately, because we have so many Filipinos who are immigrating to the U.S So, Wil, it really depends on which type of visa you’re applying for We can also now go to a question from our blog

Linok says, “Hello I am so lost and confused “My fiancé went to the U.S “as an LPR and naturalized as a U.S. citizen “He then filed a petition for me as a fiancé and “put our child’s name on it “I was a K1 and our child was a K2 “As I read and joined some forums, “somebody told me that the child is not eligible for the K2 “because the petitioner is the biological father And that got me confused What should we do about this?” SCOTT: So this is a point, I think, of confusion for some people who have children, in general “How do I add my child to an immigrant petition?” Or, yes, in this case, “I’m getting engaged to somebody but “that person is also the father of my child “So is that child an American already or does that child need to become an American through an immigrant visa?” So there’s different requirements In general, if the father of your child was American before the birth of that child, that child likely has a claim to U.S citizenship and they should contact the American Citizen Services department of the Consular Section here at the Embassy And if they meet the requirements, if they show that that father was indeed their father and he was indeed an American prior to the birth, they may be able to get a Consular Report of Birth Abroad and a U.S. passport So there’s no need for the immigrant visa process for them at all In other cases, they would go as a K2, so the child of a fiancé And in that case, all they need to show to Department of Homeland Security and to us at the Department of State is that they are your biological child, that you are the mother And in that case – so in many cases, there’s a lot of concern over this, but in the end, the child’s probably going to go to the U.S in some form, whether it’s as an American or someone who is seeking to become an American And we have a Facebook question “What is the best recommended type of visa for a Filipino U.S registered nurse who wants to live and work in the States?” MARGOT: Well that’s a good question We do have a lot of nurses who are applying for immigrant visas As Scott mentioned earlier, for all types of immigrant visas, whether they’re family-based or employment-based, the first step is really to get a petition filed for you in the United States with the Department of Homeland Security A lot of nurses from the Philippines come on E3 petitions, and that’s one of the employment petitions So, like I said, the first step is to find an employer in the United States who’s willing to petition for you And once they file that petition, then there is a waiting period, and then we would process your visa once your visa number has become available So that’s really the best way for a nurse from the Philippines to actually immigrate to the U.S on a U.S. immigrant visa SCOTT: I would just jump in and say that people do find these opportunities They find them from here in the Philippines So some people feel that they can’t coordinate these things from abroad or they need to go to the U.S to scope things out for their job And that’s not necessarily the right way to use a nonimmigrant visa So a lot of people we have interviewed for the E3 category are people that have worked in the Philippines Maybe they’ve worked in the Middle East But, through a recruiting agency or on their own, they’ve actually found these job opportunities that are really great in the U.S And right now, the priority date – there is a normal waiting time for those people Right now, it’s about five years But those opportunities do exist, and oftentimes the job still exists for them I know that American companies and people in the medical profession really value the talents that Filipinos have brought, so MARGOT: Thanks for adding that, Scott Here’s a Twitter question we got from Zenia “What are the priority dates now for F4 visas? Any chance of fast-tracking the process?” That’s a good question SCOTT: And a very common one So, you know, Margot actually already mentioned the F4 category So that’s for the sibling of an American citizen, and that is indeed the longest wait period So right now, if you want to kind of simplify the way to explain it, right now we’re interviewing people for immigrant visas in this category who had petitions filed for them in 1989 And again, to kind of go into the process a little bit more, it’s not necessarily even that there’s such a backlog in the administrative process By law in the United States, each country each year can only send so many immigrants and make up so much of the pie of immigrants coming to the U.S And it just so happens that this is differentiated by category as well So it’s not that the government’s really slow or that they have anything against this category or against the Philippines or any of these other countries that have long wait times It’s simply by law that the process is that this is actually the longest waiting time I know that can be really difficult for people

And there really isn’t a way to fast-track it because, again, it’s not the administrative process that’s slow It’s mandated by law actually And I see we have a question from Chaz on Twitter “Where do I send my form and civil documents?” MARGOT: Well, that’s a good question For immigrant visas, there are actually several different steps in the process As we mentioned, first, your petitioner has to file the petition in the U.S with DHS, the Department of Homeland Security The next step is your petition will go to the National Visa Center, which is part of the State Department, where we work here at the Embassy This National Visa Center, located in the U.S., will start collecting all of your civil documents, your NBI clearances, all of those types of documents that are required under immigrant visa categories Once you are documentarily complete and there is a visa number available for you, NVC will send us at the Embassy all of those documents that you have already submitted Now, some of your documents might have expired So, for example, if your NBI clearance is from more than one year ago, when you come in for your interview, you’ll want to be sure to bring a new NBI clearance with you But all of the documents that you submitted to NVC will be forwarded directly to us at the Embassy in Manila Let’s see if we have another question Oh, we have a Facebook question from Gilbert “After the interview and visa are approved, do we just pick up the visa when it’s ready?” SCOTT: No, it is typically sent by courier It’s our trusted courier with the Embassy It’s the one we use for all immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas So we process tens of thousands – hundreds of thousands – of visas per year, and we send it to that courier service So that is our preferred method of providing you with the visa unless there is a true medical emergency And Forbes Francisco asks a question on Twitter Let’s see “A student visa holder with a Philippine passport…” So he is a – okay, “holder of Philippine passport – wanted to “move to the U.S. this December Any chance of getting a visa approved?” MARGOT: Well, if he’s interested in getting an immigrant visa, as we mentioned before, all immigrant visas first require the petition being filed in the U.S There’s really no way for you to just come into the Embassy and apply for an immigrant visa without first having the petition approved for you in the U.S So if that’s the type of visa you want to do, it will be a longer process than just coming in for the interview If what you’re interested in is getting just a tourist visa to go for a quick vacation to the U.S., then you can look at our website, which is It gives all of the steps of applying for a nonimmigrant visa But, as we mentioned, that would be a different type of visa for going temporarily to the U.S on a short tourist trip We have another question from the blog from Christina She said, “My brother’s priority date was June, 1995 “The documents are completed and closed with the “NVC office in April, 2012 “I called them and they said that there is a visa available for “him, but there’s no interview date yet “How long do we have to wait for this interview? “We’ve already been waiting for more than 17 years, “so we’re really hoping for the interview soon What can we do?” SCOTT: So, at that point, you’re right on the cusp of coming into the Embassy for an interview It’s actually kind of difficult to estimate At that point, the waiting time is an administrative process But what we’ve noticed lately is the waiting time is between two to three – possibly as long as four months And what will happen then is the petitioner and you will receive an appointment letter And that will give you all the information you need to come on into the Embassy, or a reminder that you should update your documents, as Margot said, if you might need them But you’re almost there [LAUGHING] We promise Any more questions? Let’s see Fernando on Twitter asks – well, he says, “Hello. My visa was approved “However, it has my nickname instead of my full name Is that going to be a problem?” MARGOT: That’s a good question, and that really relates to both immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas, really any visa you’re applying for You want to check your visa carefully, as soon as you receive it, and make sure that the name matches exactly what’s in your passport So if your passport has your nickname as your name in your passport, then it’s fine for that to be on the visa as well However, if your passport has your full name, then your visa should also have that exact same name So if that’s not the case, you should definitely contact us at You can also find that email address on our website – in order to get that corrected as soon as possible so that you don’t have any problems when you’re entering the U.S. on that visa We also got another Twitter question from Trish

She said, “I’m an American who currently lives in Manila “I plan on going back to the U.S “next year, but would like my boyfriend to come along with me “Unfortunately, he isn’t an American citizen “We don’t plan on getting married, “so what would be the best route for him or for me to be “able to take him with me to the U.S.? “Also, are there any special considerations for obtaining an immigrant visa for places like Guam?” SCOTT: So that’s kind of a couple of questions In many ways, this is a nonimmigrant visa question So if you are an American living here, you don’t necessarily plan to go back to the U.S and you don’t plan on getting married, then the immigrant visa petition might not be the best route So what we have to really talk about then is a nonimmigrant visa That’s not really the topic today, but I will say that if you’re an American living here and you’re a permanent resident in the Philippines, that may be more helpful for your significant other to qualify for nonimmigrant visa But they, themselves, will have to qualify And I think last month, Summer and Kevin talked a lot about applying for nonimmigrant visas So you might want to – and I know for a fact that they addressed this issue So you might want to actually look on YouTube or our Facebook page to view last month’s As for Guam, it’s just considered part of the United States There’s really no differentiation The only differentiation I can think of is finances, when it comes to affidavits of support But that’s kind of a whole other topic, and I don’t think that’s quite what you were asking But no, Guam is considered part of the United States and is treated the same way as any other state would be And we have a Facebook question that just came in from Jacquelyn “If I petition my mom in Manila to go to the U.S., how long will that process take?” MARGOT: Well, Jacquelyn, if you’re an American citizen living in the United States, you can file an IR5 petition for your mother As long as you are over 21 years old Unfortunately, there’s no visa category – immigrant visa category – for the parent of a lawful permanent resident, a green card holder So if you are an LPR right now, you’ll have to wait unfortunately until you become an American citizen before you can petition your mother If you are an American citizen, the good new is that once you file the petition, unlike some of the other visa categories we’ve been talking about, there is no waiting time for a visa number There are no statutory limits on the number of IR5 visas that we can hand out each year So in that case, it would be approximately a year from the time that you filed the petition to when your mom would hopefully be able to get to the immigrant visa So that really depends on a lot of factors, like whether your mom gets her documents together, when she comes in for her interview, all those types of steps But it would be approximately a year for that type of visa We got another question from the blog Clarence says, “My mother is a green card holder and living “here in the Philippines for two years “Her green card expires in 2015 “Is there any problem if she will go back to the U.S. this coming December?” SCOTT: This is actually a very common question that we get Sometimes people obtain their lawful permanent resident status, but they kind of split their lives between the two countries And we begin talking about “overstaying” in the Philippines And what that means is – one of the things that you have to do when you’re an LPR is be present in the United States for certain amounts of time And if you’re not present in the United States for a year, you may lose your LPR status So that is something that we try to stress to everybody because it seems to be an issue that comes up for a lot of families So, in that case, anybody who questions their LPR status should actually contact the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS So if it’s a question of here in the Philippines, they could either come into the Embassy and go to Window 25 between 8:00 AM and noon Or, what might be easier is to send an email to What may end up happening is if they are not permitted by Homeland Security or if they are told by Homeland Security that they may not be permitted entry, they may have to apply for a returning resident visa, which is actually a lot like any other immigrant visa, and unfortunately there is a fee and unfortunately they do have to come in for an interview again What may end up happening is that that person might have to be re-petitioned actually So for anybody that is admitted as a lawful permanent resident, we can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your status by at least being in the U.S once every calendar year Let’s see if we have any more I think we have a question from Cathy via Twitter “Is it a good sign that my visa will be approved if the Embassy is asking me to redo my medical and NBI clearance?”

MARGOT: Well, that’s a good question because a lot of people who are applying for immigrant visas are sometimes asked to submit a new NBI clearance, which is the police clearance, or maybe a new medical exam The NBI clearance is valid for one year from the date you received it So if your NBI clearance is more than a year old, unfortunately it’s expired Your medical clearance is usually good for six months from the date that it was completed, although sometimes it can be shorter So you want to make sure to check that When those things have expired and we’re ready to move on with processing your visa, we will contact you to let you know that it’s time to renew those and maybe to get a new medical exam at St. Luke’s and to get a new NBI clearance There’s no way for us to guarantee that we will give you the visa after those clearances are completed But they are necessary steps in the process So it does mean that your visa process is moving forward SCOTT: And I’ll also add that if it appears that we’re issuing the visa and your medical and the visa itself is expiring shortly, the Embassy will contact you and just have a normal conversation with you, say, “Do you think you can travel?” Sometimes it’s a very short amount of time They say, you know, “Do you think you can pick up everything and move to the U.S. in one week?” And sometimes the answer is no In that case, that person might say, “I’m willing to redo my medical, supply any more paperwork that I need. I just can’t go right now.” But it doesn’t necessarily mean that that person’s not approved We have already deemed that person approved MARGOT: That’s a good point, Scott Our immigrant visas are usually limited to your medical exam So whenever your medical exam expires, that is when your visa will expire So it’s always good when you receive your immigrant visa to look at the expiration date and make sure of what the date is Some people think, “Oh, I have six months as soon as I get my visa.” But it could have been some processing time since you got your medical exam And maybe you only have one month or two months So you really want to check your expiration date, which is tied to your medical exam I think we have some other questions We have a question from Google Plus [INAUDIBLE] says, “Hi, I have a U.S “visa and it is due to expire in two months “I was never able to use it because my plans changed “Is it true that it will be harder for me to get a new visa moving forward?” SCOTT: I suspect this might actually be a nonimmigrant visa question And in that case, there’s nothing wrong with not using a nonimmigrant visa You may have been invited to a wedding and you were going to go and you never were able to attend and years went by and your visa expired I don’t think the Embassy sees anything wrong with that You qualified for the visa before and you chose not to use it I don’t think there’s anything adverse about that And, of course, that would be a different case with the immigrant visa It’s a different process if it expires MARGOT: Yeah, if your immigrant visa does expire, if there were some extenuating circumstances that meant that you could not use the visa in time, you can contact us here at the Embassy, maybe write us a letter and explain what your issue was that made you not be able to go to the U.S., and we would look at that on a case by case basis and let you know if you do qualify for a replacement visa at that time SCOTT: I think we have a question from Twitter from Zarina “I’m a Filipino with an American one-year-old child, “and we’re here in the Philippines “The child’s father went missing and can’t be reached “What visa could be granted to me? “And also, is it possible to be granted a tourist visa so that I could travel with my American child?” MARGOT: Well, that’s a good question So, if the child’s father is no longer present and is not willing to file an immigrant visa petition for you, unfortunately, there’s no way that at this point you could get an immigrant visa because you do have to have an American citizen or a lawful permanent resident file the petition for you in the U.S You can apply for a nonimmigrant visa if you’d like to go to the U.S But please remember that this is for a temporary stay in the U.S So you can’t use the nonimmigrant visa to move to the U.S. with your American citizen child Once your child becomes 21 years old and is an American citizen, they can file a petition for you as the parent of a U.S citizen, but their child has to be at least 21 years old to do that So those are the various options for people who have American citizen children We have another question from the blog Dempsey says, “Hello “My sister-in-law’s brother and family were petitioned over “25 years ago and recently received their visas, “except for their older son, who is 25 years old now “Prior to that, I was told by NVC that he should submit “an application and all supporting documents, “along with all the fees, and accompany his parents “on their visa appointment “He did that but was unfortunately informed that he

“was not eligible because he had aged out according to some “formula and did not qualify for relief under the CSPA “What is the formula to determine this, “and why would they make him pay all the fees if they were just going to tell him that he wasn’t qualified?” SCOTT: So there’s a few issues to unpack from this question I think MARGOT: Yeah It’s a complicated one SCOTT: We do get this question a lot about people aging out, because as we mentioned before, for numerically-limited categories, the waiting time is long In fact, it’s so long that somebody might age out even if they weren’t born yet when the petition was filed In some cases, people who were over 21 and are still unmarried may qualify as children because, again, the idea behind all immigrant visas that are family-based is family reunification and keeping families together So the idea is that someone under 21 is a child and is part of their parents’ family unit So if their parents go to the U.S., they should probably be able to go with them There’s nothing in the law, as it stands now, that says that that family unit should stay together, even if that child is now an adult, has a family of their own, or could be any age So that’s kind of the reason why there’s a 21-year-old cut-off So, as I’ve just alluded to, in certain circumstances, people who are over 21 may qualify as a child and that is the Child Status Protection Act that has those provisions So that’s C-S-P-A or CSPA, as we might call it Unfortunately, right now, it has to be a formal application for a consular officer to decide the answer to adjudicate that case And that does mean the fees have to be paid It does mean, in most cases, that a medical examination will be done And I think for some people that’s a difficult process Because they’re just wondering They just want to know the answer to that formula And as it stands now, they do have to come in like any other applicant who has paid the fees, completed the medicals, completed all the documents The formula – and you might be able to explain this better [CROSSTALK] [INAUDIBLE] count for administrative time, not the time that was pending for the priority date for that petition to become current So maybe you’d like to say a little bit more MARGOT: Well, sure Basically, the CSPA calculation, as Scott said, is really there to account for any administrative delays on the part of the U.S. government So, for example, if your relative in the U.S filed a petition and that petition was pending at DHS for several years, we subtract that time from your age so that you’re not penalized from the time that the U.S government took to actually process the petition However, as Scott said, it’s really not to – the point of CSPA is not to account for the time that you’re waiting for your priority date to become current So, for example, if you’re in the F4 category and your family has waited 20 years, unfortunately we’re not going to subtract that time that you were waiting from your child’s age And since CSPA is so complicated, the Child Status Protection Act, you might want to take a look at our website,, or our blog, VISAtisfied Voyager, which is We definitely have some blog posts on there that talk about CSPA in sort of an easy to understand way SCOTT: And I would say that the formula – we know that there are certain formulas that are put online for people to put in What’s important to remember is the dates that are put in or are remembered by families aren’t necessarily what may have happened with the government So sometimes we’ve all had these cases where we are interviewing somebody who is applying for relief as a child under child status protection And they may have brought in their own dates or they may have brought in their own worksheet But we’re working from our worksheet It might be the same type of formula, kind of subtracting the administrative time But we have contacted other sections of the U.S. government We know exactly when the petition was filed, when it was approved And the numbers might not actually match what you and your family had imagined So that’s just something to keep in mind as well MARGOT: And just a note You can watch this video later on YouTube at But we’ll keep asking questions, answering questions right now You can also like us on Facebook at And you can follow us on Twitter at But we’ll keep going with some more questions So we have another one from Twitter from Cider Finder That’s an interesting name “I have my CENOMAR dated January because I had to “use it for a job application “I wonder if I could still use it for my visa application “Also, regarding the medical examination, “I read about the list of vaccines needed

Is that included with the fee that I’m paying?” SCOTT: So, again, I guess that’s two questions As Margot mentioned before, for some of the civil documents, like NBI clearance and CENOMAR, when we as consular officers are doing the interview, one of the first things we’re going to check is to see if that was within the last year So it really does depend on when you would interview for an immigrant visa, whether or not you could utilize certain documents And I think it’s no need for panic If you do need to get them, new documents, we know that NSO and NBI can be pretty quick with these So if you are temporarily refused the visa because we need something new, it may just be a matter of weeks before you get the document, we receive them, review them, and the visa can be approved Unfortunately, applicants have to pay for their medical, and that is one fee I don’t want to say anything that might not be true, but to my knowledge, the vaccinations are included in the medical fee. I’m not sure if you know MARGOT: You know, I’m actually not sure about this either You should probably contact St. Luke’s, which is our panel physician All immigrant visa applicants need to do a medical examination at the St. Luke’s clinic, so you might want to contact them and ask about the various fees that are required for the medical exam SCOTT: And I would also say that our website – – if you go there and click “immigrant visas,” one of the links you can click is actually kind of a prep guide It’s a PDF document that you can download And it’s a preparation for your interview And there’s a whole section on there about the medical examination that I’m sure actually has all the contact information that you would need to contact St. Luke’s Extension Center Let’s see if we have any more questions. Yep From Facebook, Jennifer Moreno Nilo says, “I’m going to have my interview on Monday for “an immigrant visa CR-1 category Are there any fees I need to pay the U.S. Embassy?” MARGOT: Okay, well this is a good question The CR-1 category, just for those of you who don’t know, is one of the spouse categories It’s for the spouse of an American citizen when they’ve been married for less than two years So, depending on whether you have already paid fees to NVC, the National Visa Center, you may or may not have to pay any fees at the Embassy A lot of immigrant visa applicants have already sent in their payment to the NVC, and in this case, we would know that at the Embassy and would be able to tell you that you don’t require any more fees However, if you have not paid the fee to NVC yet, you might need to pay it at the Embassy, at our Embassy cashier If you need to contact the NVC, their email address is So you might want to contact them first if you’re not sure if you paid the fee If you do know that you’ve paid the fee, then you won’t need to pay it again at the U.S. Embassy You only have to pay it one time And do we have any more questions? Oh, from Caressa on Twitter She says, “My family has an F3 visa application, “dated March, 1995 “Last year, we paid and submitted the requirements, “but we got no reply from the Embassy How can we know the update of our application?” SCOTT: Well, it sounds like perhaps they never got an appointment, which means that actually the case is at the National Visa Center So, again, as we started to explain, the immigrant visa process can be – or seem to be – kind of complicated And that’s because there are many different bodies that have jurisdiction over it A petition is filed with Homeland Security, but once it’s approved, will be kept at the National Visa Center, which is in the U.S And then when someone comes in for a visa interview, they’ll do that at the Embassy here So, again, if you have not gotten an appointment letter, it’s not necessarily our jurisdiction to check on the case, and you’d likely want to check with the National Visa Center, and Margot just gave that contact information MARGOT: SCOTT: Exactly MARGOT: You can also find this on our website Again, all of the contact information we’re giving out today is found very easily on our website, so just keep that in mind in case, you know, we already said something and you missed the phone number or the email address SCOTT: And also, if the petitioner in the United States would like to call one of the NVC numbers, there’s actually two One is an automated response that you might be able to check on your case And that’s 603-334-0700 Or if they feel that they need to talk to someone, the hours are actually pretty long each day that they can talk to someone over the phone, 7:00 AM to midnight And that’s 603-334-0700 as well MARGOT: So we have a Facebook question from Robert He said, “I am an American and have a new baby born here How long will it take for his papers and to get his passport?” SCOTT: Well, if you are an American and you’ve had a child here, again, it’s likely that that child has a claim to American citizenship from birth

And, again, that’s not necessarily an immigrant visa question That’s actually an American Citizens Services question So that’s something that you should probably contact ACS, as we call it, here at the Embassy And, again, all of the contact information for that is on our website, And they will lead you through the exact process that you need to do for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad And here’s a Twitter question from CD09 “How do we apply for citizenship? “My brother lost his permanent resident status He came back to the Philippines for two years,” as we mentioned before, “but he does have a re-entry permit “What would be the best thing to do? He was an LPR many years ago, but did lose his residency.” MARGOT: Okay, well, it really depends on what status your brother has currently in the U.S If he has lost his residency status, then as we referred to before, he might need to apply for a returning resident visa Or if he doesn’t qualify for a returning resident visa, he might need to be petitioned again by a family member in the United States, either the family member who petitioned him originally or maybe a different family member It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same family member However, the first thing that he should do – because it’s a little unclear from your question whether he has his residency right now or doesn’t have his residency – is to contact USCIS at Department of Homeland Security So, again, that’s Window 25 at the Embassy, any day from 8:00 AM to noon, or And DHS will be able to tell your brother whether his residency is current or not, and whether he can use his green card in order to get back into the United States SCOTT: And you did mention the re-entry permit In a lot of cases, that might be obtained before they left So, again, that’s why we advise, before you think about immigrant visas, again, to contact Homeland Security just to clear that out MARGOT: Exactly SCOTT: Let’s see if we have any more questions MARGOT: So we have a Facebook question from [INAUDIBLE] “What would the status of an underage dependent of a “petitioned relative under the F4 visa be if they submitted “their documents before the dependent turned 21, “but due to retrogression of priority dates, “they have aged out? Their priority date “is coming up again in the next one to two months “Would they still have a chance to get an immigrant visa, even if the children have already aged out?” SCOTT: This is one of those complicated cases, I think We do take into consideration retrogression with the Child Status Protection Act cases, but, again, I think it can be confusing for families One of the components for a lot of the F categories, like F4, that we take into consideration with Child Status Protection was, when you take out that administrative time with a child under 21 and also when the visa became current, did they seek to acquire the immigrant visa within one year? And that becomes a little bit complicated if retrogression takes effect before that one year is up We may look at both dates I don’t know if you’d like to say a little bit more MARGOT: Yeah, sometimes with retrogression, the CSPA calculation – Child Status Protection Act calculation – can get very complicated So, as Scott said, one of the requirements to qualify for CSPA if you’re in the F4 category is to apply for the visa within one year of it becoming available If retrogression happens before you’ve had that one-year window in order to apply, then the window will re-open for you, once the new priority date – or the same priority date becomes current again So, since this is a very complicated question, you may want to take a look on our website for a little bit more information And, as we mentioned before, there’s no way for us to tell an applicant, in particular, if he or she is CSPA eligible until they actually apply for the visa So the child in that petition would need to come in, apply for the visa, and we would do the CSPA calculation at that point, taking into account all of these different dates that we’ve talked about I think we have another question from Facebook from Rika She says, “I just want to ask how to apply for a fiancé visa “We already have a baby, and do we need to bring our baby when we apply?” SCOTT: This kind of goes back to a question we addressed a little bit earlier But, again, for all immigrant visa categories, the first step is filing those papers for a petition So it’s the I-129F for a fiancé visa Your fiancé should file that with the Department of Homeland Security in the United States And they may need paperwork from you But all that needs to be approved before we can really talk about anything else As for your child, there is the K1 category for the fiancé and K2 for any of his or her children

Again, that child can be added to the petition They’ll require a passport and documents just like any other applicant And they will need to come in for an interview once you do schedule an appointment And, let’s see Also from Facebook, we have Rika Lantano And she’s asking, “I just want…” Oops I think we lost the question for a second MARGOT: I think she’s asking how to apply for a fiancé visa is what it looks like Well, maybe we’ll move on to the next question I think we’ve already answered Rika’s question SCOTT: Okay. Let’s see So we’ll go to Twitter We have Reno Stormborn “I’m from Saudi. How can “a working Filipino get at least a visit visa – I know it’s hard to get – from the Philippines?” This sounds like a NIV question MARGOT: So, yeah, this is a nonimmigrant visa question As we’ve mentioned, we’re focusing this Visa Hour on immigrant visas If you’re interested in applying for just the tourist visa to go temporarily to the U.S., I would say just looking at our website,, goes through all the steps about how you can apply for a nonimmigrant visa SCOTT: And I would just put in another plug for the website It’s actually a great website So people are usually looking – they’re trying to talk to people who may have come in for an interview to get more information They may look all over the place but not actually look over the website itself If you go to “nonimmigrant visas” or “immigrant visas” or “American Citizen Services” the little tabs, most of the information that you’ll ever need is right there And we should also mention the blog You know, if you can’t do a question today or if you’re watching this later on and you’d still like to submit a question, one type of media that you can use is our blog, known as VISAtisfied Voyager And that url is And you can always ask us a question there And let’s see [INAUDIBLE] on Facebook asks, “Is the K1 fiancé visa available for both male to male relationships?” MARGOT: That’s a good question that we have received before Unfortunately, at this time, fiancé visas and spousal visas are only available for male-female relationships And that’s due to our federal laws in the United States So, at this time, unfortunately, if you are a man and you want to petition for another man to become your fiancé, that’s not allowed under our current law See if we have any other questions There’s a Twitter question from Archie “My family is in the U.S. and I keep getting denied “Would it help if I told the Consul that I promise a personal appearance?” This might also be a nonimmigrant [CROSSTALK] SCOTT: This does sound like a nonimmigrant visa question And, again, I encourage all of you Last month’s Visa Hour was a sound hour of discussion on obtaining a visitor’s visa or a student visa or a temporary work visa So you can look there And again, you can look on VISAtisfied Voyager, our blog There’s a whole section of it dedicated to nonimmigrant visas where people have asked very similar questions and have gotten personal answers from staff at the Embassy And let’s see I think we have a question submitted via email “Where is the case processing for Manila actually done?” MARGOT: Well, that’s a good question As we’ve mentioned before, there are a couple steps in the process The first step is the petition that goes to the Department of Homeland Security And which office it is depends on where your petitioner is living in the United States They should file that petition with whichever DHS office covers their region of the United States So that really depends on your petitioner and where they live But then all of the petitions go from there to the National Visa Center in New Hampshire And then once those are processed, then they’re sent straight here to the Embassy in Manila So that’s how the process works for the petitions here in Manila I think we have some more questions from email “How long does it take for an immigrant visa to be processed?” SCOTT: So, again, this goes back to what type of immigrant visa it is So, for immediate relatives, American citizens – that could be a parent – they’ll go pretty fast because the time that it takes from start to finish relies on administrative processing So as Margot mentioned, if you live in the U.S., you’re an American citizen, and you petition your mother in the Philippines, she might be able to come to live with you within one year But if it’s for the other category, the Fs – F1, F2B, F2A, F4 – these are all numerically limited So, again, there’s the administrative time for the processing What will likely determine the time that you come in for an interview is actually based on the category and the priority date And, again, as we’ve just discussed, by law, they’re numerically limited So the waiting time might be pretty long So it all depends on your category

We really do encourage everyone to go to if they do have one of the F type of immigrant visas because they can actually check – you can check each month the visa bulletin and know almost the exact day, month, and year of priority dates that are now current So you can know at any given time, if the date listed there is after when the petition was filed, you might be eligible soon to come in for an interview Let’s see if we have any more questions from Facebook We do. From John Villa Nueva “The Visa Hour is also available on YouTube.” That’s – thank you. [LAUGHING] MARGOT: So it looks like we have a Twitter question too “What is the priority date for E3 visa?” SCOTT: Well right now, the people that we’re interviewing are people who had petitions filed in 2006 So, again, that is another category that is numerically limited So I shouldn’t have just said F There are certain categories outside Fs that are numerically limited by country And right now, for the Philippines, we are not interviewing people who had petitions filed later than 2006 But if you’d like an exact date, month, and year, again, you can go to and look for the visa bulletin there Or you can google “visa bulletin.” It’s going to pop right up It’s the first result that you’ll get And you can check the priority date that’s now current MARGOT: And something we should mention about E3s We’ve been focusing a lot in this Visa Hour on the family-based immigrant visas, but there are also employment-based immigrant visas We don’t do as many of them, which is why we’re focusing so much on the family ones But if you do have an employer in the U.S who’s willing to file an immigrant petition for you, there are these E visas that are under employment-based visas as well So that’s another option for people out there SCOTT: So, again, if you’re fortunate enough to find a job there’s an opening, you qualify, they want you – they’ll just file an I-140 And if that’s approved, you might be eligible for an immigrant visa after your priority date becomes current I’ll take this. Okay There’s a question from the blog John Paul says, “How come the family-based second preference “spouses and unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents” – that’s a mouthful – “for the Philippines “has been stalled at December 8, 2001 for a few months now? “When will it finally move forward? “I have a friend petitioned by her mother on that preference, “together with her five unmarried children from a “previous marriage that got annulled And they’re concerned that the eldest might age out,” as we just mentioned earlier “How could that all be resolved? Isn’t there a Child Status Protection Act for that?” MARGOT: That’s quite the question. [LAUGHING] Sure What you’re referring to is the visa bulletin that we were just talking about where you can look at all of the different immigrant visa categories and see what priority dates are current right now So every month, we come out – the State Department comes out with new numbers in this visa bulletin Sometimes these dates move forward Sometimes they might stay the same Sometimes they might even move backwards And this all depends really on how many people from the Philippines are applying for each type of visa in each category So you were just asking about the F2B category and it might have been stalled for a few months It really all depends on how many people are applying from the Philippines in the F2B category If there are no more visa numbers available, we are not going to be able to move forward the date until more numbers become available once all of the people who have petitions filed before that date have been able to get their visas So there’s really no way for us to accurately predict how those dates will move in the future You just have to keep an eye out on the visa bulletin every month and see what happens with the dates As for your second question, I think we talked about Child Status Protection Act a lot So, again, we refer you to the blog and to our embassy website for more information on Child Status Protection Act SCOTT: And I would say that when the priority date seems to go back, that’s retrogression I think a lot of you may have heard that A strange term, but yeah, that basically means that the estimate that the government put out there for how many people would seek to become lawful permanent residents – it was actually too low and now it’s oversubscribed in that category And that can be very difficult for families because that can occur right up until you’re applying for the visa And I’ve seen myself MARGOT: Even after you apply SCOTT: Yeah I’ve seen cases myself where a family may have come in and they needed a few more documents, but by the time we got the documents, their priority date was actually no longer current

because it had retrogressed And we realize that that can be a burden on people But, again, it’s mandated by law So you just have to sit tight And you can check every month when the visa bulletin comes out And rest assured that when your priority date again becomes current, you can come back in for an interview MARGOT: Okay I think we have a Twitter question from Dodi “My passport with a U.S. visa “got damaged and then my passport was re-issued Do I need to have the U.S. visa re-issued?” That’s a good question SCOTT: That is a good question This can vary on the damage, I would say If there’s a little bit of a speck of water or dirt, that might be fine But where I’ve encountered instances where people had to reapply, correctly and smartly, for a visa because theirs was damaged in a flood or there was a fire, and we get half a passport, you can’t travel on that And because that happened outside the scope of the Embassy and our work, you are responsible for it MARGOT: And you want to make sure that you check that visa and that it’s not damaged or mutilated before you travel to the U.S If you get to the U.S. with a visa and the Customs and Border Patrol looks at it and says, “This is a damaged visa,” they might turn you around at the port of entry So you definitely want to look at that before you travel SCOTT: And it looks like YouTube is throwing a question our way Olga: “I’m a widow of an American and I have “an American daughter “But the papers were not finished yet before my husband “passed away. My tourist visa has expired So what visa am I supposed to apply for?” MARGOT: That’s actually a good question There is a category of immigrant visas for widows and widowers of American citizens So it depends on if your husband was able to file the petition before he passed away or not If he was able to file a spouse petition for you before he passed away, that petition would automatically convert to the category for the widow of an American citizen If he was not able to file that petition before he passed away, then you are able to self-petition actually as the widow of an American citizen You just need to be able to do that within two years from the date of his death So those are the options that you have if you were married to an American citizen who unfortunately passed away We also have a Facebook question from Marie She said, “Can I file a provision waiver? “I’m a U.S. immigrant My priority date was April 26, 1994.” SCOTT: To be honest, I’m not sure what provision waiver you are referring to. I don’t know We might have to consult the website again This might be a Department of Homeland Security issue MARGOT: There are several waivers that people can apply for It depends on what waiver you’re talking about Some people who have ineligibilities for visas would need to apply for a waiver, or might wish to apply for a waiver, if they are able to And they would need to apply for that with DHS, Department of Homeland Security And, again, that is But, we’re not sure exactly what type of waiver you’re referring to here SCOTT: Just to explain the ineligibilities, I’m not sure how many of you this might apply to, but those usually stem from prior visa applications or certain criminal activities There are certain measures in U.S law that bar people from actually being able to obtain an immigrant visa, even if they’ve gotten an approved petition That’s kind of our role as consular officers, in many ways So you might be referring to an ineligibility to get a visa, and in those instances, the Department of Homeland Security does have jurisdiction over those MARGOT: Exactly Do we have any more questions? SCOTT: Okay. Let’s see From Twitter from Sid Domingo “What happens if we already paid for the visa but then it was “affected by retrogression? I’m afraid that we’ll be overaged.” MARGOT: Well that’s a good question Once you’ve paid your visa fee, even if then you’re affected by retrogression, you don’t need to pay the fee again You’ve already paid the fee for your immigrant visa It is possible that after a retrogression somehow you may have aged out Again, that would be determined by the Child Status Protection Act calculation But, as we mentioned, even if you don’t qualify for the Child Status Protection Act, you still need to pay the fee in order for us to do that calculation So in either case, whether you have aged out or if you still qualify, the fee that you’ve already paid is going to be sufficient We have another blog question [INAUDIBLE] says, “My father was petitioned by his brother “20 years ago, but his brother unfortunately passed away “What should we do in order for us to know if the petition “for my father is still active? Is it hopeless? “My father’s other siblings are willing to file another petition for him. Is that possible?”

SCOTT: The answer is yes By law, actually, once the petitioner passes away, that petition stops The people that were the beneficiaries, by law, are no longer eligible for an immigrant visa under that petition Because, again, the whole idea behind this process that some people sometimes kind of forget about is that it’s about family reunification for these family-based visas And just as an aside, I would say, sometimes we have issues with petitioners who have moved back to the Philippines So, again, if you’re already reunified with your petitioner in the Philippines, you may not be eligible for an immigrant visa So, again, it’s family reunification that’s the idea behind that However, you may be able to contact the Department of Homeland Security and, for humanitarian reasons, they may reinstate the petitioner with a substitute petitioner MARGOT: Exactly So if your petitioner has passed away, the next step is for you to contact DHS, the Department of Homeland Security You might want to call them in the U.S Their National Customer Service Center is 1-800-375-5283 And, as Scott said, they may be willing to give you humanitarian reinstatement and have one of your father’s other siblings who live in the U.S serve as the substitute sponsor But that’s completely up to DHS and that would be a decision that they would need to make SCOTT: Okay, we have a Twitter question from Elmer “What are the requirements in applying for a working visa?” So this might actually be a nonimmigrant question or an immigrant question MARGOT: So, yeah, that’s a good distinction Working visas are nonimmigrant working visas and immigrant working visas So for the nonimmigrant working visas, again, we would recommend The Visa Hour from last month that you can watch on YouTube, You can also go to our website at to find out more about nonimmigrant working visas As we’ve mentioned before, there are also some immigrant working visas And the first step is really to find that employer in the United States who’s willing to file a petition for you, an immigrant visa petition So once you’ve found that employer, they would file the petition for you If that’s approved, then once your priority date becomes current, then we can process your immigrant visa SCOTT: Well, it actually looks like we’ve reached our limit of time We really do encourage anyone to watch the video later on YouTube It’s And, of course, we put our plug before for our blog, VISAtisfied Voyager, where you can always ask us questions And that’s And we also encourage you to like us on Facebook That’s MARGOT: You can also follow us on Twitter, which is And if you have a specific question, you might want to email us For immigrant visas, what we’ve been talking about this hour, you can contact us at If you have a nonimmigrant visa question, you can contact us at And both of these email addresses are on our website, SCOTT: And I will say, if you do contact our IV email, it’s super helpful to those of us that work here if you include your case number and the applicant’s name MARGOT: So thanks for joining us for this Visa Hour We hope that we answered a lot of your questions about immigrant visas And if we didn’t get to your question, please contact us on the blog, on our email address, on Facebook, on Twitter, and we’ll be happy to answer your question in the future SCOTT: Great. Thank you