Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

On this page:


FAQ - General Visa Information

  1. How long does my passport have to be valid in order to apply for a U. S. visa?
  2. Do I qualify for the Visa Waiver Program?
  3. What is the fee for ESTA and who has to pay it?
  4. If I travel to the United States without ESTA, what happens?
  5. If I am a third-country national living in Lebanon can I apply for a nonimmigrant visa in Lebanon?
  6. Do all nonimmigrant visa applicants have to come to the U.S. Embassy for an interview?
  7. I have a nonimmigrant visa that will expire soon and I would like to renew it. Do I need to go through the whole visa application process again?
  8. My passport has expired, but the U.S. visa in it is still valid. Do I need to apply for a new visa?
  9. I have dual citizenship. Which passport should I use to travel to the United States?
  10. How can I extend my visa?
  11. Must I submit my visa application form electronically?
  12. What is "administrative processing?"
  13. How do I read and understand my visa?
  14. My visa will expire while I am in the United States. Is there a problem with that?
  15. What will happen when I enter the United States?
  16. I did not turn in my I-94 when I left the United States. What should I do?
  17. I have questions on submitting my DS-160 and printing the confirmation page. Where can I go for more information?
  18. I changed my name. Is my U.S. visa with my old name still valid?

 

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Q.1 How long does my passport have to be valid in order to apply for a U. S. visa?

You must possess a passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions).

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Q.2 Do I qualify for the Visa Waiver Program?

You qualify for the Visa Waiver Program if you are a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program country, possess a machine-readable passport, are traveling for temporary business or a visit of less than 90 days, meet other program requirements, and have obtained an authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

You must be a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program-eligible country in order to use this program. Permanent residents of VWP-eligible countries do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program unless they are also citizens of VWP-eligible countries. We recommend you visit the Visa Waiver Program website before any travel to the United States to determine if you are eligible for the VWP.

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Q.3 What is the fee for ESTA and who has to pay it?

ESTA registration is required for all travelers to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. There is a US$14 fee for ESTA registration. The fee can be paid online using a debit card or any of the following credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover. Third parties (travel agents, family members, etc.) can pay your ESTA fee for you if you do not have the correct type of credit card. If the ESTA registration is denied, the fee is only US$4.

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Q.4 If I travel to the United States without ESTA, what happens?

Visa Waiver Program travelers who have not obtained approval through ESTA should expect to be denied boarding on any air carrier bound for the United States. If you are allowed to board, you can expect to encounter significant delays and possible denial of admission at the U.S. port of entry (i.e., arrival airport). ESTA registration usually only takes a few minutes to complete, authorization often arrives in seconds, and it is valid for two years, unless the traveler’s passport expires within that two-year period. In those cases, ESTA validity is limited to the passport’s validity.

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Q.5 If I am a third-country national living in Lebanon, can I apply for a nonimmigrant visa in Lebanon?

Applicants are generally advised to apply in their country of nationality or residence. Any person who is legally present in Lebanon may apply for a visa in Lebanon. However, applicants should decide where to apply based on more than just convenience or delay in getting an appointment in their home district. One thing to consider, for example, is in which consular district the applicant can demonstrate the strongest ties.

There is no guarantee that a visa will be issued, nor is there a guarantee of processing time. If refused, there is no refund of the application fee.

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Q.6 Do all nonimmigrant visa applicants have to come to the U.S. Embassy for an interview?

Yes, for most applicants. There are only a few exceptions to the interview requirement. The following applicants generally do not have to appear in person:

  • Applicants for A-1, A-2 (official travelers on central government business), C-2, C-3 (central government officials in transit on central government business) or G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 (central government officials traveling in connection with an international organization, or employees of an international organization)
  • Children under the age of 14 if their parents have a valid nonimmigrant visa. .

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Q.7 I have a nonimmigrant visa that will expire soon and I would like to renew it. Do I need to go through the whole visa application process again?

Each nonimmigrant visa application is a separate process. You must apply in the normal manner, even if you had a visa before and even if your current nonimmigrant visa is still valid.

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Q.8 My passport has expired, but the U.S. visa in it is still valid. Do I need to apply for a new visa?

No.  If your visa is still valid you can travel to the United States with your two passports (old and new), as long as the visa is valid, not damaged, and is the appropriate type of visa required for your principal purpose of travel.  (Example: tourist visa, when your principal purpose of travel is tourism).  Also, the name and other personal data should be the same in both passports. Your nationality, as indicated in the new passport, must be the same as that shown in the passport bearing the visa.

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Q.9 I have dual citizenship. Which passport should I use to travel to the United States?

If one of your nationalities is not American, you can apply using whichever nationality you prefer, but you must disclose all nationalities to the U.S. Embassy on your application form. U.S. citizens, even dual citizens/nationals, must enter and depart the United States using a U.S. passport.

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Q.10 How can I extend my visa?

The validity of a visa cannot be extended regardless of its type. You must apply for a new visa.

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Q.11 Must I submit my visa application form electronically?

Yes, you must complete the DS-160 and bring a printed copy of the DS-160 confirmation page with you when you go for your interview at the U.S. Embassy

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Q.12 What is "administrative processing?"

Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after your interview with a consular officer. You are advised of this possibility when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 120 days of the visa interview. This web page on the Consular Affairs website has more information about administrative processing.

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Q.13 How do I read and understand my visa?

As soon as you receive your visa, check to make sure all your personal information printed on the visa is correct. If any of the information on your visa does not match the information in your passport or is otherwise incorrect, please contact the issuing authority (i.e. the) immediately.

The expiration date of your visa is the last day you may use the visa to enter the United States. It does not indicate how long you may stay in the United States. Your stay is determined by the Department of Homeland Security at your port of entry. As long as you comply with the Department of Homeland Security decision on the conditions of your stay, you should have no problem.

Further information about interpreting your visa can be found at the Department of State's Consular Affairs website.

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Q.14 My visa will expire while I am in the United States. Is there a problem with that?

No. You may stay in the United States for the period of time and conditions authorized by the Department of Homeland Security officer when you arrived in the United States, which will be noted on the I-94, even if your visa expires during your stay. You can find more information here.

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Q.15 What will happen when I enter the United States?

Your airline should give you a blank Customs Declaration form 6059B. Only one Customs Declaration is required for a family traveling together.

A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States, but allows a foreign citizen coming from abroad to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request permission to enter the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States, and determine how long a traveler may stay. At the port of entry, upon granting entry to the United States, the Customs and Border Protection officer will determine the length of stay permitted. Previously, travelers received a paper I-94 (record of admission) with this information. This process is now automated, with some exceptions. The traveler will be provided with a CBP admission stamp on their travel document that shows the date of admission, class of admission, and admitted-until date. Learn more on the CBP Website. If a traveler needs a copy of their I-94 for verification of alien registration, immigration status or employment authorization, it can be obtained from www.cbp.gov/I94. You can review information about admission on the CBP Website.

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Q.16 I did not turn in my I-94 when I left the United States. What should I do?

Previously, foreign travelers granted entry by CBP officials received a paper Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record). This process is now automated, with some exceptions.  If you received a paper Form I-94 or I-94W and failed to turn in your paper Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record to the commercial airline or CBP when you departed the U.S., see the CBP Website for instructions. Do not send your paper Form I-94 or I-94W to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General.

If you received an admissions stamp in your passport instead of a paper Form I-94 when granted entry, the I-94 record was created electronically, and a paper copy was not provided to you. CBP will record your departure from the U.S. electronically. Learn more on the CBP Website.

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Q.17 I have questions on submitting my DS-160 and printing the confirmation page. Where can I go for more information?

Our call center is unable to provide assistance on the application form. Any inquiries on completing the DS-160 can be addressed on the following website.

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Q.18 I changed my name. Is my U.S. visa with my old name still valid?

If your name has legally changed through marriage, divorce, or a court ordered name change, you will need to obtain a new passport.  Once you have a new passport, the Department of State recommends that you apply for a new U.S. visa to make it easier for you to travel to and from the United States.

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FAQ - Visa Refusals

  1. What is Section 214(b)?
  2. How can an applicant prove "strong ties?"
  3. Is a denial under Section 214(b) permanent?
  4. Who can influence the consular officer to reverse a decision?

The United States is an open society. Unlike many other countries, the United States does not impose internal controls on most visitors, such as registration with local authorities. Our immigration law requires consular officers to view every visa applicant as an intending immigrant until the applicant proves otherwise. In order to enjoy the privilege of unencumbered travel in the United States, you have a responsibility to prove you are going to return abroad before a visitor or student visa is issued.

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Q.1 What Is Section 214(b)?

Section 214(b) is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It states:

Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status.

Our consular officers have a difficult job. They must decide in a very short time if someone is qualified to receive a temporary visa. Most cases are decided after a brief interview and review of whatever evidence of ties an applicant presents. To qualify for a visitor or student visa, an applicant must meet the requirements of sections 101(a)(15)(B) or (F) of the INA respectively. Failure to do so will result in a refusal of a visa under INA 214(b). The most frequent basis for such a refusal concerns the requirement that the prospective visitor or student possess a residence abroad he or she has no intention of abandoning. Applicants prove the existence of such residence by demonstrating that they have ties abroad that would compel them to leave the United States at the end of the temporary stay. The law places this burden of proof on the applicant.

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Q.2 How can an applicant prove "strong ties?"

Strong ties differ from country to country, city to city, and individual to individual. Some examples of ties can be a job, a house, a family, a bank account. "Ties" are the various aspects of your life that bind you to your country of residence: your possessions, employment, social and family relationships.

Imagine your own ties in the country where you live. Would a consular office of another country consider that you have a residence there that you do not intend to abandon? It is likely that the answer would be "yes" if you have a job, a family, if you own or rent a house or apartment, or if you have other commitments that would require you to return to your country at the conclusion of a visit abroad. Each person's situation is different.

U.S. consular officers are aware of this diversity. During the visa interview they look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural and other factors. In cases of younger applicants who may not have had an opportunity to form many ties, consular officers may look at the applicants specific intentions, family situations, and long-range plans and prospects within his or her country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.

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Q.3 Is a denial under Section 214(b) permanent?

No. The consular officer will reconsider a case if an applicant can show further convincing evidence of ties outside the United States. Unfortunately, some applicants will not qualify for a nonimmigrant visa, regardless of how many times they reapply, until their personal, professional, and financial circumstances change considerably.

An applicant refused under Section 214(b) should review carefully their situation and realistically evaluate their ties. They may write down on paper what qualifying ties they think they have which may not have been evaluated at the time of their interview with the consular officer. Also, if they have been refused, they should review what documents were submitted for the consul to consider. Applicants refused visas under section 214(b) may reapply for a visa. When they do, they will have to show further evidence of their ties or how their circumstances have changed since the time of the original application. It may help to answer the following questions before reapplying: (1) Did I explain my situation accurately? (2) Did the consular officer overlook something? (3) Is there any additional information I can present to establish my residence and strong ties abroad?

Applicants should also bear in mind that they will be charged a nonrefundable application fee each time they apply for a visa, regardless of whether a visa is issued.

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Q.4 Who can influence the consular officer to reverse a decision?

Immigration law delegates the responsibility for issuance or refusal of visas to consular officers overseas. They have the final say on all visa cases. By regulation, the U.S. Department of State has authority to review consular decisions, but this authority is limited to the interpretation of law, as contrasted to determinations of facts. The question at issue in such denials, whether an applicant possesses the required residence abroad, is a factual one. Therefore, it falls exclusively within the authority of consular officers at our Foreign Service posts to resolve. An applicant can influence the post to change a prior visa denial only through the presentation of new convincing evidence of strong ties.

For information about visa ineligibilities other than 214(b), please visit the Department of State's Consular Affairs website.

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FAQ - Business/Tourist Visa

  1. How long can I stay in the United States on a tourist or business visa?
  2. My visitor visa (B-1/B-2) expires after my intended date of arrival in the United States. Do I need to get a new visa before departure?
  3. My U.S. visa will expire in the next 6 months. Do I need to apply for a new visa after my current visa expires or can I apply in advance?
  4. I currently hold a valid B-1/B-2 visa, which is in my maiden name, in my old passport. I wish to transfer this visa to my new passport, which is in my married name. What is the procedure?
  5. My current U.S. visa was issued to me when I was working in my previous job. Now I have changed to a new job at a new company and my new employer wants me to attend a conference in the United States, scheduled for next month. Can I use the same visa or do I have to apply for a new visa?
  6. My child is studying in the United States. Can I go live with him?

Q.1 How long can I stay in the United States on a tourist or business visa?

A U.S. nonimmigrant visa grants you permission to travel to a Port of Entry (airport/seaport) in the United States. When you arrive at your destination Port of Entry, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer who processes your entry will determine the length of time that you may remain in the country. You may travel to the Port of Entry during the validity of your nonimmigrant visa up to and including the last day the visa is valid. The visa duration does not determine the length of time that you may legally remain in the United States; only the Customs and Border Protection officer can decide this upon your arrival in the United States.

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Q.2 My visitor visa (B-1/B-2) expires after my intended date of arrival in the United States. Do I need to get a new visa before departure?

You can arrive in the United States right up to the last date of validity indicated on the visa. The Customs and Border Protection officer on arrival determines the duration of your stay in the United States. Your visa can expire while you are still in the United States – just be sure that you do not overstay the period of time the officer grants.

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Q.3 My U.S. visa will expire in the next 6 months. Do I need to apply for a new visa after my current visa expires or can I apply in advance?

You do not have to wait until your current visa expires. You can apply for a new visa even if your current visa is valid.

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Q.4 I currently hold a valid B-1/B-2 visa, which is in my maiden name, in my old passport. I wish to transfer this visa to my new passport, which is in my married name. What is the procedure?

U.S. visas cannot be transferred from one passport to another. You can travel to the United States with both passports as well as your marriage certificate, or you can apply for a new visa.

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Q.5 My current U.S. visa was issued to me when I was working in my previous job. Now I have changed to a new job at a new company and my new employer wants me to attend a conference in the United States, scheduled for next month. Can I use the same visa or do I have to apply for a new visa?

You can travel to the United States on the same visa as long as your visa is valid for business or pleasure.

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Q.6 My child is studying in the United States. Can I go live with him?

While you can use your own B-1/B-2 visa (or travel under the Visa Waiver Program, if eligible) to visit your child, you may not live with your child unless you have your own immigrant, work, or student visa.

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FAQ - Work Visa

  1. What is a petition?
  2. Can I get a visa to do casual work?
  3. Is there an age limit for applying for a temporary work visa?
  4. Can my U.S.-based relative sponsor me for a work visa?
  5. When can I enter the United States?
  6. Who pays the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee and when do they pay it?

Q.1 What is a petition?

Before applying for a temporary worker visa at the U.S. Embassy you must have an approved Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, from USCIS. This petition must be submitted by your prospective employer no earlier than 6 months prior to your proposed employment start date. Your employer should file the petition as soon as possible within the 6-month period to allow adequate time for processing. Once approved, your employer will be sent Form I-797, Notice of Action. For more information, visit the USCIS Temporary Workers webpage.

Note: To verify your petition's approval the U.S. Embassy needs your I-129 petition receipt number, along with your approved Form I-797. Please bring both of these to your interview.

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Q.2 Can I get a visa to do casual work?

No. There is no visa that covers casual work. All applicants who plan to work in the United States must have an approved petition prior to their visa appointment.

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Q.3 Is there an age limit for applying for a temporary work visa?

No.

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Q.4 Can my U.S.-based relative sponsor me for a work visa?

No. Only your employer can sponsor you.

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Q.5 When can I enter the United States?

You may not enter the United States until 10 days prior to your initial employment start date, as noted on your Form I-797 or on your offer of employment letter.

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Q.6 Who pays the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee and when do they pay it?

An applicant for an L-1 visa traveling on a blanket petition must pay the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee. On individual L, H-1B and H-2B petitions, the U.S. petitioner pays the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee to USCIS when the petition is filed.

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FAQ - Student Visa

  1. What is an I-20 and how do I get it?
  2. How early should I apply for my student visa?
  3. I received my visa, when should I travel?
  4. Can a person on a visitor visa change his or her status to student while in the United States if he or she gains admission to a school and gets a Form I-20?
  5. What if I receive an I-20 to a different school?
  6. I was working as an H-1B and have now been admitted to a university as an F-1. Do I need to return to my country to apply for a student visa?
  7. Can an F-1 student work in the United States?
  8. What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?
  9. If I previously studied on a student visa in the United States (and that visa is still valid), do I need a new F-1 visa to return to the United States to attend a different school?
  10. When should I apply for student visa renewal?
  11. Can I renew my student visa in the United States?
  12. Can my brother/sister/mother/father accompany me to the United States as a dependent?
  13. I’m also a U.S. citizen. Can I get a F-1 student visa and/or can my husband/wife and children receive a F-2 dependent visa?
  14. Can I bring my maid on a visa with me to the United States if I’m going on a student visa?
  15. What if my F-1 visa expires while I’m in the United States?
  16. When must I renew my F-1 visa?
  17. How long can I remain in the United States on my student visa after I complete my studies?
  18. Can I enter the United States on my F-1 visa after the date of study listed on my I-20?
  19. What if the Embassy/Consulate keeps my passport, but I don’t hear anything for weeks? Is the visa still being processed?
  20. Can I go on vacation to Mexico and return to the United States to study on my F-1 student visa?
  21. If I change schools, do I need to get a new visa?
  22. My academic program is starting very soon but there are no more appointments available this month. What should I do?
  23. It is three days before the start date on my I-20 and my visa is still being processed. What should I do?
  24. I am already in the United States studying but my spouse would like to apply for a visa and join me here. What does she/he need to bring to the interview?
  25. I am an umarried female student going to study in the United States. Can my father (or my brother) receive a student visa to accompany me to the United States?
  26. Will my student visa still be valid if I do not travel when I originally intended to?
  27. If I want to go earlier than 30 days prior to the start date of my I-20, can I go on my tourist visa (B1/B2), leave the United States by crossing an international border, then come back into the United States on my student visa?
  28. If I transfer to another school or from English Language Study (ELS) to my university, how to I change the visa?
  29. My dependent spouse on an F-2 visa is thinking about studying in the United States. Does he/she need a different visa?
  30. Should I still come in for the visa interview if I don’t have my I-20 or SEVIS fee receipt?
  31. I want to switch schools. What should I do?
  32. My spouse and son/daughter are going with me. Will they have to pay the SEVIS fee too?

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Q.1 What is an I-20 and how do I get it?

The Form I-20 is an official U.S. Government form, issued by a certified school, which a prospective nonimmigrant student must have in order to get an F-1 or M-1 visa. Form I-20 acts as proof-of-acceptance and contains the information necessary to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, apply for a visa or change visa status, and be admitted into the United States. The Form I-20 has the student's SEVIS identification number, which starts with the letter N and is followed by nine digits, on the upper right side directly above the barcode.

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Q.2 How early should I apply for my student visa?

You are encouraged to apply for your nonimmigrant student visa as soon as you have your I-20. To ensure you get an early and timely date you may apply at any time. However, a student visa may be issued no more than 120 days prior to the start date mentioned on your I-20.

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Q.3 I received my visa, when should I travel?

For your initial entry, you may only enter the United States within 30 days of the beginning of the course of study stated on your I-20, regardless of when your visa was issued.

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Q.4 Can a person on a visitor visa change his or her status to student while in the United States if he or she gains admission to a school and gets a Form I-20?

Yes. In general, you may apply to change your nonimmigrant visa status if you were lawfully admitted to the United States with a nonimmigrant visa, if your nonimmigrant status remains valid, if you have not violated the conditions of your status, and you have not committed any actions that would make you ineligible. For more details, please visit the USCIS website.

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Q.5 What if I receive an I-20 to a different school?

If you received an I-20 after scheduling your appointment, then you can inform the U.S. consular officer of the new I-20 at the time of the interview.

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Q.6 I was working as an H-1B and have now been admitted to a university as an F-1. Do I need to return to my country to apply for a student visa?

No. Once you are in the United States, you do not need to apply for a new visa because the visa is only for entry into the United States. Check with USCIS to determine if you need to adjust status. If you leave the country, however, you'll need to apply for the student visa in order to re-enter the United States.

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Q.7 Can an F-1 student work in the United States?

Full-time students on F visas may seek on-campus employment not to exceed 20 hours per week. After the first year in student status, an applicant may apply for employment off campus with authorization from USCIS. Please contact your student advisor for further information.

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Q.8 What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program requires schools and exchange programs to verify the enrollment status of all new and continuing foreign students and exchange visitors. Student visa applicants are required to pay a SEVIS fee before a visa can be issued. The SEVIS website has more details.

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Q. 9 If I previously studied on a student visa in the United States (and that visa is still valid), do I need a new F-1 visa to return to the United States to attend a different school?

No, students may enter the United States on an unexpired, valid F-1 visa even if they are attending a new school, as long as they have a valid SEVIS status.  Students attending a new school should obtain a new I-20 and must pay the I-901 SEVIS fee again.  Students only need to apply for a new visa if their visa has expired, been revoked or cancelled, or the student has changed visa categories.

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Q. 10 When should I apply for student visa renewal?

As soon as possible, but the earliest we can issue a student visa is 120 days before the start of your studies as listed on your I-20.  You may not need a new visa (see question 1).  If you do, it’s never too early to schedule an appointment.  You can even schedule your appointment while you’re still in the United States.  You do not have to wait until you return to your home country  to schedule your visa interview.

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Q. 11 Can I renew my student visa in the United States?

No. Visas can only be obtained at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad.

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Q. 12 Can my brother/sister/mother/father accompany me to the United States as a dependent?

Only your spouse and children (unmarried, under the age of 21) can accompany you to the United States as dependents, usually on F-2 visas.  If qualified, your close family members who don’t qualify for F-2 visas may be able to accompany you on a B1/B2 business/tourism visa.  However, their stay is generally restricted to six months and they would need to apply for an extension with the immigration service (USCIS) in the United States if they wish to stay longer.

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Q. 13 I’m also a U.S. citizen. Can I get a F-1 student visa and/or can my husband/wife and children receive a F-2 dependent visa?

No, a U.S. citizen cannot receive a visa to the United States.  U.S. citizens must enter and depart the United States using their U.S. passports.  The spouse and children of a U.S. citizen may not receive F-2 visas.  As a U.S. citizen you may file a petition to begin the immigration process of acquiring permanent residency for your spouse and children.

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Q. 14 Can I bring my maid on a visa with me to the United States if I’m going on a student visa?

No, we strongly discourage it.

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Q. 15 What if my F-1 visa expires while I’m in the United States?

You are free to remain in the United States for the period of time indicated on your I-94.  For students, this is typically indicated as “duration of status” which means that you may remain in the United States for the length of your studies.  However, if you depart the United States after your visa expires, or if your visa expires while you are abroad, then you will need to apply for a new visa to re-enter the United States.

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Q. 16 When must I renew my F-1 visa?

You must renew your F-1 visa if you decide to travel outside the U.S. and your current F-1 visa will expire before you re-enter the United States to continue your program. If this is the case, you will need to apply for another F-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

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Q. 17 How long can I remain in the United States on my student visa after I complete my studies?

If you have completed your academic program and have not applied for another academic program, or post-graduation training, you can remain in the United States up to 60 days after your studies have ended.  During this time, you may travel around the United States, but you may not re-enter on your student visa once you have departed, even if it is within 60 days of completing your academic program.

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Q. 18 Can I enter the United States on my F-1 visa after the date of study listed on my I-20?

For your initial entry, you cannot enter after the date of study listed on your I-20.  If the start date on your I-20 has already passed, you will need to get a new I-20 with a start date in the future.

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Q. 19 What if the Embassy/Consulate keeps my passport, but I don’t hear anything for weeks? Is the visa still being processed?

While the majority of visas are processed within a few weeks, occasionally a visa will take longer to be issued.  While the processing is ongoing, you may take back your passport by sending an email, along with your passport number, to support-morocco@ustraveldocs.com .  When the processing is complete, we will contact you to send in your passport so that the visa may be printed

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Q. 20 Can I go on vacation to Mexico and return to the United States to study on my F-1 student visa?

If you travel to a contiguous territory (including Canada and Mexico) and are there for less than 30 days, you do not need to have a valid F-1 visa to re-enter the United States. You must be in valid F-1 status, have a valid I-20, an unexpired passport and a valid I-94. Please contact the Mexican Embassy and Canadian Embassy for information on visa requirements for those countries for citizens of your country.

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Q. 21 If I change schools, do I need to get a new visa?

If you change schools after you received your F-1 student visa, but before you make your first trip to the United States as a student, you will need to apply for a new visa. However, if you are changing schools after you have started your studies in the United States, you do not need to get a new visa. Please be sure to contact your student advisor at the old school to transfer your SEVIS registration to the new school. Before traveling to the United States to start a new school, please contact your student advisor to ensure that your SEVIS status is in initial or active status at the new school.

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Q. 22 My academic program is starting very soon but there are no more appointments available this month. What should I do?

Please make an appointment for the earliest available date on the appointment website, even if it is after the date you need to be in the U.S. At the end of this process you will be able to request and submit an emergency appointment. You must explain briefly what your emergency is, give your SEVIS number and I-20 start-date, and give two or three dates that are convenient for your to come in for an interview.

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Q. 23 It is three days before the start date on my I-20 and my visa is still being processed. What should I do?

Please contact your school and request an extension letter or a new I-20. Inform them that your visa is still being processed. When you receive your extension letter or new I-20, please send a copy to the Embassy/Consulate immediately. Please remember, visa processing cannot be expedited.

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Q. 24 I am already in the United States studying but my spouse would like to apply for a visa and join me here. What does she/he need to bring to the interview?

In addition to the standard required documents, your spouse should bring an I-20 (for dependents), a copy of your F-1 student visa and a copy of your marriage certificate.

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Q. 25 I am an umarried female student going to study in the United States. Can my father (or my brother) receive a student visa to accompany me to the United States?

For F-1 students studying in the United States only children under 21 and spouses qualify for accompanying F-2 status.  Other family members who wish to accompany the student must apply for a Business and Tourism (B1/B2) visa. This means that the family member will not be able to live in the United States for the full term of your F-1 visa, and must exit the country within the time given by the Customs and Border Protection officer. Most visitors on a B1/B2 visa are admitted for six months, after which they must depart or seek an extension from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

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Q. 26 Will my student visa still be valid if I do not travel when I originally intended to?

You must be in the United States by the start date on your I-20 for your visa to be valid.  If it is close enough to your start date you may show a letter of extension from your school at the Port of Entry or a new I-20 with a new start date.  You will need a new visa if the new I-20 has a different SEVIS number, or if you have missed the original start date by more than 4 months.

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Q. 27 If I want to go earlier than 30 days prior to the start date of my I-20, can I go on my tourist visa (B1/B2), leave the United States by crossing an international border, then come back into the United States on my student visa?

Yes.

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Q. 28.If I transfer to another school or from English Language Study (ELS) to my university, how to I change the visa?

You usually do not need to change the visa.  Make sure you have an updated and correct I-20 and that your designated school officials in both schools keep the SEVIS system updated.

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Q.29. My dependent spouse on an F-2 visa is thinking about studying in the United States. Does he/she need a different visa?

If they are studying fewer than 18 hours a week, they do not need to change status. If they are studying full time or more than 18 hours, they will need an I-20 and a change of status to F-1 by filing form I-539 with USCIS. This can be done in the United States.  However, if they leave the United States they will need a new visa to re-enter and should apply through standard procedures.

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Q.30 Should I still come in for the visa interview if I don’t have my I-20 or SEVIS fee receipt?

Yes, but doing so is likely to cause delays as it’s harder to conduct the visa interview without the I-20/SEVIS fee receipt.  Both are necessary for the visa to be issued.  Be prepared to answer questions about possible schools you'd like to attend and what your long term educational plans are.  Once you obtain your I-20 and SEVIS fee receipt, send them in as soon as possible the visa cannot be printed without them.

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Q.31 I want to switch schools. What should I do?

Before the interview: either bring in the I-20 for your new school, or inform the consular officer about the change during the interview.

After the interview: If the visa is not printed, inform the consular office and send the I-20 to us. If the visa is printed: check the SEVIS number. If it is the same, you do not need a new visa. If the SEVIS number is different, you will need a new visa and must reapply.

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Q.32 My spouse and son/daughter are going with me. Will they have to pay the SEVIS fee too?

No, but they do need their own I-20 showing dependent status so they can get F-2 visas. Contact your school for this.

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FAQ - Exchange Visitor Visa

  1. I received my visa, when should I travel?
  2. What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?
  3. What is the "two-year rule?"
  4. Can the two-year rule be waived?

Q.1 I received my visa, when should I travel?

Exchange visitors may only enter the United States within 30 days of the beginning of the program, as stated on your Form DS-2019, regardless of when your visa was issued.

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Q.2 What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program requires schools and exchange programs to verify the enrollment status of all new and continuing foreign students and exchange visitors. Exchange visitor visa applicants are required to pay a SEVIS fee before a visa can be issued. The SEVIS website has more details.

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Q.3 What is the "two-year rule?"

The "two-year rule" is the common term used for a section of U.S. immigration law which requires many exchange visitors to return to their home countries and be physically present there for at least two years after the conclusion of their exchange visit before they can return to the U.S. under certain types of visas, specifically H-1, L-1, K-1 and immigrant visas. It is important to note that only a preliminary finding of whether the two-year rule applies to you is made on your DS-2019 when your J-1 visa is issued. The final decision will be made only if you later choose to apply for an H-1, L-1, K-1, or immigrant visa.

J-1 visa holders subject to the two-year rule are not permitted to remain in the United States and apply for an adjustment/change of status to a prohibited nonimmigrant status (for example, from a J-1 visa to an H-1 visa) or to apply for legal permanent resident status (Green Card) without first returning home for two years or obtaining an approved waiver. Whether you are subject to the two-year rule is determined by a number of factors, including your source of funding and your country's "Skills List." It is not determined by the amount of time you spend in the United States.

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Q.4 Can the two-year rule be waived?

Possibly. Only the Department of State's Visa Office can grant waivers of the two-year rule. The Visa Office is also the final authority on whether you are subject to the rule, regardless of what is annotated in your passport. If you are subject to the two-year rule, you may be able to tourist visa or any other nonimmigrant visa except those noted above.

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FAQ - Transit/Ship Crew Visa

  1. I plan to stop in the United States for a day and take a flight to another country on the next day. Do I need to apply for C-1 visa or a B-1/B-2 visa?

Q.1 I plan to stop in the United States for a day and take a flight to another country on the next day. Do I need to apply for C-1 visa or a B-1/B-2 visa?

If you seek layover privileges for purposes other than transiting through the United States, such as to visit friends or for sightseeing, then you must qualify for and obtain the type of visa required for that purpose, such as a B-2 visa.

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FAQ - Religious Worker Visa

  1. I am applying for a religious worker visa, but do not have an approved petition. I have been to the United States previously with an R-1 visa and was not required to have the petition. Can I apply for an R-1 visa without the petition since I had an R-1 visa in the past?

Q.1 I am applying for a religious worker visa, but do not have an approved petition. I have been to the United States previously with an R-1 visa and was not required to have the petition. Can I apply for an R-1 visa without the petition since I had an R-1 visa in the past?

The requirement for an approved petition went into effect November 28, 2008. All applicants applying for an R-1 nonimmigrant visa are required to have an approved petition from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For more information, please visit the USCIS website.

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FAQ - Track My Passport

  1. How will I get my passport back after the interview?
  2. What types of ID are acceptable as proof-of-identity?
  3. Can someone besides me pick up my passport?

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Q.1 How will I get my passport back after the interview?

If your visa application is approved, your passport and visa will be available for pick up at the U.S. Embassy. At the end of your interview, you will receive a colored card with the date that you can pick up the passport and visa. It is usually 3-4 business days after your interview. You can pick up the passport and visa on or after the date on the card Monday through Friday from 3-4 pm, excluding American and Lebanese holidays.

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Q.2 What types of ID are acceptable as proof-of-identity?

You must present an original government-issued photo ID.

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Q.3 Can someone besides me pick up my passport?

Yes. However, your representative - even in case of family members - must present the following in order to collect your passport:

If a representative is collecting your passport on your behalf - even in case of family members - the representative must present:

  • Their own original government-issued photo ID for identification
  • A photocopy of your government-issued photo ID
  • A letter of authority, signed by you, authorizing your representative to collect your passport. The letter of authority must contain the following information:
    • Your representative's full name as shown on their government-issued photo ID
    • Your name

If the applicant is under the age of 14, the following documents are required:

  • An original, signed letter of authority from either of the applicant's parents
  • A clear photocopy of the government-issued photo ID belonging to the parent who signed the applicant's letter of authority
  • The representative's original government-issued photo ID

Note: In case of a group/family, a single letter of authority with the required information for each of the applicants will be accepted.

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FAQ- Immigrant Visa Process and Interview

  1. Can I transmit citizenship to my spouse?
  2. Which is quicker to process, an immigrant or a fiancé(e) visa?
  3. My fiancé(e) and I will not marry within 90 days of our arrival. Can he/she still apply for a fiancé(e) visa?
  4. Can we apply for the fiancé(e) visa while my fiancé(e) is in the United States.?
  5. We only wish to travel to the United States to marry. We will return to Lebanon after the wedding. Do we still need a fiancé(e) visa?
  6. Can I enter the United States on a fiancé(e) visa, marry, and then leave the United States for my honeymoon?
  7. Can I travel to the United States while my application for an immigrant or fiancé(e) visa is being processed?
  8. Why do you require police certificates for an immigrant visa application? I have not been in trouble with the law.
  9. Where can I find information about obtaining police certificates?
  10. I'm in the U.S. Forces. My spouse is applying for an immigrant visa. Is he/she required to furnish police certificates to cover his/her period of residence in every country where I have served, or will you accept a letter from my commander/U.S. Forces?
  11. An immigrant visa petition has been filed on my behalf. I now have a child. Can he/she be added to my application?
  12. Since I was issued with an immigrant visa, I’ve had a baby. Can my baby immigrate with me?
  13. I am filing an immigrant visa petition on behalf of my son or daughter. I understand that in order to do so I am required to reside in the U.S.
  14. My child is not immigrating with me. Do I still have to list his or her details on the biographic data form DS-260/261?
  15. How long can I expect to be at the Embassy when I come for my immigrant visa interview?
  16. Does my child need to attend the immigrant visa interview?
  17. My spouse, who is a U.S. citizen, has filed the immigrant visa petition on my behalf. Is he/she required to attend the immigrant visa interview with me?
  18. Will I get my immigrant visa on the day of the interview?
  19. What if my immigrant visa is refused?
  20. What if I do not present the documentation to overcome the immigrant visa refusal and enter the United States within the twelve months?
  21. How long will I have to travel to the U.S. once the immigrant visa is issued?
  22. What if I cannot travel during the validity period of the immigrant visa?

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Q.1 Can I transmit citizenship to my spouse?

No, a United States citizen cannot transmit citizenship to a spouse. If your spouse wishes to relocate with you to the United States, he/she will require an immigrant visa. A Lawful Permanent Resident who is married to a U.S. citizen may apply to become a naturalized U.S. citizen after three years residence in the United States. Questions concerning this process should be addressed to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States. http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis

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Q.2 Which is quicker to process, an immigrant or a fiancé(e) visa?

The time it takes to process a visa application varies with each individual case. However, in general, a fiancé(e) visa application may be slightly quicker than an application for an immigrant visa, as immigrant visa petitions are taking longer to be processed and approved by the USCIS in the United States. If the time factor is of importance, you should contact the USCIS where you will file the petition to ascertain processing times before deciding on applying for a fiancé(e) or immigrant visa.

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Q.3 My fiancé(e) and I will not marry within 90 days of our arrival. Can he/she still apply for a fiancé(e) visa?

No. If the marriage will not take place within 90 days of the fiancé(e) visa applicant's arrival in the United States, it will not be possible to process an application for a fiancé(e) visa. An immigrant visa will be required. Visa free travel under the Visa Waiver Program or a nonimmigrant visitor or work visa is not appropriate.

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Q.4 Can we apply for the fiancé(e) visa while my fiancé(e) is in the United States?

No. An applicant for a fiancé(e) visa must apply for the fiancé(e) at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside the U.S. as he or she is required to enter the United States on the fiancé(e) visa.

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Q.5 We only wish to travel to the United States to marry. We will return to Lebanon after the wedding. Do we still need a fiancé(e) visa?

A person traveling to the United States to marry a U.S. citizen with the intention of returning to his/her place of permanent residence abroad may apply for a visitor visa http://lebanon.usembassy.gov/non-immigrant_visas.html or if eligible, travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program http://lebanon.usembassy.gov/niv_waiver_program.html.  Evidence of a residence abroad to which the B-2 visa holder or visa free traveler intends returning should be carried for presentation to an immigration inspector at the port of entry.

Q.6 Can I enter the United States on a fiancé(e) visa, marry, and then leave the United States for my honeymoon?

For marriage questions, you must contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for further information. If you leave the United States without first obtaining permission from them to re-enter the country, you will be required to apply for an immigrant visa in order to return. This could delay your return by three to six months.

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Q.7 Can I travel to the United States while my application for an immigrant or fiancé(e) visa is being processed?

If you intend taking up permanent residence in the U.S., you are required to wait until the immigrant or fiancé(e) visa is issued. You cannot reside in the U.S. on a tourist visa or visa free under the Visa Waiver Program while waiting the issuance of an immigrant or fiancé (e) visa. However, if you wish to make a temporary visit at the end of which you will return to your permanent residence outside the United States, you may travel on a tourist visa http://lebanon.usembassy.gov/non-immigrant_visas.html, or visa free under the Visa Waiver Program http://lebanon.usembassy.gov/niv_waiver_program.html, if qualified.

If applying for a B-2 visa, you are required to furnish evidence of your residence outside the United States to which you intend returning at the end of your temporary stay. Although a pending immigrant or fiancé(e) visa application is not necessarily conclusive evidence of intent to abandon a Lebanese residence, it is a factor considered by consular officers reviewing a visa application. If you are unable to convince the consular officer reviewing the application that you do not intend abandoning your residence, you will not be issued a visa.

When traveling to the U.S. either with a visa or visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, you should be sure to carry with you for presentation to an immigration inspector evidence of your residence outside the U.S. If the immigration inspector is not convinced that you are a bona fide visitor for pleasure, you will be denied entry into the United States.

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Q.8 Why do you require police certificates for an immigrant visa application? I have not been in trouble with the law.

The term police certificate means a statement which will advise the consular officer if you have any criminal convictions.

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Q.9 Where can I find information about obtaining police certificates?

The information is on the Department of State’s website:  http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/fees/reciprocity-by-country.html. Find the country and look under ”Police Record”. You are required to provide a police certificate for your place of birth and/or any country you have resided in after the age of 16 for more than six months.

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Q.10 I'm in the U.S. Forces. My spouse is applying for an immigrant visa. Is he/she required to furnish police certificates to cover his/her period of residence in every country where I have served, or will you accept a letter from my commander/U.S. Forces?

Your spouse will be required to obtain police certificates, even if he/she resided there as your dependent.

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Q.11 An immigrant visa petition has been filed on my behalf. I now have a child. Can he/she be added to my application?

If your baby's mother or father is an American citizen, the baby may have a claim to U.S. citizenship.

If your baby has no claim to U.S. citizenship, it may be possible for the child to derive status from the immigrant visa petition filed on your behalf, or for your spouse to file an immigrant visa petition for the child. You should notify the Immigrant Visa Branch in writing of the birth of your child. They will advise you further.

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Q.12 Since I was issued an immigrant visa, I’ve had a baby. Can my baby immigrate with me?

If your baby's mother or father is an American citizen, the baby may have a claim to U.S. citizenship.

A child born after the issuance of an immigrant visa will not need a visa to accompany the parent provided they both travel within the period of validity of the visa. A copy of the child's birth certificate showing the name of the parent must be carried for presentation to an immigration inspector at the port of entry, together with a valid travel document for the child.

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Q.13 I'm filing an immigrant visa petition on behalf of my son or daughter. I understand that in order to do so I'm required to reside in the U.S.

You are not required to reside in the U.S. in order to file an immigrant visa petition. However, in addition to filing the petition, form I-130, you are required to file an I-864. In order to file an I-864 you must be either reside in the U.S. or intend to resume permanent residence in the U.S. at the time your son or daughter immigrates to the U.S.

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Q.14 My child is not immigrating with me. Do I still have to list his/her details on the biographic data form DS-260/261?

You are required to enter the details of every child under the age of 21, including a stepchild from a marriage that began while the child was under the age of 18.

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Q.15 How long can I expect to be at the Embassy when I come for my immigrant visa interview?

Appointments are scheduled between 8:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. You should allow approximately two hours for the visa interview.

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Q.16 Does my child need to attend the immigrant visa interview?

All applicants registered for an immigrant visa interview are required to attend regardless of their age.

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Q.17 My spouse, who is a U.S. citizen, has filed the immigrant visa petition on my behalf. Is he/she required to attend the immigrant visa interview with me?

No. There is no requirement that the U.S. citizen attend the immigrant visa interview. There is also no requirement that your spouse remain in Lebanon until you are issued with your immigrant visa; he or she may travel to the United States ahead of you.

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Q.18 Will I get my immigrant visa on the day of the interview?

Visa processing takes 7 - 10 workdays. The visa will be returned to you on the specified date shown on the pick-up card that will be given to you after the interview.

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Q.19 What if my immigrant visa is refused?

If your visa is refused under the provisions of Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act for lack of documentation, you will have twelve months from the date of refusal in which to present the missing documents and enter the United States on the immigrant visa.

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Q.20 What if I do not present the documentation to overcome the immigrant visa refusal and enter the United States within the twelve months?

You will be required to reapply for an immigrant visa and pay new visa application, medical examination, and issuance fees.

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Q.21 How long will I have to travel to the U.S. once the immigrant visa is issued?

Immigrant and fiancé visas are normally valid for travel to the United States for six months from the date on which they are issued. K3 & K4 visa holders are issued a visa valid for travel for two years. Please refer to the individual sections for further information.

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Q.22 What if I cannot travel during the validity period of the immigrant visa?

You should return the unused visa to the Immigrant Visa Branch with a letter explaining why you were unable to travel. Depending on the reasons for you not using the visa, it may be possible to re-issue you with a new visa on payment of new visa processing fees.

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FAQ- Lawful Permanent Residents

  1. My spouse was granted conditional resident status. What do we do to have the status removed?
  2. I was granted conditional resident status, but never filed to have the status removed. I have been outside the United States for longer than 12 months. How can I return?
  3. How long can I remain outside the United States with my Permanent Resident Card (green card)?
  4. What if I have been outside the United States for longer than twelve months?
  5. My re-entry permit is due to expire. What do I do?
  6. I have lost my Permanent Resident Card (green card). What do I do?
  7. I am a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States. I have recently given birth to a child. What type of visa does he/she require to return with me to the United States?
  8. I have a green card, but I am only going back to the United States for a short visit. What do I do?
  9. I have a Permanent Resident Card (green card) and I no longer wish to live in the United States. What do I do?

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Q.1 My spouse was granted conditional resident status. What do we do to have the status removed?

You and your spouse are required to file a petition, form I-751, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to have the conditional resident status removed. The petition must be filed 90 days before the second anniversary of your husband/wife being admitted into the United States on an immigrant visa, or adjustment of status, if he or she entered on a fiancé (e) visa.

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Q.2 I was granted conditional resident status, but never filed to have the status removed. I have been outside the United States for longer than 12 months, how can I return?

Conditional residents of the United States who failed to file an application to have their conditional resident status removed are required to requalify for immigrant status by having their U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident relative file an immigrant visa petition, form I-130, on their behalf. If your relative resides in Lebanon, he/she should contact the immigrant visa section at the Embassy http://lebanon.usembassy.gov/immigrant_visas.html. If he/she resides in the United States, he/she should contact his/her local USCIS office for further information. http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis

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Q.3 How long can I remain outside the United States with my Permanent Resident Card (green card)?

You will maintain status provided you do not remain outside the United States for longer than one year and you maintain a bona fide domicile in the United States. Failure to return to the United States within one year may jeopardize permanent resident status. If you are in possession of a valid re-entry permit issued by the USCIS, you must return to the United States before the permit expires. You should be aware, however, that the final determination on your eligibility for admission into the United States rests with the USCIS at the port of entry. If you have been outside the United States for less than twelve months and you require further information, you should contact the immigrant visa section at the Embassy http://lebanon.usembassy.gov/immigrant_visas.html.

Q.4 What if I have been outside the United States for longer than twelve months?

If you are not in possession of a valid re-entry permit, or your re-entry permit has expired, you will require a new immigrant visa to re-enter the United States to resume your residence there.

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Q.5 My re-entry permit is due to expire. What do I do?

You should contact the Department of Homeland Security (Immigration) for further information http://www.dhs.gov/files/immigration.shtm.

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Q.6 I have lost my Permanent Resident Card (green card). What do I do?

If you have been outside the United States for less than twelve months, you should contact the immigrant visa section at the Embassy http://lebanon.usembassy.gov/immigrant_visas.html.  If you have been outside for longer than twelve months and you wish to return to resume permanent residence, you will require a new immigrant visa.

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Q.7 I am a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States. I have recently given birth to a child. What type of visa does he/she require to return with me to the United States?

You will not require a visa for your child if: he/she is under two years of age; it is his/her first entry into the United States since birth; and he/she is being accompanied by the parent who is applying for readmission as a permanent resident upon the parent's first return to the United States after the child's birth. Your child will require his or her own passport, if not included on the accompanying parent's passport, and his/her long form birth certificate, listing both parents' names. In the event that one parent is a citizen of the United States, the child may have a claim to U.S. citizenship. If you believe this is the case for your child, you may contact the Embassy’s American Citizen Services section at BeirutACS@state.gov.

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Q.8 I have a green card, but I am only going back to the United States for a short visit. What do I do?

If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holder) and you have been outside the United States for longer than twelve months, or two years if you have a re-entry permit, you will be required to either apply for a visitor visa, or if eligible, travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.

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Q.9 I have a Permanent Resident Card (green card) and I no longer wish to live in the United States. What do I do?

If you no longer wish to reside in the United States, you may formally abandon your status by completing the form I-407 (http://photos.state.gov/libraries/164203/dhs/I-407.pdf.)

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FAQ- K3 Visa – Spouses of U.S. citizens and their children

  1. What is the difference between the KI visa for fiancé and the K3 visa for spouses?
  2. If the immigrant visa interview has been scheduled, does this mean I cannot apply for the K-3 or K-4 visa?
  3. If I have been refused an immigrant visa, can I apply for a K-3 or K-4 visa?
  4. If I have been refused an immigrant visa, but my child has yet to apply for the visa, can he or she apply for the K-4 visa?
  5. Can I apply for a K-3 or K-4 visa if I no longer wish to continue with my application for an immigrant visa?
  6. Can I apply for the K-3 or K-4 visa while in the United States?
  7. If my child is issued a K-4 visa, what happens if he or she turns 21 before an immigrant visa is issued?
  8. If my child is issued a K-3 or K-4 visa, what happens if my child(ren) marries before he or she is issued an immigrant visa?
  9. How does the holder of a K-3 or K-4 visa apply for the immigrant visa?

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Q.1 What is the difference between the KI visa for fiancé(e)s and the K-3 visa for spouses?

The KI visa is issued to the fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen who will marry in the United States and apply to take up permanent residence after marriage. The K-3 and K-4 visa is issued to the spouse of a U.S. citizen who is the beneficiary of an immediate relative petition and his or her child(ren) under the age of 21. The K-3 and K-4 visa allows the holder to travel to the United States to reside while his or her immigrant visa petition is being processed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and to apply for an immigrant visa once the petition has been approved.

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Q.2 If the immigrant visa interview has been scheduled, does this mean I cannot apply for the K-3 or K-4 visa?

Yes. If you have been scheduled for an immigrant visa interview, or indeed if the Embassy or National Visa Center has received the approved petition, but not yet scheduled the immigrant visa interview, you are not eligible to apply for a K-3 or K-4 visa. You are required to pursue your application for an immigrant visa.

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Q.3 If I have been refused an immigrant visa, can I apply for a K-3 or K-4 visa?

No. If you have applied for an immigrant visa and have been refused, you are not eligible to apply for the K visa.

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Q.4 If I have been refused an immigrant visa, but my child has yet to apply for the visa, can he or she apply for the K-4 visa?

No. If you have been refused an immigrant visa, your child is, unfortunately, not eligible to apply for the K-4 visa, even if he or she has yet to apply for an immigrant visa.

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Q.5 Can I apply for a K-3 or K-4 visa if I no longer wish to continue with my application for an immigrant visa?

A K-3 or K-4 visa entitles the holder to reside in the United States only until he or she becomes eligible to apply for an immigrant visa. If you do not wish to pursue an application for an immigrant visa, you will not qualify for the K visa.

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Q.6 Can I apply for a K-3 or K-4 visa while in the United States?

No. You are required to return to the county where you were married to apply for the visa. If the marriage ceremony took place in the United States, you are required to apply for the visa at the Embassy or Consulate in your country of permanent or last residence.

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Q.7 If my child is issued a K-4 visa, what happens if he or she turns 21 before an immigrant visa is issued?

Holders of K-4 visas will be admitted for two years or until the day before their twenty-first birthday, whichever is shorter. The K-4 visa holder's status will expire if he or she turns 21.

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Q.8 If my child is issued a K-4 visa, what happens if he or she marries before the immigrant visa issued?

Holders of K-4 visas will be admitted for two years or until the day before their twenty-first birthday, whichever is shorter.  The K-4 visa holder’s status will expire if he or she turns 21 or gets married.

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Q.9 How does the holder of a K-3 or K-4 visa apply for the immigrant visa?

If you are physically present in the United States you may apply for an adjustment of status with the USCIS. If this is your intention, you should state this fact in answer to Q.21 of form I-130. If the I-130 has already been filed and you advised the USCIS that you would apply for the visa abroad, your spouse or parent should notify the USCIS that you will apply for an adjustment of status.

If you will apply for the immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate named on the immigrant visa petition, form I-130, the approved petition will be forwarded to the National Visa Center in New Hampshire, which will send you the packet of forms you are required to complete in connection with your application for an immigrant visa.

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FAQ-Filing the I-864 Process

  1. Sponsor
  2. Household Member(s)
  3. Joint Sponsor (if required)
  4. What do I do with the completed I-864/I-864A?
  5. How many copies are needed?
  6. What about the accompanying dependents?
  7. What if the dependents are not accompanying the principal applicant?
  8. I do not have enough copies of the I-864/I-864A, can I photocopy it?

The following lists the steps you are required to take and documents you are required to furnish with the I-864/I-864A.

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Sponsor: You are required to complete pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 of the I-864 and staple them together in the correct order. The document no longer needs to be notarized. The I-864 should be presented with the following documents.

  • Your most recent federal tax return with all supporting schedules, current as of the date the I-864 is executed. The tax return must have all pages in the correct order and must be stapled together. If you did not have to file a tax return you should attached a written explanation and a copy of the instruction from the IRS publication that show you were not obligated to file. (See the 1040 Instructions for further information); and
  • Evidence of assets, if needed, including ownership, location and value of each assets together with evidence of liens, mortgages and liabilities for each asset (if any).

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Household Member(s): Each household member(s) whose income and/or assets are to be considered is required to complete a separate I-864A, pages 1, 2, & 3 and staple them together in the correct order. Sponsor/joint sponsor should complete Part 2 and Part 5. Household member should complete Part 3 or Part 4 and Part 6. The I-864A should be presented with all documents listed in 1 though 4:

  • Your most recent federal tax return as described for sponsor in 1 above;
  • Evidence of assets, if needed, as described for sponsor in 2 above; and
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship of Lawful permanent resident status.

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Joint Sponsor (if required): You are required to complete pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 of the I-864 and staple them together in the correct order. Sign Part 7. The I-864 should be presented with the following as outlined in 1 through 4.

  • Your most recent federal tax return as described for sponsor in 1 above;
  • Evidence of assets, if needed, as described for sponsor in 2 above; and
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship of Lawful permanent resident status

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Q.4 What do I do with the completed I-864/I-864A?

The completed affidavit of support, form I-864, or I-864A together with all supporting documents as described above should be given to the sponsored immigrant for presentation to a consular officer on the day of his or her visa interview. If you do not wish for the sponsored immigrant to see the I-864 or I-864A, they may be placed in a sealed envelope and given to the sponsored for presentation to the Consular officer.

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Q.5 How many copies are needed?

An original signed I-864 or I-864A and one complete set of original documents as described are required for each sponsored immigrant who is the beneficiary of an immediate relative petition (spouse, child under 21, parent), regardless of the fact that the family members will attend the visa interview together and travel to the United States. An original signed I-864 or I-864A and one complete set of original documents as described are required only for the principal sponsored immigrant who is beneficiary of a family or employment based petition; accompanying dependents are listed in Part 3 of the I-864 and Part 2 of the I-864A.

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Q.6 What about the accompanying dependents?

Dependents of sponsored immigrants in the family or employment based preference categories who will attend the immigrant visa interview and travel to the U.S. with the principal applicant may furnish either a signed original or a photocopy of the I-864/I-864A, if he or she is named in Part 3 of the I-864 or Part 2 of the I-864A. Copies of supporting documents will not be required.

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Q.7 What if the dependents are not accompanying the principal applicant?

If the dependents will not accompany the principal applicant to the visa interview and/or will not travel to the U.S. with him or her, each dependent will require a signed original I-864/I-864A and complete set of supporting documents.

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Q.8 I do not have enough copies of the I-864/I-864A, can I photocopy it?

Yes. The forms may be photocopied, but where an original signature is required, you must comply with that requirement.

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FAQ- Affidavit Form I-864 - The Sponsor

  1. I filed the immigrant visa petition, but can I be a sponsor if I am currently unemployed/retired/student and I am not earning an income?
  2. I am on welfare. Can I still sponsor my relative?
  3. What is the definition of "relative" for employment based sponsors?
  4. Does the sponsor/joint sponsor´s obligation end with divorce or the death of the sponsor/joint sponsor?
  5. What if the sponsor dies before all of the family members of the sponsored immigrant have entered the United States?
  6. I recently immigrated to the United States. I have filed an immigrant visa petition for my spouse/son or daughter in the family based second preference category. As the petitioner, I am required to file an I-864 for them. However, given that the I-864 filed on my behalf is still in force, can I do this?
  7. Is there a limit on the number of joint sponsors?

Q.1 I filed the immigrant visa petition, but can I be a sponsor if I am currently unemployed/retired/student and I am not earning an income?

As the petitioner, you are required, by law, to file an I-864 even if you do not earn enough income. If you do not earn enough income, you may add the value of your assets and/or income and assets of your household members, if they are willing. If this still does not meet the federal poverty guidelines, a joint sponsor will be required to file an I-864.

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Q.2 I am on welfare; can I still sponsor my relative?

As the petitioner, you are required, by law, to file an I-864 even if you are currently not earning an income. The welfare benefits you receive can be taken into consideration if you are acting as a sponsor or joint sponsor

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Q.3 What is the definition of "relative" for employment based sponsors?

Spouse, child under the age of 21, son or daughter 21 and over, parent or sibling.

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Q.4 Does the sponsor/joint sponsor´s obligation end with divorce or the death of the sponsor/joint sponsor?

No, divorce does not nullify the I-864. If the sponsor/joint sponsor dies, the sponsor/joint sponsor's estate remains liable for any support or requests for repayment of benefit that arose before the support obligation ended.

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Q.5 What if the sponsor dies before all of the family members of the sponsored immigrant have entered the United States?

If the sponsor dies after the principal sponsored immigrant has entered the United States, but before his or her family members have immigrated, a joint sponsor may file an I-864. Example: A parent files an immigrant visa petition on behalf of a daughter and her family. The daughter and children immigrate to the U.S., but the husband remains in the United Kingdom for 12 months. At the time he wishes to immigrate the sponsor would be required to file a new I-864. However if he had died, a joint sponsor could file an I-864.

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Q.6 I recently immigrated to the United States. I have filed an immigrant visa petition for my spouse/son or daughter in the family based second preference category. As the petitioner, I am required to file an I-864 for them. However, given that the I-864 filed on my behalf is still in force, can I do this?

You may file an I-864. If your income does not equal or exceed the poverty level guide for your household size, you will require a joint sponsor

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Q.7 Is there a limit on the number of joint sponsors?

No, there is no limit. However, each joint sponsor must meet the income requirement of the Federal poverty guidelines for your household size.

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FAQ - Affidavit Form I-864 - Income & Assets

  1. I do not work/ I am retired/I know that my income does not meet the Federal poverty guidelines for my household size. Am I still required to file an I-864?
  2. I´m on welfare. Can I still sponsor my relative?
  3. If I require a joint sponsor as I am unable to meet the Federal poverty guidelines, who will be financially responsible for the sponsored immigrant?
  4. If I receive housing/other tangible benefits in lieu of a salary, can I count these as income?
  5. How can I do this?
  6. Is it only my income that can be counted?
  7. The sponsored immigrant has been offered employment on his or her relocation to the United States. Can this be taken into consideration?
  8. If my income does not meet the poverty level guidelines for my household size, do I have to use a household member?
  9. My income/my income and that of my household member(s) do not meet the poverty level guidelines. Can I/we count my/our assets?
  10. What type of assets can be used?
  11. Some/all of these assets are outside the United States. Is this OK?
  12. What kind of evidence do you require?
  13. You mention property. I own a home in Lebanon, which I will sell if my relative is issued an immigrant visa. How can I show you the value of this property?
  14. I am sponsoring my spouse, the assets that we need to use to meet the poverty level is joint assets. Is this OK?
  15. Can the assets of the intending immigrant be used if he or she is not my spouse?
  16. I am sponsoring my spouse for immigration and we will use his or her assets to meet the poverty level guidelines. Does he or she need to complete an I-864A?
  17. Do I just total up my assets and add it to my income?

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Q.1 I do not work/ I am retired/I know that my income does not meet the Federal poverty guidelines for my household size. Am I still required to file an I-864?

Yes. As the petitioner, you are required to file an I-864 even if you do not work, are currently unemployed and/or know that your income will not meet the poverty level guidelines for your household size.

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Q.2 I´m on welfare. Can I still sponsor my relative?

As the petitioner, you are required by law to file an I-864 even if you are currently not earning an income. The welfare benefits you receive can be taken into consideration.

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Q.3 If I require a joint sponsor as I am unable to meet the Federal poverty guidelines, who will be financially responsible for the sponsored immigrant?

The sponsor will remain fully liable, along with the joint sponsor, for any benefits the sponsored immigrant may use.

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Q.4 If I receive housing/other tangible benefits in lieu of a salary, can I count these as income?

Yes. Income that is not subject to taxation, such as a housing allowance if you are a member of the clergy or military personnel may be counted. However, the onus will be on you to prove the nature and amount of any income on which you rely, but are not included as wages/salary or other taxable income.

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Q.5 How can I do this?

Evidence of such income can be shown through notation on the W-2 Wages and Tax Form (such as box 13 for military allowances), Form 1099 or other documents that substantiate the claimed income.

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Q.6 Is it only my income that can be counted?

If your income does not meet the poverty level guidelines for your household size, you may include in your calculation the income of anyone who is residing in your household, if they are willing to make their income and/or assets available for the support of the sponsored immigrant(s). By signing the form, the household member agrees to be jointly responsible with the sponsor to reimburse the costs of any means-tested public benefits used by the sponsored immigrant(s).

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Q.7 The sponsored immigrant has been offered employment on his or her relocation to the United States. Can this be taken into consideration?

While we recognize that the sponsored immigrant may be the main wage earner in the family and on his or her relocation to the United States will have employment, that job offer and salary cannot be counted toward the poverty level guidelines.

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Q.8 If my income does not meet the poverty level guidelines for my household size, do I have to use a household member?

No. If you do not meet the income requirements you make take into consideration your assets, including the assets of the sponsored immigrant.

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Q.9 My income/my income and that of my household member(s) do not meet the poverty level guidelines. Can I/we count my/our assets?

If your income is not sufficient, you may count your personal assets and those assets of the qualifying household members who have signed the I-864. If by using of these sources you meet the poverty level guidelines, you are fine; if not, you will require a joint sponsor.

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Q.10 What type of assets can be used?

Any type of assets can be used if they are readily convertible to cash within a year. Liquid assets, such as savings deposits, stocks, bonds and certificates of deposit are best because they would be the most accessible for the support of the sponsored immigrant(s). However, other assets, such as property, may also be acceptable if they can be sold within a year.

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Q.11 Some/all of these assets are outside the United States. Is this OK?

Yes. However, the assets must be readily convertible to cash within 12 months and you must be able to demonstrate the ability to take the money or assets out of the country where they are located. Many countries have strict regulations that severely limit the amount of cash or liquid assets an individual may take or send abroad. If you are a resident of Lebanon, you should visit the Customs home page on this website for further information.

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Q.12 What kind of evidence do you require?

You are required to furnish evidence of ownership and the value and location of the assets. In addition, you will be required to furnish information on any liens and liabilities relating to these assets. For bank accounts, bank statements for the most recent 12 months, or a letter from the bank stating the data the account was opened, a history of deposits and withdrawals for the past year and the current balance will be required.

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Q.13 You mention property. I own a home in Lebanon, which I will sell if my relative is issued an immigrant visa. How can I show you the value of this property?

You may furnish a valuation of your property from an estate agent, together with a mortgage statement from the mortgage company.

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Q.14 I am sponsoring my spouse. The assets that we need to use to meet the poverty level are joint assets. Is this OK?

Assets of the intending immigrant may be used.

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Q.15 Can the assets of the intending immigrant be used if he or she is not my spouse?

Assets of the intending immigrant may be used if he or she has been a member of your household for at least six months.

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Q.16 I am sponsoring my spouse for immigration and we will use his or her assets to meet the poverty level guidelines. Does he or she need to complete an I-864A?

No, if it is just your spouse who is immigrating, he or she need not complete an I-864A.

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Q.17 Do I just total up my assets and add it to my income?

No. To be counted, the cash value of your assets must be at least five times the difference between your income and the 125% of the poverty line for your household size.

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FAQ-Affidavit Form I-864 - Household Size

  1. I am filing an immigrant visa petition on behalf of my brother. However, I have limited financial resources and I cannot afford to sponsor his wife and children. Is this OK?
  2. What are the advantages of limiting the number of people I sponsor?
  3. I am divorced and my child resides in my household part of the time and with my spouse the other. Is he or she counted as part of my household?

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Q.1 I am filing an immigrant visa petition on behalf of my brother. However, I have limited financial resources and I cannot afford to sponsor his wife and children. Is this OK?

Yes. However, it does mean that only the persons you are able to sponsor, which must include your brother as the principal applicant, would be eligible to immigrate to the United States at this time. You would still be required to file an I-864 for your brother's wife and children, but could file at a later date when your financial circumstances had improved

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Q.2 What are the advantages of limiting the number of people I sponsor?

By limiting the number of persons you sponsor, you would reduce the household size and thereby face a lower minimum income requirement. You should note however, that when it comes to filing an I-864 on behalf of your brother's wife and children, your brother would still be counted in the total, as an alien whom you are still obligated to support.

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Q.3 I am divorced and my child resides in my household part of the time and with my spouse the other. Is he or she counted as part of my household?

Dependent children of a divorced couple are members of the parent's household, even if they live part of the time with the other parent. A parent always has a legal obligation to support his or her child.

However, my spouse claims my child as a dependent on his or her tax return.

Although only one of the parents may be legally entitled to child as a dependent on his or her tax return, the child is considered as part of both parent's households for purposes of the I-864 unless a parent can show that he or she has been relieved of any legal obligation to support the child.

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FAQ-Affidavit Form I-864 - Domicile

  1. How do you define "temporary" resident outside the United States?
  2. What if I have not maintained a residence in the United States?
  3. As the sponsor, will I have to travel to the United States ahead of my relative to establish residence?
  4. What if I have no intention of re-establishing a residence in the U.S.?
  5. If I do not meet the U.S. residence requirement, can a joint sponsor file an I-864?

In order to file an I-864 the sponsor or joint sponsor must be a resident of the United States. However, sponsors residing outside the United States are not automatically disqualified from being a sponsor if they are able to show that they are temporarily resident outside the United States. Joint sponsors must be resident in the United States to qualify.

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Q.1 How do you define "temporary" resident outside the United States?

The sponsor must satisfy the consular officer that he/she has not given up his/her permanent residence in the United States to establish a residence abroad; i.e. he or she has maintained his/her principal residence in the United States with the intent to maintain that residence for the foreseeable future. Lawful Permanent Residents must further demonstrate that they have maintained their legal permanent residence status. The decision will be on a case-by-case basis. The following is a list of the types of employment, which is considered meeting the definition of "domiciled" in the United States, if the sponsor has been temporarily working outside the United States. The list also covers a sponsor who is the spouse or son/daughter of a person employed abroad in one of the listed professions.

The list includes, but is not limited to employment by:

  • the U.S. government, including the U.S. Armed Forces;
  • an American Institution of research recognized as such by the Attorney General;
  • an American firm or corporation engaged in whole or in part in the development of foreign trade and commerce with the United States or a subsidiary thereof;
  • by a public international organization in which the U.S. participates by treaty or status; and
  • a person who is performing the ministerial or priestly functions of a religious denomination having a bona fide organization with the United States who is temporarily stationed abroad pursuant to that calling of is engaged solely as a missionary by a religious denomination or by an interdenominational mission organization having a bona fide organization within the United States and is stationed to that calling.

There may be other instances where the sponsor is temporarily residing outside the United States, for example, he or she may be studying or teaching. As stated, the defining factor is whether or not the individual is able to show that his or her residence outside the United States is clearly of a temporary nature and that he or she did not give up his/her residence in the United States to establish a residence abroad.

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Q.2 What if I have not maintained a residence in the United States?

If you are acting as a joint sponsor, you are required to show that you have maintained a residence in the United States. However, in cases where a sponsor may have abandoned his or her residence in the United States to live abroad, may have not lived there since a child, or in some cases, may never have resided there, he or she will not automatically be disqualified to act as a sponsor. In such cases, the question becomes do you intend to reestablish a residence in the United States. If this is indeed your intention and you can prove that you have or intend to re-establish U.S. residence, it may be possible for you to act as a sponsor.

You may meet this requirement by showing that you have taken or will take a credible combination of steps to make the U.S. your immediate principal place of residence. Such steps may include finding employment, locating a place to live, registering children in U.S. schools, etc. In addition, you should make arrangements to abandon your residence abroad; for example obtaining a valuation of your property from an estate agent.

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Q.3 As the sponsor, will I have to travel to the United States ahead of my relative to establish residence?

No. It will not be necessary for you to travel to the United States ahead of your spouse/children. However, you will be required to furnish evidence confirming the steps taken to re-establish your residence in the United States, e.g., a letter of employment, rental agreement, purchase of property, a letter from an estate agent in Lebanon showing the valuation of your property. Note: Your relative may not enter the United States to take up residence prior to your return to the United States. He or she may travel with you, or follow to join you at a later date

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Q.4 What if I have no intention of re-establishing a residence in the U.S.?

In order to file an I-864, the sponsor must be a "resident" of the United States as described above. If you do not maintain a residence in the United States and have no intention of re-establishing a residence, there, I regret it will not be possible for you to act as sponsor. If you cannot act as a sponsor, it will not be possible for your relative to qualify for immigration on the basis of an immigrant visa petition filed by yourself.

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Q.5 If I do not meet the U.S. residence requirement, can a joint sponsor file an I-864?

No. If you, as the sponsor, do not qualify because you do not meet the domicile requirement, a joint sponsor cannot be used. The sponsor must first meet all of the requirements of a sponsor, including domicile in the U.S., before there can be a joint sponsor.

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FAQ-Affidavit Form I-864 - Tax Returns

U.S. law requires that the sponsor and joint sponsor (if there is one) submit one year's tax returns, current as of the date of execution of the I-864. American citizens and LPRs who are working abroad are required by IRS to file a return, even if most or all of their overseas income is excluded from U.S. taxes; a social security number is required to file a tax return. Information on general filing requirements, including information on filing tax returns retroactively, you should contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on 020 7894-0477, or visit their homepage on this website. Further information is available at "the Digital Daily" at http://www.irs.gov. If your question concerns a social security number, you should contact the Federal Benefits Unit on 020 7499 9000 between 8.30 am and 1.00 pm, Monday through Friday, or visit their homepage on this website for further information.

  1. You refer to a number of forms on the I-864. Which form do you require?
  2. I do not have copies of my tax returns. Can I submit an electronic summary of the returns that I provided to the IRS?
  3. What if I have not filed income tax returns for each of the most recent three tax years?
  4. How do I know if I am required to file a tax return?
  5. I have been working outside the United States. Do I still need to file tax returns?
  6. What if I am a student/ have been studying and do not need to file a tax return?
  7. If I find out that I was required to file a tax return and have failed to do so, can I still qualify as a sponsor/joint sponsor?
  8. If I find out that I was not required by law to file a tax return for the last three years, what do I do?
  9. I own a business. Do I submit individual or business tax returns?

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Q.1 You refer to a number of forms on the I-864. Which form do you require?

We require photocopies of your Federal Tax return, form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. If you filed your tax return electronically, you should furnish the form 1722.

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Q.2 I do not have copies of my tax returns. Can I submit an electronic summary of the returns that I provided to the IRS?

Yes.

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Q.3 What if I have not filed income tax returns for each of the most recent three tax years?

If you were required by law to file a tax return in any one of the three years immediately prior to your relative's immigrant visa interview, you will be required to furnish a tax return. If necessary, you will be required to file retroactively with the IRS and provide a copy of the returns.

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Q.4 How do I know if I am required to file a tax return?

If you have any questions concerning the filing of federal tax returns, you should contact the IRS, or visit the IRS homepage on this website. Additional information is available at http://www.irs.gov/.

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Q.5 I have been working outside the United States. Do I still need to file tax returns?

American citizens and legal permanent residents working abroad are required by the IRS to file a return, declaring worldwide income, even if all of their overseas income is excluded from U.S. taxes.

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Q.6 I am a student/ have been studying and I do not need to file a tax return.

If you worked while studying, even if only part-time, you may be required to file a tax return. Additional information is available on the IRS Home Page at http://www.irs.gov/.

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Q.7 If I find out that I was required to file a tax return and have failed to do so, can I still qualify as a sponsor/joint sponsor?

You may file a late or amended tax return to the IRS. You may than submit copies of the late or amended return(s) for the year(s) in which you were obligated to file. Until such time as the late or amended return has been filed, and copies furnished with the I-864, the affidavit will be considered incomplete and we cannot issue a visa.

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Q.8 If I find out that I was not required by law to file a tax return for the last three years, what do I do?

You should explain the reasons why you are except from filing a tax return on the I-864.

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Q.9 I own a business. Do I submit individual or business tax returns?

You should submit individual returns. Consular officers may only accept individual tax returns since it is the individual and not the business who is sponsoring the applicant

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FAQ - Application Profile

  1. How do I reset my password?
  2. What should I do if I move to another country after I have registered my profile on www.ustraveldocs.com and did not apply yet for my visa, or if I want to submit a new visa application in another country than my previous application?

Q.1 How do I reset my password?

Click the Forgot Your Password? link at the bottom of this web page. Enter your email address in the Username field and click Submit. The email address you type must match the email address you used when you began your visa application. A new password will be sent to your email address.

Note: The email with your new password will come from no-reply@ustraveldocs.com. Some email applications have rules which filter unknown senders into a spam or junk mail folder. If you have not received your email notification, please look for the message in your junk and spam email folders.

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Q.2 What should I do if I move to another country after I have registered my profile on www.ustraveldocs.com and did not apply yet for my visa, or if I want to submit a new visa application in another country than my previous application?

You do not need to create another profile if it is also serviced by CGI. You can simply contact us through the Contact Us section on this website  and share your passport number, UID or email address so we can retrieve and update your profile with the new country where you plan to apply for your US Visa. If you are applying in a country that is not covered by CGI, you will be invited to create a new profile. As a reminder, MRV fee receipts paid in one country are non-transferable to the other country.

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Miscellaneous

  1. Will I be eligible to work on entering the United States on an immigrant visa?
  2. How do I get a Social Security number?
  3. How do I become an American citizen?
  4. Do you have information on the education system?
  5. How much money can I bring into the United States?

Q.1 Will I be eligible to work on entering the United States on an immigrant visa?

Upon entering the United States on an immigrant visa, you will require no further authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to take up employment.

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Q.2 How do I get a Social Security number?

By law, each immigrant or refugee admitted to the United States must obtain a Social Security number. Social Security numbers are required to work in the U.S., to open a bank account, to pay taxes, and for many other purposes. An application for a social security number should be made to the local Social Security Office in the area where the immigrant will reside after their arrival in the United States. For further information, please visit their website at http://www.ssa.gov/

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Q.3 How do I become an American citizen?

An immigrant can become an American citizen by naturalization by living in the United States for a specified period, usually five years (three years if married to a citizen) and passing a naturalization examination. However, there is no requirement that an immigrant become a citizen and s/he is free to live in the United States as long as s/he wishes regardless of his citizenship, so long as s/he abides by the laws of the land, which are applicable to citizens and aliens alike.

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Q.4 Do you have information on the education system?

Education is compulsory and free for children between the ages of 6 and 16 (18 in some states). Kindergartens are usually available and free of charge. Children will ordinarily be accepted for immediate enrollment in the local school system of the community in which an immigrant family settles. Private schools, both day and boarding, which are the equivalent of English preparatory and public schools, are available in many larger communities but are expensive. There are many universities, some private and some government-supported.

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Q.5 How much money can I bring into the United States?

There is no limit on the amount of money, which may be taken in or out of the United States. However, any amount in excess of $10,000 in currency, travelers checks or negotiable instruments, must be declared to the United States Customs at the time of arrival in or departure from the United States.  http://www.cbp.gov/

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