Monday, July 10, 2017

Proxy Marriage?

Maybe a proxy marriage is for you, maybe not.
Proxy Marriage


A proxy wedding or (proxy marriage) is a wedding in which one or both of the individuals being united are not physically present, usually being represented instead by other persons. If both partners are absent a double proxy wedding occurs.

Marriage by proxy is usually resorted to either when a couple wish to marry but one or both partners cannot attend for reasons such as military service, imprisonment, or travel restrictions; or when a couple lives in a jurisdiction in which they cannot legally marry.

Proxy weddings are not recognized as legally binding in most jurisdictions: both parties must be present. A proxy marriage contracted elsewhere may be recognised where proxy marriage within the jurisdiction is not; for example, Israel recognises proxy marriages abroad between Israelis who might not have been permitted to marry in Israel. Under the English common law, if a proxy marriage is valid by the law of the place where the marriage was celebrated (the lex loci celebrationis) then it will be recognised in England.

United States
In the United States, proxy marriages are provided for in law or by customary practice in Texas, Colorado, Kansas, and Montana. Of these, Montana is the only state that allows double-proxy marriage. Proxy marriages cannot be solemnized in all other U.S. states.

In 1924, a federal court recognized the proxy marriage of a resident of Portugal, where proxy marriages were recognized at the time, and a resident of Pennsylvania, where common-law marriages could be contracted at the time. The Portuguese woman was allowed to immigrate to the United States on account of the marriage, whereas she would have been inadmissible otherwise due to being illiterate.

During the early 1900s, United States proxy marriages increased significantly when many Japanese picture brides arrived at Angel Island, California. Since the early 20th century, it has been most commonly used in the United States for marriages where one partner is a member of the military on active duty. In California, proxy marriage is only available to deployed military personnel. In Montana, it is available if one partner is either on active military duty or is a Montana resident.

Philippines
Marriage is an inviolable social contract and institution where a man and a woman enter into a permanent union governed by law to establish a conjugal and family life. Its consequences and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation except for the property relations between husband and wife in the marriage settlement.

The essential elements of marriage are the following: the contracting parties must be male and female with the legal capacity to enter into marriage and their consent must be given freely in the presence of the solemnizing officer.

Formal Requisites:
  1. Authority of the solemnizing officer
  2. Valid marriage license
  3. Inconsistencies between application and evidence
  4. The marriage ceremony must take place with both parties before the solemnizing officer and at least 2 witnesses of legal age where they (the parties) give their personal declaration to take each other as husband and wife
Marriage by proxy is not allowed in the Philippines; but such marriages are recognized here if valid in the countries where they're performed. The marriage license is issued by the local civil registrar of the municipality where either of the parties resides. The marriage license is valid anywhere in the Philippines for 120 days. It isn't an essential requisite but it's the best evidence of the marriage.


Don't waste your money
Contact an immigration attorney before you embark on any Proxy Marriage journey. A proxy marriage may add to proof of a bona fide relationship to obtain a K-1 Visa as it demonstrates commitment.


Article Disclaimer: This article is made available by the lawyer publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. Use of this article does not create an Attorney Client Relationship. This article does not offer or dispense legal advice. By using the article, the reader agrees that the information does not constitute legal or other professional advice and no attorney-client or other relationship is created. The article is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The information on the article may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. The opinions expressed at or through the article are the opinions of the individual author. The article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your jurisdiction.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

K-1 Visa Problems!

Waiver of K-1 two year limit extreme hardship or violate/religious tradition. Or physically unable to fly married within 90 days.
K-1 Visa Problems

A K-1 visa is a visa issued to the fiancé or fiancée of a United States citizen to enter the United States. A K-1 visa requires a foreigner to marry his or her U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of entry, or depart the United States.

There may be problems with this process, and I will try to help you understand them and what to do to fix them

K-1 Visa Interview Quesstions
The first and most likely problem comes with the K-1 Visa Interview Questions...
Reason #1 Insufficient evidence of a Bona Fide Relationship
These could be anything from your age difference to what vibe they feel during the interview.

Some items that may raise a red flag as to your relationship’s legitimacy:
  • Engaged a very short time after meeting
  • Huge age difference
  • Different religions
  • Severe difference in culture
  • No common spoken language
  • Very little physical time together
  • Poor interview - such as deceptive responses or inconsistency
Reason #2 Fraud or Misrepresentation
As the law states:

Here are some examples we’ve seen of fraud and misrepresentation:
  • Photoshopping or fake photos
  • Falsified affidavits from friends and family
  • Inconsistencies between application and evidence
  • Applying for the wrong type of visa to intentionally circumvent the immigration process
  • Not disclosing medical or criminal history
  • Falsifying income
Reason #3 Unqualified
Here are a few examples we see related to this one:
  • 2 year meeting requirement Applicant starts the petition qualified, but takes their time filling out the information, and by the time they file it 6 months later, they find , themselves out of the 2 year meeting requirement. Keep in mind the 2 year meeting requirement is from the date you file your petition with the USCIS.
  • Income requirement Either the petitioner’s income changes for the worse during the application, or the numbers just don’t add up via the evidence and the income requirement can’t be met.
  • Free to marry requirement Petitioner or applicant are in the process of a divorce or annulment when the application is submitted, however divorce or annulment isn’t finalized. If you’re already married, this disqualifies you from being eligible to marry.
What to do if you are denied for any of these reasons.
The first step is to figure out what went wrong which an attorney can help you. Sometimes no explanation is given especially if it is a subjective opinion of the interviewer. The most common is the lack of a bona fide relationship.

Here are the alternatives if denied either by USCIS or Embassy.

A. Appeal the denial at the USCIS Level.
Appealing the denial is one option provided that the denial occurs at the USCIS level. You have 33 days to file a form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion. There is a non-refundable $630 fee. Whether or not your denial is overturned, this fee will not be returned.

If your K1 Fiance Visa has been denied by USCIS, you have the right to an appeal. You must file your appeal with USCIS within 30 days of the date that your petition was denied. You will have to submit your appeal on form I-290B with the filing fee. The other option is to withdraw your first petition with a “letter of withdrawal” and then file again. For many reasons, costs being one of them, this is a good option.

If your case has already been returned to USCIS for further processing, you can USCIS to reaffirm their original approval and re-submit your application to the Embassy for a second time. Keep in mind, this process can take a very long time and for that reason, you may be best to simply withdraw your petition and then re-file.

B. Start over with the K1 visa process.
Wherever the denial stems, USCIS or Embassy, another common thing people do is start over from scratch by re-applying for the K-1 visa. Be aware that your previous denial could play into the whole scenario. If you do re-apply, you should do it with the knowledge of what went wrong so you can fix that this time around. Your goal is to leave no doubt in the government’s mind that your relationship is bona fide, and you are eligible for the visa.

I can help you to make sure you meet the government requirements. If you are truthful and we cover all the potential reasons for denial, we can get a good chance you’ll be approved. However, if you are from certain regions like western Africa or Jamaica, you may have a tougher time with the K-1 than the Philippines in my experience. We want you to succeed.

C. Get married and apply for a CR-1 visa.
Another route denied couples get is to just bite the bullet, get married outside the United States and apply for a CR-1 spousal visa. Getting married could overcome the challenge of convincing the officer that you are serious about your relationship. Perhaps the consular officers feel it’s less likely for people to commit immigration fraud on a spousal visa rather than a fiance visa.

Seeking a Waiver

A waiver is needed in the event that the petitioner is barred (i.e. a sex offense conviction under Adam Walsh Act). Here are the applicable sections of the K-1 law.

Extraordinary Circumstances Waiver. This is the waiver you will need if for example you were unable to travel/meet within the two year requirement. This may be due to illness or some extraordinary circumstance. In one case I had the US Citizen was in the Military and met his fiance while in the Philippines. They decided to marry after he left. Before they could arrange the travel he was stationed remotely where he could not bring his wife. The two year requirement could not be met for that reason and they got this waiver.

If you have ever been convicted of a violent criminal offense against a person or persons, USCIS will not grant a filing limitations waiver unless you submit evidence to demonstrate that extraordinary circumstances exist. In addition to evidence explaining the reasons for your multiple filings, you must also submit evidence of extraordinary circumstances. Examples of such evidence may include, but are not limited to: police reports, court records, news articles, trial transcripts reflecting the nature and circumstances surrounding your violent criminal offenses, your rehabilitation, ties to the community, or records demonstrating good conduct and exemplary service in the uniformed services.

Mandatory Waiver. If you committed violent criminal offenses against a person or persons, but were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by a family member or intimate partner at the time you committed your violent offenses, and you were not the primary perpetrator of violence in the relationship, you may still be eligible for a waiver if USCIS determines that you violated a protection order intended for your protection; you were acting in self-defense; or you committed, were arrested for, were convicted of, or pleaded guilty to committing a crime that did not result in serious bodily injury and there was a connection between the crime committed and you having been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty. You must submit evidence explaining the reasons for your multiple filings, as well as evidence to support a finding that you qualify for a mandatory waiver based on being subjected to battery or extreme cruelty. Examples of such evidence may include, but are not limited to: police reports, court records, news articles, trial transcripts, evidence you acted in self-defense, evidence you were a victim of abuse or battery, evidence you violated a protection order intended for your protection, and any credible evidence that is relevant to your request for a waiver.

USCIS cannot approve your petition unless a waiver of the multiple-filing limitation is granted. *Obviously if you are in this category you need the help of an Attorney to ensure you get the best chance of waiver.


Article Disclaimer: This article is made available by the lawyer publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. Use of this article does not create an Attorney Client Relationship. This article does not offer or dispense legal advice. By using the article, the reader agrees that the information does not constitute legal or other professional advice and no attorney-client or other relationship is created. The article is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The information on the article may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. The opinions expressed at or through the article are the opinions of the individual author. The article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your jurisdiction.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Adam Walsh Act!

What it might mean to you and immigration.


Adam Walsh Act

Walsh is known for his anti-crime activism and his extreme hatred of criminals, with which he became involved following the murder of his son, Adam, in 1981.

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (AWA) is a federal statute that was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush on July 27, 2006 on the 25th anniversary of the abduction of Adam Walsh from a shopping mall in Broward County, Florida. Walsh, a six year old child at the time of the abduction was found decapitated 16 days after his abduction in 1981; his body was never found.
AWA Litigation in US Federal Court Is Evolving
Generally, a US citizen or permanent resident green card holder must file a petition to immigrate foreign family members to the United States. Such family members include spouses and children. However, the AWA prevents a family member from immigrating if that U.S. citizen or permanent resident petitioner has been convicted of a specified sexual offense against any minor child under 18. The AWA limitation also applies to fiancee petitions by US citizens.

Under the AWA, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must first determine that the US citizen or green card holder poses no risk of harm to the foreign family member before the petition to immigrate may proceed. Foreign family members cannot immigrate to the U.S. based on the family relationship if an application for a "no risk" determination pursuant to AWA is denied. Since 2011, the USCIS has denied the vast majority of applications to waive the AWA bar. Many petitioners who fall under AWA provisions are stuck.

According to the USCIS, a successful AWA waiver application requires that the U.S. citizen or resident petitioner show beyond a reasonable doubt he poses no risk of harm to the foreign family member. Often, a US citizen believes he has enough evidence to satisfy the USCIS because it seems obvious he is not a threat to his family member. However, USCIS has set the bar very high to the point that nearly all cases are denied. In its current state, the process seems unfair and unbalanced.

When USCIS receives an AWA Case, it will consider the following questions:
  • Whether the classification of a particular conviction as a “specified offense against a minor” was to be done using a “categorical” analysis, in which only the elements of the state crime were analyzed, rather than the actual conduct of the United States citizen petitioner;
  • Whether USCIS was correct in interpreting the “no risk” element of the AWA to mean that petitioners must provide evidence showing “beyond a reasonable doubt” (which is the standard used in criminal proceedings) that they weren’t a threat to their own relatives, or whether the ordinary “preponderance of the evidence” standard should be used;
  • Whether it was the government’s job to prove the existence of a disqualifying petition, or if that job fell to the petitioner;
  • Whether a petitioner could appeal certain legal aspects of a “no-risk” determination, or whether the BIA lacked jurisdiction even over these non-discretionary issues; and
  • Whether the AWA would apply to an individual whose disqualifying offense happened before the new law took effect.
Obviously, you should seek advice from an Immigration Attorney as soon as you can before you begin the process. Urinating in public when you were 19 years old at a Rock Concert might be enough to cause you problems today from the AWA when petitioning for your spouse in the Philippines to join you in the USA.


Article Disclaimer: This article is made available by the lawyer publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. Use of this article does not create an Attorney Client Relationship. This article does not offer or dispense legal advice. By using the article, the reader agrees that the information does not constitute legal or other professional advice and no attorney-client or other relationship is created. The article is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The information on the article may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. The opinions expressed at or through the article are the opinions of the individual author. The article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your jurisdiction.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

US IRS Debt: Can you travel?


INTRODUCTION
If you are a U.S. Citizen in the Philippines and owe back taxes, you may have heard that your passport may be revoked. That is true, so if you are in this situation this article will be of interest to you.

The Law
Tax code Section 7345 is labeled, “Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies.” The law isn’t limited to criminal tax cases, or even cases where the IRS thinks you are trying to flee. The idea of the law is to use travel as a way to enforce tax collections. It was proposed and rejected in 2012. But by late 2015, Congress passed it and President Obama signed it.

The IRS web Site says this...

IRS Site
Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Unpaid Taxes
The IRS has not yet started certifying tax debt to the State Department. Certifications to the State Department will begin in 2017, and this message will be updated to indicate when the process has been implemented. The content presented here is for informational purposes only.
(as of today June 10, 2017, it has not changed)

If you have seriously delinquent tax debt, IRC § 7345 authorizes the IRS to certify that debt to the State Department for action. The State Department generally will not issue a passport to you after receiving certification from the IRS.

See https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/revocation-or-denial-of-passport-in-case-of-certain-unpaid-taxes for more details and links.

Upon receiving certification, the State Department shall deny your passport application and/or may revoke your current passport. If your passport application is denied or your passport revoked and you are overseas, the State Department may issue you a limited validity passport good only for direct return to the United States.

Certification Of Individuals With Seriously Delinquent Tax Debt

Seriously delinquent tax debt is an individual's unpaid, legally enforceable federal tax debt totaling more than $50,000* (including interest and penalties) for which a:
  • Notice of federal tax lien has been filed and all administrative remedies under IRC § 6320 have lapsed or been exhausted or
  • Levy has been issued
Some tax debt is not included in determining seriously delinquent tax debt even if it meets the above criteria. It includes tax debt:
  • Being paid in a timely manner under an offer in compromise accepted by the IRS or a settlement agreement entered into with the Justice Department
  • For which a collection due process hearing is timely requested in connection with a levy to collect the debt
  • For which collection has been suspended because a request for innocent spouse relief under IRC § 6015 has been made
So what can you do?
  1. Seriously - Don’t be 'seriously delinquent.' A seriously delinquent tax debt is a key term. If you don’t have one, your passport is safe. So if you owe the IRS back taxes, keep your debt below $50,000. This however includes penalties and interest, so beware. A $20,000 tax debt could eventually grow to $50,000. And be careful, once your tax debt is labeled 'seriously delinquent,' you paying it down to $49,999 may not help. The IRS will not reverse a certification because the taxpayer pays the debt below $50,000.
  2. Keep it going - Keep your dispute with IRS going. You can usually contest tax bills if you do so promptly. The IRS usually sends multiple notices for any tax debt, and you should respond. Explain why the IRS is incorrect, and keep protesting. If you receive an IRS Notice of Proposed Deficiency or Examination Report, respond. It is sometimes called a "30-day letter," because of the deadline for response. Prepare a protest, and sign and mail it before the deadline. Keep a copy, and proof of mailing, preferably certified mail. Normally a protest will land you in the IRS Appeals Office, where you have another chance to resolve it.
  3. Go To Court - Go to Tax Court. If you fail to protest or you don’t resolve your case at IRS Appeals, you probably will receive a Notice of Deficiency. An IRS Notice of Deficiency comes via certified mail. It is often called a "90-day letter," because you have 90 days to respond. Only one response to a Notice of Deficiency is permitted: filing a Tax Court petition in the U.S. Tax Court clerk’s office in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Tax Court cannot hear your case if you miss the 90-day deadline. You want to keep your tax dispute going so the tax debt does not become final.
  4. Extend - Get extensions. You can sometimes get extensions from the IRS, so keep communicating. For many notices, the IRS will grant an extension of time to respond. In some cases, though, they can’t. For example, when you receive a Notice of Deficiency (90-day letter), you must file in Tax Court within 90 days, and this date cannot be extended. Most other notices are less strict. If you do ask for an extension, confirm it in writing. In fact, confirm everything you do with the IRS in writing.
  5. Communicate - Communicate with IRS. If you get a certification that your debt is 'seriously delinquent' contact the phone number listed on the IRS Notice. If you’ve already paid the tax debt, send proof to the address on the Notice.
  6. Need Proof - Prove you need your passport. If you need your U.S. passport to keep your job, once your seriously delinquent tax debt is certified, you must fully pay the balance, or make an alternative payment arrangement to keep your passport. Once you’ve resolved your tax problem with the IRS, the IRS will reverse the certification within 30 days of resolving the issue.
  7. Agree - Make an installment agreement. It is often not too hard to get an installment agreement with the IRS to pay your tax debt over time. If you sign one, stick to its terms. Even if your debt is huge, the IRS doesn’t call it 'seriously delinquent' if you are paying the installments on time.
  8. Settle - Offer in compromise or settlement. You can also try this route too to settle with the IRS. If the IRS accepts an offer in compromise to satisfy the debt, the rest of it can be forgiven. See IRS Offer in Compromise and IRS Payment Plans, Installment Agreements. In some cases, the Justice Department too can enter into a settlement agreement to satisfy a tax debt.
  9. Innocent - Innocent spouse relief. If the tax debt was your spouse’s, and you are saddled with it because of joint tax returns, you might qualify for innocent spouse treatment. This is a separate big topic, and rules are more complex than you might think. See IRS Tax Topic 205, Innocent Spouse Relief. However, it's significant that the IRS can suspend collection efforts if you request innocent spouse relief (under IRC Section 6015)
  10. Due Process - Due process. There are many taxpayer protections when it comes to IRS collections. One set of protections is collection due process hearings. If you make a timely request for a collection due process hearing in connection with a levy to collect the debt, you may at least buy time to work out a deal with the IRS. See Taxpayer Advocate 2016 Annual Report to Congress, Appeals From Collection Due Process Hearings Under IRC §§ 6320 and 6330.
Finally
Before denying a passport, the State Department will hold your application for 90 days to allow you to:
  • Resolve any erroneous certification issues
  • Make full payment of the tax debt
  • Enter into a satisfactory payment alternative with the IRS
By all means, contact an attorney to help you before you find yourself stranded.


Article Disclaimer: This article is made available by the lawyer publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. Use of this article does not create an Attorney Client Relationship. This article does not offer or dispense legal advice. By using the article, the reader agrees that the information does not constitute legal or other professional advice and no attorney-client or other relationship is created. The article is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The information on the article may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. The opinions expressed at or through the article are the opinions of the individual author. The article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your jurisdiction.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Pregnant Travel:What you need to know!

So you are pregnant and want to travel?


Pregnant Travel

Getting travel visa if you are pregnant

While you may not plan on giving birth while traveling, you need to keep some things in mind, especially when doing your interview with the admitting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer for travel to the USA.


Most important, do not lie in your Interview!!! 
- Ryan Barshop, Atty.


 Is this your goal?

Although there are no specific regulations prohibiting pregnant foreign nationals from entering the U.S., entry is allowed or denied at the discretion of the admitting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer.

If the interviewer thinks Citizenship  is your only goal, expect the tourist visa to be denied. If your due date is before your planned return date, expect the tourist visa to be denied. If you say your due date is beyond your travel return, yet your baby bump looks like a watermelon in your belly, expect the Visa to be denied. 




So can you tell the truth that you want to go to USA to give birth, and get that approved?  Yes, you can, here are some reasons that might justify that. 

You may get approved even if you are near term if:

  • Your spouse is a USA Citizen;
  • You want to use USA Doctor or Hospital for medical reasons;
  • You want to use USA Doctor or Hospital for personal or family reasons;
  • You can afford (including insurance) to get the medical procedures done in the USA;
  • Bottom line as long as you have a better reason that JUST USA Citizenship, you may be approved.

Also, Medical Tourism to the Philippines is common, but there is no advertised Medical Tourism to the USA so don't try to use that as a reason.

Best of luck, but to be safe consult and immigration attorney.



Article Disclaimer: This article is made available by the lawyer publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. Use of this article does not create an Attorney Client Relationship. This article does not offer or dispense legal advice. By using the article, the reader agrees that the information does not constitute legal or other professional advice and no attorney-client or other relationship is created. The article is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The information on the article may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. The opinions expressed at or through the article are the opinions of the individual author. The article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your jurisdiction.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Guam for Quickie Divorce for Marriages in the Philippines?

The facts about getting a divorce in Guam.

Guam for Quickie Divorce for Marriages in the Philippines

So your marriage in the Philippines has broken down and is beyond the point of reconciliation. Not wanting to go through the complex and expensive annulment process to dissolve a marriage in the Philippines, you decide to look east towards the tiny United States Federal Territory of Guam for a divorce and you think that this should be easy.

But is it really that easy?

The simple fact that under current Guam law, an uncontested divorce may be granted if both parties are in agreement to the terms of the divorce and at least one spouse visits Guam for a minimum of 7 days prior to filing the petition. Spending at least 7 days on the island stay satisfies the residency requirement for an uncontested divorce.

So you may think you just take a week’s vacation, file some papers and poof you are divorced?


Well it is easy but not that easy, consider...

  • There is no such thing on Guam as a "non-resident divorce". However, under current Guam law, an uncontested divorce may be granted if both parties are in agreement to the terms of the divorce and at least one spouse visits Guam for a minimum of 7 days prior to filing the petition. The 7-day stay satisfies the residency requirement for an uncontested divorce. If either spouse does not agree to any terms, including child custody or property settlement, the petitioner must file for a contested divorce and must meet a 90 day residency requirement as well as provide reasonable notification to the off-island spouse.
  • Property and Custody Settlement. If both parties are in agreement, a property settlement and child custodial agreement(notarized) may be attached to the petition and become part of the divorce decree. If the parties have not come to agreement on division of property or custody of the children, but still desire an immediate divorce, a divorce may be granted leaving contested property, custody and child support issues for another court having jurisdiction over the children and or property.
  • Off-Island Spouse. An individual who has satisfied the residency requirements discussed above who desires to divorce a spouse who is not living on Guam, must give the spouse timely notice in the form of a Petition for Divorce. The spouse may consent to the divorce or may contest the petition by either appearing in person or by retaining a Guam attorney to appear for him/her in court. Should the spouse not respond within 30 days of the petition, the court may grant the divorce in their absence. The best way is to give ample notice and get an affidavit stating the Off-Island Spouse is not contesting the divorce or Property or Custody Settlement.
You may also be wondering that if your divorce is finalized on Guam, will it be recognized throughout the United States and of course, the rest of the world (minus the Philippines were divorce is not recognized. The answer is also yes because of the notion of full faith and credit. Under Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, it specifically states that:
Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
This means that a divorce validly entered into in one state or jurisdiction shall be recognized by all other jurisdictions.

As with most legal matters, this information is provided for information purposes only and should NOT be considered legal advice. Please consult a reputable attorney to address your particular situation.

Ryan Barshop



Article Disclaimer: This article is made available by the lawyer publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. Use of this article does not create an Attorney Client Relationship. This article does not offer or dispense legal advice. By using the article, the reader agrees that the information does not constitute legal or other professional advice and no attorney-client or other relationship is created. The article is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The information on the article may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. The opinions expressed at or through the article are the opinions of the individual author. The article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your jurisdiction.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Immigration and Filipino Divorce!

There are many myths and falsehoods you need to be aware of.

Immigration and Filipino Divorce

Here is a scenario - A USA Army Officer comes to the Philippines, meets a beautiful Filipina, and they legally marry in the Philippines. Following marriage, he applies for a spousal visa for her and they move to the USA. After 20 years of marriage, they decide to divorce while living in the United States. At the time of divorce, she was still a citizen of the Philippines having not ever naturalized as a US citizen.

The following are common questions about this couple’s scenario and the common Answers (right, wrong or myth):
  1. Their USA divorce is invalid because she is Filipina and the Philippines does not allow divorce, her only option is annulment.
  2. Their divorce is valid only in the USA.
  3. She can never remarry in the Philippines.
  4. If they have children, they will always have the same legal rights whether their parents divorce in the USA or not.


Now the TRUTH
  1. Because at the time of divorce, one of the parties was not a Philippines citizen, the divorce is valid even in the Philippines. However, because the wife was still a Philippines citizen at the time of the divorce, if she wants to remarry in the Philippines she must seek a Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment
    When is the judicial recognition of foreign judgment/ divorce decree applicable? It is applicable when one of the parties to the marriage is a foreigner; and, the foreigner obtains a valid divorce/ nullity of marriage in his/her country.
  2. The divorce and all associated separation agreements including property and child rights are valid.
  3. She may remarry if she gets an annulment or a Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgement.
  4. Myth, Parental rights may apply in certain conditions, but only when the two parties do not agree in writing during the divorce.
Ryan Barshop
http://bridgewayimmigration.com/blog
Article Disclaimer: This article is made available by the lawyer publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. Use of this article does not create an Attorney Client Relationship. This article does not offer or dispense legal advice. By using the article, the reader agrees that the information does not constitute legal or other professional advice and no attorney-client or other relationship is created. The article is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The information on the article may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. The opinions expressed at or through the article are the opinions of the individual author. The article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your jurisdiction.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Visa Denied What's Next?


Visa Denied What's Next?

So you applied for a tourist Visa to the USA for your spouse, paid the fee, filled out the application and did the interview. Then you are told the Visa application was denied. Most likely cause is the interviewer determined there was insufficient reasons to determine the applicant would return to the Philippines.

What do you do now?
  1. Contact an Immigration Attorney - They can review your application and analyze your interview and assist you in providing truthful and credible justification of the ties that were missed the first time
  2. Re-apply - Yes fill out a new application and pay your fee. There is no limitation on when, but your immigration attorney should help you, to avoid possible mistakes in the first application and interview preparation.
  3. Prepare for the interview - do NOT think you need to embellish or exaggerate. It may or may not be the same person to interview you, and the danger is that they may get suspicious if your story is radically different. Remember this is subjective so your job is to provide additional ties you may have missed the first time. Check the list of well known ties interviews are looking for.

The ties that bind
  1. Business Ties - do you run a business, have employees or have operational control over some part of an ongoing business where your return is necessary?
  2. Family Ties - do you have family members here that need you? Children alone may not be enough but dependents are a factor. Remember it is subjective and therefore it is the total impression.
  3. Home Ties - Are you an active member of the community or church? These ties may be the most influential but they also may not have come up in the first interview when asked,"Why do you think you will return?"
  4. Political Ties - Are you active in politics at any level? You may not want to tell others how active you are, you may not want it public. But if you are, that may be something you share with the interviewer.

Remember the interview is subjective, it is your job to convince the interviewer. Clearly if you did the first application on your own, this time do it better with the assistance of an Immigration Attorney!

Good luck!

Ryan Barshop
http://bridgewayimmigration.com/blog


Article Disclaimer: This article is made available by the lawyer publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. Use of this article does not create an Attorney Client Relationship. This article does not offer or dispense legal advice. By using the article, the reader agrees that the information does not constitute legal or other professional advice and no attorney-client or other relationship is created. The article is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The information on the article may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. The opinions expressed at or through the article are the opinions of the individual author. The article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your jurisdiction.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Getting Married to an American citizen on a Tourist Visa: Know the risks

Getting Married to an American citizen on a Tourist Visa: Know the risks

If you are applying for a US tourist visa for purposes of marriage to an American citizen in the United States during your brief stay in the country and hope fast track your legal status from tourist/ visitor to immigrant, then you must think twice before doing it.

While love does move “in mysterious ways”, proving the validity of a whirlwind marriage to the probing eyes of United States Department of State can be extremely difficult and may hold unfavorable and devastating consequences to you and your fiancé/ fiancée.

Similarly, if your intention to obtain a tourist/ visitor visa is to marry an American citizen in the United States with the promise of coming back after your limited stay expires, that may still not guarantee you an approval from the US Embassy.

What are the risks?

Although you may reason that true love is the ultimate cause of your whirlwind marriage to your American citizen fiancé/fiancée, the Embassy is not easily get convinced that you are telling the truth. Due to the number of cases of visa fraud involving non-immigrants using their US tourist visas to hasten the process of applying for permanent residence by marriage to their American citizen lovers during their brief stay in the United States as tourists, your case, more than likely, will be an item for investigation.

Once the Embassy conducts a field investigation and you fail to prove that your intention to get married is not to hasten the process of obtaining immigrant status by immediately applying for permanent residence after the marriage, allowing you to have a reason to extend your stay in the United States, then you may face fraud charges and possibly be banned from entering the United States. Your US citizen fiance at the same time may be subjected to criminal prosecution if it is proven that he/ she took part in assisting with fraud.

What is the better option?

Because nothing is impossible, coming to the United States on a tourist visa and meeting someone who is an American citizen and marrying that someone during the tourist visa holder’s brief stay can happen. It can even be a viable reason for the tourist to adjust their status from a visitor to permanent residency after the marriage but the potential risks of proving that the couple’s intentions are pure and not fraudulent can still be a looming possibility.

There are many other ways to get married and obtain immigrant status in the United States but they have certain requirements that involve a lengthier process. Sometimes, for various reasons ranging from poor health to financial constraints, applicants trying to get to the United States on a permanent basis through marriage find ways to shorten the process by resorting to illegal and fraudulent means such as using a tourist visa instead of properly applying for a K1 or Fiancé/ Fiancée Visa.

What’s the difference between a tourist/ visitor visa and a K1 visa?

There are two kinds of visitor visas, a "nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence".

A tourist/ visitor visa is obtained by people who want to stay in the United States on a temporary basis.

Technically, a tourist visa falls under three categories.

The B-1 tourist visa is obtained for business purposes. The B-2 tourist visa is obtained for pleasure such as tourism, vacations or for visiting purposes. The B-1/B-2 tourist visa is a combination of both.

According to the US Department of State, obtaining permanent residence is not allowed on visitor visas.

To find out what are permitted and not permitted on visitor visas, here.

On the other hand, K-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows the applicant to get married with his or her American citizen fiancé/ fiancée for a limited time in the United States. This type of visa allows the applicant to obtain permanent residence after the marriage ceremony has taken place and the proper application for permanent residence had been filed.

To get more information about K-1 visa, you may visit the USCIS website or click here.

I want to know more about my options, who can I contact?

Consulting a licensed immigration attorney is the best option if you want to know more about getting married in the United States with your American citizen fiancé/ fiancée without fear of facing potential legal risks and consequences.

Ryan Barshop
http://bridgewayimmigration.com/blog

Article Disclaimer: This article is made available by the lawyer publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. Use of this article does not create an Attorney Client Relationship. This article does not offer or dispense legal advice. By using the article, the reader agrees that the information does not constitute legal or other professional advice and no attorney-client or other relationship is created. The article is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The information on the article may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. The opinions expressed at or through the article are the opinions of the individual author. The article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your jurisdiction.

Friday, May 5, 2017

How Difficult is it for a US Citizen to bring his/her Filipino/Filipina Partner/Spouse to the United States for a Visit?

How Difficult to Bring Partner in US for Visit

Easy if you know the ins and outs!
  1. The common misconception is that all it takes is money in the bank. That is a factor, but not the only factor.

  2. The key to focus on is the US Embassy's determination if the visa applicant has established "sufficient ties." This a broadly defined term and it eventually boils down to whether the interview American consular officer is convinced that the Filipino visa applicant will come back upon the conclusion of their trip.

  3. If the "ties" are substantial like the following you are more likely to be approved:
    • The Filipino/Filipina has an ongoing business here;
    • Membership in Philippine Organizations such as Church or Charities;
    • Children in Philippine Private School
    • Any subjective factor in the eyes of the interviewer.

  4. The following may NOT be viewed as sufficient "ties"
    • Just having children, especially teens;
    • Bank Accounts;
    • Jobs, especially if the Philippine Job is not unique to the Philippines
    • Land or other fixed assets as they can always be sold;
    • Here too if in the opinion of the interviewer there are insufficient ties.
This is not intended to hassle anybody, so getting up tight or irritated is not going to be helpful.

Be prepared but not scared. Be honest and cooperative. Any sense of evasion may mean a denial of the Visa.

If you are turned down there is a waiting period to reapply. If they judge there was deception the denial may carry additional restrictions. We will talk about the appeal and reapply process in future blogs.

How to Apply
  1. Pay the visa application fee.

  2. Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.

  3. Schedule your appointment on the web page at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph/ph-niv-typeb1b2.asp

    • You will need three pieces of information in order to schedule your appointment:
      • Your passport number
      • Your MRV fee payment receipt number
      • The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page
    • Visit the U.S. Embassy/Consulate on the date and time of your visa interview.

Keep Cool but don't freeze. Enjoy your trip!
If you need help or run into problems don't hesitate to call me.

Ryan Barshop
http://bridgewayimmigration.com/blog

Article Disclaimer: This article is made available by the lawyer publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. Use of this article does not create an Attorney Client Relationship. This article does not offer or dispense legal advice. By using the article, the reader agrees that the information does not constitute legal or other professional advice and no attorney-client or other relationship is created. The article is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The information on the article may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. The opinions expressed at or through the article are the opinions of the individual author. The article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your jurisdiction.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Oh My God my passport is REVOKED!

What do I do now?


So you just got the news that your passport has been revoked. It may be due to Back Taxes, Unpaid Child Support, or a Warrant for your arrest.  It may be unexpected or it may be something you  have feared.  Nonetheless, you must deal with it or you cannot travel in the best case or be detained in the worst case.

What do you do now?

Without question, the best thing you can do is retain the services of an Immigration Attorney!  This may not be apparent, after all you are not immigrating. But here are the reasons:


Reasons to retain an Immigration Attorney:
  1. He knows your Rights.
    • By federal statute, the Secretary of State may issue a U.S. passport only to United States citizens and nationals.
    • Every United States citizen is entitled to a U.S. passport provided that they, or an adult acting on a child’s behalf, comply with all applicable requirements, and that there is no statutory or regulatory reason to deny the passport.
    • A U.S. passport is issued to each eligible applicant.
    • Children may acquire the citizenship of a non-U.S. citizen parent and potentially have a passport from both the U.S. and the country of the non-U.S. citizen parent’s citizenship at the same time.
    • U.S. passport books and U.S. passport cards for adults are valid for 10 years.
    • U.S. passport books or U.S. passport cards for minors under age 16 are valid for 5 years.
    • You may apply for a U.S. passport within the United States and at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad. Within the United States passport applications may be submitted at passport agencies or at more than 9,400 designated local applications acceptance facilities nationwide.
    • All minors and most passport applicants (when submitting Form DS-11) must appear in person.
    • A U.S. passport book or U.S. passport card is now required to return to the United States from Western Hemisphere countries. Learn more about on WHTI Travel requirements.

  2. He knows the applicable Passport Laws of the USA.

  3. He knows his way around the Embassy and likely the very officials you must work with.
    • Who can you trust to connect you with the proper people?  The Security Desk at the Embassy or an Immigration Attorney that has represented hundreds of people in your situation, who, where, how to best represent your rights and needs?

  4. He can represent you to a U.S. Attorney.
    • If you need representation in the USA, an Immigration Attorney will have professional relationships with many corresponding attorney’s in the USA, this alone could save you a lot of effort and ensure you get the right qualifications.

  5. Save time and money by retaining someone that can help you best.
    • Just knowing what you need to do will save you many hours of anguish.
    • Knowing who you should talk to will save you many hours of trying to get answers to your questions.
    • Having a network of qualified Attorneys will save you many hours and potentially many dollars in the search for the  best suited experts in your situation.
Bottom Line - There is an old saying, “There is nothing more expensive than the cheapest.”  This simply could not be more true when it comes to legal representation.  Yes it will be cheaper if you do it yourself...cheaper in cash outflow, but much more expensive in your time and the errors you might make.  What is your time worth?  What are you risking by doing it yourself, what about the mistakes you might make that make things worse?  Another old saying, "Pay me now or pay me later." The money you think you might save in doing it yourself could end up being just added expense to fix what you make worse, perhaps much worse on your own.

Let me help you save time and money,
Ryan Barshop
http://bridgewayimmigration.com/blog

Article Disclaimer: This article is made available by the lawyer publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. Use of this article does not create an Attorney Client Relationship. This article does not offer or dispense legal advice. By using the article, the reader agrees that the information does not constitute legal or other professional advice and no attorney-client or other relationship is created. The article is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The information on the article may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. The opinions expressed at or through the article are the opinions of the individual author. The article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your jurisdiction.

Monday, April 24, 2017

You get what you pay for: The disadvantages of hiring a US immigration consultant versus hiring a US immigration lawyer.

Immigration Lawyer Vs Immigration Consultant


In our last article, we discussed why hiring an immigration lawyer is a worthy investment.

Simply put, an immigration lawyer provides valuable legal assistance and services to clients seeking help with various immigration related cases that are, more often than not, complicated and confusing.

In the United States, an immigration lawyer is the only person authorized by law to offer and give legal advice and represent a client.

For those seeking a US visa or getting an immigration case resolved through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), hiring a US immigration lawyer is undoubtedly the best option to ensure a smooth journey towards obtaining positive results.

Unfortunately, many applicants still choose to take a different route.

Those who are confident with their own capabilities to obtain the USCIS’ stamp of approval sometimes prefer to go through the application process pro se while those who cannot or do not want to rely on themselves to go through the process, but are hesitant to invest on a US immigration lawyer, choose to employ the services of an immigration consultant.

What is a US immigration consultant?

A US immigration consultant is anyone who provides assistance to applicants trying to obtain a US visa and those going through various applications related to immigration. The US immigration consultant can be anyone with either a vast or very little knowledge about immigration and its corresponding policies and regulations.

What can a US immigration consultant do for you?

The role of a US immigration consultant is limited to preparing paperwork such as filling out forms for applicants who cannot or do not want to fill out the forms on their own. The US immigration consultant, while filling out the forms for the applicant, can translate the questions for non-English speaking applicants and write their responses on the forms in English, if necessary.  Any services done beyond paperwork require the intervention and supervision of a qualified lawyer.

Are US immigration consultants legally authorized to render services?

Different states have different laws governing US immigration consultants. However, the United States does not have a standard process on certifying immigration consultants so there are currently no licensed US immigration consultants in existence with the exception of one state– California. In California, an immigration consultants are recognized by the state but it is mandatory for them to “register with the Secretary of State” and satisfy the state’s qualification requirements first before being allowed to render services to their clients.

Quite the opposite, some US states stipulate that no immigration consultant is legally authorized to render immigration services to anyone within the state unless he or she is a qualified lawyer.

What are the advantages of hiring a US immigration lawyer?

US immigration consultants are only allowed by law to render paperwork services and translation assistance and nothing else.

US immigration lawyers, on the other hand, have more functions that include giving legal advice and representing clients with the USCIS aside from rendering paperwork and translation services during the entire application process. US immigration lawyers are experts in their field of practice and are authorities on any subject pertaining to immigration which is a tremendous advantage to those going through complex US visa and other immigration related applications.

Who charges higher fees?

With the quality and variety of services offered by a US immigration lawyer, it goes without saying that he or she is legally allowed to charge higher fees.

US immigration consultants can only charge minimal fees per their respective states’ laws.

Who should I hire?

If you are still on the fence on who to hire for your immigration needs, just remember that your decision will greatly affect the outcome of your application.

Simply put, you get what you pay for.

You can opt to pay a US immigration consultant to fill out your application form for you or you can choose to invest on a qualified US immigration lawyer who understands immigration laws, who can and will represent you before the meticulous and quite intimidating USCIS if needed, who will tell you the correct forms to file, who will coach you with your responses especially during your interview, who will do the legwork for you, and most significantly, who will give you invaluable legal advice.

By: Ryan Barshop

Article Disclaimer: This article is made available by the lawyer publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. Use of this article does not create an Attorney Client Relationship. This article does not offer or dispense legal advice. By using the article, the reader agrees that the information does not constitute legal or other professional advice and no attorney-client or other relationship is created. The article is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The information on the article may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date. The opinions expressed at or through the article are the opinions of the individual author. The article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your jurisdiction.