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Alk

ACR card/US Immigration interview question...

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Alk
Posted (edited)

I'll be getting my 5th ACR card soon.  On all of them I'm listed as a tourist.  I asked a couple of times about changing it, but have been told at Cebu Immigration that was the correct classification even though I live here, so I stopped worrying about it.

First, I'd like to thank those members who have gotten me this far into the process, with help in another thread.  I have an appointment with the USCIS in Manila on Thursday.  I'll have to submit proof of residence here as part of the process of submitting the I-130 information for my new wife's visa to the USA. I have tons of supporting documentation....condo lease info, banking info, utilities, drivers license, insurance, car registration...etc.  which should prove my residency here, but I'm wondering if my ACR card having a tourist classification might technically mean I'm not a resident in the eyes of the U.S. government?   

Anyone have experience with this?

 

 

 

Edited by Alk

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SkyMan

I don't think they would care or even ask to see it.  Most likely a bunch of extensions in your pp would be enough.

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savarity

I think you should be fine from the US side of things, it sounds like you are not a resident, you are a tourist. It's a legal status, doesn't matter if you have a apartment, car, insurance, medical coverage, etc here.

I'm in the same situation lots of things here in PI, but certainly a tourist by visa status.

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SkyMan

Lots of US expats on tourist status file their taxes as overseas residents.

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Jawny
Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Alk said:

I'll be getting my 5th ACR card soon.  On all of them I'm listed as a tourist.  I asked a couple of times about changing it, but have been told at Cebu Immigration that was the correct classification even though I live here, so I stopped worrying about it.

First, I'd like to thank those members who have gotten me this far into the process, with help in another thread.  I have an appointment with the USCIS in Manila on Thursday.  I'll have to submit proof of residence here as part of the process of submitting the I-130 information for my new wife's visa to the USA. I have tons of supporting documentation....condo lease info, banking info, utilities, drivers license, insurance, car registration...etc.  which should prove my residency here, but I'm wondering if my ACR card having a tourist classification might technically mean I'm not a resident in the eyes of the U.S. government?   

Anyone have experience with this?

 

 

 

Might be a good idea to contact LinC member Shadow.  I think he advertises on LinC as well.

Residence is probably not the issue.  It is your domicile that will matter. Shadow can almost certainly advise you on this.

There are many websites that are forums dealing exclusively with immigration queries such as yours.   Visajourney is one I recall.

https://lawandborder.com/issues-for-u-s-citizens-expats-in-filing-the-form-i-130-immigrant-petition-for-alien-relative/

https://www.visajourney.com/

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/family-immigration/immigrant-visa-for-spouse.html#4

Do you have somewhere you call home in the USA?

What I recall is the need for you to assure that the potential immigrant will not become a public charge, needing assistance from the government. 

Edited by Jawny
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shadow

If you want free help and have the time to weed through the chaff to find all the correct answers, visajourney is the best site for you;

www.visajourney.com

If you want professional help, and someone to fill out the paperwork correctly, make certain you meet all requirements, and remove most of the stress involved, our fees are very reasonable. We have been doing this since 2006.

www.pinayvisa.com

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Salty Dog

We did a DCF back in 2014. I'm sure Larry could tell you that much has changed.

Having worked for the government for over 30 years. I was fairly comfortable filling out forms and applications.

Anyway here's what happened when we applied way back then.

On 7/2/2014 at 11:32 AM, Salty Dog said:

Dropped off my application today in Manila.

The day started off with a flight from Cebu to Manila that was delayed several hours.

I finally arrived in Manila a little after 0800.

Caught a taxi to embassy, but he couldn't drop us off there because the road was close for some planned emergency drill. By the time we walked to the Embassy from where he dropped us of it was about 0900.

There were no people waiting outside the embassy. We entered and went through security 3 times. First time, sorry sir your passport has to go through scanner. Second time, sorry sir, your wallet has to go through scanner. Finally third time was the charm.

Entered the next building and the guard gave me the number 8007 and said go to window 25 on the second floor.

When we got to the window, she was serving 8006. She called my number in a few minutes.

I handed her the number and ID as directed on the sign. I used our Passports for the IDs.

As soon as I said I was there for a DCF, she asked for the completed application forms.

I told her I had all the original documents in one folder and the copies in another and asked how she wanted to see them. She said all she needed was the copies and didn't need to see the originals.

I handed her the following documents. Some extras that weren't mentioned on other's list, but figured too much is better than too little.

1. I-130 application signed and dated.

2. G-325A application signed and dated for me and with 2 passport photos (2 ”x 2” glossy color with white background). She gave one photo back and threw away the second page of the G-325A which is just instructions.
 
3. G-325A application signed and dated for my wife with 2 passport photos (2 ”x 2” glossy color with white background). She gave one photo back and threw away the second page of the G-325A which is just instructions.
 
4. Photocopy U.S. passports (old and current) with every page stamped since I had arrived here.
 
5. Photocopy Philippines passport (Front page)'
 
6. Photocopy NSO birth certificate. My Wifes NSO birth certificate is pretty blurry so as in the past, we also attached a copy of an LCR letter of Birth Registration. While they don't accept these in lieu of the NSO required copy, it contains information that is hard or impossible to read on the NSO copy. The lady said that she often sees NSO birth certificates that are like that and seemed happy that I had included the LCR letter.
 
7. Photocopy U.S. birth certificate.
 
8. Photocopy NSO marriage certificate.
 
9. Photocopy of my Form No. 5 - Advisory on Marriages. She returned mine and said she didn't need it.
 
10. Photocopy of wife's  Form No. 5 - Advisory on Marriages. She kept my wifes because it has a statement on it that her previous marriage was  null and void. She put it with the other divorce papers.
 
11. Photocopy ACR-I card (expired) and copy of receipt showing I had paid for a new one that I never received, but would also have expired in May 2014. She didn't seem concerned as she already saw that the last stamp in my passport was a BB.
 
12. Photocopy Philippines drivers licence with my current address on it.
 
13. Photocopy of retired military ID card.
 
14. Photocopy of all (in my case two) previous divorce papers. The lady was comparing the info on the application with the paperwork submitted and said, your first one is missing. For some reason, my wife had placed the copy from my first divorce in the original documents file so we at least had it with us. The lady even offered to make a copy for us.
 
15. photocopy of my wife's documentation for her marriage being nullified by the court.
 
16. Photocopy of wife's annotated marriage certificate from her first marriage. The annotation is a statement added by the NSO which says it was declared null and void by the court.
 
17. Photocopy of two (2) past leases contracts with both our names on them.
 
18. Photocopy of several joint bank account statements from 2012-2014.
 
We had about 50 photos but the lady said we don't need photos anymore. She didn't even look at them.
 
She didn't ask any other questions or for additional documentation.
 
She handed us a form to complete with or email, phone and address on it for future correspondence.
 
She also gave use the entire package she had fastened together with a payment form and told me to go to window 15 and pay the cashier.
 
Window 15 was open and I paid $420 with a credit card.
 
I returned the packages with receipt back to window 25.
 
The lady gave me the party line and said it would take 60-90 days to approve.
 
Total time from when we walked into embassy till we were leaving was about 20 minutes.
 
As we were leaving, the next guy in line was asking about getting a fiance visa for his GF who just happened to still be married to someone else. The poor guy didn't have a clue.
 

 

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Alk
3 hours ago, Salty Dog said:

We did a DCF back in 2014. I'm sure Larry could tell you that much has changed.

Having worked for the government for over 30 years. I was fairly comfortable filling out forms and applications.

Anyway here's what happened when we applied way back then.

 

Great detailed reply Salty. Glad you still had the link to that.  Thanks to you and the others here.

I'll fly into Manila at 5:50AM for an 8:30AM appointment, hopefully that gives me enough time to clear the airport and take a taxi the 5 miles to the embassy, but it's never a sure thing as your post indicates.  Probably should have flown in the night before.   Leaving back for Cebu at 11:30AM.  

I guess the G-325A has been replaced by the I-130A now.  I pretty much have the same pile of docs you have all neatly organized into an accordion file.  Like you, I'm erring on the side of caution and  bringing everything I can think of that establishes my residence here.  I don't have my wife (just married one week) on any joint leases, but did set up a joint bank account, and have airline tickets, pictures, and copies of her employment address that show we've been together over 3.5 years.  Don't have my birth certificate, but the I-130 form instructions seems to indicate that having just a passport is fine.  i surrendered my divorce decree to Cebu Registrar's office without keeping a copy, and only have a photograph of it in my files.  Hopefully they'll accept a blown up printout of that at the USCIS.

I'll try to post something similar to what you did here after the process is over.  hopefully, 4+ years later, things will still go relatively smoothly.

 

 

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SkyMan
21 minutes ago, Alk said:

I'll fly into Manila at 5:50AM for an 8:30AM appointment, hopefully that gives me enough time to clear the airport and take a taxi the 5 miles to the embassy,

When  I go to the VA I take that flight and walk to the VA which is almost halfway to the embassy.  There by 8.  So I think you're fine.

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Alk

I made it to the meeting with no problem. I was actually 2 hours early.  The problems arose after I got there.   I'll recount my experiences in the hope it might help others be more prepared than it turned out I was.

i mentioned above that my divorce decree was given to the Cebu Registrar's office for my wedding, and is required by the USCIS too, and that my normally meticulous new wife didn't keep a physical copy of it, but said she had photographed it.  The night before the interview when I reviewed her printout of it, I saw we only had a copy of the front page of the multi-page document, nothing with the signatures..etc.   That was a red flag, but the front page was stamped by the county clerk as finalized, and the flights were paid for, so it made sense to go ahead with trip.

I had assumed I would be called into an office and the person across the table to would ask for the supporting docs I had put together.  They were in a neat, segmented file and were about 100 pages in length.  I was called 30 minutes early and went up to a window at the USCIS office.  I was the first customer of the day (8AM) and the woman on the other side of the glass that I spoke with immediately snapped at me... "What's this?  This is not how the documents are supposed to be presented."  After I got over the shock of her tone of voice (the waiting area was crowded).  I said that the online instructions were not clear about this, and that I assumed she'd want to look at each required portion individually.  She didn't.  I finally calmed her down enough to at least look at what I had.  When she got to the Divorce Decree, she told me it was absolutely unacceptable by her without the signature page.   I said I was afraid that would be the case, and asked her what she recommended.  She told me go back, get a full copy of it, and then fly back to Manila with it.  She then went over the rest of the documents and became extremely nice and helpful...shocking me again.  She asked me to write a timeline essay of my relationship with my wife, something I hadn't seen in the instructions, and also include my wife's Cenomar from the marriage, also not mentioned in the instructions.   She also didn't like the glossy photos I had attached to my my supporting documents and said she'd prefer copies on plain paper.  I had a couple on original documents that I had included in the paperwork and she stated those were not normally acceptable either..only copies.  

Live and learn. Since i had left for the airport around 2AM that morning, I hadn't bothered to sleep.  I was up for 30 straight hours when my flight home finally arrived in Cebu after suffering the inevitable Manila airport delays.   I'll head back next week, a $160 poorer, but knowing exactly what this person, who I'm now on first-name basis with, wants.  I will spend the night near the embassy this time, so I'll be in good shape to make it through my next meeting. 

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Davaoeno
9 minutes ago, Alk said:

knowing exactly what this person, who I'm now on first-name basis with, wants. 

Guess what ? the next time you go it will be her day off !!! :rofl:

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Alk
1 minute ago, Davaoeno said:

Guess what ? the next time you go it will be her day off !!! :rofl:

Haha.  I went into the meeting well dressed, with a professional-looking new black case with the 10 or so sub-headings that USCIS instructions said were needed, neatly labeled and ready to submit one-by one.   I looked around at other people in the waiting hall, dressed haphazardly, with documents that looked disorganized.  I felt proud of myself.  It was amazing how I went from being completely confident to completely stunned within a 10 second period.   

As you said, Murphy will probably strike again next week.  

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shadow
34 minutes ago, Alk said:

 I'll head back next week, a $160 poorer, but knowing exactly what this person, who I'm now on first-name basis with, wants.  I will spend the night near the embassy this time, so I'll be in good shape to make it through my next meeting. 

This would have gone a long way towards covering the cost of our fee, without the added stress. We send people up nearly every week, many dress down. In 12 years, none have had to make two trips yet.

Good luck, this is just the first step.

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Alk
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, shadow said:

This would have gone a long way towards covering the cost of our fee, without the added stress. We send people up nearly every week, many dress down. In 12 years, none have had to make two trips yet.

Good luck, this is just the first step.

Thanks..i was expecting you to say something along these lines and you are right.   You mentioned in a reply to me on March 1 in another thread, to email you for information about your website, but did not include a link or it's nature.  I'm just on this site sporadically and don't keep close track on its main personalities.  You even sent me a helpful private marriage related message last year but didn't mention your service in it.  I actually just realized you were in this line of work with your reply to me in this thread on Tuesday, by which time the flights and appointment were set up.   I'll should be fine finally, for my next meeting early next week...but there was definitely a lot of stress yesterday. 

As I said above, Iive and learn.

Edited by Alk
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Jawny
2 hours ago, Alk said:

Haha.  I went into the meeting well dressed, with a professional-looking new black case with the 10 or so sub-headings that USCIS instructions said were needed, neatly labeled and ready to submit one-by one.   I looked around at other people in the waiting hall, dressed haphazardly, with documents that looked disorganized.  I felt proud of myself.  It was amazing how I went from being completely confident to completely stunned within a 10 second period.   

As you said, Murphy will probably strike again next week.  

Thanks for taking the time to share the good with the bad experience.  The devil is in the details, and sharing helps.  I still think it’s worth it to get Shadow's support.  

I had an experience with the immigration process which came down to one simple, but significant detail.  My wife got an approval for immigration to the USA, but it was done in Korea.  Everything went well, the documents were in order and approval came relatively quickly.  I might add that the clerical staff were helpful, but actually advised my wife to lie on the forms.  She had some gaps in her employment history.  The clerk, when she accepted the documents, told her a gap in time would be an issue.  So, she made up some employment (as a maid to a relative) and the gap was filled.  

The part that happened later has lead me to be someone who always advises HAVE EXTRA 2x2 PHOTOS AT ALL TIMES.  

The documents were approved and the packet for entrance to the USA was complete.  We were done.  Except one thing I always do, double check the details.  Whoops.  One error.  A simple, and easily fixed one.  They had shown her nationality as Korean. 

Told them, they corrected it, and all was well. 

Fast forward to the day of entry to the USA and the official, after the polite welcome, asked where the extra photo was.  Huh?  What extra photo?  Turns out, the instructions required some specific number of photos, which we provided.  One was supposed to remain in the immigration packet, though we didn’t know that.  When they corrected her nationality, they used the extra photo and didn’t tell us.  So, upon arrival she was short the one they wanted.

She wasn’t deported or denied entry.  Just told, "it’s okay, welcome to the USA"

 

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