Do you need in Apostille? It doesn’t matter if you are located in our service area, we can help you regardless of your location get an Apostille for any state or the federal government. Moreover, You do not have to be a client of Tahara Consulting in order for us to help you. We will authenticate your document for you through the Apostille certification process pertinent to the State you need it for. If you know that you need help, please contact us (hyperlink to contact form). Otherwise, please keep reading for information on Apostilles.
Definition of an Apostille
Apostilles come from the Hague Convention of 1961. Signatories to the Hague Convention thus agreed on a form of authentication that each country will accept. These universal standards about authentication certainly make the authentication process simple. Therefore, someone can easily have a document from one country recognized in another country. For example, if you are purchasing a piece of property in Ecuador, but are currently living in Idaho, you can have your signed sale agreement authenticated with the state of Idaho.
Examples of Apostille Authentication
Other examples of documents that you may need authenticated outside of the United States with the Apostille stamp or Apostille certification include corporate documents such as articles of incorporation, company bylaws and powers of attorney. Sometimes your educational documents need authenticated like diplomas, transcripts or letters relating to degrees. Further, many times you have to authenticate family status. Examples include marriage certificates, divorce decrees and adoption papers. A very common request is for an Apostille birth certificate. The last example we see are people who need personal documents authenticated like letters of reference, or job certifications.
If you are dealing with a country that is a signatory to the Hague Convention, you can check here - https://www.hcch.net/en/instruments/conventions/status-table/?cid=41 and you need an Apostille, your document authenticated, we can help you. If you are not comfortable with bureaucracy, and don’t know how to get the necessary authentication for your document we can get it for you. We have a lot of experience dealing with each state and the federal government to get the necessary stamp that authenticates the document.
How We Can Help
If you need to present a document in a Hague Convention country, you will need to attach an Apostille to that document to authenticate it. We can get the appropriate authority to authenticate it. Please contact us with the document that you need authenticated for a quote.
Put Immigration under its own category then drop-down sub-categories. Each sub-category should be on the same main Immigration Services page, each sub-category should be listed point form at the top under the main Immigration Services heading and drop down to the area on the page for whichever service the user clicks on. The Immigration Services page sub-cats are:
Tourist / Visitor Visa
A citizen of a foreign country who wants to visit the U.S. as a tourist must obtain what is known as a “B-2 Visitor visa,” commonly referred to as a “tourist visa.” The tourist visa can, as the name suggests, be used for tourism; it also, however, can be used to obtain medical treatment in the U.S.
The tourist visa allows a citizen of a foreign country to stay in the U.S. for a limited period of time for a limited purpose. For example, holders of tourist visas are not allowed to work in the U.S., nor are they allowed to enroll as a student at an educational institution. There are other visas for those purposes (see “Employment-based visas,” and “Student visas,” respectively).
In fact, when applying for a tourist visa, the foreign citizen must declare under penalty of perjury that s/he has a “non-immigrant intent,” which of course means that s/he does not plan to stay in the U.S. indefinitely while on the tourist visa. For more on the “intent” issue, read on.
Every time a foreign national applies for a visitor visa (commonly referred to as a “tourist visa”) to the United States, that person must overcome the presumption that their intention is to immigrate to the U.S.
This presumption is not always easy to overcome. Indeed, for some it is nearly impossible. Every applicant for a tourist visa to the U.S. must demonstrate the following five things:
1) The purpose of the applicant’s trip to the U.S. is only for one of the following:
a) Business (B-1 visa);
b) Pleasure, tourism or medical treatment (B-2 visa); or
c) A combination of the above (B-1/B-2);
2) The applicant plans to stay in the U.S. only for a specific, limited amount of time;
3) Evidence sufficient to convince the U.S. embassy or consulate issuing the visa that the applicant has the financial wherewithal to cover his/her expenses while in the U.S.;
4) Evidence sufficient to convince the U.S. embassy or consulate issuing the visa that the applicant has compelling social and economic ties abroad;
5) Proof that the applicant has a residence abroad, and that there are other ties abroad that bind the applicant to the point of insuring their return abroad at the end of their visit to the U.S.
How can an applicant definitively prove to the U.S. embassy or consulate that s/he meets the above requirements? The simple answer is that there is no one answer to this question. No list of documentation or evidentiary requirements exists. The U.S. Department of State states that “it is impossible specify the exact form the documentation should take since applicants’ circumstances vary greatly.”
There are, however, tried and true strategies to presenting an application for a tourist visa that have a high likelihood of ending in success. Follow the steps below to insure a high likelihood of success:
Step 1. Think about why you are going to visit the U.S. You will be creating a story for the visa officer (a true story, of course). The story will eventually come together as a clear, cohesive, and comprehensive set of facts that you will not soon forget. The story will prove beneficial to you when the time for your visa interview rolls around. Is your visit going to be for business, pleasure, or both? Be clear about the reason you are visiting. This will be the foundation of your story. For example, say to yourself, “I will be visiting the U.S. so I can see my friend. That must mean my trip is for pleasure. Okay, ‘pleasure’ is the foundation of my story.”
Step 2. Be absolutely sure about the timeframe of your visit to the U.S. Do not be in a situation where you would say something like, “I’m not really sure when I want to leave the U.S.” That situation would not be good for the story you are developing. Instead, pick a date. Pick two dates, in fact. Know your departure date and know your arrival date. Do not stray from these plans. Remember, the more confident you are in your answers to the visa officer, the more likely the visa officer will grant your tourist visa. Note that this does not mean you should go out and buy a nonrefundable roundtrip plane ticket to the U.S. That is something you can do after you have been granted your tourist visa. The visa officer will respect that.
Step 3. Obtain an invitation letter from the person with whom you will be staying in the U.S. Many tourist visa applicants stop at this step, evidently thinking something along the lines of, “The U.S. government will definitely believe my U.S. citizen friend!” Hardly. The U.S. government does give much credit to an invitation letter by itself. Still, get the letter. Have your friend write out a letter that indicates how s/he knows you, how long s/he has known you, where s/he lives, and the purpose of your trip. If possible, have your friend sign the letter in front of a notary public. Most banks will provide free notary services.
Step 4. Gather several months’ worth of past bank statements, which show an amount of money sufficient to sustain yourself while in the U.S. An amount equivalent to a few thousand dollars is likely sufficient. The important thing to remember here is that the visa officer is looking for consistency in your bank account balance. If the visa officer sees that you had little money over a span of a few months, but made a large deposit right before the visa interview, a red flag rises in the mind of the visa officer. Prepare for this in advance as you plan for your trip to the U.S.
Step 5. Recognize that your age may be either a blessing or a curse with regard to the likeliness of success in your visa interview. Very generally speaking, people in their early 20s are less likely to be granted a tourist visa than people in their late 60s. When in doubt about your intent to immigrate to the U.S., the visa officer will look at your history of travel. If your planned trip to the U.S. will be the first time you leave your country, you will face an uphill battle at the visa interview. If your plans entail visiting the U.S. five years from now, your best option will be to travel to as many other countries as you can manage before your trip to the U.S. In other words, fill up the pages of your passport with stamps and visas. This will show the visa officer that you are not the type to travel with the intent to immigrate.
Step 6. Remember your story? Now is the time to think about the next part of your story, which is why you want, indeed need, to return to your home country after visiting the U.S. Do you have children in your home country who rely on your support? Do you have parents who rely on your support? Do you own property that needs tending to? Do you have a job that you need to return to? These are the types of things you should focus on, and add to the list of facts in your story. Just telling the visa officer about these ties is not good enough; you will need to provide documentation to prove them.
Step 7. Your story should now be complete enough to practice in front of friends or family. Ask your mock interviewers to ask you tough questions about the purpose of your visit to the U.S. Get used to giving the answers, and make sure your answers do not differ from the story you have developed. With a little practice, your chances of being granted a tourist visa grow enormously.
Once in the U.S., a holder of a tourist visa who wishes to stay longer may apply for an “extension of stay.” This application entails filing Form I-539 with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). It is suggested that the application for an extension of stay be filed with USCIS at least 45 days prior to the expiration date on the I-94. In the application for the extension of stay, the applicant must reduce to writing: (1) the reason(s) why s/he must stay, (2) why the extension of stay will be temporary (including what travel arrangements have been made to depart the U.S.), and (3) how the extension of stay will effect (or not) the noncitizen’s employment or residency in his or her home country. In addition to these requirements, the applicant must include a copy of his or her I-94, and pay the USCIS filing fee.
Citizens from certain countries may qualify for the Visa Waiver Program (“VWP”). These individuals are not required to apply for a visa in their home countries; rather, their visa is stamped upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry, and are allowed to stay for up to 90 days. The list of countries that are eligible for the VWP are listed here https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visa-waiver-program.html
Tahara Consulting handles all matters relating to tourist visa applications, extensions of stay, and replacing lost Forms I-94.at more affordable rates.
Family Based Green Card
Family based green card applications are a broad category of green cards. In other words, you can get a family based green card in lot of different ways. Also, the rules about how you get a family based green card depend on your place in the family. For context, this article is part of our series on Green Card Application Process. To organize our discussion, we split it. We will use the immigration rules to do this. In the first part, our discussion covers the immediate relatives of US citizens, your closest family members. Next, in the second part we cover family preference immigration, immigration for more distant relatives. In this category we also cover immigration for family members of lawful permanent residents. If you need information on a family-based green card, please keep on reading. If you know you need help now, please contact us.
Immediate relatives of US citizens are parents, children, and spouses. From a review of historical immigration, we find that most of the immediate relative immigration is adults filing for their spouses. Some people who have become citizens are also filing for their parents. Likewise, some children born here upon reaching the age of 21 are able to petition for their parents. The key aspect of immediate relative immigration is that you do not have to ever wait for an immigrant visa.
Your Immediate Relatives: Children & Spouses Expanded
USCIS generously construes who is a child and spouse. For example, immigration law provides the child category includes stepchildren. To form the stepchild relationship, the parents must marry before the child’s 18th birthday. Besides stepchildren, the child category also includes adopted children. For the adoption to work for immigration purposes, the parents must have adopted the child prior to his or her 16th birthday. Also, the child must have lived with the adoptive parents for two years prior to filing the immigrant visa petition. Related to green cards for adopted children is citizenship for them. We have an article devoted to that citizenship through adoption.
In the spouse category, the law provides that spouses that were battered or subject to extreme cruelty may file petitions independently of their US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse. These special immigrant visa petitions also extend to children. The spouse category also includes widows and widowers. Immigration Resource Guide provides quality guidelines about the process, application, renewal and more. The surviving spouse of a US citizen who was married for at least two years may petition within two years of the spouse’s death so long as they’re not remarried and were not legally separated from the spouse at the time of death.
Your Immediate Relatives: Children & Spouses Expanded
USCIS generously construes who is a child and spouse. For example, immigration law provides the child category includes stepchildren. To form the stepchild relationship, the parents must marry before the child’s 18th birthday. Beside stepchildren, the child category also includes adopted children. For the adoption to work for immigration purposes, the parents must have adopted the child prior to his or her 16th birthday. Also, the child must have lived with the adoptive parents for two years prior to filing the immigrant visa petition. Related to green cards for adopted children is citizenship for them.
In the spouse category, the law provides that spouses that were battered or subject to extreme cruelty may file petitions independently of their US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse. These special immigrant visa petitions also extend to children. The spouse category also includes widows and widowers. The surviving spouse of a US citizen who was married for at least two years may petition within two years of the spouse’s death so long as they’re not remarried and were not legally separated from the spouse at the time of death.
The US citizen spouse need not have been a US citizen for the entire two year period so long as the US citizen spouse had that status at death. If you need help understanding whether you are eligible for immediate relative benefits, we can analyze your situation and help you understand what immigration status that you may petition for.
One-Stop Green Card Application
If the relative is here, the great advantage of a family-based green card application for an immediate relative is completing the process in the United States. For example, if a US citizen spouse is resident in the United States we can file an application for the immigrant visa petition, form I-130, and combine it with an application for adjustment of status. The result is that the USCIS can approve the US citizen spouse to receive the family-based green card without leaving the United States. In fact once, you file the applications the relative cannot leave without permission. Your relative must become a lawful permanent resident first or receive permission. This permission to travel is called advanced parole. Currently, it is taking about 5months to receive it.
Preference Base Petitions
Family preference immigration has four categories, F1 through F4, and covers US citizens and lawful permanent residents. Unlike immediate relative immigration where a visa is always immediately available, you always have to wait with family preference immigration. A visa is never immediately available for your relative. How long you have to wait depends on the category, and the relationship. For example, F1, the first preference category is for the unmarried sons and daughters of US citizens. This means older children, those over the age of 21. At the time of this article was written, this category was backed up seven years for most of the world. Exceptions with longer wait times include China, India, Mexico and the Philippines. For these four countries, the longest wait time is 22 years, Mexico. Filing an application in these categories is more like an insurance policy. You get no immediate benefit now. But, down the road your application may pay off with an approved visa that your relative can use.
Most Popular Preference Petitions: Relatives of Lawful Permanent Residents
F2, the second preference category is for lawful permanent residents. It is split into two. F-2A covers the the spouses and children. F-2B covers the older children, over 21, who are unmarried. Note that there is no category for married children of lawful permanent residents.
The current waiting time for the F-2A category is approximately two years for most of the world including China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines. The waiting time for the F-2B category is approximately seven years except for Mexico and the Philippines.
F3, the third preference category, is for the unmarried sons and daughters of United States citizens. For most of the world including China and India, this category has a 12 year wait. For Mexico and the Philippines, the wait is 22 years.
F4, the fourth preference category is for brothers and sisters of adult US citizens. The wait time for this category currently is approximately 13 years, except for Mexico and the Philippines.
The waiting times listed here will undoubtedly change. The best way to keep track of how long you have to wait to use an approved immigrant visa petition in a preference category is to check the Visa Bulletin issued by the Department of State. The Process To Get A Green Card numbers are updated monthly. Once the immigrant visa petition becomes current according to the Visa Bulletin, it is time to work on the next step, consular processing.
Preference Green Card: Two Steps
Filing preference-based petitions for a family based green card is always two steps. In the first step, we file an immigrant visa petition using form I-130. In filing this form with the USCIS, we are requesting the family based green card for the relative.
Once the USCIS approves the petition, the petitioner waits until a visa becomes current. Once the immigrant visa is current, we can help your relative receive the family based green card through consular processing.
An Overview of the Routes to Citizenship
Are you located in Montana, North Dakota or Wyoming, and do you have questions or need help with US Citizenship? Keep reading then and you’ll find answers in our US citizenship guide. Alternatively, if you just need help now, you can click here.
Birthright Citizenship Only?
Obviously, people born in the United States obtain citizenship as a birthright. But, what about people who are not born in the United States, is there a way for them to obtain citizenship too? If being born in the US was the only way to become a citizen, immigration lawyers would have nothing to do. The question would be easy, were you born in the United States? If you were not you are not a citizen. However, it isn’t as straightforward as this because the United States does provide different methods of becoming a citizen.
Different Paths to Citizenship
This paragraph outlines the four main ways people not born in the US become citizens. For more details about the various routes, you can click on the link to the route that most interests you. Part one covers derivative citizenship, or obtaining citizenship from your parents even though you are not born here in the United States. Part two covers citizenship for adopted children. Since law changed in 2001, the process for adopted children to become citizens is a lot simpler.
Part three covers naturalization, the process of becoming a citizen if you are not born here and cannot claim citizenship through your parents. This process of naturalization is what most lawful permanent residents go through to become United States citizens. Lastly, part four covers citizenship through military service. This process is perhaps a special case of naturalization. If you are a member of the military certain naturalization requirements are waived and it is possible under certain circumstances to become a U.S. citizen without first becoming a lawful permanent resident.
How We Can Help
Regardless of your path to citizenship, or your US citizenship question, Tahara Consulting can help you. If you would like to discuss any help you need with US citizenship.