In this post, we share exciting news for Israeli nationals. The U.S. government recently designated Israel as the 41st country to join the Visa Waiver Program (also known as ESTA) effective November 30, 2023.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses what this means and how it can benefit you.
If you want to know more about this exciting news, please keep on watching!
To travel under the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) you must:
Be a citizen or eligible national of a Visa Waiver Program country.
Not be in possession of a visitor’s visa.
Your travel to the USA must be for 90 days or less.
You must plan to travel to the United States for business or pleasure.
Not be inadmissible to the USA nor previously denied a U.S. visa
Did you know that the United States operates a Visa Waiver program? This special program allows nationals from participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes without a U.S. visa, for a period of up to 90 days. Temporary stays under the Visa Waiver Program cannot be extended for periods longer than 90 days.
Recently, Israel was given the privilege of participating in this program. That means that starting November 30th Israeli nationals will be able to apply for travel permission to the United States online using the Electronic System for Travel Authorizations (ESTA). Once approved, this travel permission is valid for a period of two years once it has been issued. You cannot travel to the United States until your ESTA has been approved and issued to you.
Would you like to know how you can renew your U.S. visa in 2023? If so, then this video is right for you.
Your U.S. visa has expired and now it’s renewal time. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the general process of applying to renew your U.S. visa in 2023 at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy overseas.
Please note that there are hundreds of different U.S. visa categories that have their own eligibility criteria and renewal requirements. The information provided here does not, and is not intended, to constitute legal advice. To obtain legal advice on your particular facts, case, or circumstances, please consult with a licensed immigration attorney.
For visa specific information and documentary requirements, applicants may contact their closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Visa Renewal Steps
Here are the main steps that any applicant must take when renewing their visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad.
Step One: Make sure that you qualify for your U.S. Visa Renewal
First and foremost, regardless of your visa type you must be prepared to provide documentary evidence to the Consular official to prove that you remain eligible for the renewal of your visa.
For example, if you are renewing a student visa you must provide your updated Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status to show that you remain eligible to study in the United States. If you are applying to renew your tourist visa, you must continue to demonstrate your eligibility such as proof of temporary stay, strong ties to your home country, proof of sufficient finances to cover your temporary stay, etc.
Have you ever wondered what you need to do if your passport containing a U.S. visa inside is lost or stolen? We’ve got you covered. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick explains everything you need to know about this important topic.
So, you’ve successfully managed to pass your Consular interview, and now you’ve received your U.S. visa in your passport. Let’s imagine that you, like thousands before you, manage to lose your passport containing your U.S. visa inside, or have it stolen.
What should you do in this situation?
First and foremost, foreign nationals must remember that their passport and visa is an official travel document. You cannot enter the United States without having such documents in your possession to demonstrate your country of citizenship and legal status in the United States.
Before even falling into this predicament, foreign nationals should always make a copy of their passport biographic page, U.S. visa, and admission stamp or paper I-94 (if applicable) as soon as they have arrived in the United States.
Foreign nationals who have entered the United States temporarily on their valid visa, and later lose their passport, can remain in the U.S. for the duration of their authorized stay, as printed on their admission stamp or paper Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.
If you were issued a paper Form I-94 and it was lost or stolen, you must have it replaced immediately.
Are you going through the immigrant visa process, waiting for your interview to be scheduled at a Consulate or Embassy overseas? Then this video is right for you. We will provide the latest updates including which Consular posts are open, their processing times, and which posts are experiencing long wait times as of June 2023.
Embassies and Consulates around the world are beginning to ramp up their processing of immigrant visas, with the hiring of additional personnel to reduce the visa backlogs.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, immigrant visa cases have been warehoused at the National Visa Center (NVC) while awaiting interview scheduling at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad. Due to the high demand for visa interviews, most Consular posts have not been able to accommodate the majority of applicants who are still waiting for their appointments to be scheduled.
Unfortunately, the National Visa Center (NVC) is not able to forward cases to Embassies and Consulates until they have received confirmation that the post has available interview slots.
This is the case even if your case is documentarily qualified and even if your priority date is current on the Visa Bulletin. Your case cannot be forwarded to the Embassy or Consulate until they have confirmed that an interview slot is available for you.
On the other hand, if your case has not been documentarily qualified (meaning all documentation has been received by the NVC), or your priority date is not current on the Visa Bulletin, then your case will not be scheduled for an immigrant visa interview.
Are you or a family member interested in applying for a B1/B2 Visitor Visa to the United States? Would you like to know some useful tips that may help you schedule your tourist or non-immigrant visa interview appointment faster in 2023?
If so, then this is the right video for you! Learn all about this important topic and how you can minimize visa interview wait times with our helpful tips.
The Department of State recently announced that they will be allowing B1/B2 visitor visa applicants and certain other types of nonimmigrants, the ability to schedule their visa interview appointments outside of their home country at some select American embassies as a third country national (TCN).
For example, if you are a foreign national of a country experiencing very high visa demand such as India, China, etc., you may be allowed to schedule your visa interview appointment in another country as a third country national (such as a neighboring country with shorter waiting periods).
This new announcement will be useful for applicants who have been waiting over a year to get a tourist visa interview appointment in their home countries.
U.S. Embassies in India are now encouraging certain applicants to apply for their tourist visas at Consular posts such as Bangkok, Thailand, which is among the U.S. missions where Indian nationals can get an appointment for B1/B2 tourist visas in 2023 outside of India.
As an example, the current wait time to get a B1/B2 tourist visa interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand is about 30 to 35 days, compared to a wait time of over one year at most missions throughout India. This will benefit Indian nationals who are already residing in Bangkok, or who have the ability to travel there for their appointments.
Non-immigrant Visa Processing for Third Country Nationals
A third-country national (TCN) is a citizen of a “third” country that seeks to apply for a non-immigrant visa type in a country where they are not ordinary resident (and where they do not hold citizenship) with their third-country passport.
Certain U.S. Consular posts and Embassies accept and process non-immigrant visa applications from third-country nationals. For instance, non-immigrant visas for Ukrainian and Russian nationals may be processed and scheduled at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland.
Likewise, Pakistani nationals who had their cases at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, have been able to transfer them to U.S. Consular posts in neighboring countries for interview scheduling.
While this practice has been occurring for at least the past year, previously it was not widely available for non-immigrant visa types, because U.S. Consular posts required applicants to maintain residency in the countries in which they applied.
Due to the growing non-immigrant visa backlogs caused by the pandemic, U.S. Embassies and Consulates have shown greater flexibility in allowing third country nationals to seek appointments outside of their home countries, despite not residing there. This is the case especially in countries with substantial visa delays like India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Foreign nationals from these countries can apply for their B1/B2 tourist visas and non-immigrant visas in neighboring countries where interview wait times are much more reasonable.
As the summer approaches, applicants simply cannot afford to wait over a year for a visa interview appointment. Therefore, applying as a third country national outside your home country, can greatly improve your chances of receiving an interview appointment in much less time with fewer headaches.
If you found this information helpful, please share it with a friend or family member.
Contact us. For help applying for a non-immigrant visa as a third-country national, we invite you to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares some very exciting news for nonimmigrant visa applicants. The State Department recently announced that they are dramatically speeding up visa wait times for interview appointments starting with nonimmigrant visas for students, temporary workers, and tourists.
If you want to know more about this important update just keep on watching!
Did You Know? U.S. Consulates and Embassies consider requests for expedited visa interview appointments on a case-by-case basis for those who meet the expedite criteria, including those with urgent travel needs, emergencies, urgent humanitarian needs, those working for nonprofits who are furthering cultural or social interests for the U.S., those whose work is in the U.S. government or national interest, etc. To understand the expedite process, please visit the website of your closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
On December 1, 2022, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs held a live broadcast on YouTube, where Julie M. Stufft, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, discussed the status of immigrant and nonimmigrant visa processing at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world.
In the broadcast, she highlighted some important revelations, indicating that not only are visa wait times improving at U.S. Consulates and Embassies overseas, but nonimmigrant visa interview appointments are being made available much faster than ever before for tourists, students, and certain temporary workers.
Some of the Key Points she raised are as follows:
The State Department has successfully reduced visa interview wait times with a median global wait time of just 7 weeks for a B1/B2 tourist visa appointment at most U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide.
Similarly, the Statement Department has reduced wait times to only 7 days for F-1 students and certain temporary workers at most U.S. Consulates and Embassies Worldwide.
Visa processing capacity is recovering much faster than initially projected thanks to policy and processing innovations implemented in 2022.
In many countries, the State Department issued more tourist visas in 2022 than before the pandemic, including at some of the busiest Consulates in the world such as Mexico and Brazil.
The State Department issued more student visas in 2022 than in any recent year.
Visas for airline and shipping crewmembers were prioritized to support global supply chains, with the State Department issuing more than 250,000 crewmember visas in 2022.
Pre-pandemic processing times were exceeded for crewmembers since June of 2022.
State Department posts overseas adjudicated about 40 percent more visas for seasonal workers in 2022 when compared to 2019, before the pandemic.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog! In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares the most up to date information regarding the current status of U.S. visa services at U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide.
Many of our viewers have been asking us to provide a new update regarding visa operations in the year 2023. Here we provide a roundup of everything we know about this important topic.
Keep on watching to find out more.
As you might remember, the Department of State first suspended routine visa services at U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide during March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Slowly, but surely, Embassies and Consulates began a phased resumption of routine visa services, scheduling visa interviews according to local country conditions.
Today, Coronavirus restrictions have been lifted worldwide. Approximately 96 percent of U.S. Embassies and Consulates are interviewing visa applicants, while processing nonimmigrant visa applications at 94 percent of pre-pandemic monthly averages, and immigrant visa applications at 130 percent.
In the past 12 months (through September 30, 2022), DOS reported processing 8 million non-immigrant visas. The agency expects to soon meet or exceed pre-pandemic visa processing capacity.
The waiver of in-person visa interviews for several key visa categories has been an important part of driving down the substantial visa backlogs. For instance, DOS has been waiving in-person interviews for many students and temporary workers integral to supply chains. In addition, applicants renewing nonimmigrant visas in the same classification within 48 months of their prior visa’s expiration can apply for visas without an in-person interview in their country of nationality or residence. This has dramatically reduced the wait time for an interview appointment at many Embassies and Consulates.
The State Department estimates that 30 percent of worldwide nonimmigrant visa applicants may be eligible for an interview waiver, freeing up in-person interview appointments for those applicants who still require an in-person interview.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick, brings you the latest updates regarding the rates of immigrant and non-immigrant visa approvals at U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide.
The latest Immigrant and Non-immigrant Visa Issuance Reports recently published by the State Department demonstrate that both immigrant and non-immigrant visa approvals are increasing significantly, nearly returning to pre-pandemic visa processing levels.
If you want to know more just keep on watching.
Did you know? Every fiscal year, the Department of State releases the Immigrant and Non-immigrant Visa Issuance Reports which include important statistics and data relating to current immigrant and non-immigrant visa backlogs at U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide. The data includes information regarding the number of immigrant and non-immigrant visas being issued at each Consular post worldwide, and a complete breakdown of visa issuance numbers by visa category.
Do you want to know how you can change your status from a B1/B2 tourist visa to F-1 international student from inside the United States? If so, then this is the right video for you. In this video, we answer this important topic and discuss some important considerations you may want to know if you are interested in changing your status while inside the United States.
When you enter the United States in B1/B2 nonimmigrant status, you do so for a specific purpose – to remain temporarily for business, tourism, or a combination of both. But what happens when after you have entered the United States, you decide that you want to enroll in a course of study in the United States? Is this possible?
The short answer is yes, however there are some important considerations.
To begin, it is important for you to understand that you cannot file a change of status application while inside the United States during the first 3 months (90 days) of gaining admission to the United States. Doing so may trigger a presumption that you misrepresented your true intention for entering the United States and could land you in hot water with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
However, if, during the course of your remaining duration of stay in the United States (after those 90 days) you become interested in studying in the United States, it is possible for you to apply for a change of status while remaining in the United States. Please note that you must have a good reason for changing your status to F-1 from inside the United States, instead of opting to apply for your F-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas. For instance, if you could not return to your home country for political or legitimate medical reasons.
In this video, we bring you a new update from the State Department, based on recent conversations between State Department officials and representatives of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
We will specifically cover topics such as visa processing for third country nationals wishing to secure interview appointments at Consulates and Embassies worldwide, the fate of E-2 visa renewal applicants who previously applied for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the permissible activities of B-1 visa holders while in the United States, issues relating to visa inadmissibility, and nonimmigrant visa denials.
Did You know? We help clients in all 50 states and all countries of the world. If you are interested in discussing your immigration options, we invite you to contact us for a consultation.
If you would like to know more about the recent updates from the State Department, just keep on watching.
The U.S. Department of State recently met with representatives of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) to discuss several immigration topics that have been frequently asked by our viewers. Here we provide a summary of those updates and useful information that may be helpful to you.
Visa Appointments for Third Country Nationals
Applicants of certain nationalities have been experiencing difficulties obtaining visa interviews in their home country. For instance, recent political demonstrations in Iran have made it more and more difficult for applicants to travel to neighboring countries, leading applicants to seek visa appointments elsewhere.
Since the United States does not maintain a diplomatic presence in Iran, applicants can travel and apply at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate that processes their visa type. The U.S. Embassies in Ankara, Yerevan, and Dubai are staffed with Farsi-speaking consular officers who are most familiar with Iranian visa applicants, and therefore are encouraged to apply there. However, visas for Iranian applicants can also be processed at other U.S. Embassies such as Abu Dhabi, Frankfurt, Naples, and Vienna.
For others, obtaining a visa interview in their home country has been nearly impossible leading many to ask whether they can apply elsewhere as a third country national.