No Conversion of Immigrant Visa to Visitor’s Visa13 March 2012
Dear Atty. Lou,
I applied for an immigrant visa in the 80's through a sibling’s petition. Finally, I received a letter from the U.S. Embassy dated 1 April 2011 with information on how to apply for immigration to the United States. With it was a Packet 3 which included an Application for Immigrant visa and Alien registration, Notification of applicant readiness and Visa instructions for immigrant visa applicants. I then replied to the embassy that we will work on the requirements and keep in touch with them if needed.
However, we are no longer sure of pursuing our desire to immigrate to the United States. One of our two children is already working and we also have some investments in the country which allows us to live fairly comfortable lives. We are now having second thoughts about leaving the Philippines.
It is still our desire to visit the United States someday to see the place especially the beautiful sights of the country and to visit relatives living there. Is it possible to have our application converted to multiple entry visas? Somebody suggested it to us but the person was not certain if such is possible. We hope to be guided by you on this matter. Thank you.
After waiting for more than twenty years for your immigrant visa to become available, circumstances had changed that contributed to the change of your plans. This is not unusual these days especially for those who are well established in the homeland. Since you are, as you say, living fairly comfortable lives, you have two options regarding your immigrant visa application.
First, is to, nevertheless, pursue the application for immigrant visa. I know you are quite decided to give up this visa but if you continue to have it processed you will be granted an immigrant visa or a lawful permanent resident status. After being approved of your immigrant visa, you may want to travel to the United States and see the beautiful places in the country and visit your relatives. If you happen to like the place but are not too sure of your decision, you may apply for a re-entry permit so you can stay for an extended period in the Philippines without jeopardizing your immigrant status. This is re-entry permit will be good only if you wish to return to the United States on an immigrant visa and have the intention to maintain your immigrant visa status thereafter.
Second alternative option is to inform the U.S. Embassy in Manila that you are no longer interested in pursuing the immigrant visa. The consular officer will then close your case and have the approved petition revoked. Once the revocation is approved, you may no longer have it re-opened. After informing the consular officer of your decision not to pursue your immigrant visa, you may then try to apply for a visitor’s visa on a separate time and date. You have to go through the process of applying for a visitor’s visa just like any other applicant for a visitor’s visa.
There is a misunderstanding in regards to “exchanging” an immigrant visa for a visitor’s visa. Please know that the immigrant visa is not a chattel where it can be exchanged for a different type of visa. There are many who are able to obtain the visitors visas after giving up their green cards or foregoing their immigrant visa applications. But there are also those who despite the abandonment of their immigrant visas are not granted visitors’ visas. The reason for denial is that the same standards of for visitors’ visas are applied to all who file for visitors visas irrespective of the prior grant of immigrant visa or green card.
One of the advantages of those with prior immigrant visas is the fact that they have shown “temporariness” of the activity abroad. They have given up their permanent intention to live in the United States by foregoing their immigrant visas and so this gives validity to the temporary nature of their visit. However, there are also factors to consider. These include sufficient ties in the Philippines and financial ability to pay for the trip. If most of the members of the family are in the United States, this may indicate a strong tie in the United States which is a negative factor in applying for the visitors’ visa. Also, if the applicant has no job and cannot show strong financial status, there is a likelihood that the visitor’s visa application will be denied.
Each case is different, and these options are for your guidance only. It will always be appropriate to consult with a legal professional and to have your case analyze about your chances of obtaining a visitor’s visa before giving up your opportunity to receive an immigrant visa.
I hope this information is helpful.
(Lourdes Santos Tancinco, Esq is a partner at the Tancinco Law Offices, a Professional Law Corp. Her office is located at One Hallidie Plaza, Ste 818, San Francisco CA 94102 and may be reached at 1 888 930 0808; email at email@example.com or check their website at www.tancinco.com. The content provided in this column is solely for informational purpose only and do not create a lawyer-client relationship. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. This column does not disclose any confidential or classified information acquired in her capacity as legal counsel. Consult with an attorney before deciding on a course of action. You can submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org)