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IV fees and petition revocation

Wednesday, July 18, 2012    

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Q: In January 2011, I appeared for my immigrant visa interview and the consular officer suggested that I undergo a DNA test with my father who was filing for me. Unfortunately, we didn't make the DNA appointment until June 2012, at which time I was told that my case had terminated and that my father would need to file a new petition. Why can't I just repay my application fee, submit the DNA results and be issued the visa?

A: According to United States immigration law, there are two ways immigrant visa cases end up in termination status. First, the case expires if the applicant does not make an appointment within one year of receiving the appointment letter.

Second, US immigration law states that if an immigrant visa applicant does not make an attempt to overcome their refusal within one year of being refused, the case can and should be terminated. This does not mean that the applicant needs to overcome the refusal within one year, but rather that they should make a valid attempt to overcome the refusal. The one-year clock is reset each time the applicant makes a valid attempt to overcome the refusal, usually by making an appointment with the embassy or sending in the documents requested by the consular officer.

This means that if you had scheduled your DNA test with the embassy within a year of first being refused, your case would still be valid even if the DNA results had not yet been received. However, if you can convince a consular officer that your failure to appear within one year was due to circumstances beyond your control, then the consular officer can reinstate the case from termination status and move forward with processing the visa application. To make an appointment to discuss your case with a consular officer, please contact KingstonIVappoitment@state.gov.

US immigration law also states that any applicant who cannot overcome a refusal within one year must pay a new application fee. This is true even if they have scheduled appointments with us within that year time frame, but have still been unable to overcome the refusal. This does not apply to applicants who receive an approved waiver for their ineligibility from US Citizenship and Immigration Services or reaffirmed cases, but it does apply to individuals who were previously ineligible due to drug use.

Fees for immigrant visas changed in April 2012. The new fee for immigrant visa applications is US$230 for family-based petitions and US$405 for employment based petitions.

For more information about American Citizen Services, please visit our website, http://kingston.usembassy.gov/service.html.

Reminder for US citizens

The 2012 election season is underway in the United States. To register to vote from abroad or to sign up to receive state-specific election alerts, visit http://fvap.gov. You may drop off your voting materials with postage affixed at the US Embassy in Kingston or at the US Consular Agencies in Montego Bay and the Cayman Islands for delivery to the United States.

The US Embassy staff in Kingston will answer questions you may have regarding the US Mission, including consular law, regulations and/or practice. In order to respect privacy, staff will not answer questions about specific visa applications. The embassy employs a visa appointment system, so it is only necessary for visa applicants to arrive 15 minutes before their scheduled appointment.

Send your questions to: editorial@jamaicaobserver.com and we will send them to the embassy.

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