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From Christi Hufford
Visa Processing Guide (AILA)
Websites of US Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions
AILA Consular Post Handbook
DOS Liaison Minutes
Reciprocity fee – varies by countries of nationality and type of visa (website: www.travel.state.gov, visas, frequently requested information, fees and reciprocity table, select country
From Young H. Noh
Various Issues Related to the US Embassy in Seoul
1. Does the Embassy handle all types of cases?
2. Attorney representation - What role can the attorney play in Seoul.
YHN: You can come into the building and sit behind the interviewees. Sometimes, if you
try to stand next to the interviewees, you get yelled at. Good preparation of the interview is important.
3. Approval rate?
YHN: Don't know. But I would say Bs and Fs are most denied. From my
guess (which might be more accurate than official statistics which I don't trust), I would say at least 10% Bs get denied and 20% Fs get denied the first time. I don't know the percentage that get approved on re-application.
4. What are the most common reasons non-immigrant visas are denied?
YHN: 214(b) black hole
and 212(g). For Es, marginality, of course, and now, failure to "develop and direct" appears to be another commonly used ground. Let's say you invest and there is a manager. If it appears you will be sort of overseeing the enterprise but not actively involved in the actual management, they may deny the E-2 case, even though you own more than 50%. In my opinion, this is legally wrong, but hard to fight the City Hall.
5. What is the post's policy on re-applying after an NIV denial?
YHN: Can re-apply as many times, but you have to make re-appointments and submit new evidence.
6. How much time should you budget for B-1/B-2 visas, F-1 visas, H-1Bs, L-1s, other?
YHN: You mean how much time it takes for you to accompany clients and sit there, etc.? Bs and Fs, you go to 2nd floor and takes less than 1 hour. E, L and Hs, you go to 3rd floor, and these take a little more. IVs takes 2.5 hours, mainly waiting after the submission of docs.
7. How do you make appointments?
YHN: Embassy website info input.
8. Security clearances - how much of a problem; timing.
YHN: If there is a problem with any criminal record, it gets ref'd to the Investigations which can take several weeks to clear. If there is a hit, you have to provide complete records. As long as you have complete records such as Police Records and Court docs to show dismissals, not much problem.
9. For applicants for new visas who have been in the US and return home to consular process, is the process different?
YHN: No difference, except for Es, you can apply by mail and then come out.
10. Can appointments be expedited? If so, what is the process?
YHN: Only if you get the persmission by contacting consular officers.
11. Any special fraud concerns?
YHN: Not really. Korea is not like China.
12. Attitude toward third country nationals.
YHN: Quality of service improved a lot recently, but they do not give any different treatment to attorney-represented cases.
13. Immigrant visa processing - issues to worry about.
YHN: Korea has a new Family Census system. Now, there are 4 or 5 different docs for one Family Census system, with each doc proving different aspects of what used to be covered by one single doc. I might write an ILW article when I have time. Make sure you tell clients to get all relevant docs under the new system.
What Should US Immigration Attorneys Need To Know About The Seoul Consulate To Help Their Client? By Young H. Noh
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