The Visa Hour: Working Visas

OMAR: [SPEAKING IN TAGALOG] Welcome to the latest episode of The Visa Hour Today we will be discussing working visas or employment visas SETH: To join you can submit your questions by posting them on Twitter using #TheVisaHour or by posing them on our Facebook page or on our Google+ page OMAR: OK. [SPEAKING IN TAGALOG] Omar My name is Omar I work in the Immigrant Visa Section here at the Embassy, and I’m joined by my colleague Seth to answer the questions we gather online today SETH: My name is Seth I’m in the Non-Immigrant Visa Section and I’ve been here in Manila for a little over three months now OMAR: OK Manila’s a crazy exciting city If there are ever any emergencies or any other issues that might get in the way of you making it to your appointment, we strongly recommend that you monitor our social medial sites, our Embassy website to get updates on Embassy closures and any changes to our schedule SETH: And we’ll over those again at the end of the show OMAR: And we will SETH: At this point, we’re now ready to start answering your questions Our first question is, “My employer informed me that “I have to pay a fraud fee of $500 at the Embassy “Is it in U.S. dollars or Philippine pesos? And can I pay using my credit card?” Well, the fraud fee is associated with a particular work visa-type, which is an L visa, and that is intra-company transfers We don’t see a tremendous number of these, but if you are an L visa applicant, don’t be surprised if you do have to pay the $500 fraud fee at the U.S. Embassy You can pay in dollars or pesos, and you may also use your credit card, if you prefer The cashier at the U.S. Embassy is open from 7 A.M. to 3 P.M OMAR: OK And our next question comes from Monica [INAUDIBLE] on Facebook She asks us, “Hi! How long does it take if someone would hire me and petition for me to work on a visa in the U.S.? Thanks.” That’s a great question Monica Working visas are a little more complicated on the immigrant visa side because there are several parts; your employer in the U.S would petition, it would get approved by USCIS and verified by the Department of Labor, and then we’d schedule you for an appointment Since there are so many components, it’s really hard to give you an estimate in terms of time What we can tell you is that your best bet for getting a smooth interview process and a possible approval is to make sure that your information on your application is as accurate as possible and that you’re as honest and accurate as possible in your interview at our Embassy Good luck to you SETH: And on the NIV side, most of the process actually takes place in the United States where the petitioner is submitting your petition to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services – USCIS – and they are making a determination whether or not the application is approved Once the application is approved, then you would want to come to us here at the Embassy in Manila to schedule your visa interview Right now, our wait time for work-based visas is about – about a week So it won’t take you very long from the time that you know that your petition has been approved by USCIS in the United States, and the time that you actually come in to have your visa interview OMAR: OK, and our next question comes from [INAUDIBLE] – I saw what you did there with your name – who on Facebook asks us, “How do I apply for a working visa? I am in Saudi Arabia.” On the immigrant visa side, the visa petition for a working visa is initiated by your employer So what that would mean is that some – you have a relationship – you have contacted an employer in the U.S – that would be the first step you would take Then, the employer would, again, petition USCIS – USCIS – and then you’d be contacted to then complete your interview either in Saudi, where you are [INAUDIBLE] transferred to Manila as well On the non-immigrant side, Seth? SETH: On the non-immigrant visa side, again, work-based visas are petition-based

So most of that process is taking place in the United States And the only time in which you would need to go to a consulate or an embassy, would be after your petition has already been approved And you would be able to go into the Embassy in Riyadh or you would be able to go to a consulate in Jeddah or Dhahran Now, there is one exception; there is something called a B-1 domestic visa, and that is for domestic workers who, for example, may be working in Saudi Arabia and may be wishing to travel with their employer who is going to the United States for a brief period of time – either for work or for tourism purposes So what you would do is, you would submit your application online and you would go into one of the consulates or the Embassy in Riyadh and you would have your visa interview and the Consular Officer would make a determination whether or not you are eligible for a visa to travel to the United States And our next question is from [INAUDIBLE] She asks from Google+, “Where can I possibly get “the whole listing of job openings and companies? More so, how long is the process?” Well, there really is no list of job openings or companies that are wanting to hire foreign workers to come and work in the United States Those are – that’s type of information that you would obtain on your own One thing we can tell you is that employment agencies here in the Philippines that if they’re reputable agencies they will not be charging you or are attempting to charge you any fees So keep that in mind As you contact or have an interaction with employment agencies here in the Philippines, that if they’re attempting to charge you fees that may be an indication that they are not reputable OMAR: OK Our next question comes from an apparent huge fan of Prince Apollonia Vanity on Google+ asks, “My husband is American and we got married in the “month of July just this year “He went back to the States and applied for a spouse visa “He filed two applications: one is an I-130 and I’m not “sure about the other one “How long do we have to wait until we get a response from “the Consulate because he filed it in the month of July or the first week of August?” That’s a great question and it’s a very common question Congratulations, first, on your marriage and while I cannot give you an exact processing time because there’s a lot of factors that will play into that, what I can give you is some good news which is that spousal visas and fiancée visas have among the shortest wait times of any visa class So as long as your information is accurate and you’ve completed your application, you will be in one of the shortest lines in terms of processing time And I hope that, perhaps on your first anniversary, your husband will give you a little red Corvette It’s a Prince song – so the joke there SETH: Are you a big Prince fan? OMAR: Huge Prince fan. Yes SETH: I like Prince, too OMAR: You know what I love about Manila? Lots of purple rain! SETH: It sometimes results in Embassy closures [LAUGHTER] OMAR: Yes, it does SETH: All right Our next question Here’s a question from email “Is it easier to apply for a work visa if I have an “employment agency? Do you have a list of accredited employment agencies?” The Embassy does not have a list of accredited employment agencies Again, I would refer back to the issue though of charging fees to potential workers If they are attempting to charge you fees, it may be an indication that they are not reputable And the next question Another question from email: “My H-2B visa expired in the U.S., but my employer got extended for another year Do I need to go back to the Philippines to have it stamped?” And the answer to that question is no, you do not need to go back to the U.S You – as long as you are in the United States and you have a valid petition, you don’t then have to travel back to the Philippines to get a visa to then re-enter the United States If you have a visa that is expired and for some reason you do have to travel back to Manila or back to the Philippines, then you would have to reapply for a visa because the visa is what allows you to potentially enter the country So you would have a valid petition in place already

and then we would make a determination in the Consular Section as to whether or not to issue you a new visa to re-enter the United States OMAR: OK [SPEAKING IN TAGALOG] questions now We’re already getting a ton of great questions, so keep them coming Our next one is, “I applied for a job in Florida and the “I-797 document given by the lawyer of the company “states that it’s for 10 unnamed workers “and they must be applying in Jamaica “Can I apply in U.S. Embassy Manila using that document? Will I be denied?” Well, Seth and I always do a lot of talking about the accuracy and completeness of your documents and your application And this is a perfect example Obviously, if the document mentions a worker in Jamaica, these are one of the things that you’re gonna wanna check – these are one of the details that you’re gonna wanna verify with your employer We would encourage you to reach out to your employer and make sure that this is the document that they wanna send to USCIS, because if all the details aren’t exactly right, that could cause problems during your interview SETH: And on the NIV side, we do see petitions for unnamed workers and that’s where companies have been approved for a certain number of workers, but the specific workers – names of the workers hasn’t been determined yet As they’re determined, you’re given a slot essentially underneath that petition where the workers have already been approved, but your specific application has been determined at a later time So there is nothing wrong with being under a petition for, you know, “unnamed workers.” OMAR: OK, the next question is: “I had my interview for “an H-1B visa and the officer said I was issued “However, he said that my petition is still not available “I presented the original form, the I-797, “indicating that my petition is already approved Can you please verify what it means?” SETH: OK, that is a fairly common issue that we have to deal with Essentially U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has their set of systems and the petition is present in their system and has already in fact been approved And, sometimes, we basically just have to put your case on hold We make a request for your visa application for our systems here at the Embassy to essentially talk to the USCIS systems in a way that we can go in and verify that that petition has in fact been approved And it – like I said, it is fairly common It typically only adds a couple of extra days to the process The next question that we’ve received: “My H-2B visa was “denied 221(g) and the Consul explained they have to “research the company “Can I apply for a new work visa even if I am still under the 221(g) status?” Well, there’s a couple different questions there The first issue is that if we do have a large number of applications coming in from a new employer or a new petitioner, we will put cases on hold so that we can just verify that there is no fraud present, essentially with the employer and petitioner And that really works in the favor of the visa applicant It’s extra measure that’s used to protect that individual so that they may not be unknowingly getting involved with an unscrupulous employer or petitioner The second part of the question, “Can I apply for a new work visa even if I am still under the 221(g) status?” I would say that’s very unusual that that would happen But if you did have a different petitioner that – and you came into the NIV section of the Embassy and you were applying for a new visa based on a new petition while you already had a previous petition on hold, we would take into account the new petition based on its own merits and we probably would have to have a discussion with the applicant to make a determination which one of these opportunities they were going to pursue, so that we could dispose of the other case appropriately OMAR: OK And our next question is another employment question “My original employment documents will not be

“available when I appear for interview in October “Do you accept photocopies or emails from my employer? Do I need to reschedule my appointment?” That’s another great question [SPEAKING IN TAGALOG] So we need a lot of documents when it comes to employment visas For example, if you’re a nurse, we may need a contract from your employer and also your visa screen Generally speaking, we always want original documents whenever possible So I would encourage you to reschedule your appointment and send us those original documents, or if you can only make that interview, then I would go ahead and attend the interview, but we’ll request that those documents be sent before we can finish adjudicating your visa SETH: And on the NIV side, as I mentioned earlier, we’re typically able to access your original petition through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services systems and we’re able to view that while you’re here in the Embassy applying for your visa If for some reason we’re not able to view it, and we were to ask to look at your original documents, it may cause a delay, it may cause us to put the application in a temporary hold status But, typically, that will be up to the discretion of the Consular Officer whether or not they want to see original documents or whether or not they would be willing to accept photocopies OK, we have another question from Resa [INAUDIBLE] via Google+ “How long does getting an employment visa usually take?” Again, the actual visa itself – the first part of that process being the petition which is approved by USCIS in the United States Usually, once the petition is approved, that triggers you making your appointment to come in to the Embassy and apply for your visa And that is – takes place fairly quickly Right now, we usually can schedule you within a week And you can come into the Embassy and we can make a determination whether or not you qualify for the visa and hopefully, we’re able to issue your visa and you can take advantage of your new employment opportunity OMAR: OK, our next question comes from Google+ and it’s from Joanne [INAUDIBLE] And she asks, “Hi, I have a prospect U.S-based employer “who would like to hire me to work for them in the States “What are the requirements to obtain a working visa and how long does it take for the processing?” OK, that’s another great question which comes on the heels of our previous question There are a lot of different pieces, a lot of different ingredients to a working visa and to getting it approved The first thing you’re gonna need, you already have which is an employer who is interested in you Congratulations Secondly, they’re gonna have to fill out a petition that will be sent to USCIS Once that petition is certified and approved, then we’ll call you for an interview Now what you’re gonna need at the interview is that approved petition, approved by USCIS, you will need an employment letter from your employer, preferably notarized, and then you’ll need whatever documents prove your work experience or your certification And I’m gonna use the example again of a nurse who would need to show her NCLEX or her nursing certificate from the Philippines The best bet is to go on our Embassy website, ask the – go to our frequently asked questions, and there they’ll be able to get answers on what you need You can also Google, US Visa Bulletin – the Visa Bulletin has a wealth of information about requirements and procedures that you can follow to obtain a U.S. visa OK? Now, you can still join us by submitting your questions like those people just did on Twitter using #TheVisaHour or by posting them on our Facebook page – post your questions on our Facebook page at or if you are a Google+er, you can visit our Google+ page at +USEmbassyManila SETH: All right Now back to some more questions This one’s a common question: “Do you have a quota for work visa approvals?” And I know on the NIV side there is a quota that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has as to the number of petitions they will approve in a year However, here at the Embassy, we do not have a quota in terms of the number of visas that we’ll approve So if all applicants are qualified and they come in for their interviews, we’re gonna approve 100% of them OMAR: Nice! OK On to our next question from email “I am on an H-1B visa, but I’ve changed my employer already “Do I need to go back home to apply for a new visa

“- in other words, to the Philippines? My previous H-1B is valid until 2015?” Good news If you’ve changed employers and you’re on a valid H-1B, you can get a new – a petition approved for you while in the U.S You do not have to leave Now if you do end up leaving the U.S and coming back to the Philippines or going elsewhere abroad, then you will have to apply for a new visa Seth, did I get that right? SETH: That’s right, Omar The only other situation I guess that may occur that’s similar to this is what if you’re in the United States on an H-1B and you’re fired by your employer? Then what happens? Technically, you would be required to return to the Philippines However, in the past, people have been able to quickly find a new employer who is willing to petition them and they have not – USCIS has been willing to approve the petition and the individual has not had to return to the Philippines But I, at least, have been advised by USCIS that the longer you are in the United States after that date at which you’ve been released from your previous petitioner, the more difficult it is to get your new petition approved So the safest thing is, in that scenario, would be for you to travel back to your country of origin, but it does happen where individuals may lose their job and are quickly able to find a new employer and petitioner OMAR: We are knocking these questions out We are vanquishing these questions like Juan de la Cruz vanquishes aswangs [LAUGHING] You know [INAUDIBLE], he’s a demon hunter – it’s a soap – but he’s a demon hunter and he kills aswangs, which are demons I will burn you a DVD SETH: Very nice I’d like to watch that OMAR: It’s pretty cool All right, next question our next question is coming and it’s, let’s see, we have a comment here on Twitter. OK And it’s not from Juan de la Cruz, it’s from RG Cruz He says, “I wanna work in the U.S.” RG, if you are that motivated, we’d love to have you in the U.S Keep watching The Visa Hour, visit our Embassy Facebook page and our Embassy website pages to learn how you can get to the U.S SETH: All right Our next question is, “My mother petitioned me, but it’s not current Can I apply for a work visa while waiting?” Is there any IV component to that, Omar, that you think’s important to mention? OMAR: Yes, if you have a petition – as many Pinoys have family-based petitions that they’ve been waiting on It’s a long wait In some cases, an F visa can take, you know, 12-13 years You’re absolutely allowed to petition for a work visa, for other non-immigrant visas, while you wait for that petition Absolutely SETH: Yes, and you can apply for a work visa while you’re waiting for your IV There is, you know, again, we consider each applicant based on their own merits If you go through the process, if you have a petitioner in the United States, you get your petition approved by USCIS, you then set up your appointment for a visa interview in the Embassy, and you come in and you’re a qualified applicant, then it’s very likely that your visa will be approved and you’ll be on your way OMAR: OK SETH: Who was our guy who wanted to work in the U.S? OMAR: RG Cruz SETH: RG OMAR; RG, if you’re out there, I have a game for you We could have a Visa Hour game Get some buko shake or some mango juice Whenever we mention USCIS, which is the United States Customs and Immigration Services, take a drink of buko shake, take a drink of mango juice, because we’re gonna be mentioning USCIS a lot SETH: And what’s in a buko shake? OMAR: Buko is the kind of like the coconut thing It’s delicious [INAUDIBLE] And then they’ve got the ube Have you tried the purple? SETH: I have not OMAR: That is [INAUDIBLE] If you see purple anything, you know it’s ube and I encourage you to try it And then, ube ice cream is out of control Anyway, here’s our next question: “My minor son and I “are applying for an H-4 visa “Can I work in the U.S on an H-4 visa? “Is my son required to apply for a student visa “if he will be working in the U.S – if he will be studying in the U.S.?” SETH: OK, well, an H-4 visa is a dependent of someone who’s in the United States working on an H-1B visa or an H-2B visa And we typically see those more though with dependents of H1B visa holders And if you are in the United States on an H-4 visa, you may not work while you’re in the United States on that visa However, the second part of the question,

if you have a dependent child, as long as they’re under the age of 21, the child can go to school in the United States and does not need to have an F-1, which is a student visa OMAR: And now is a great moment to mention another distinction between non-immigrant work visas, where you will be working temporarily in the U.S., and then returning to the Philippines, and immigrant work visas With an immigrant work visa, you will be permanently moving to the U.S to take a job, and you are allowed to bring derivatives Derivatives means a spouse or a child So if you are gonna, again, that nursing student that’s going down to work in Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, let’s say, where I’m from, your petition gets approved, you come to the interview and you can bring your husband and your children with you to the interview They will be processed with you, adjudicated, if everything goes smoothly Those derivatives, your family members, will be allowed to move with you to the United States permanently SETH: OK, so our next question comes from [INAUDIBLE] – OMAR: You nailed it Yeah, I’m sure I know a [INAUDIBLE] SETH: [INAUDIBLE] from Facebook asks, “Hello, how long does it take to get a tourist visa? What requirements will they need? Thank you.” So, a tourist visa is a B-1/B-2 – this is our most common application that we receive at the Embassy And we have hundreds of interviews each day for B-1/B-2 tourist visas And for you to go online, fill out your application and setup an interview, typically takes less than a week I believe right now it only takes about 4-5 days And if it were to be an emergency, for one reason or another, we actually do even have expedited appointments available for those individuals And in terms of your requirements, all you really need to do is fill out the application and have a valid passport with you in which your visa could be inserted, and all that we ask is that you be truthful with us in the interview and we hope that we would be able to provide you with the opportunity to travel to the United States OMAR: Great Our next question is – came to us through email “How much is the work visa application fee?” The fee for an employment visa, on the non-immigrant side, is $190 SETH: OK, our next question: “Will my B-1/B-2 tourist visa be cancelled if I’m issued a work visa?” And the answer is, no, it will not OMAR: OK And our next question comes from [INAUDIBLE] on Twitter And [INAUDIBLE] asks, the U.S. possessed the Philippines from 1889 to 1946 “Did my grandmom meet the residential requirement “if she was born in 1942?” – if she was born in 1942? OK, that’s an excellent question I’m a big student of history And despite that, I can’t answer that question, but we do have a department here in the Embassy named American Citizen Services – we call it ACS – American Citizen Services helps American citizens here in the Philippines, and they also help Pinoys determine whether or not they have a viable claim to citizenship So you can reach out to ACS and they will help you with that question You can email them at – I’ll give you that one more time Good luck SETH: OK And then we have another question from Facebook “Good afternoon Do I need to go under medical to get a B-2 tourist visa?” Typically, you do not We – we will issue you – if there’s some type of medical treatment that you’re going to the United States to get and, again, you’re an eligible visa applicant, we would issue you a B-1/B-2 visa OMAR: OK And sticking with the bloodline and relatives who have been citizens theme, [INAUDIBLE] Rodriguez on Twitter asks, “My great- grandmother is a U.S. citizen “How can I go about the process of extending this citizenship through bloodline?” OK. It’s another bloodline question and the people you would reach is again, – – they’ll be able to help you

with those questions Generally speaking, on the immigrant visa side, you can be petitioned by a parent, a spouse, a child or a sibling SETH: OK, and Omar, it looks like we got another question from Facebook “I am looking for a U.S. employer for work Can you help me?” OMAR: Ooh! That would be a tempting side gig But, no, that’s – that’s just kidding What we – we do offer a couple of different venues when we go out to do outreach in the community We have a great event called American 3D, where we go visit different areas like Sabu and Tacloban and we work with them to tell you more about the United States, both studying and working in the U.S I cannot find you – you Facebook user – an employer in particular, but we do encourage you to go on our website, visit and see what the different online resources are that will point you in the direction of an employer What I can tell you is that Filipinos are one of the fastest growing and immigrant communities to the U.S., and many of those reasons is because you are able to find jobs in the U.S and you help us become a better workforce SETH: And I’ll just add from the NIV side, we definitely don’t endorse any method by which you find your job, but with all the resources online today and employment agencies here in the Philippines, again, we just wanna reiterate going back to the point of making sure you find a reputable one to work with and make sure that no one is taking advantage of you by attempting to charge you excessive fees related to finding you employment OMAR: OK And our next question comes from [INAUDIBLE] Costillas on Facebook I’m not sure if [INAUDIBLE] knows this, but “costillas” in Spanish means ribs, which makes me really hungry [INAUDIBLE] “Is it possible for a person with a B-2 visa to also apply for a working visa just like in my case?” Now, I’m not sure if you’re talking about an immigrant visa – working visa [INAUDIBLE] – or a temporary working visa on the NIV side I can tell you that a B-1/B-2 holder can apply for an immigrant visa, and it actually happens quite often SETH: Yes, we oftentimes see people with B-1/B-2 visas, and I’ll tell you one place – something we haven’t mentioned earlier or yet, up to this point in the show – is we see a lot of C-1D visa holders which are seafarers We do a tremendous number of seafarer interviews here at the Embassy in Manila As many people know, the Philippine seafaring community is really the backbone of global shipping and also cruise ship industry and we are, I guess we’ll say, we’re extremely proud to interview the number of seafarers and approve the number of visas for seafarers that we do each day It is not uncommon that we would interview 200-300 seafarers each day for visas And in their case, their C-1D visas are for transit in the United States, and also as crew members in the United States And, oftentimes, as they work their way up the ranks inside that industry, they will begin to apply for B-1/B-2 visas because they wanna spend time touring in the United States, and it’s very common that we see seafarers who are also B-1/B-2 visa holders OMAR: OK, and I think this might be a good time to mention that I have a motorcycle Now, why is that important? Because, in the last week, I’ve only ridden my motorcycle once Why is that? Because we’re in the middle of rainy season [SPEAKING IN TAGALOG] So the reason rainy season is important to you is that we always want you to check in with our Embassy website and our social media because if there is inclement weather – if we [SPEAKING IN TAGALOG] we want you to check in because we do not want you to go across town, across Manila, to get on the bus to show up to a closed Embassy So please, we urge you to monitor our Embassy website, Embassy social media to make sure that we will opening We will post any closures or any alerts as soon as we have the information SETH: What’s it like riding a motorcycle in Manila? OMAR: It’s exciting If you saw the “Bourne Legacy,” which was filmed here in Manila, it’s kind of like that I feel like Jason Bourne every time I get on top of

my motorcycle [SPEAKING IN TAGALOG] dangerous but [SPEAKING IN TAGALOG] exciting SETH: Once you pay for the motorcycle you just – you get the thrill over and over again OMAR: I know It’s great It’s – what feels really amazing is when I feel the heat of the bus as it’s about to run me over SETH: [LAUGHING] OMAR: It’s very exciting and makes you feel alive SETH: [LAUGHING] OMAR: All right SETH: I don’t know if I’m ready to feel that alive yet, but — OMAR: Well, let me know whenever you’re ready We’ll get on [INAUDIBLE] and we’ll go a little crazy SETH: [LAUGHING] OK, for non-immigrant visa questions in the future, you can email your questions to and let me read that – let me spell that out for you – C-O-N-S-M-A-N-I-L-A-N-I-V – and you can email your questions in You don’t have to be bound by the one hour of Visa Hour each week OMAR: I know it’s never enough You can’t handle this much visa answers, but you’ll have the email available to you And at this point, we wanna thank all of you who asked their questions and commented in today’s episode of The Visa Hour We’re talking about [INAUDIBLE] [APPLAUSE] SETH: Just to be clear, sorry, The Visa Hour is once a month OMAR: Once a month [SPEAKING IN TAGALOG] each month I can’t remember the word in Tagalog for month right now I apologize And, unfortunately, we don’t have enough time to answer all of your questions You may post them and any visa questions on the Visa Wall at our Facebook page at ON.FB.ME/VisaWall I’m gonna repeat that: ON.FB.ME/VisaWall And, of course, don’t forget to visit our visa blog, VISAtisfiedVoyager which is at – that’s SETH: And you can watch the on-demand version of this episode on your YouTube channel – OMAR: Yeah, if you’re on the bus and you wanna see these handsome guys while you’re riding home to Las Pinas, look us up on YouTube SETH: No extra charge OMAR: Yes SETH: And find us on Or, follow us on Twitter as well; Again, OMAR: For you Google+ers, please add us to your circles on Google+ at SETH: Are you a Google+ kind of guy? OMAR: I don’t even know where Google+ is I used Google maps one time to get me to this ramen place in Macadi, and it went so bad SETH: All right Also, check us out on Instagram Search for U.S. Embassy Manila OMAR: And check out the EducationUSA Facebook page at EducationUSA.Philippines SETH: And the Philippine- American Educational Foundation website at OMAR: And, again, thank you “Maraming, maraming salamat.” [SPEAKING IN TAGALOG] for joining us and see you next month for the next episode of The Visa Hour [APPLAUSE] SETH: They call it The Visa Hour, but sometimes it’s only 40 minutes long OMAR: Yeah We’re going to call it the Visa 40 SETH: Have a nice day everyone OMAR: Enjoy