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Most entries below contain actual legal discussions of events directly related to Filipinos in or immigrating to the United States.
Remember- These writings are provided for general information only and do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. Each person's needs and requirements are different and require a personal evaluation to determine the proper legal course of action.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Understanding the Visa Bulletin - Basics and Tips


        [Updated Nov. 1, 2016 to include “Dates for Filing” charts]  

 

The Visa Bulletin Explained

Whenever I begin a new topic in my immigration law class, we first cover the “vocabulary”, usually proclaiming,  “You can not discuss a subject if you do not know the language”.

Visa Bulletin.  If you are the beneficiary of an immigrant petition (other than the spouse, parent or child of an US Citizen), you probably already know about the Visa Bulletin (VB).  The VB is published monthly by the Department of State (DOS) to informs us of which immigrant visas will be available during the following month.  For example,  the VB published around May 9th will show visa availability for the month of May.   Remember, the dates listed in the VB only apply to the month indicated on that issue.  Current and past Visa Bulletins can be found here.

Immigrant Categories.  Different immigrants are assigned different categories.  The number of visas available for each category are set by law and only Congress can change the mathematical formula.

Family 1st (FB1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of US Citizens.
Family 2nd (FB2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents.
Family 2nd (FB2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent.
Family 3rd (FB3)  Married Sons and Daughters of US Citizens.
Family 4th (FB4)   Brothers and Sisters of Adult US Citizens.
Employment 1st (EB1)  Priority Workers.
Employment 2nd (EB2) Professionals with Advanced Degrees & Exceptional Ability workers.
Employment 3rd (EB3)  Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers.
Employment 4th (EB4)  Certain Special Immigrants.
Employment 5th (EB5)  Immigrant Investors.

[Note: The Visa Bulletin DOES NOT APPLY to the Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens (parent, spouse or unmarried child under 21).  For the Immediate Relative category, a visa is always available.]

Priority Date.  This is the date a petition or application is received by USCIS or, in some cases, the Department of Labor.  Your Priority Date is your absolute place in line for an immigrant visa.  The date your petition is approved has no effect on your Priority Date, which is why it does not matter if USCIS takes five days or five years to approve, for example, an FB4 petition.  The wait for an FB4 immigrant visa is well over 10 years, and the day the petition is filed creates your Priority Date and your place in line for an immigrant visa.

Cutoff Date.  These are the dates in the Visa Bulletin shown for each immigrant visa category.  Once your Priority Date is earlier than the Cutoff Date, your priority date is now “current” and an immigrant visa is available for you.  If your Priority Date is the same (a common mistake) or later than the Cutoff Date, keep waiting.

“C”.  When the Cutoff Date is replaced by the letter “C”, all Priority Dates are current and visas are available for every Priority Dates in that category.

“U”.  Likewise, when the Cutoff Date is replaced by the letter “U”, no visas are available in that category regardless of the Priority Date.

Country of Chargeability.  Along with a Congressionally established limit on how many visas are available for each category, there is also a limit on how many visas in each category that can be issued to any one country.  This limit is called the “per-country limit”.  The country your visa is counted against, or ‘charged’ to, is your Country of Chargeability.  This is important because for some countries, including the Philippines, the number of persons waiting for visas exceeds the annual per-country limits, creating a longer wait for visas then most other countries. 

Your Country of Chargeability is determined by your place of birth, not your place of residence or citizenship.  In some special situations, you can use the Country of Chargeability of your spouse or parent, if different from your own, usually benefiting you with a shorter wait.  In even more rare cases, double cross-chargeability is possible; simultaneously taking the Priority Date from the direct petition beneficiary and the Country of Chargeability from the dependent spouse.

“All Chargeability Areas Except...”.  On the Visa Bulletin, this is all Countries of Chargeability other than those four or five where demand for visas have exceeded the per-county limits.  Currently, only China, India, Mexico and the Philippines have their own cutoff dates because of the per-country limits.  The Dominican Republic also occasionally makes this list.  All other countries fall under the “All Chargeability Areas Except...”.

Retrogression, also sometimes referred to as Regression.  There are times with the Department of State realizes that they have advanced the cutoff dates too far and are receiving more visa applications than there will be visas available.  When this occurs, DOS backs up the cutoff date, moving it further back in time in order to slow the number of visa applicants.  Sometimes the cutoff date will retrogress a few months or years, and sometimes they just make that category Unavailable.

The Charts in the Visa Bulletin


Before October, 2015, the Visa Bulletin contained only two main charts:  Family-Sponsored Preferences and Employment-Based Preferences.  These charts listed the Cutoff Dates in each preference category.  Remember, if your Priority Date is earlier than the Cutoff Date shown in your category, you may now be granted an immigrant visa or apply for Permanent Residence.

The Visa Bulletin now contains four charts:

            #1            Family-Sponsored Preferences “Final Action Date” Chart
            #2            Family-Sponsored Preferences “Dates for Filing” Chart
            #3            Employment-Based Preferences “Final Action Date” Chart
            #4            Employment-Based Preferences “Dates for Filing” Chart


The Two “Final Action Date” Charts
“Final Action Date” is just a new name for the old charts that have always been in the Visa Bulletin.  With one “Final Action Date” chart for Family and the other for Employment, these charts continue to serve the Visa Bulletin’s main function of informing both the government and the public of when an immigrant visa can be issued.  When a person’s Priority Date is earlier than the Cutoff Date shown in their particular category and country, an immigrant visa is now available.  Anyone who will be applying for their visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate will require a current Priority Date on the “Final Action Date” Chart before a visa will be issued.

The Two “Dates for Filing” Charts
The “Dates for Filing” charts are causing confusion.   There are three points to remember when looking at the “Dates for Filing” charts. 

First, this chart is ONLY for people applying for Permanent Residence with USCIS while in the United States.   Applicants obtaining their Immigrant Visa outside of the U.S. should completely ignore the Dates For Filing chart!

Second, there are some months each year when the “Dates for Filing” charts cannot be used. 

And third, whenever the “Dates for Filing” charts are not to be used, the “Final Action Date” charts must be followed.

The “Dates for Filing” Charts

The original purpose of the “Dates for Filing” chart was to give people applying for Permanent Residence while in the United States the opportunity to file their application before their Priority Date is current on the “Final Action Date” chart.  Hence the name, “Dates for Filing”.  By filing early – before a Priority Date is current – a person can obtain work authorization and sometimes travel authorization while they are technically still “in line” waiting for their turn to become Permanent Residents. 

Before each month’s Visa Bulletin goes into effect, USCIS will decide if people can use the “Dates for Filing” chart, or if they must use the “Final Action Date” chart.  However, their decision is nowhere to be found in the monthly Visa Bulletin.  Instead, you must go to the USCIS websitefor their monthly update of which chart can be used to file for Permanent Residence.  

For example, look at 2016.  From January to April, USCIS allowed people to file for Permanent Residence using the Family-Sponsored “Dates for Filing” chart, but not the Employment-Based “Dates for Filing” chart.  From May to September, the use of either “Dates for Filing” chart was forbidden.  But then for October and November, both “Dates for Filing” charts could be used when filing for Permanent Residence. 

Remember, if USCIS does not allow a “Dates for Filing” chart to be used, you must instead use the “Final Action Date” chart.


Also remember that if you file for Application for Permanent Residence in a month when your Priority Date is not current on the appropriate chart for that month, you risk having your case denied and you wasted the filing fees you paid.

Example: Using the “Final Action Date” Chart

Put all of this to practice by using the “Final Action Date” chart below from the November 2016 Visa Bulletin.  Consider an FB-3 beneficiary (married son or daughter of a U.S. Citizen) from the Philippines with a Priority Date of March 1, 1999.  First, locate the cutoff date for FB-3 under ‘Philippines”, and you will find the date of August 8, 1994.  This date tells us that the government is able to grant visas to persons with a Priority Date before August 8, 1994, four and one-half years earlier than our beneficiary’s Priority Date of March 1, 1999. 

Final Action Date - Philippines
(November 2016)


CATEGORY

    All Chargeability
   Areas


Philippines

FB1


FB2A


FB2B


FB3


FB4



22 OCT 09 


22 JAN 15


15 APR 10


22 JAN 05


01 AUG 03

01 SEP 05


22 JAN 15


15 FEB 06


08 AUG 94


08 MAY 93





















Saying that there is still a four and one-half year wait would be incorrect.  No one know can predict with any level of certainty how long the wait will be before the Priority Date is current.  Visa allocation follows a complex mathematical formula that can be modified by Congress at any time, plus the Department of State does not know how many people are actually waiting for a visa in this category.  An accurate legal advisor say (and accuracy is vital in immigration law) that ahead of you in line are all the petitions filed in the four and one-half years between August 8, 1994, and March 1, 1999, plus their spouses and maybe some children, and the wait for your immigrant visa may be more or less than that  four and one-half years.

Example: Using the “Dates for Filing” Chart


Let us use the example of a Filipino teacher in the United States with an Employment-Based 3rd Preference (EB-3) priority date of October 1, 2011.  Since the teacher is lawfully in the United States and is eligible for Permanent Residence, he will apply for Residence with USCIS instead of applying for his Immigrant Visa through the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

The first step is to compare his Priority Date to the cutoff dates on both the “Final Action Date” and the “Dates for Filing” charts.  The teacher’s Priority Date is October 1, 2011.  The ‘Final Action’ cutoff date is April 1, 2011.  Since the cutoff date is earlier than the Priority Date, no immigrant visa is available yet for this teacher.  There are still six months worth of petitions that must be worked before it is this teacher’s place in line for his Immigrant Visa.

The result is different when looking at the November “Dates for Filing” chart.  The EB-3 cutoff date is September 1, 2013, almost two years ahead of the Priority Date!  A quick check with USCIS [https://www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo]shows that the November, 2016, Employment-Based “Dates for Filing” chart can be used to file for Permanent Residence during the month of November.

Result-  Although no immigrant visa is yet available according to the “Final Action Date” chart, this teacher can now file his Application for Permanent Residence.


For a more detailed discussion of using the Dates for Filing” charts, see the Q & A section of the blog post titled, “Early Adjustment Filing Fast Facts – October Visa Bulletin”.

 (For my law students who read this, yes, Final Action Dates will always be on the final.)


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Friday, October 21, 2016

USCIS Filing Fees Increase on 12/23/2016


Notice of USCIS Fee Increase:


The government filing fees for the most frequently used forms with go up for all cases received by USCIS on or after December 23, 2016.

However, there is no increase in the $85 fee for Biometrics.

The new fee for the most often used forms are indicated below:

I-90    Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card   $455
                        ($90 increase)

I-129  BASE fee for Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker       $460
                        ($135 increase)

I-129F Petition for Alien FiancĂ©(e)                                     $535
                        ($195 increase)

I-130  Petition for Alien Relative                                         $535
                        ($115 increase)

I-140  Petition for Alien Worker                                          $700
                        ($120 increase)

I-485  Application for Permanent Residence                      $1140
                        ($155 increase)($1225 total with biometrics)


I-765  Application for Employment Authorization                 $410
                        ($30 increase)
N-400 Application for Naturalization                                   $640
                        ($45 increase)

And if obtained your Immigrant Visa at the embassy, after you enter the United States as a Permanent Resident:

USCIS Immigrant fee                                                        $220
                        ($55 increase)



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Monday, September 19, 2016

Local Announcement- Ph Consular Service Visit to Kansas City


October Update:  
    Over 230 Filipinos received consular services at this event.

Representatives from the Philippine Consulate in Chicago will be in the Kansas City area on September 24, 2016.  

Services will be provided beginning at 8:00 a.m. at the Filipino Cultural Center, 9810 W. 79th Street, Overland Park, Kansas.

Although most of the attendees will be receiving follow-up services based on applications already submitted to the Consul by mail, walk-in applications and requests for assistance will be provided as time permits.

The Chicago Consulate General has maintained a very active outreach program for several years, traveling to many different cities throughout their sixteen state jurisdiction.

Below is a list of their typical services.  However, one of the most valuable services they provided is making themselves available to discuss your questions and legal concerns.

Passport Services:  Renewal, Replacement, Amendments and Urgent Extensions

Dual Citizenship Applications

Legal and Notarial Services:  Power of Attorney and signature authentication on legal documents.

Visa Applications

Civil Registry Actions:  Reports of Marriage, Birth and Death.   



NOTE:  All payment of service fees must be in cash, or by money order or cashier’s check made payable to the “Phiippine Consulate General”.

Limited photocopying services, refreshments and assistance with forms will be provided through the Filipino Association of Greater Kansas City.

For additional information, contact Bing Sakach.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The “Hole” in the Filipino WWII Veteran Parole (FWVP) Program


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced a small program in May that allows a select few relatives of Filipino World War II veterans to enter the United States to assist their aging veteran parent or sibling.   My full analysis of the Filipino WWII Veteran Parole (FWVP) Program can be found here

Unfortunately, USCIS left a hole in this special humanitarian program.

Here is the background.  U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents are allowed to petition the government for certain of their relatives to be allowed to immigrate to the United States.  However, only certain relatives are allowed, and the waiting period before they can come to the U.S. can be very long.  For example, a U.S. Citizen who wishes to bring his married son to the U.S. can expect a wait of over twenty years before the son will be allowed to join his father in the United States. 

The FWVP Program provides a way for some of those long-waiting relatives to enter the U.S. now so they can be with their aging veteran relatives while waiting for their eventual immigrant visas.

Simply put, the relatives eligible to participate in the FWVP Program are certain named beneficiaries of approved immigrant petitions filed by the WWII veteran or the veteran’s “surviving spouse”.  The term “surviving spouse” is not defined in U.S. immigration laws, but in other federal law the term is used to describe the widow or widower of a marriage partner who died during the marriage.

And there lies the flaw in the FWVP.  Petitions filed by a veteran’s surviving spouse are covered, but not petitions filed by the spouse of a living WWII veteran.  Strangely, petitions filed by the spouse of a veteran are only valid if the veteran is dead.



USCIS takes special care to ensure a petition filed for the son or daughter of a veteran is eligible for the FWVP Program.  Consider the following scenarios that ARE eligible for FWVP:


-The son/daughter of a veteran, if the Petition is filed by a living veteran.

-The son/daughter of a deceased veteran, if the veteran’s spouse is living and the petition is reinstated.

-The son/daughter of a deceased veteran and the veteran’s spouse, if the Petition is filed by the surviving spouse.


So, why does the FWVP not cover a Petition filed by the spouse of a living veteran for their common son or daughter?


Most likely this omission was an oversight.  The target of the benefit is the same – the sons/daughters of a WWII veterans in the United States.  What USCIS failed to consider was the common past occurrence of the spouse, and not the veteran, to filed the petition for their common son or daughter. 

Consider this real life situation.  A Filipino WWII veteran and his wife, both U.S. Citizens, have an adult daughter.  In 1997, they decided to petition for their daughter, knowing that it would be decades before she would receive an immigrant visa.  Since every immigrant allows only one Petitioner, this elderly couple must decide who will be the Petitioner.  Should the petition be filed by the veteran, by the veteran’s wife, or should they each file separate petitions for the same daughter? 

This is a conversation that old immigration attorneys have had hundreds of times.  Even though the filing fee for the 1997 petition was only $110, people were still reluctant to file two petitions and pay two filing fees for a speculative future benefit that may or may not be used 20+ years later, so they had to decide which of them would file the petition.  Several factors were considered when making the decision, the most common being which of the couple was more likely to still be alive in 20 years!  Their comparative age and health was often the deciding factor, so it was common for the youngest and healthiest of the spouses to be the Petitioner.

This omission creates a bizarre paradox:  A petition filed by the spouse of a living veteran will not qualify their child for FWVP......until the veteran dies.  Once the veteran is deceased, the spouse is now a “surviving spouse” and their son or daughter can come to the United States.

The Poor Workaround

There is a way to avoid this omission, but it involves money, multiple steps and more time delays.

The still-living veteran can file a new petition for the same son or daughter that is already the beneficiary of the spouse’s approved petition.  When this new petition is approved, the relative qualifies for FWVP.  Of course, this means an upfront filing fee of $420 for this second petition.  Also, current USCIS processing time for this petition is somewhere between four and five years.  Even if you can have the petition expedited, this is not a pleasant option.



USCIS will be publishing more details of the FWVP Program on their website before the program begins June 8th.  Perhaps they will take that opportunity to modify this unfortunate omission.




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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Visit with Dr. Juan “Jim” Sanchez

Doctor Jim Sanchez is making a name for himself as an advocate for improving healthcare in the Philippines. 

Covering Luzon with a specially equiped mobile surgical van, equipped and supported by Rotarians from RC San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City (RI District 3780), Dr. Sanchez performs a variety of procedures using only local anesthetics. An overview of his current work is documented in this CNN video report.  

Dr. Juan "Jim" Sanchez & Attorney James "Jim" Austin 


 This month, Dr. Sanchez is in the United States visiting various Fil-Am societies, raising funds and creating partnerships for a most ambitious project - a prototype hospital on wheels. Labeled the “RP Healthcraft Carrier”, Dr. Sanchez envisions this multi-unit mobile medical facility as a valuable tool for disaster response and taking advanced medical services to underserved areas. Details of this project can be found at www.facebook.com/HealthcraftCarrier




Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Filipino World War II Veterans Parole (FWVP) Program

Instructions and Requirements for the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole (FWVP) Program 

Last updated 6/1/2016 407pCT.  Please return to this page for later updates.


Simple Description of the FWVP Program:


The government estimates that there are between 2,000 and 6,000 Filipino WWII veterans living in the United States. These veterans are either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents (“green cards”). Some of these veterans may have filed a family petition (I-130) with USCIS that placed one or more of their relatives on a waiting list to later immigrate to the United States. In some relative categories, that wait can be more twenty years.

The FWVP Program gives some of these long-waiting relatives, and maybe their dependents, an opportunity to be "paroled" into the United States where they can live while waiting for U.S. Permanent Resident status.


In some cases, the FWVP Program may be used even if the petitioning veteran is deceased, and also in cases where the actual petitioner was the spouse of the WWII veteran.


Example:  Mr. Lozada is a recognized WWII veteran of the Philippine Army.  He and his wife moved to the United States and later became U.S. Citizens.  In 2000, Mr. Lozada filed a petition (I-130) for his married son Peter.  Because of the long immigrant visa waiting lists, Peter expects to keep waiting in the Philippines for another 5 to 10 years.  However, under the FWVP Program, Peter and the wife of Peter may now live in the United States while waiting the many years to become U.S. Permanent Residents.


Parole Program Highlights:
-Petitioner must be a Filipino WWII Veteran, or the surviving spouse of the veteran.

-Petitioner can be a U.S. Citizen or a U.S. Permanent Resident.

-The Petitioner must be residing in the United States.

-The Petition must be approved.  

-The Petitioner must apply for the Beneficiary's “parole” into the United States.

-In some cases, the spouse and children will be given parole with the Petition Beneficiary.

-Applications will be accepted beginning June 8, 2016.

-Applicants must prove the WWII Veteran status of the petitioner.

-Applicants will file the I-131 (parole request) and I-134 (Affidavit of Support).

-The current fee is $360, probably increasing to $575 in Fall, 2016.

-All applicants for parole will be interviewed by USCIS or the Department of State.

-Parole is given on a case by case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or as a significant public benefit.

-The Program may be ended on June 7, 2021.


Parole Program Details:


The FWVP Program allows for the early entry of family member beneficiaries of Relative Petitions (I-130s) filed by Filipino WWII veterans or their surviving spouses.
 

“Parole” 

Approved relatives under the FWVP Program will come and stay in the United States under “parole”.  Parole is an unusual concept that allows a person to be physically present in the United States without being legally “admitted”.  Parole is not a nonimmigrant status, such as a B (visitor), H (worker) or F (student), yet a person with parole may also apply for work authorization.

FWVP will be valid for three years, and will be renewable while in the United States.

 When Petitioner is the WWII Vet -- Qualifying Relative Petition Categories:

The relative petition filed by the veteran must be in one of these immigrant categories:
-1st Preference (FB-1)- Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens.
-2nd Preference (FB-2A)- Spouse or unmarried children under 21 of Permanent Residents.
-2nd Preference (FB-2B)- Unmarried sons and daughters of Permanent Residents.
-3rd Preference (FB-3)- Married sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens.
-4th Preference (FB-4)- Brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens.

Most of the beneficiaries who may benefit from the FWVP Program are in the FB-3 and FB-4 categories, where the wait for an immigrant visa exceeds 20 years.  The petition beneficiary’s spouse will also be eligible for parole in these two categories.

When Petitioner is the “Surviving Spouse” of a WWII Veteran -- Qualifying Relative Petition Categories:

The term “surviving spouse” is not defined in U.S. immigration laws, but in other federal law the term addresses the widow or widower of a marriage partner who died during the marriage.

When the Relative Petition is filed by the surviving spouse of a deceased WWII Veteran, the principal petition beneficiary must be the son or daughter of both the veteran and the spouse.  Sons and daughters that were adopted or are step-children are included, as long as they meet U.S. immigration law's definition of "child".  This limits the qualifying petition filed by a surviving spouse to the following immigrant categories:

-1st Preference (FB-1)- Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens.
-2nd Preference (FB-2A)- Spouse or unmarried children under 21 of Permanent Residents.
-2nd Preference (FB-2B)- Unmarried sons and daughters of Permanent Residents.
-3rd Preference (FB-3)- Married sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens.

When the Petitioner is the current spouse of a living Filipino WWII Veteran:

The FWVP Program only gives benefits to the beneficiaries of petitions filed by the veteran and the veteran’s surviving spouse.  This is a flaw in this program that I discuss at length here.

The Petition Must be Approved Before Requesting Parole

The petitioner cannot request parole for the beneficiary under the FWVP Program until USCIS makes a final decision approving the relative petition. 

Most of these petitions were approved many years ago, with the beneficiary just on the waiting list for an immigrant visa.  However, more recently filed petition may still be pending with USCIS.  The current estimated processing time for USCIS to decide an FB-3 (married son/daughter of a U.S. Citizen) is four years.


The Relationship between the Petitioner and Beneficiary must have existed before May 10, 2016

There is no deadline for filing a petition that may qualify for treatment under the FWVP Program, but the relationship between the veteran and the beneficiary must have existed  on or before May 9, 2016.  This restriction has little meaning, and only bars getting parole for the new spouse of a Permanent Resident Filipino WWII veteran.

The Petitioner Need Not be Alive

Under normal U.S. immigration law, a relative petition is automatically cancelled when the Petitioner dies.  However, the law now allows for the Beneficiary to ask USCIS to reinstate the petition and allow the beneficiary to still immigrate to the United States.

The law allowing Petition reinstatement can be used for petitions under the FWVP Program, so it is still possible for the beneficiary to be paroled into the United States after the death of the petitioner.

Petitioner Must Reside in the United States

The veteran or the veteran’s surviving spouse must be residing in the United States when the beneficiary/relative requests parole.  This conforms with the purpose of the program, allowing the relative to be with and assist the veteran or surviving spouse.

Program Effective Dates

USCIS will begin accepting applications for parole under the FWVP Program on June 8, 2016.  While there is no end date for this program, the program will be reviewed in 2020 for possible termination after five years.

Application Process

Remember, it is the Petitioner (or self-applicant/Beneficiary, if the Petitioner is deceased) that will submit the application for parole under the FWVP Program. 

Forms

Every applicant for parole will file both Forms I-131 (Application for Travel Document)  and I-134 (Affidavit of Support) .  Although an Affidavit of Support must be filed, there is no requirement that the form must be completed by the Petitioner.  It may be possible for some other relative to complete the affidavit.  In cases where the petition has been reinstated after the death of the veteran, it is expected that the affidavit would be completed by an appropriate "substitute" sponsor.  However, it will be at the discretion of USCIS to ensure that sufficient financial arrangements have been made for the relative being paroled into the United States.

Fees
The only fee for parole under the FWVP Program is the fee for Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.  The current fee is $360.  USCIS has already announced their intention to raise the I-131 fee to $575 later in 2016.  The correct fee can always be found on the I-131 page at uscis.gov. 

Where to File
USCIS will soon be updating the instructions and filing locations for Form I-131 to reflect the requirements of the FWVP Program.  Applications will be filed by mail to USCIS in the United States.

Interview
All applicants for parole will be required to appear for a personal interview at a USCIS office or consular post.  This includes FWVP applicants who are currently in the United States.

Other Required Evidence
Along with the request for parole, the applicant should also include evidence of the Filipino Veteran’s service in WWII was recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense.  There are three preferred methods of proving service:

1. Show the veteran is listed on the final roster prepared by the recovered Personnel Division of the U. S. Army for service with the Philippine Army during the World War II occupation and liberation of the Philippines;

2. Show the veteran is listed on the final roster prepared by the Guerilla Affairs Division of the U. S. Army for service within a recognized guerilla unit during the World War II occupation and liberation of the Philippines; or

3. Show the veteran served honorably in the Philippine Scouts or in another component of the U.S. Armed Forces in the Far East (other than the groups shown above) at any time between September 1, 1939 and December 31, 1946.

“USCIS will review government records to verify that the Filipino veteran's World War II military service was recognized by the Department of Defense. When this documentation is not available, USCIS will issue a Request for Evidence to allow the petitioner to submit evidence establishing the Filipino veteran's military service.”

Derivative Children

USCIS has decided that for the purpose of the FWVP Program, the only children of the direct petition beneficiary that will be allowed parole into the United States are those who are under 21 years of age on the date the parole request is received by USCIS.

Travel After Parole Entry

Being paroled into the United States under the FWVP Program do not have permission to travel and return.  Before departing the United States, it will be necessary to apply to USCIS for "advance parole" to allow reentry.


Parole is Discretionary – Each Case Reviewed Individually

Parole into the United States is granted for “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit”.  USCIS considers, in general only, that allowing the relatives of these veterans to enter the US is a recognition of the contributions made by these veterans.  Further, if these relatives are able to provide support or care for the veterans would also be considered a “significant public benefit”. 

Meeting the requirements of the FWVP Program alone does not guarantee parole will be granted.  Each request for parole under the FWVP Program will be reviewed to determine if the applicant deserves a favorable decision.


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