How do arrests, convictions or cautions impact U.S. visa eligibility?

When preparing for your U.S. visa interview abroad, there are a number of key questions that you should ask yourself well in advance of your anticipated interview date.  Arrests, convictions or cautions impact U.S. visa eligibility: Have you ever been arrested, convicted, or cautioned for a crime anywhere in the world, including drunk driving or an other alcohol related offense? Have you ever been removed from or deported from the United States? Have you ever been denied entry into the United States? Have you ever overstayed beyond the period authorized by U.S. immigration? Have you ever had any prior visa application denied? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you should consult with an attorney who is familiar with how any of these issues could impact your ability to be granted a visa to the U.S. In it’s September 26, 2013 blog, U.S. Embassy London posted some frequently asked questions they receive that deal specifically with these issues: Q:   I was arrested when I was 14, I’m over 18 now, do I still have to declare the arrest/caution? A:   Yes, you do.  The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply under U.S. visa law.  If you […]
Continue Reading

Humanitarian Parole may be available when in urgent need to enter the U.S.

This month, Attorney Jennifer Behm assisted a client with a Humanitarian Parole request.  Humanitarian Parole enables an otherwise inadmissible individual to enter the U.S. temporarily due to a compelling emergency.  In this case, our client was a Canadian citizen who had a minor son with an extremely rare medical condition.  His son had a crucial need for life-saving treatment in the U.S. that was not offered anywhere in Canada.  Our client, however, was inadmissible to the U.S. due to several criminal convictions in the past.  When he contacted our firm, Ms. Behm was eager to assist this family in need. Ms. Behm prepared a detailed parole request packet, which included an explanation of the applicant’s inadmissibility and his compelling reason for seeking parole – his son’s medical condition, the crucial need for treatment, and the fact that the treatment was not offered in his home country.  We also included specific supporting documentation evidencing these facts.  We sent the packet to CBP officers at the Peace Bridge for review and received a telephone call the next day good news – they had approved the request for Parole.  Our attorney then met our client at the port-of-entry the next day, and he […]
Continue Reading

Automatic Visa Revalidation for Entry to the U.S.

Most foreign nationals seeking entry to the  U.S. are required to possess both a valid passport and a valid U.S. visa to apply for admission to the U.S. “Automatic visa revalidation” allows a foreign national with an expired nonimmigrant visa (“NIV”) to apply for re-entry to the U.S using a valid, unexpired I-94 in place of a valid visa following a trip to Canada or Mexico. The person seeking re-entry MUST fulfill the following factors. (1) Be returning to the U.S. from a visit to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island* of less than 30 days duration. Note that this procedure is not available if any other countries are visited while the person is outside the U.S. (2) Possess a valid, unexpired Form I-94 (and, in the case of F or J nonimmigrants, a current I-20 or DS-2019). This means that you cannot allow the airline (or anyone else) to remove your I-94 when you depart from the U.S. (3) Possess a nonimmigrant visa. It may be expired, unexpired, and in the same or different visa category. However, the person seeking re-entry must not have violated or failed to maintain his or her status when previously in the U.S. A […]
Continue Reading

Year End Review of Waivers

Have you ever been arrested in Canada or anywhere in the world?  If yes, then you may need a nonimmigrant U.S. waiver to enter the U.S.  if your offense is deemed to be a crime involving moral turpitude or CIMT.  This year end review will provide  an overview of U.S. Waivers.  At Berardi Immigration Law, we take this area of our practice so seriously that we have launched a website to deal exclusively with this process.  You can visit that site by clicking here. You can also watch one of our videos relating to the subject: Persons with criminal charges and/or convictions may be inadmissible to the United States regardless of how long ago it was or how minor the charges. Typical offenses that render a person inadmissible include fraud, theft, or crimes relating to controlled substances. Additionally, persons previously removed or denied entry from the U.S. may also be inadmissible. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has access to criminal records; therefore any individual with a criminal record runs the risk of being denied entry to the United States, even if it is only for a brief visit.  Canadian citizens should be aware that Canadian pardons are not recognized […]
Continue Reading

Planning to apply for your visa by the end of the year? Schedule an appointment early!

The nonimmigrant and immigrant visa sections at U.S. Embassies, Consulates and Diplomatic Missions across the globe will be closed on December 25, 26 and January 1 for the upcoming holidays. Additionally, many locations will also close or have very limited appointment availability on December 24 and January 2. Please keep in mind that due to closures during the holidays and the high volume of mail sent during the season, the return of passports by mail can take longer than usual. Passports cannot be picked up at many U.S. Embassies and Consulates, and consular officers have very limited discretion in granting expedite processing requests. If you are planning to apply for your visa by the end of the year or shortly after the holidays, we recommend that you allow for flexibility in your travel plans and to begin the application process in advance. There are nearly 300 U.S. Embassies, Consulates and Diplomatic Missions worldwide, and each specific location has their own unique process for scheduling visa appointments. Berardi Immigration Law is a global leader in U.S. visa services. Our highly experienced immigration law staff includes immigration lawyers, skilled paralegals with a global perspective, and international personal assistants. If you would like […]
Continue Reading

Information released with your FOIA request

What is The Freedom of Information Act? Enacted in 1966, The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal law that establishes the public’s right to obtain information from federal government agencies.  Any person can file a FOIA request, including U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, organizations, associations, and universities. Following the Watergate scandal, the Act was amended in 1974 to force greater agency compliance. It was also amended in 1996 to allow for greater access to electronic information. What kind of records can I ask for? Records obtainable under the FOIA include all “agency records” that were created or obtained by a Federal agency and are, at the time the request is filed, in that agency’s possession and control. These include print documents, photographs, videos, maps, e-mail and electronic records. As related to immigration, a person can file a FOIA request with the following agencies: • Customs & Border Protection (CBP) – for example, to request a detailed record of your U.S. border crossings by car after 1982, or for information related to your detention by border patrol at a U.S. port of entry. • Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) – for example, to request a copy of your medical records […]
Continue Reading

When NOT to listen to the little voice inside your head …

Often times clients come to Berardi Immigration Law once they have hit a problem in their immigration pursuits.  While most times, we are able to help the client and provide a solution to their problems; that may not always be the situation.  Therefore, to avoid extra undue stress, consider contacting us before you start your immigration process: “They are just forms, I can fill them out myself.”  While this is true, forms tend to have their own little peculiarities that are not necessarily evident via research, websites, chat forums and/or friends.  By not knowing the specific requirements of each form, one misstep can cause great delays in the processing of your case or even (in some situations) denials. “I looked on the internet and I know I qualify for this type of visa.”  Yes, the internet provides much information but it does not always provide all the information.  Also, information found on the internet is can be inaccurate or outdated.  If you know what type of visa you want to apply for, call for a consultation   We will review your case and not only make sure you are truly a candidate for that particular status, but we will also provide you with […]
Continue Reading