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U.S. Embassy Rules and Laws

A citizen of a foreign country wishing to enter the U.S. must, in most cases, obtain a visa which is issued by a U.S. embassy or consulate. The visa is placed in the applicant’s passport. Certain categories of international travelers may not require a visa to enter the U.S. More information may be obtained at the US State Department website at. The process to obtain a visa to enter the U.S. includes applications, interviews, and a variety of requirements and embassy rules. Below are some commonly asked questions on U.S. embassy rules and laws, answered by immigration lawyers.

My fiancé who is applying for a U.S. visa has been asked to bring my income tax returns for the last three years to the embassy interview. Are we required to provide the complete itemized returns?

The embassy’s main focus is to establish your income and itemized expenses should not be of much interest to them. You may want to provide information that establishes your income. You could include six of your latest paycheck stubs and six of your latest bank statements.

Does a spouse who is a foreign national have to show a marriage license to obtain a U.S. visa? Will a copy do? How can the approval process be expedited?

As per embassy rules the marriage license will need to be presented in original at the time of the embassy interview for the visa.. Prior to the interview, a photocopy of the marriage license may be sent along with Form I-130, but the original should be taken to the interview at the embassy in order to compare it to the copy submitted with the petition.

Visas are governed by embassy law and, under normal circumstances, there is usually no way to expedite the process.

I have an IR-1 visa issued by the U.S. Embassy in London that permits me to enter the U.S. Can I return to London and re-enter the U.S. before I receive my Green Card?

Normally, your Green Card will be mailed to you at your U.S. address within a few weeks of your initial entry into the U.S. on the visa. If you anticipate the need to return to London before you receive the Green Card, it may be possible to get a temporary stamp on your passport at the time of entry into the U.S. that states you are a resident of the U.S. This will allow you to return to the UK and re-enter the U.S. while awaiting your Green Card. Please note that the policy on this is subject to change.

Will a U.S. Embassy have records of a foreign national who previously worked in the U.S. but did not file a tax return? If the applicant reveals this information, how will it affect a tourist visa application?

If the applicant did not file a tax return, there will normally be no record of the income and the embassy should not be aware of it, unless the employer has informed the IRS. However, this may cause problems in the U.S. embassy visa application process and at the embassy interview. If the officials raise the subject, the applicant must provide a truthful response. Once the facts are known, it is likely the visa would be denied. Providing incorrect information or lying is not wise.

I have no convictions for drug use. However, I do take painkillers. Does the U.S. Embassy visa application process include testing for drugs?

A U.S. Embassy has the right to require that a visa applicant be tested for drugs. However, unless they have reason to suspect drug use such requests are rarely made.

The State Department sets the policy for how different categories of visas are issued. These policies are periodically revised. U.S. embassies and consulates may modify procedures to suit the conditions of the countries in which they operate. Obtaining expert advice on specific visa related issues may help in avoiding errors while submitting a U.S. embassy visa application and preparing for the embassy interview.
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