Posted on

Surviving an Immigration Interview

After all of the papers have been filed and the visa has been approved, there is still one major hurdle on an intending immigrant’s mind: the visa interview. There is not much public information about these visa interviews that happen at consulates and embassies, but here is some information our office has been able to glean.

The interviewing consular officer’s duty is to answer two questions:

  1. Is the applicant eligible for a visa?
  2. Even if the applicant is eligible for a visa, is there anything that might make them inadmissible regardless?

The simplest example would be a H-1B visa applicant who has been charged with crimes in a previous visit to the United States. The H-1B visa applicant, although has filed all of the necessary paperwork and has worked tirelessly with his or her employer, might still be found inadmissible if during the interview it is revealed that the H-1B visa applicant was charged or convicted of crimes before.

Consular officers try to answer the two questions above by depending mostly on the visa applicant’s words in the interview and the applicant’s answers on the online visa application (Form DS-160). The papers and documents submitted are still important, but not as important for the consular officer’s purposes of the interview. Thus it is important to tell the truth to the officer and mention all of the important details rather than relying on the consular officer to sift through paperwork and documents to hunt for the answer.

The visa interview is not always done in private, and the consular officer will tell the applicant at the end of the interview whether the visa was granted or denied. There are two types of denials: First, there is an absolute denial where the consular officer finds the applicant is ineligible to receive the visa. A second type of denial is where the consular might need more information to determine eligibility. This second type of tentative refusal is known as a “221(g)” or “administrative processing”, and is similar to a Request For Evidence (“RFE”) from USCIS.

If such 221(g) or administrative processing is found, it is up to the alien to request any possible waivers. Read all the documents the consular officers gives you and the post-denial options you have. Clearly indicate to the consular officer whether you will pursue any of these options and collect any and all receipts, documents, and other papers for your immigration attorney, if you have one, to review.

It is the immigration attorney’s job to work with the applicant to review all forms, supporting evidence, and the applicant’s background to make sure that the applicant’s answers are truthful and consistent at the interview. If you have questions about your visa interview or any other immigration questions, contact our office today.

Posted on

Immigration Consequences for Minor Crimes

Although sometimes the hardest part may be trying to get a visa, it can also be difficult just trying to keep it. Regular, everyday people can sometimes get charged for minor crimes such as DUIs, minor domestic disputes, car accidents, or even minor drug possession charges. This article will discuss what consequences such minor criminal actions can have for someone who is not a U.S. citizen.

The first thing to note is that the U.S. immigration laws has its own rules and definitions when it comes to crimes. Thus, it is not a simple matter of looking at the charges one is arrested for or convicted of and comparing it to the federal immigration law. Two of the major types of criminal categories the U.S. immigration system has is “aggravated felonies” and “crimes involving moral turpitude.” Thus, even a relatively minor crime could be considered a crime involving moral turpitude or aggravated felony. For example, if a non-U.S. citizen were to steal something and the maximum punishment was 1 year in prison, but the non-U.S. citizen was able to negotiate a plea bargain down to 6 months of imprisonment, it still may be possible that he has committed an “aggravated felony” under federal immigration laws. The receipt of stolen property could also be a “crime involving moral turpitude.” However, in general, aggravated felonies and crimes involving moral turpitude include crimes that are serious in nature and fall outside the scope of what most minor crimes people would commit.

Also, many of the crimes involving moral turpitude fall under a legal exception known as the “petty offense” exception. If the conviction is only for one crime, the maximum sentence doesn’t exceed 1 year, and the non U.S. citizen is only sentenced to 6 months of prison or less, then the petty offense exception applies and the non-U.S. citizen will not make him or her inadmissible. Interestingly, there is also a specific exception for those who have a single offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana.

The cross-section of immigration and criminal can be complex and sometimes requires the expertise of attorneys in both practices of law. If you have immigration questions or how a crime can affect your immigration status, contact us today.

Posted on

Domestic Worker Visa Options

It is not uncommon for many families and business people to bring personal assistants with them while traveling to the United States. These people can be nannies, butlers, maids, cooks, chauffeurs, and others. These domestic workers may come to the United States under a B-1 visa if they and their employer meet certain qualifications.

The B-1 visa requirements for a domestic worker are tied to the immigration status of the employer. Unfortunately for legal permanent residents (green card holders), they may not bring a domestic worker under a B-1 visa under any circumstances. For U.S. citizen and nonimmigrant visa employers, however, the option is available to bring domestic workers under a B-1 visa if both they and their domestic worker satisfy certain requirements.


U.S. citizens themselves must meet a certain requirement before even considering bringing a domestic worker under a B-1 visa, which can be satisfied in one of two ways. One way to satisfy this requirement is to show that the U.S. citizen employer ordinarily resides in the U.S. and is traveling to the U.S. temporarily. Or, in the alternative, the U.S. citizen employer can satisfy this requirement by showing that he or she is subject to frequent international transfers lasting two years or more and who, as a condition of employment, is going to reside in the United States for a stay no longer than four years.

There is also a relationship requirement that must be satisfied between the U.S. citizen employer and the B-1 visa domestic employee. This requirement can be satisfied in one of two ways. One way this requirement is satisfied is by showing that the employer-employee relationship existed for at least 6 months prior to the employer’s admission to the United States. Or, in the alternative, the U.S. citizen employer has regularly employed a domestic servant in the same capacity while abroad;

The employee must also satisfy two requirements. First, the employee has had at least one year experience as a personal or domestic servant, which can be proven by producing statements from previous employers attesting to such experience. Second, the employee must have no other work, and will receive from the employer free room and board and round trip airfare as indicated under the terms of the employment contract.


The above requirements apply only to U.S. citizens seeking to obtain a B-1 visa for their domestic workers. For nonimmigrant visa employers seeking to do the same, they have slightly different but still similar requirements to satisfy. As an initial matter, only nonimmigrant visa holding employers with the following visas are allowed to bring domestic workers under a B-1 visa in the first place: B, E, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, Q, or R visas.

The domestic worker must satisfy slightly different requirements than what would be required if the employer was a U.S. citizen. The first requirement is a relationship requirement and can be satisfied in one of two ways. One way to satisfy this relationship requirement is by showing that the domestic worker has been employed outside the United States by your employer for at least one year prior to the date of your employer’s admission to the United States. Or, in the alternative, the employer-employee relationship existed immediately prior to the time of your employer’s application, and the nonimmigrant visa employer can demonstrate that he/she regularly employed (either year-round or seasonally) domestic help over a period of years preceding the time their application

In addition, the domestic worker must satisfy two additional requirements. First, the domestic worker has at least one year’s experience as a personal or domestic employee as attested to by statements from previous employers. Second, the domestic worker will have no other work, and will receive free room and board and round trip airfare from your employer as indicated under the terms of the employment contract. This is very much similar to the requirements for domestic workers working for U.S. citizens.


Regardless of whether the B-1 domestic worker is employed by a U.S. citizen or a nonimmigrant visa holder, the domestic worker must show the following:

  1. The purpose of their trip is to enter the United States for work as a domestic employee;
  2. They plan to remain for a specific, limited period;
  3. Their employer meets certain qualifications as stated above;
  4. They have evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad; and
  5. They have a residence outside the United States as well as other binding ties that will ensure their return abroad at the end of the contract.
  6. They are at least 16 years old.
  7. They are not related to the employer by family relationship.

The B-1 visa domestic worker cannot bring their family members as dependents. The family members must seek their own visa categories, such as a B-2 visa, and meet those requirements independently.

In addition to these requirements, the contract defining the relationship between the employer and the domestic worker must be carefully drafted to not only protect the rights of both the employer and employee, but also to meet USCIS requirements. In addition, the domestic worker must still obtain employment authorization.

If you have questions about visa options for your domestic worker or if you have general immigration questions, please contact our office today.

Our team is standing by to assist you in your immigration journey.
To learn more about who we are and how can we help, click the button below!

Check our Practice Areas