July 2002

  August 2002 Newsletter*   (Updated October 2005)

    By James A. Bach, Esq.

Change Of Address Notification 

The INS requires all nonimmigrants (H, L, TN, O, E, F, etc.) and permanent residents to notify the INS within 10 days of a change of address.  Although this is an old rule, the INS recently announced that it would vigorously enforce it as part of its counter-terrorism measures.  Form AR-11 can be filled out and printed on line.  The completed form should be sent to the INS address indicated on the form.  We recommend that the letter be sent by courier (e.g., DHL Worldwide Express, www.dhl.com) or Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested so that compliance can later be proven.  There is no filing fee.

Applying For An U.S. Visa In Canada And Mexico 

U.S. Consulates in Canada and Mexico have resumed making appointments for nonimmigrant visa interviews for people residing outside of Canada or Mexico.  However, nationals from many countries must obtain a visa to enter Canada or Mexico in order to submit their application to the U.S. Consulate.  For a list of countries whose citizens need a visa, and other information about obtaining a visa to travel to Canada, you can visit the Canadian Consulate’s website.  A list of nationalities that can visit Mexico without a visa is available on the website of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

There is one added risk for people applying for a new visa for the first time because Consular Officers in Canada or Mexico may decide that they are unable to properly assess the circumstances of and/or evaluate foreign documents presented by the applicant.  For example, people who entered the United States on a B visa, then changed their status to H-1B or H-4 may be denied an H visa at an U.S. Consulate in Canada or Mexico if the Consulate is unable to verify the foreign college degree certificate.  This would be especially true for people applying for a H-4 visa for the first time without the H-1B spouse.  If the U.S. Consulate in Mexico or Canada refuses to accept the case, the only solution would be to travel directly to the applicant’s home country where the applicant can reapply at the home country U.S. Embassy or Consulate which is better able to verify supporting documents.

Visitors to Canada or Mexico are no longer able to reenter the U.S. simply by presenting their passport, expired visa and INS approval notice.  If the applicant entered the U.S. on the Visa Waiver Program or if the applicant’s visa has expired AND the visa application is denied (or still pending) at an U.S. Consulate in Canada or Mexico, the applicant will not be admitted into the United States.   (22 CFR §41.112(d)).  In that situation, the only solution may be to travel to the applicant’s home country to reapply for the visa.

Regardless of where people apply for their visa, they should be prepared to wait outside of the United States for 3 – 4 weeks or more for a background check to be completed.  The main category of people who may be delayed are males between the ages of 16 and 45 who are nationals of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates or Yemen. 

* The purpose of this newsletter is to inform potential clients of the type of legal issues our firm handles. It is not intended to establish any attorney/client relationship, and we accept no responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided. We cannot discuss or clarify any of the information contained in our newsletters, except with our existing clients.


Copyright © 2002 BACH AND SMALL