Welcome back to Visalawyerblog! We are very pleased to celebrate yet another client success story.
This time our office was able to expedite a client’s fiancé visa to help her reunite with her partner despite being subject to Presidential Proclamation 9993 also known as the “Schengen” visa ban.
We recognize that these are truly challenging times in the world of immigration and would like our readers to know that they are not alone. For many, there are alternatives and solutions that can be explored by our knowledgeable immigration attorneys to help them reunite with their family members. From our staff members to our attorneys, we are with you every step of the way on your immigration journey.
For a comprehensive consultation to discuss solutions to your immigration issues, you may contact us at 619-569-1768.
The Schengen Visa Ban
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic fiancé visa applicants have found it increasingly difficult to receive a visa interview appointment at consulates and embassies across the globe. During the start of the pandemic, the Department of State announced widespread consular closures to prevent the rapid spread of the coronavirus. While phased resumption of visa services was scheduled to begin on July 14, 2020 with “high priority” given to K visa applicants, the majority of consulates and embassies have refused to schedule visa appointments. The result has been that fiancé visa cases have been stuck at the National Visa Center with no guarantee of receiving an appointment in the future.
To make matters worse, during the month of March, the President signed a series of coronavirus proclamations designed to limit immigration from certain countries in order to keep the virus at bay.
Proclamation 9993 in particular suspends visa issuance and entry into the United States of those who were physically present within the Schengen area during the 14-day period prior to their attempted entry into the United States. Accordingly, K-1 fiancé visa applicants from the Schengen countries including: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland – cannot proceed with visa issuance nor travel to the United States.
Similarly, fiancé visa applicants physically present within China, Iran, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Brazil may not enter due to these Coronavirus Proclamations.
For a complete list of COVID-19 country-specific proclamations click here.
Our Client’s Situation
Like many other fiancé visa applicants, our client’s case was stuck at the National Visa Center with no prospect for a visa interview. In desperation, the K-1 petitioner contacted us to determine whether his fiancé’s visa could be expedited. The problem: his fiancé was residing in Germany, one of the Schengen countries, and as a result was unable to proceed with visa processing due to the Schengen visa ban.
After consulting with the client, we discovered that his fiancé qualified for expedited visa processing under the national interest exception.
One may receive a National Interest Exception:
(1) as a public health or healthcare professional or researcher to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, or to continue ongoing research in an area with substantial public health benefit (e.g. cancer or disease research); OR
(2) to provide care for a U.S. citizen, including alleviating the burden of care from a medical or other institution, or to prevent a U.S. citizen from becoming a public charge or ward of the state or the ward of a medical or other institution; OR
(3) to join an active military member petitioner in the U.S.
Our office successfully argued in favor of expediting the fiancé visa based on several factors revealed to us by the U.S. Citizen petitioner.
First, we discovered that the petitioner held an important position in the United States working as an essential worker in the public sector, assisting with the construction and renovation of educational facilities for children. Second, the U.S. Citizen fiancé revealed that he was a single parent responsible for the care of a special needs child. Due to the long hours and demanding schedule he worked, he found it overwhelmingly difficult to care for his child on his own. Unfortunately, due to his professional obligations, the petitioner was not able to give his child the full attention she required. Lastly, the petitioner had been diagnosed with clinical depression, which manifested itself from a combination of working long hours, the financial strain of a prior divorce, caring for his special needs daughter, and being away from his fiancé for an extended period of time.
After opening a line of communication with the National Visa Center and the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, our office argued that prolonged separation would cause the K-1 petitioner to suffer extreme hardship to his mental health, finances, and career. Additionally, our office argued that the fiancé’s arrival to the United States was needed to provide support to the U.S. Citizen petitioner and his U.S. Citizens special needs daughter.
In support of the request for a national interest exception, the petitioner prepared a detailed personal statement discussing these extreme hardships, and provided documentary evidence including verification of employment as an essential worker, evidence of his child’s special needs disorder including medical diagnosis, evidence of the child’s participation in a special needs program, a psychological evaluation describing his diagnosis, and photographs of the petitioner with his special needs child, as well as his fiancé.
After reviewing the evidence, the United States Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany granted the petitioner’s request for an interview thereby exempting the K-1 beneficiary from the Schengen visa ban based on the “national interest exception.”
Following the approval, the Consulate contacted the National Visa Center and promptly began scheduling the K-1 visa interview.
We share this story to notify our readers that although this pandemic has created unprecedented new challenges for visa applicants, there are solutions that can be explored. For many the right legal assistance could mean the difference between waiting weeks for an interview as opposed to months on end. If you are an essential worker that has been facing significant hardships, we encourage you to contact our office to discuss your options. Those with disabilities or special needs are especially encouraged to seek a consultation.
- COVID 19 Proclamations
- Blog Post on Proclamation 10014
- Blog Post on Proclamation 10052
- National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland
- List of Embassies and Consulates
Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text or call 619-569-1768.
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For other COVID 19 related immigration updates please visit our Immigration and COVID-19 Resource Center here.