The weight of waiting | Manila weather

By now, our readers know how long they have – or have waited – for a U.S. Embassy visa interview notice to arrive in their email inboxes.

The US Department of State, not US Post, will deliver the email.

Apparently, it’s not the rain, snow, or sleet that’s preventing the State Department’s National Visa Center from delivering the email.

The Greek historian Herodotus must turn around in his tomb.


It is to him that the motto of the postman is attributed: “Neither snow, nor rain, nor sleet, nor darkness of the night prevent the courageous Persian couriers on horseback from quickly finishing their round.”

As a reminder, the State Department reports that as of November 2020, there were 3,978,487 immigrant visa applicants awaiting the issuance of their visa interview notices and, hopefully, the visa issuance.

Of this total, 3,762,891 are in family sponsorship and only 215,596 in employment-based categories.

Visas are issued on the basis of priority dates in each of the specific preference categories. For employment, the online place is based on the date on which a work certificate was submitted.

Filipino immigrant visa applicants (in both categories) would number 318,481 during the same period.

Active (“documentarily qualified”) cases remained in the 500,000 range, including those from the Philippines.

Unfortunately, no one from the State Department – not even Charles Oppenheim, the head of the Visa Control and Reports Division – could determine where an immigrant visa applicant’s file was on the machine. Visa.

In fact, during the October Visa Bulletin discussion (full video of the conversation with Charlie available on YouTube), Mr. Oppenheimer even had to explain why he changed his stance on visa availability and the potential regression of family and job preference. categories.

Mr Oppenheimer said his statement during the August discussion that he did not foresee any postponement of visa dates was based on the best information available at the time of the interview.

This time, the head of the Visa Control and Reporting Division said he does not foresee any advance in visa dates for the foreseeable future (translated into six months or more).

Not just an American problem

If it’s any consolation, waiting for visa issuance and family reunification is not just an American dilemma. The Covid-19 has made it a global phenomenon.

Not just for permanent residence, but also for temporary migration. This includes visitor, student, work and business visa applications. The attached graph shows the different waiting times for temporary and permanent residence visas in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.

In one of the five DestiNations, the spouses, partner and minor child of a citizen or permanent resident of the country have priority.

The United States includes parents in the “immediate relative category” – not subject to the annual quota and is among the first to be interviewed at US consulates on the basis of the tiered priority list.

Covid-19, however, has hindered faster processing of priority visa recipients. While the State Department has directed its consular posts around the world to prioritize services to U.S. citizens, this does not extend to facilitating the issuance of visas to spouses, minor children, and parents of citizens. Americans.

The US Embassy’s multi-tiered priority list in Manila, for example, gives first priority to aging children (including those involving intercountry adoption cases) “where the applicant will soon no longer be eligible.” due to his age, and some special immigrant visas (SQ and SI for Afghans and Iraqis working with the US government).

The other immediate relatives of US citizens are grouped into level 2: immediate relative visas; fiancé visas (fiancée); and return resident visas.

Family Preference Immigrant Visas and SE Special Immigrant Visas for Certain US Government Employees Abroad is Level 3 and the latter are all other immigrant visas, including US Government Preference Visas. employment and diversity.

Australia’s intricate way

Across the Atlantic and Pacific, Australia has the most complex way of reuniting sponsored sons and daughters (who are citizens or permanent residents).

In Canada, the waiting period for spouse and partner is 12 months; minor / dependent children (even those over 21) is 15 months for Filipino applicants. For parents, the anxiety of waiting is longer – 20-24 months.

Mahirap and mabigat magpalaki ng magulang

It is a Tagalog saying, the opposite of the responsibility and obligation of a parent in raising a child.

In English, the translation talks about not only the difficulty of – not raising – but of caring for and supporting a parent when sponsored to join the son or child who is a citizen or immigrant in the country of citizenship and residence of the son or daughter.

And the challenge is not only in terms of waiting time but also expenses.

In Australia, parental visas are generally classified into two broad categories: contributory parent, non-contributory parent and type of residence, permanent or temporary and whether it is an onshore or offshore application.

In the Temporary Parental Visa 173, the parent can stay in Australia indefinitely for up to two years; work and study in Australia, enroll in Australian public health care scheme, Medicare, sponsor family members to join parent in Australia and apply for Australian citizenship after moving to subclass 143 and have met the citizenship requirements.

The filing fee to file a petition with a relative in the United States is $ 535. Visa fees are $ 325 or a total of $ 860.

Australian sons and daughters have to pay more to sponsor their parents in a specific subclass.

The Temporary Parent Visa (SC 173) costs from AUS $ 31,980. The permanent parent visa, on the other hand, costs from A $ 47,825.

In both cases, there is an additional charge for each family member who requests it. The payment can be in two parts; the first payment when requested, the second when requested by the Ministry of the Interior (DHA).

Costs for health checks, police certificates and biometrics are extra.

Requests can be made from inside or outside Australia. The same goes for family members. Regarding the waiting period, as of June 2021, the DHA indicates the processing of pending applications for the following parent visa subclasses:

– Contributory parent visa applications with a waiting date until May 2016

– Parental visa applications with a waiting date until October 2010

– Visa applications for elderly parents with a waiting date until December 2012

US citizens or green card holders can sponsor their parents regardless of their age. Australia has a separate category for parents aged 66 years and six months – subclass 804 and costs AU $ 6,490.

Fortunately, knowing that the burden of waiting is shared, the weight on the shoulders and the patience ease somewhat.

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