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US Immigration Lawyer

I'm looking at a F1 (i.e Student) Visa for Fall term pero I've been having a hard time since getting an I-20 was more strenuous than I thought it was -_- Well, unless I settle for a community college which isn't really bad but hard to fend off when asked about "Why _insert course_?". Associate's degree in a costlier institution in costlier lifestyle environment is shady, sketchy and all the sort for VOs, diba?

I'm studying in good faith and falling through is unspeakable and terrible XD Add to the fact I'm sorta sabotaging my studies with reviewing for SAT, TOEFL, seeking out letters of rec, making essays and all. *headdesks*

So lemme proceed with my core intent of making this thread: I would just like to ask if any of you know of a not-too-costly (or might as well be pro-bono) but effective, proven and tested US Immigrations lawyer based in Manila or reachable through phone, email or whatnot?

Don't give me prominent overrated names. XD Gurfinkel and the "caliber" are beyond my reach. Sending those materials through FedEx, paying for SEVIS and those exams are just too overwhelmingly sumptuous.

Well, in addition, in case some peeps have been in the same situation: I have applied for admission in several universities for Spring and a few more for Fall (as backups), with the scheduling, processing et al., do you think it would be actually advisable to enroll for a term 2 months from now? ...and it goes on, a few more questions I need answered:

1. What documents do I need to present during the interview? Or at least, documents I need to have with me?
2. When U or College requires a document "notarized", sa US ba yun or dito sa PH?
3. Do you know a college/U na easier to get in. HS coursework was pretty tough and uses a 95 scale e, so may grades are way toooo deflated. XD
4. Gano katagal before yung appointment? Do I have to follow the general visa appointment? Or is there a special circumstance like that of renewal na 1 week lang?
5. My mom is looking forward to seeking out help from an agency or a lawyer. Is it necessary pa ba? ..or do I have everything I need to know? @[email protected]
6. Any advice, tip or hint you would want to mention which I seem to be overlooking/missing out? :O Especially with landing an H1B or an immigrant visa? Courses na I better be taking?

Please advise. Salamat, I'm confuzzled talaga and I'm caught up on a superbly seemingly complex situation. My mom wouldn't let me to withdraw from school -_- So I have to do everything at the expense of my "supposedly" studytime for my current institution..which I am no longer enthusiastic of (for personal OBJECTIVE reasons).

Comments

  • I am a New York lawyer who practices in immigration. In you case, the best move you can do is to get hold of the university you want to apply and ask them about the process and if they could be of help. These schools and universities have full time personnel to be of help to you.

    Only and in case that you are really stumped or the universities blow you off on the direction as to what to do, then you can think ahead of hiring an immigration lawyer. You can find my contact information in other threads of this site.
  • Based on my experience:
    1. I brought my I-20, Sevis receipt, transcripts, diplomas, printout of my visa application, financial support documents, etc.

    2. When a school requirement states 'notarized,' it means notarized in the Philippines. (Honestly, if you were a Filipino applicant, with Philippine documents/credentials, I don't see how 'notarized' could mean US notarized.)

    3. Sorry, I don't. Choose several universities you would like to see yourself in. If some are tier1 schools, choose some back up schools. Be also mindful of the locations of the schools. Studying in the US is not just about academic training, it is also about the experience of living on your own (presumably) and making friends with diverse people.

    4. I checked the DOS website recently and current wait time to get an interview appointment is 5 days. (There are emergency appointments, but I would assume they are reserved for real urgent cases (like medical emergencies), something which a regular F-1 visa is not.) After your visa interview, processing would take at least 2 days to a week (or longer.) Then again, judging from px postings, there seem to be a lot of 221(g) denials (cases placed under administrative processing.) I don't think it happens a lot to F1 visas though.

    5. US schools have offices of international education with full-time designated international student advisers. They are trained to help process and answer questions that relate to international students, immigration, admissions, and matriculation. There really is no need to hire an attorney unless you do not want to take the time to read the F1 visa procedure and would rather have a third party facilitate things for you.

    6. Studying in the US requires you to obtain an F-1 visa (or an M-1 for vocational/technical; or J-1 in some instances, like Ford scholars and Fulbright scholars I have met). The F visa is a nonimmigrant visa for the purpose of academic training/degree seeking student. DO NOT tell the Visa Officer that it is your aim to gain H-1B employment after graduation. Pick your courses according to your interests. But if you must choose a career with greater employment opportunities, I think a healthcare-related or science-related degree is a solid choice.

    Good luck!
  • Thank you good sir Harley_Barrales. Your comment is very much appreciated and noted.

    gailpete: 2. I was specifically referring to Form of Finances or whatever that is called which is primordially filled upon by the sponsor or co-signer.

    Also, which school/s did you apply to?

    Thank you very much for the informatively lengthy response :D And yup, I know what to say (methinks). I'm planning on pursuing career here in the Philippines thereafter and initiate golden changes to a particular field fundamentally. But drives and goals never remain 'pure' lol. A work in the USA would probably the most pragmatic choice if a great opportunity poofs in eventually.

    Are you still in college? If so, which institution? If not, how was life outside the F1? This endeavor truly is staggering and costly (which actually narrowed down my options). I hope this goes well and i'll just take it from there :3

    I seriously hope my young age of 18 wouldn't raise a redflag. I heard VOs go on denial spree to young singles lol. But the good thing is I don't hold a degree and so in some sense, I am legitimate. For what it's worth, I hope it works on my favor.

    Thanks again!
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