Consultations of American immigration specialist William Slattery

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William Slattery, Senior Partner in the Feod group with principal responsibility for obtaining visas to the United States of America was in the Kiev and Odessa offices of Feod on 17-22 September 2012.

Mr. Slattery had 28 years employment with the US Immigration Service prior to his retirement and he uses his knowledge and experience for the benefit of Feod clients.

The Feod Group is pleased that it has a unique position from others in providing legal services. It has two offices in Ukraine (Kiev and Odessa), two in Western Europe and one in the USA. This allows the Feod Group to work closely with clients and, in the native languages, when applications for an immigration benefit require the submission of an application first to the US Immigration Service and later upon approval to the American Consulate in Kiev.

This requirement of first filing in the USA and later filing at Kiev is for, but not limited to; Spouse and Relative Petitions, Fiancée Petitions, and Employment Based ( including Investor Class) petitions. In practice Mr. Slattery works closely with the US Citizen or Immigrant in the USA and then directs the work of the Ukraine offices in the filings at the American Consulate Kiev. This allows for the USA client and for the Ukrainian Client to have personal service and not to have to communicate across countries with different time zones and oftentimes different language skills.

All applications for visas require the submission of evidence or proof of eligibility for the visa. This evidence must meet the required standard of legal sufficiency. Properly documenting the application is a must for failure to do so will result in a denial of the benefit sought.

Applications initially filed in the USA always require USA documents and few documents from Ukraine. The first work falls heavy to the US Citizen but, after approval of the initial application and the transfer of it to Kiev, the heavy work shifts to the Ukrainian visa applicant.

Again, this is what sets us apart from other legal organizations. We are physically present in the location of our client at the time our client needs us to be there.

US Immigration Law is complex. Only the US Tax Code is more complex in the USA. In addition, it continues to change on a regular basis. Information gathered from web sites is good but not always up to date or correct. Changes usually exist relevant to eligibility, documentation; fees for the application; places and manner of submission of the application. A mistake made with any of these will result in a returned or denied application and could delay the receipt of a benefit by many months.

Some changes:

There have been changes to eligibility to immigrate to the USA when you are the unmarried son or daughter of a US Citizen. Previously, if the son or daughter turned 21 years of age before the visa was issued they would be ineligible. However, the change is that the son or daughter 21 or over may maintain eligibility if the initial application filed in the USA on their behalf was filed before they reached 21 years of age.

There have been changes in Naturalization Law that provide for the immediate receipt of Citizenship or eligibility for an Immigrant Visa for children upon the Naturalization of a parent.

Visas for Investors remain available and there are provisions for the Investor’s family to immigrate on the same visa.

Consular Updates:

The number one reason for the denial of many non immigrant visa types (Visitor, Student, Work and Travel, etc) is the applicant’s failure to convince the Consular Officer of their intent to return to Ukraine. By law, the Consular Officer must begin the interview with the PRESUMPTION that the applicant intends to remain in the USA. To overcome this presumption, the applicant must satisfy the Consular Officer that he or she has sufficient equity or assets in the Ukraine that will bring them back to Ukraine. Equity and assets are always assessed; however, they can change from one class of applicant to another. For example: a student in university could not be expected to have large sums of money in the bank; to have an apartment; or to have a business or good paying job. The exercise of assessing them is different from the one used for an applicant finished with university and residing in Ukraine.

Mr. Slattery is prepared to discuss these changes and any other immigration or visa issues with existing or new clients.

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