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jheisel
05-05-2004, 14:05
A friend of mine just sent me this email with a detailed US visa question. Although (as he rightly points out) I am American, I've never had to get a US visa so I have no idea what to tell him...here's his request, you guys have any advice I can tell him?

I've got a question to you,man.
On May, 12th I'm going to be interviewed by the officer in the American
Embassy in Moscow.
I'm a second timer for this programm and my agency tells me sad facts that
most of the second timers are being denied and they do not get a visa.
Moreover they say that it's ok that youre a second timer and returned to
russia before October the 1st last year, but if you did it later then you
probably will have a problem in getting visa. I returned back to Moscow on
November 4th, which is cathastrophically late for the Embassy, even though I
was LEGALLY allowed to return back home before November 16th.
My agency tells that my chances are 30/70 (get/don't)

But they say it depends on what you'll tell them if they ask you why were
you so late.
So what I am asking is for your advice. You're the only american I know that
probably can give me some sort of advice, cus you know how to deal with all
that visa sort of things... Do you know anything I can tell them to convince
to give me visa? Or maybe you know people in the embassy and probably might
ask what are the chances or something.

am4rw
05-05-2004, 15:26
Originally posted by jheisel
I'm a second timer for this programm and my agency tells me sad facts that
most of the second timers are being denied and they do not get a visa.
Moreover they say that it's ok that youre a second timer and returned to
russia before October the 1st last year, but if you did it later then you
probably will have a problem in getting visa. I returned back to Moscow on
November 4th, which is cathastrophically late for the Embassy, even though I
was LEGALLY allowed to return back home before November 16th.
My agency tells that my chances are 30/70 (get/don't)

But they say it depends on what you'll tell them if they ask you why were
you so late.


It's not really clear. Did he overstay his last visa? If so, kiss it off. I don't really understand the "second timer".

In general, the consulate is denying every visa they can. The consulate officers are penalized (bad performance marks) for visa holders who overstay or jump their visas, but there are no negative repercussions for denying one. Since 9/11 it's gotten much worse. The interviews are perfunctory and then denial for no reason (which they don't have to give) and there's no appeal.

People who have had visas before, have traveled extensively outside Russia and returned, have a better chance. The concern is that *everyone* wants to move to the U.S. because it's sooooo much better than heaven.

jheisel
05-05-2004, 15:29
He did not overstay the visa -- he was on the work-study visa last summer, which allows you to stay something like one month in the US AFTER the visa expires, for "travel". However, last year the US Embassy required all students to be back in the US by November 1 to show that they'd returned for the fall school semester (which started September 1). He didn't find out about this until late in his stay, and he already had booked his tickets home for mid-November and decided he couldn't afford to change them.

So, he did not overstay, he was just late registering his return with the US embassy.

am4rw
06-05-2004, 02:50
I'm not quite sure I'm following all this.

It appears that he fulfilled the legal terms of his visa, but might have fallen afoul of some bureaucratic dictum? If I were him, I'd fall back on the strict legalities. Take the documents showing exactly what he was told the conditions of his visa were, and no matter what kind of BS he gets, keep pointing to the documents.

And be contrite. As you know, bureaucrats like to see humility in those they have power over. If that doesn't work, scream for a supervisor, then repeat above. Keep repeating with higher supervisors until he either gets the visa or they throw him out (which might happen at the first level).

Good luck. For the most part, I haven't won with the bastards in Moscow.