Our first item on today’s show is about a new kind of Canadian visa. The Canadian government now offers a “Super Visa” for qualified parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
U.S. immigration law does not contain any special visa for foreign "Seniors" hoping to spend an extended period of time with their American children and grandchildren. Grandparents of US citizens may apply for multiple-entry B-2 tourist visas at a U.S. consular post and, if the visa is issued, they may ask to be admitted to America for a period of up to six months. Those who want to stay longer must apply for an extension of stay, or depart and re-enter the country, often at great expense and trouble for elderly visitors.
In Canada, the visa situation for grandparents was almost the same, until December 1st, 2011. At that time, the Canadian government introduced an intelligent and compassionate new visa option which will allow parents and grandparents to visit with their Canadian families for up to two years.
It is called the "Super Visa" and it is available to the parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents. The Super Visa is issued for multiple-entries, and it means less expense and greater certainty for parents and grandparents.
In order to ensure that admitting elderly visitors for extended periods of time will not become a burden to Canadian taxpayers, the Super Visa requires the applicant to provide the following evidence of financial and medical support:
1. A written commitment of financial support from a child or grandchild in Canada who meets a minimum income threshold;
2. Proof that they have acquired Canadian medical insurance coverage for at least one year;
3. Completion of an immigration medical exam.
More information on the Super Visa can be found at www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/supervisa.asp.
The Super Visa is a small step taken by the Canadian government which will contribute hugely to the humaneness of the national visa system.
On the American side of the border, the US State Department has issued instructions to consular officers about the techniques they should use for immigrant visa interviews. Officers have been told:
· Make every effort to conduct visa interviews professionally.
· Avoid any aggressive cross-examination.
· Applicants should be given sufficient time to answer questions without interruption.
· Officers must make a thorough and carefully written record of the interview so that the basis for the final action can be fully documented.
· Visa interviews require the consular officer's composure, judgment and diplomatic skills.
If officers follow all of these instructions from Washington, will visa applicants in Vietnam be any more relaxed and calm? We certainly hope so, but we suspect that overworked consular officers may sometimes forget the reminders that Washington has issued. And certainly, in cases that are clearly fraudulent, it is understandable if officers “aggressively question visa applicants and interrupt their answers”, if that's what it takes to get at the truth.
Q.1. Is there any chance that Super Visas will be available for parents or grandparents of US citizens and permanent residents?
A.1. There is nothing in any of the proposed immigration reform about Super Visas like the Canadian government has introduced. Because of the fact that there are 12 million illegal immigrants already in the US, it is not likely that there will be any American Super Visas in the near or distant future.
Q.2. Can immigrant visa applicants submit an appeal or complaint if a consular officer does not follow the State Department’s new guidance about conducting interviews?
A.2. Visa applicants and sponsors are always free to submit complaints or appeals, but since the visa interviews are not video recorded, there is not much chance that an appeal would be helpful.
ROBERT MULLINS INTERNATIONAL www.rmiodp.com
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