your comments to DOS on the new rule of Third Country Visa
While most immigrants
and alien visitors are protesting the INS proposed changes on B status, we should
not ignore another change made by Department of State on Third
A Third Country Visa is a process whereby an alien,
who is already in the US, can apply for a non-immigrant visa with a US Consulate
located in Mexico or Canada. It was beneficial to the alien applicant in that
the federal regulation (22 CFR 41.112(d)) states an alien, even without a valid
visa, can re-enter the U.S. within 30 days after his trip to Mexico or Canada,
as long as the alien has a valid I-94 form at the time of entry.
beginning on April 1, 2002, in light of the September 11 event, the US Department
of State adopts a new Interim Rule, amending the 22 CFR 41.112(d), that the Third
Country Visa applicants are no longer eligible for the benefits of the above-mentioned
rule. (You may click here for
the original content of the Interim
Rule.) This interim rule deprives the significant
benefit from non-immigrant aliens, particularly F, H, J and M holders.
to the new rule, an alien may still apply for a non-immigrant visa with a US consulate
located in Mexico or Canada. But if he/she cannot obtain the visa, he/she may
not re-enter the US even he/she has a valid I-94 form at the time of entry and
stays in Mexico or Canada within 30 days. Of course, if the visa application is
approved, he/she may use the visa to reenter the US. (Normally, at least two entries
are granted under a Third Country Visa.) In this end, the Third Country Visa applicant
may face the same risk when he/she applies for the visa in his/her home country.
While the new rule is for the purpose of the U.S. national security, we
believe it is not reasonable and rational because it does not serve the intended
First of all, cutting off the benefits of the Third Country Visa
to most aliens with legal status in the US is not in compliance with the US fundamental
interests. It will unnecessarily handicap the regular and mutual beneficial culture
and personnel exchanges between the US and other countries, because it causes
great troubles and inconveniences to most decent aliens in the US to apply for
a visa from the US government.
Second, It is understood that the new Interim
Rule is implemented for the security purpose of screening of visa applicants as
an anti-terrorism measure. However, all Third Country Visa applicants had entered
the United States and had already been in the United Stated for some while before
they leave for Mexico or Canada. Terrorist may do anything they wish upon their
arrival in the U.S. They need not to leave U.S. to apply for Third Country Visa
and then reenter the U.S. Thus, this interim rule makes no sense on this point,
and it totally cannot deter terrorists.
Third, we think it does not help
the US Department of State to effectively administrate the visa application for
anti-terrorism in that the terrorists may still use false information to obtain
the visa and enter the US. On the other hand, the new Interim Rule literally penalizes
those innocent people for their legitimate acts - applying visas from the US government
while it does not deter terrorists as intended.
The US Department of State
is requesting for written comments on the new Interim Rule until May 6, 2002.
Since the deadline is approaching, we strongly recommend you write to them for
your concern and opinion on this new rule and request the US Department of State
restore the old rule for the original benefits of the Third Country Visa processing.
If you are an alien legally staying in the US, please tell your US friends about
your concern on this new rule and let them speak for you to the US Department
Written comments may be submitted, in duplicate, to the Legislation
and Regulations Division, Visa Services, Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-0106,
or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Furthermore, you may contact Elizabeth J.
Harper, Legislation and Regulations Division, Visa Services, Department of State,
Washington, DC 20520-0106, phone (202) 663-1221, e-mail (email@example.com) or
fax at (202) 663-3898 for this matter.
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