NRI Helpdesk: Is an Indian marriage certificate valid in the USA? – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/nri/migrate/nri-helpdesk-is-indian-marriage-certificate-valid-in-the-usa/articleshow/84943191.cms?utm_source=ETTopNews&utm_medium=HPTN&utm_campaign=AL1&utm_content=23Synopsis

For our NRI readers, we have started an immigration helpdesk. Write to us at nri.economictimes@gmail.com and our team of experts will address the most pressing issues.

With immigration rules constantly changing with the pandemic situation, it is difficult to keep up to date with it all.

For our NRI readers, we have started an immigration helpdesk. Write to us at nri.economictimes@gmail.com and our team of experts will address the most pressing issues.

*Please note that questions have been edited and/or clubbed so that we can address similar queries at once and that the answers are clear and relevant to our audience.

I am a student on my Stem OPT and have an expired F-1 visa that I need to renew in India. When trying to book an appointment for the visa renewal, the dropbox appointment or interview waiver isn’t showing any available dates. I am wondering if I can get it renewed through the normal interview process. Additionally, will I need an NIE waiver as I am on my Stem OPT? If not, would I need a letter from my employer stating that I will be continuing work when I return to the US?
At present, the U.S. consular offices in India are scheduling limited appointments. You could book an appointment for a regular, non-drop box visa interview if available. However, you will still need a National Interest Exception waiver to get a visa. Just being on a STEM OPT does not qualify you for an NIE. Please visit the websites maintained by the U.S. to see if your job and industry may qualify for an NIE. In any event, it is advisable for a returning foreign national on an OPT, to have a letter from the employer confirming continued intent to employ you in OPT status.

I travelled to India last month. I have an approved H-1B petition, but my visa has expired. I plan on requesting an NIE when I apply for my visa. If my request is denied and the travel ban from India continues, can I apply for another NIE? Or am I banned from traveling?
There is no published restriction on applying for an NIE if an initial request is denied. However, it is best to re-apply only if one can add significant information and supporting documents to your new application and these were missing in your earlier application.

Travellers are banned from entering the U.S. if they have been in India or the 30+ other countries subject to travel bans, only if they have been in any of these countries within the immediately preceding 14 days from the date of arrival. So, if an individual can spend 14 days in a country that is not subject to a travel ban, he or she can still travel to the U.S. provided the individual has a valid visa. At present, if a traveller is not considered eligible for an NIE the consulates are not likely to schedule visa interviews.

My fiancé is a green cardholder. I am on an H1B visa. Should we get our marriage registered in the US or and Indian marriage certificate shall work, as we would be visiting India to get married. Also, do I need to undergo a change of status from H1B to green card dependent to renter the US?
A marriage ceremony that is considered valid in India and such a marriage is registered as per Indian laws there is no need to re-register it in the U.S. It is recognised for all legal purposes under the principles of comity. An applicant can choose to enter the U.S. on an H-1B visa even when married to a green card holder as the H-1B visa is a dual intent visa. This means that the traveller can have immigrant intent as evidenced by being married to a green card holder.

To travel to the U.S. as a green card dependent, the green card holder will have to first file a petition (Form I-130) and then wait for a visa number to process an immigrant visa at a consulate. This could take several months or a couple of years depending on the availability of visa numbers since this category is subject to an annual quota and a per country cap.

I am a parent of a 10-year-old U.S citizen. Can I travel from India to US under current restrictions before proceeding to Canada? Also, can my other 8-year-old child travel to US with us?
A U.S. citizen’s parents and unmarried, siblings below the age of 21 years are not subject to the travel ban from India. Hence the restrictions do not apply to them.

My son is getting married in the U.S. and I am a single parent and the only relative who can attend the wedding from the groom’s side. Is it possible for me to travel before September 15, 2021 to attend the wedding? I have a valid B-2 visa.
Unfortunately, there is no exception to the travel ban to attend the wedding of a child. If the travel ban is lifted before September 15, 2021 you will be able to travel provide you meet the criteria regarding COVID testing etc. Additionally, an individual with a valid U.S. can travel to a third country and spend at least 14 days there before travelling to the U.S. Otherwise, it is best to wait for the travel ban to be lifted.

My parents are with me in the U.S. where I work on an H-1B visa. They came to visit me on a B-2 visa in June 2020 and were admitted into the country for six months. Before the end of six months we filed an application with the USCIS to extend their stay in B-2 status. The extension application has not been approved as yet but they cannot return to India as they are elderly and at high risk of contracting COVID-19 during the second wave of the pandemic. Can they further extend their stay in the U.S.?
An individual can apply for an extension of stay in the U.S. provided they are in legal status. A person is considered to be in legal status if an extension application has been filed before the expiry of the period granted on the I-94 (travel record maintained by CBP). If such a timely filed application is not approved and an individual needs a further extension he or she can file another application to extend his or her stay. However, if an extension application is denied it could result in the unlawful presence in the U.S. and that would be detrimental as unlawful presence of six months or more would result in a 3-year ban on travel to the U.S. and unlawful presence of 12 months or more would result in a 10-year ban from the country.

I have an approved H-1B petition and need to travel to the U.S. to begin work there as soon as possible. I work in the IT sector and understand that I may qualify for a National Interest Exception. Please could you confirm if this is true?
The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India are offering very limited visa services and visa appointments for B visas seem to be rare. Even if you did procure a visa, you would need a National Interest Exception as travel on B-1/B-2 visas is not automatically exempted from the U.S. travel ban from India. Check details about the exemptions/exceptions here.

I need to travel from New Delhi to San Francisco. I have a minor daughter who is a U.S. citizen. My daughter will not be traveling with me. Am I subject to the current, U.S. ban on travel from India?
A parent of a minor, unmarried U.S. citizen child is not subject to the current U.S. ban on travel from India. The child need not be traveling with the qualifying parent who, though, must carry proof of the relationship with the child. It is best to verify specific requirements of the airline before embarking on your journey.

My husband and I hold a B1/B2 visa. My mother is in the U.S. currently on a B-1/B-2 visa and we need to get her back to India. Can my husband and I travel to the USA to get my mother back?
Travel to the U.S. is not permitted on a B-1/B-2 visa at present unless you qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE). The proposed purpose of travel would not qualify for an NIE.

Our B-1/ B-2 visas expire on August 22, 2021. We have applied for new visas via dropbox. My wife has been vaccinated with two doses of Covaxin. Will she be denied a visa if Covaxin is not approved by WHO or the USA-FDA?
Neither visa issuance nor travel to the U.S. are based upon status of vaccination or the brand of vaccination. However, visa appointments for applicants who do not qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE) are frequently being cancelled in view of the current, U.S. ban on travel from India.

We are the parents of a minor U.S. Citizen daughter. We need to be in the U.S. for the beginning of her school year in August 2021 and also need to modify her birth record due to certain circumstances. Can we travel on a visitor’s visa with our U.S. Citizen minor daughter for the above-mentioned reasons?
The current, U.S. ban on travel from India does not apply to parents or legal guardians of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident unmarried minor child. Please note that travel on a B-1/B-2 is generally permitted to visit the U.S. for a short duration but not to remain in the U.S. with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, unmarried, minor child. Visiting the U.S. to enroll a child in school could be considered a permitted activity on a B-1/B-2 visa.

I am in India and need to get an H1B visa stamp to return to the U.S. But my father also must travel with me, and he has a valid visitor’s visa. Do I need to add my father’s information in my DS-160 as a dependent? Because I heard that US embassy is giving NIE allowance, so I also need his name on it as he should be allowed to travel.
An H-1B worker may qualify for an NIE depending on the job and industry of the employer. However, there is no category to request an NIE for a parent. An applicant may include the names of travellers who will accompany them on their DS-160 but this does not automatically result in an NIE for the dependent if it is granted to the principal applicant. An applicant may request an NIE for a dependent on humanitarian grounds, but these are likely to be considered if there is a life and death situation.

poorvi

Poorvi Chothani, Managing partner, LawQuestThe author’s views do not necessarily represent the views of ET Online nor do they constitute legal advice or representation. Practice tips provided in the written materials are based on the author’s experiences and the current state of the law and regulations. Please be sure to conduct legal research and analysis, or engage independent counsel for your unique situation as the law and requirements change quickly and the author’s experiences may differ from your own.

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