Friday, December 2, 2011

Entering the U.S. Under the Visa Waiver Program

In the past, when a person entered the U.S. as a visitor under the Visa Waiver Program ("VWP"), a little green card called an I-94W was issued to the traveler. The I-94W would show when and where the person entered the U.S. It would also show when that person's visitor status would expire (90 days after entry).

Recently, however, the practice of issuing I-94W cards was eliminated. Now, the Immigration Inspector at the port of entry will stamp just the passport and only write either "WB" or "WT" (Waiver Business or Waiver Tourist). There is no policy or requirement to write at the bottom of the stamp the expiration date of the person's visitor status. The Immigration Inspector is also not required to advise the visitor when his or her status expires.

This could be very problematical and could cause people to overstay. Once a person overstays under the VWP, that person can never again legally enter the U.S. under the VWP. That person must always have a valid visa in order to enter the U.S.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Filing Joint Tax Return When Spouse is Unlawfully Present

If you are a U.S. citizen who is married to a foreign national and plan to file an I-130 petition on behalf of your spouse, you should file a joint income tax return. When you file the I-130 petition, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will want to see evidence that you and your spouse have a bona fide relationship. One of the key documents in showing a bona fide relationship is a joint income tax return. If your spouse is without legal immigration status in the United States, you can still file a joint return. Although your spouse may not have a valid Social Security Number, your spouse can request an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number ("ITIN") by filing a Form W-7 with the tax return. Foreign nationals who have federal tax reporting or filing requirements, but do not qualify for Social Security Numbers, can obtain ITINs. For more information, please see the Internal Revenue Service's website at,,id=222209,00.html.