Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Ask the Consul

January 18, 2013

Q: I am an American citizen and recently accompanied my girlfriend of two years to the U.S. Embassy for her visitor visa interview. She was denied. I don’t understand why I can’t sponsor someone to come visit the U.S. with me.

 A: U.S. immigration law requires that all applicants qualify for a non-immigrant visa on their own merit. Section 214(b) of the Immigrant and Nationality Act states that all applicants must overcome the presumption of immigrant intent by adequately establishing to the satisfaction of the interviewing officer that they have sufficient economic, social and financial ties that would compel their return to their home country after a limited stay in the United States.

 This is often confused with the process for acquiring an immigrant visa, for those wishing to live permanently in the U.S. The immigrant visa process not only permits, but also requires an affidavit of support from a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident sponsor. The non-immigrant visa (short-term, temporary visas) process does not permit such third party sponsorship.

 You can learn more about the non-immigrant visa process at http://costarica.usembassy.gov/consnonimmigrant.html.

I am an American citizen who has lived in Costa Rica for three years. During the elections several of my friends told me that they had received an email from the U.S. Embassy with information on voting. Why do some Americans living in Costa Rica receive information from the U.S. Embassy while some others do not?

 The Embassy emails information only to those persons who have registered with the U.S government as living or traveling in Costa Rica. Therefore, the Americans who received voting information from the U.S. Embassy in San José likely had enrolled in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and indicated they would be living/traveling in Costa Rica.

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency. 

STEP also allows Americans residing abroad to get routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Americans can sign up for STEP at: https://step.state.gov/step/.

Have a question you’d like answered? Email dboddiger@ticotimes.net.

You may be interested

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for July 12, 2020
Costa Rica
21321 views
Costa Rica
21321 views

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for July 12, 2020

Alejandro Zúñiga - July 12, 2020

Costa Rica confirmed 365 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day, totaling 7,596 cumulative known cases, the Health…

Slothy Sunday: Osa, a true ‘Oso Perezoso’
Sloth Sundays
1159 views
Sloth Sundays
1159 views

Slothy Sunday: Osa, a true ‘Oso Perezoso’

Denise Gillen - July 12, 2020

Looks can be deceiving, as those of us who work with sloths can tell you. This is especially true with…

Hotel reservation won’t work as exception to driving restrictions this week [Updated]
Costa Rica
4797 views
Costa Rica
4797 views

Hotel reservation won’t work as exception to driving restrictions this week [Updated]

Alejandro Zúñiga - July 11, 2020

Update: After the Saturday afternoon press conference, the Costa Rican government has apparently changed its mind on this subject. According to…