• Gary O. Haase


(日本語はこの英語の後に続きます / Japanese version follows the English)

As a U.S. citizen married to a Japanese citizen, I am given all kinds of opportunities to look at things from a different perspective.

My wife and I got married more than 10 years ago in California.  Over the years I have attempted to draw from my experience in an international marriage in order to assist others.

Around the time of our wedding, my wife had earned a graduate degree in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa, and she was in the process of completing her optional practical training (OPT).  A U.S. immigration lawyer helped my wife apply for and obtain a green card (permanent resident card).  He introduced us to a strange new world of documents such as Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document), Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support), Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence), and Form AR-11 (Alien’s Change of Address Card).  We became familiar with the roles of an “applicant,” a “petitioner,” a “sponsor,” and a “beneficiary.”  We discovered the significance of originals and copies of various certificates, reference letters, policies, statements, bills, and records.  We satisfied the requirements for fingerprints and photographs, and we learned how important it is to arrive early to scheduled appointments.  We lived through a video-taped interview with an officer from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  And we remember the joy and relief that come with notices of successful petitions and applications.

Even though we eventually ended up leaving the U.S. to live in Japan, we still appreciate how our immigration lawyer treated us and guided us through the U.S. immigration process.  This positive experience with an immigration lawyer is one of the reasons I decided to practice U.S. immigration law in Osaka.  I know how it feels to be concerned about timing issues with U.S. government agencies because my wife and I sat in the client chairs at our immigration lawyer’s office and voiced these same concerns.  We experienced for ourselves how a lawyer can contribute to the petition and application experience.

The U.S. State Department, Visa Office (VO), has described an immigration lawyer’s job as follows: In the sometimes complex world of visas, a good attorney can prepare a case properly, weed out “bad” cases, and alert applicants to the risks of falsifying information presented to the Consular Officer.  The attorney can help the Consular Officer by organizing the case in a logical manner; by clarifying issues of concern; by avoiding duplication of effort (reducing interview time); and by providing the applicant with the necessary understanding of the intricacies of the visa process thereby easing the pressure on consular sections to provide information to the applicant.  Minutes, AILA/VO Liaison Meeting (May 10, 1990), reported in 67 Interpreter Releases, 950, 967, 969-70 (Aug. 27, 1990).

The U.S. Consulate in Osaka is located near GOH Foreign Law Office.  The Consulate processes nonimmigrant visas for temporary travel to the United States.  Examples of nonimmigrant or temporary visas include: F-1 (Academic Student) E-1 (Treaty Trader) E-2 (Treaty Investor) L-1 (Intracompany Transferee) J-1 (Exchange Visitor) H-1B (Specialty Worker) B-1 (Business Visitor) B-2 (Tourist) P (Performing Artist) O-1 (Extraordinary Alien) M-1 (Vocational Student) Q (Cultural Exchange Visitor)


私と妻が具体的に結婚を考え始めたころ、妻は、F-1ビザ(学生ビザ)でアメリカの大学院において学位を取得し、OPT(注1)を終えようとしていたところでした。アメリカの移民法を扱う弁護士に、妻のグリーンカード(永住ビザ)申請から取得までをお世話になったのですが、私たちはそこで初めて新しい世界を知ることとなりました。 Form I-130(家族ベースの移民ビザ申請書)、Form I-485(永住権の申請または在留資格の変更申請書)、Form I-765(就労許可申請書)、Form I-131(再入国許可申請書)、Form I-864(扶養宣誓供述書)、Form I-751(条件付き永住権の条件削除)、Form AR-11(移民局への住所変更届)などの聞き慣れない多くの書類を提出しなければならず、「申請者」「請願者」「スポンサー」や「受給者」などの役割について学びました。また、各種証明書、推薦状、保険証書、各種明細書、請求書や記録の原本および写しの大切さがわかるようになりました。指紋を取り、写真も撮りました。予定されている予約の時間に間に合うために当局に早く到着するのがどれだけ重要かも学びました。米国市民権・移民業務局(U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)の職員とのビデオ録画付き面接もなんとか終え、最後にグリーンカードの許可通知が来たときの喜びと安堵の気持ちは今も忘れられません。


アメリカ国務省ビザ管理局は、移民弁護士の業務について次のように説明しています: 「時折複雑にもなるビザの世界では、いい弁護士は次のようなことができます。 それぞれのケースについて適正な書類を準備する    「不良な」ケースを排除する 領事館職員に虚偽の情報を伝えることのリスクについて、ビザ申請者に注意を喚起する また、いい弁護士は領事館職員を次のような面でサポートすることができます。 ケースを理論立てて整理する 懸案事項を明確にする 「二度手間」を省く(面接時間の短縮など) ビザ申請手続きの複雑さを申請者に理解してもらうことにより、領事館側の負担を減らす」 *AILA(American Immigration Lawyers Association)/VO(Visa Office)間連絡会議(1990年5月10日)の議事録 “67 Interpreter Releases” (pp. 950, 967, 969-70, 1990年8月27日発行)より

大阪のアメリカ合衆国総領事館は、GOH外国法事務弁護士事務所の近くにあります。この領事館では、アメリカでの短期滞在のための非移民ビザの手続きを取り扱っています。たとえば、次のような非移民ビザを発給しています。 F-1 (学生ビザ) E-1 (貿易駐在員ビザ) E-2 (投資駐在員ビザ) L-1 (企業内転勤者ビザ) J-1 (交流訪問者ビザ) H-1B (特殊技能職ビザ) B-1 (商用ビザ) B-2 (観光ビザ) P (芸術家、芸能人ビザ) O-1 (卓越した能力を持つ人のためのビザ) M-1 (職業訓練学校生ビザ) Q (国際文化交流者ビザ)

【注1】Optional Practical Training(オプショナル・プラクティカル・トレーニング)の略。F-1ビザを所有する人が合法的に就労する方法の一つ(ただしある種の制限あり)。

Gary O. Haase is an attorney admitted in California and Japan (licensed foreign attorney).  This article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.  You should contact a qualified legal professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue.  The opinions expressed are those of the individual author and do not reflect the views or opinions of any government agency.