On NASA, Passports and Spousal Visas

April 1, 2005

What is NASA doingin Costa Rica?The NationalAeronautics andSpace Administration(NASA) of theUnited States andCosta Rica’s NationalCenter forHigh Technology(CENAT) have along history ofcooperation.Recent missions have explored weatherpatterns, compiled data on land use inCosta Rica, studied volcanic gas emissions,compiled atmospheric data to betterunderstand ozone depletion and global climatechange, and demonstrated state-of the-art technology applications in archaeologyand conservation. NASA andCENAT have arranged for young CostaRican scientists to do research at NASAinstallations in the United States, particularlyin the area of analyzing plasmarecombination chemistry in the VariableSpecific Impulse Magnet Rocket(VASIMIR), a project directed by CostaRican Dr. Franklin Chang of NASA (TT,Dec. 17, 2004).The CARTA 2005 Project to photographCosta Rica from the air began Feb.26 and will run until April 15. The datafrom these photos will be used to create anaccurate map for Costa Rica’s real-estatetitle registry, as well as many scientificprojects.In July, NASA will return for theTropical Cloud Systems Processes (TCSP)month-long mission to examine howPacific storms form off Costa Rica’s coast.NASA will bring planes able to fly throughor over storms and obtain many kinds ofweather and atmospheric data.What should I do if I find a lost U.S.passport?Anyone finding a lost U.S. passportshould return it to the U.S. Embassy. Anew, free service was recently instituted tofacilitate the return of lost passports so aperson finding one does not have to personallycome to the U.S. Embassy. Anyonecan hand in a lost U.S. passport at anyCosta Rican office of the express mailcompany DHL. At absolutely no cost to theperson handing it in, DHL will package thepassport and deliver it to the U.S. Embassy.DHL has offices all over Costa Rica.A U.S. passport is a valuable document;assuring its safe return to the U.S.Embassy will keep it out of the hands ofthose who would use it for illegal immigration,trafficking in persons, terrorism orother criminal purposes.How can my Costa Rican spouse get animmigrant visa to live with me in theUnited States?U.S. citizens may come to the U.S.Embassy between noon and 1:30 p.m. anyTuesday, Wednesday or Friday (exceptU.S. and Costa Rican holidays) to file an I-130 petition for a foreign spouse who is aCosta Rican national or is residing in CostaRica in legal status. (If the foreign spouseis not residing in legal status in Costa Rica,the petitioner must file the petition in theUnited States or in the country in which theforeign spouse holds legal resident statusor nationality.)The petitioner must show he or she is aU.S. citizen and must present the originalmarriage certificate. If the marriage tookplace in Costa Rica, they must present thecertificate from the Civil Registry, not alawyer’s certification. They also must presentoriginals or certified copies of divorceor death certificates terminating any priormarriages.The U.S. Embassy accepts only clearlyapprovable cases. This means the coupleneeds to submit proof of their relationshipat the first interview. If the petitionis accepted here, the process couldtake approximately two months to complete.The spouse will have to undergo amedical exam, submit an affidavit of supportfrom the petitioner and have a secondinterview. The fee for filing the immigrantvisa petition is $185. The visa applicationcosts $380. The medical exams costsabout $150. Visit the U.S. Embassy Website at www.usembassy.or.cr for moreinformation.If the petition is not accepted here, theU.S. citizen must then file the I-130 andthe I-129f with a Department of HomelandSecurity (DHS) office in the United States.Visit www.uscis.gov for more informationon how to file through DHS.A U.S. Legal Permanent Resident(“green-card holder”) who marries a citizenof another country can petition for his orher spouse with the DHS office in theUnited States. The first step is to file aPetition for Alien Relative, Form I-130. Formore information on how to file this form,visit www.uscis.gov. Due to the heavyworldwide demand for visas in this category(Spouses of Legal Permanent Residents),the waiting period to process these immigrantvisas is approximately five years.

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