The Basics of Acquiring a US Visa

It’s not uncommon to dream of visiting places you see in the movies. Let me guess, most of them are in the United States. To name a few, New York, LA, Miami, Washington and Chicago are some of the common tourist destinations in the US. You have the resources but you harbor this apprehension of being denied.

This should not stop you from making your travel plans a reality. If you have relatives in the US or you would like to travel solo, the key is to know what type of visa you must apply for, the necessary documents you must fill out, and more importantly, the purpose of your visit to the US.

First things first, know the difference between a US Visitor Visa (B-2) and a US Visa Sponsorship.

These two things are not the same.

The visitor visa often known as B-1/B-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa for people wishing to enter United States temporarily for pleasure, medical treatment, and business. In this case, you apply for your US Visa with the US Embassy or Consulate. Whereas, a U.S. visa sponsorship is applied for by the employer or close family member by filing an immigration petition with the U.S. government for getting a residency card (Green card) for their employee or close family member. This is also known as non-immigrant petitions such as work visa (e.g., H, L visa) as well as family visa (e.g., Fiancé or K visa).

What is the purpose of your visit?

You will be asked this question by the US consul who you will meet when you get to the embassy. But before that, determine the purpose of your trip. If the purpose of your trip is to visit USA for a short duration for pleasure, tourism, and visit relatives, family, or friends, then visitor visa known as Tourist visa to USA or B-2 visa is the right visa for you.

However, keep in mind that you if apply for a visitor’s visa, among other things, you must show to the US Consular officer that they have strong ties to the Philippines as you home country and they intend return after their temporary stay in the U.S. You must also show that you have enough money available to take care your expenses for your U.S. trip such as air tickets, visitors insurance, lodging/boarding, transportation expenses, tourism expenses and all other expenses.

What if I don’t have enough resources but my friends and relatives in the US are willing to shoulder my stay there?

Then this is where sponsorship sets in.

Who can sponsor my trip?

Any US-based person can sponsor visa for his/her parents, relatives, and friends. This means that he/she must either be a holder of an I-94 (US Green card) or a US Citizen. Your sponsor should provide an affidavit of support (form I-134). The form is a confirmation that the sponsor is ready to undertake the financial liability of the applicant during the visit.

What documents do I need to submit?

Must have Documents for US Visitor Visa interview:

  1. A valid passport that does not expire prior to 6 months beyond of your intended stay.
  2. Printout of your confirmation page from the form DS-160
  3. Fee receipt US Visa Fees
  4. One photograph
  5. Original/Copy of Visa interview appointment letter

Supporting documents to show your Ties with your home country include:

You must demonstrate strong economic, social, and familial ties with your home country. You must also show that you will not become a burden on US by proving your financial stability to cover the expenses in US. These facts will ensure the interviewing officer that you will return to your home country after the authorized period of stay in USA. The required documents are:
1. Evidence of sufficient funds for the visit to US (Bank statement and passbook, etc.)
2. Evidence to show that you have strong ties to your home country. Documents related to the property you own and your employment are good evidence
a. If you are employed get a verification letter of employment
b. If you are self-employed get a financial and other documentary proof of the ownership
c. If you are a government employee get a Certificate of Employment and an Authority to Travel Certification
d. Tax ID, and recent tax-related documents
e. Original property papers like house, shop or business ownership documents etc. which you own in the Philippines/home country. If no papers available, make a notarized affidavit for the same
f. Documentary evidence of running any business or organization
g. Evidence of family ties like unmarried children, old aged parents and other family responsibilities
h. If person is an employee, other than proof of employment and proof of leave granted from the office, any such document that would show proof that you have reasons to come back

Documents and other proofs aside, the assistance of an immigration counsel/consultant who would facilitate your application and better your chances of getting approved is strongly suggested and highly encouraged.

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Expand Your Brand Using Other People’s Money by Using Franchisor Strategies

Back many years ago, I met a fellow franchisor, he’d built a nice company with 250 franchisees which operated Kiosks in shopping malls – you know those carts in malls that sell various wares. What he did was make each Kiosk its own business, at first as “independent contractors” but later as Franchisees due to the Franchise Law rules. Each franchisee had to sign a two-year franchise agreement with non-automatic renewal, where the Franchisor could merely take over the business, location, as he already had the lease-space agreement with the malls, including the corporations that owned many malls around the country.

After two years, he stopped renewing franchise agreements, took control of all those little businesses, and then sold the whole thing and retired a very wealthy man. Unfortunately, many of the independent contractors, turned into Franchisees were forced out after building up their businesses and providing a substantial amount of goodwill. The franchisor’s concept was built by the blood, sweat and tears of all those individuals, who did make decent money in the meantime, but were then basically terminated when their franchise agreement term ended.

Recently, there is an interesting company in the “Handy Man” sector which has a franchise agreement that states it may unilaterally buy back the franchisee’s business at any time after 2-years of operating. In the Franchisor’s option to purchase there is a mathematical formula for valuation of the Franchisee’s business that negate the value of any “goodwill” and allows the Franchisee to choose if he will see at “Fair Market Value” of assets (used equipment, office furniture) or twice the earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization (EBITA).

Why would a Franchise Buyer buy a franchise like that? I suppose there might be a few situations where it makes sense for instance, the Franchisee just needs a couple of years of income and believes they can build up a good “book” of business, and if it starts to go South, the Franchisor may buy him/her out and they can move on, less risk? But what if the Franchisor chooses not to buy and the business fails? What if the business succeeds wildly and the Franchisee is forced to sell-out a thriving and growing business?

If you think about it, it is a brilliant strategy for a Franchisor, have others build your business, take all the risks, and if they succeed, you terminate their franchise agreement instead of renewal, and if they fail, you simply let them fail, then sell that territory to a new franchisee, until one succeeds and then you just keep winning and building on the backs of others. As a franchisee buyer it may be wise to recognize such strategies and be weary of them, unless it serves your temporary purpose of a short term business and solid temporary cash flow based on your abilities and the Franchisor’s model. Think on this.

Jobs You Can Do From Your Dorm Room

College students are going to head back to school soon and that means many of them will have to leave their summer jobs behind. While many students will try to find jobs on campus, others will try to stretch the money they saved during the summer. For those that want to make money, but don’t want to work on campus, working from a dorm room may be perfect. These telecommuting jobs are flexible to allow you to keep studying top priority while earning money.

Freelance Writing

Business owners want freelance writers to provide content for their websites. You can write for blogs on topics that interest you. All you have to do is find business owners in niches you like that need content for their sites.

You can find work on Elance, oDesk, and Craigslist. You may have to start working for a lower wage than others to gain experience and a reputation, but once you have that, you’ll be able to get higher paying work.

Data Entry

Many companies are outsourcing their data entry now because it keeps costs low. The data you must enter can be delivered to you via email, and then you’ll be granted access to their database. You will need to take the information sent to you and input it into the database. These jobs are paid by project or per hour depending on the company.

You can find jobs like this on Elance and oDesk, but you can also search large job sites such as Monster.com and Indeed.com for them.

Transcription

Transcription involves taking a recording and typing it out. Many doctors, lawyers, and other professionals need this service because they don’t have the time to convert their recordings to text. You’ll receive audio files via email or mail, and then you’ll have to type them. You can send the text file back via email, which makes it perfect for a college student working in a dorm room.

You can find these jobs on large job search sites because that’s where professionals usually post their needs for transcriptions. You can also work for transcription companies such as Aberdeen, AccuTran Global and Capital Typing.

Get Started Today

The best time to start looking for a job is now. The sooner you start looking, the more prepared you’ll be when you get to school. You’ll be able to learn the jobs you receive before you start classes too. Start with the sites mentioned here and then you can start exploring other options if you have the time.

Weight Gain Myths

Gaining weight is a gradual process that requires constant training and high intensity workouts. However, people do have certain myths regarding weight gaining program.

High repetitions burn fat while low repetitions build muscle: This statement is far from being true. In order to lose weight, one needs to decrease average calorie intake. However, for gaining muscle strength, one needs to have a progressive workload with a variable frequency of repetitions.

Vegetarians cannot build muscle: Research has shown that vegetarians can indeed gain muscle with regular training and daily supplementation of soy protein isolates.

Strength training will make you look masculine: This is the most common myth among women. However, building muscle is a steady process that needs proper strength-training regime ably supported by proper diet. Testosterone, which is the male sex hormone, is primarily responsible for muscle gaining in men. The secretion of this hormone is quite low in women, resulting in lesser muscular growth.

Many people believe that they can eat anything if they are doing a regular exercise. However, diet has a major role to play in defining a person’s general health and physique. It is always important to balance the ratio of calorie intake and calories burnt.

Occasional break from a rigorous training schedule is useful as it helps in refreshing the muscles and helps them to recover.

Eating more protein doesn’t necessarily help in gaining weight. Muscle building is primarily dependent on two factors which include a progressive workload and eating good calorie food. Diet derived from carbohydrates would be more useful.

One should always avoid taking steroids for building muscle as they are more harmful than being good.

Reasons for Hiring a General Contractor

When it comes to home remodeling projects general contracting can bring about a lot of changes in running the project. A few common remodeling jobs include kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling and office remodeling. When planning to remodel your kitchen your requirements generally will include setting up new cabinets, creating extra counter space, creating space for appliances etc.

Bathrooms are another area where we would like to see changes every now and then. Changing the tiles, repairing leaking pipes, changing sanitary wares and fixtures are some of the remodeling works that we consider while renovating bathrooms. Whatever the project is hiring a general contractor can make your work a lot easier. You can literally find a huge difference in the total cost on hiring a general contractor for all your remodeling jobs.

If you have very little knowledge on interior and remodeling tasks then a general contractor is the one whom you should contact as they can simplify your task and give you ideas, completing the task for you just as you wanted them, perfectly and flawlessly. You can share your views and ideas with your contractor who will help you execute your ideas and vision into reality.

Expert advice can help you shape your plans flawlessly. Experienced and professional General contractors know exactly how to execute remodeling projects without affecting the structure and safety of the house. They have got better insight on things that will work. They know well what type of material will suite your needs and budget.

Based on the remodeling work you may require different workers to work on the project. Hence once you plan to start the project you will require the service of any one or all of the following workers – electrician, plumber, painters, carpenters etc. If you are entrusting the task to a general contractor then you need not have to deal with all these workers but just one person, the general contractor himself, who will make the necessary arrangements and will deal with the workers without your intervention. All you have to ever bother with is to pay the contracted amount.

The workers will not contact you for payment or for leave but will contact the general contractor who will deal with their issues and payment matters. The work will be managed by the contractor who supervises the work and ensures that the work is completed on time. It will be very difficult for you to manage a remodeling project involving multiple workers. You can make things simpler and less stressful by hiring a general contractor to complete the task for you.

High Performance Teams

How does your team perform? How do you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is poor and 10 excellent? Is it massively successful constantly delivering way past all expectations? Is it full of positively minded people working together to achieve challenging business goals? Is it autonomous, responding effectively to challenges and opportunities large and small?

If the answer to these questions is “yes”, congratulations, you can score a 10 and don’t need to read any more of this article. In fact, as you are likely to have plenty of time for high yield activities, give me a call to discuss how your team got there.

Sadly, this isn’t the case for most of us. Your team may not be a “10” but I doubt if it’s a “1” either. Hopefully you are somewhere on the path and have the right attitudes, values and approach develop your team into a “10”.

Empowerment is a key ingredient to the high performing team. If your team feels undervalued, lacking in authority and capability, frightened to make the slightest mistake it’s unlikely to be hitting the high notes. Perhaps there are some individuals that show real potential but others are negative and unproductive?

Are you creating the right conditions for success? Does the team have a clear understanding of what is required of them? Have you a vision of what success looks like? Are the goals you have set, or been set, shared and meaningful to all team members? Reward and fear motivation is common in business today. A common example is rewarding success with a bag of money and punishing failure with the sack. The trouble is we get used to this, we need more and more money to get the same level of motivation and become resilient to threats of the sack.

Internal motivation is far more lasting and effective. It needs more work, it needs you to really understand your people and what drives them. If you know this and use personal, meaningful goals your team will self-motivate. If you have linked their personal, meaningful goals to team and company goals you are well on the way to a successful team.

The whole team is raring to go, but have they the capability to execute? Are team members allowed to make decisions? Have you delegated effectively packaging the task with the necessary authority and resources? Effective delegation is important to team success and team growth. It is a wonderful growth tool for teams and individuals. It does, however need certain attitudes and process to succeed.

Flexibility is a good starting point. The way you do a task may not be the way a team member does. They can be innovative and bring unexpectedly good results given the opportunity. It’s worth letting people test out new ideas. Sometimes different is really good, just think of Amazon and Facebook.

How self-confident are you? Enough to release authority and responsibility to team members? Enough to heap praise publicly when they bring success? Lack of self-confidence and micromanagement are the enemy of productivity. Conquer them and you will become an indispensable profit and productivity generator both for yourself and your company.

Focus on results don’t strive for perfection. Perfect is no friend of productivity. Set standards that are right for the job and always be mindful of the Pareto principle. 80% of your results are going to come from 20% of activities. This means a lot of the work delegated will contribute relatively little to overall performance. It’s intelligent to accept less than perfect in relatively unimportant areas.

Taking credit for the work of others, not really listening to their ideas or working solo crush team morale and productivity. Some people believe effective leaders must always be in total control. They see this as the way “good bosses” should behave. Many bosses do behave this way but I question if they are good. It’s most certainly not the way a good leader behaves so, if that’s what you want to be I suggest you avoid this behaviour entirely.

Delegation develops employees into effective team members. Risk is inherent but you can balance it against the likely reward in terms of personal and team growth and overall performance. It’s also possible to limit risk by adopting a multi-level delegation process.

Tiffany is a bright, driven girl with her foot on the first rung of the marketing ladder. She is doing a great job creating very successful direct mail campaigns. She is eager for something new and looks like a good candidate for development. You have just the task and would like to delegate it to her. It’s running an event which will be a challenge for her but offers a great development opportunity.

A good first step is to her for an opinion. You might say “I’m thinking of doing things differently and wondered who you think might be able to handle this task, perhaps even you? This gives her the opportunity to express opinions but not feel forced to accept the task.

If Tiffany accepts, consider this approach. The first time the opportunity to run an event comes along you run it, let her watch you do it and ask questions. The second time let Tiffany do it with you assisting and helping out where needed. The third time she runs the event, but this time without your support unless absolutely needed, reporting at regular intervals. Subsequent times she always runs events unaided and only reports in exceptional circumstances.

One seemingly small point is very important for Tiffany’s confidence and status in the team. If she performs well, make the praise loud, long and public. If she needs coaching make it supportive, private and non-judgemental.

I hope this is useful to you and help you build your own high performance team.

Natural (Holistic) Health Care – Key Purpose

Natural Health Care (Holistic Health Care) has many modalities that were developed and perfected from the beginning of human existence. Nutrition and herbs, that are used to boost your metabolism or enhance your natural ability to ward off diseases, are the mainstay to creating and maintaining good health.

Many other modalities such as: Hypnosis, Meditation, Reiki, Chi Kung, Qi Gong, Dowsing, I Ching, Yoga, Ti Chi date back thousands of years B.C.E, Acupuncture is rooted in the Taoist tradition, which is believed to be over 8000 years ago.

Such modalities as Reiki, Body Stress Release, and other energy transmuting techniques are valuable tools for practitioners to provide non-invasive and natural health care remedies. Reiki was discovered by Dr. Usui during a mystical experience on Mt. Kurama, a sacred mountain north of Kyoto, Japan in March 1922. Body Stress Release (BSR) was developed in South Africa, 1981, by Gail and Ewald Meggersee, American trained chiropractors.

The key purpose of Natural Health Care is to assist the body’s ability to heal itself by eliminating the roadblocks that are preventing the body from doing the job it was designed to do. Sometimes the remedy is so simple, most people are suspicious, because of their indoctrination and conditioning that it takes a huge blast of a powerful drug.

Many times the remedy is to simply learn how to tune into your intuitive self using the different tools like Intuition, Hypnosis, Meditation, Tarot Cards, Runes (believed to be used as early as 200 B.C.E), or other forms of divination techniques to allow your subconscious mind the ability to communicate with the affected body part and bring the cause of the symptom and remedy to the conscious level.

The connection between Mind, Body and Spirit has been established for thousands of centuries. Hippocrates, 400 B.C.E, believed that the root of all illness had a physical and rational explanation. Thus, his practice was based on observations and the study of the body. He rejected the views of the times that considered illness to be caused by superstitions and by possession of evil spirits and disfavor of the gods.

Your lifestyle, nutrition, stress, thoughts, values and beliefs all influence your health – either positively or negatively. That is why natural remedies are 100% effective as it treats the whole person rather than treating the symptoms of the dis-ease or illness.

Real Estate Investment Companies

Real estate investment companies acts as brokers and represents both buyers and sellers and create ideal opportunities for real estate investors. They represent clients in the sale, purchase, exchange and the finance of the real estate investment. Real estate investment companies are ideal for individual investors who want to take advantage of the real estate market but are unable to spend time on it. Most companies give personal attention and due importance to individual investors as they are their primary and most crucial segment of business.

The real estate investment companies deal with active brokers, a wide variety of investors, vendors, consultants and governmental agencies. Individuals can avoid many dangers associated with real estate investment by investing through companies as most companies employ personals that are trained to handle the pressure situations that often crop up in real estate investment. The investors who see the market clearly and make decisions based on the best evidence would get much profit from the real estate investment company. The investors can achieve the financial security and freedom which enables them to pursue other involvements.

Acquisitions, property management, due diligence, redevelopment, leasing, debt analysis and procurement, tax documentation, disposition analysis and detailed monthly reporting are some of the important services provided by real estate investment companies. Real estate investment companies are also referred as Real estate investment trust (REIT). Real estate investment companies have special federal tax treatment and must comply with certain tax requirements. There is a slight difference between Real estate investment companies and real estate investment trusts. For a company to become a real estate investment trust, it should share out 90 percent or more of its taxable income to its shareholders once in a year.

Before selecting a particular company, look whether they are registered under proper acts. Get as much information on a company from as many sources you can.

Better Sleep Means Knowing These Top 5 Things About Your Bed Sheets

Chances are we’ve all gone to bed, waking up either sweaty or miserable in the middle of the night. Most of us don’t realise that our bedding could be the culprit.

Reason why it is essential that you these 5 things in mind when purchasing your bed sheets to help you sleep better.

1. Natural, toxin-free materials:

Truth is your body breathes better with natural fibres. Be it organic cotton or hemp, there’s enough reason to buy a sheet set that does you good than any harm. Polyester and other materials not only make your body hot but are cloaked in a variety of chemicals that lead to acne, wheezing and a host of respiratory disorders including asthma among others. Volatile Organic Compounds found in petrochemical products have an adverse effect on your body.

To stay away from these, opt for GOTS certified organic cotton sheets which are well worth the small premium.

2. Colours:

If you get hot too much too often, chances are you’re sleeping on a multitude of dark colours. Opt for pastels or neutrals that leave your body calmer and your mind in peace before hitting the sack.

3. Weave:

Most people don’t understand that cotton itself is divided into a number of weaves. Weave refers to the way the threads are intertwined in crafting a sheet.

While Sateen has a luxurious feel and has a slight pearlescent sheen, percale is cool and crisp.

As a matter of fact sateen feels lovely in both warm and cold climates. However by culture, most in the western part of the world use Sateen more often than Percale while people in India by tradition use more percale.

4. Fiber properties and yarn

Did you know that sheets made of short, brittle fibers (read multi-ply sheets) feel coarse and brittle? The perfect analogy would be sandpaper. On the other hand, sheets with long-staple fibers in a single-ply yarn always, always feel heavenly because they’re smoother and longer. This also means that your sheets won’t pill unlike shorter fibres.

Do ask your retailer about whether your sheets are single-ply or multi-ply yarn.

5. Thread Count:

Don’t get fooled by this term for it most certainly means incorrect things to buyers. Thread Count is simply a measure of the number of threads weaved in a square inch and not the quality of the sheets. Most retailers inflate and put these out as 900 and 1200 TC which is nothing but a bluff.

A single-ply yarn sheet with 300 TC will feel much softer and lustrous than a fake 900 TC one.

Now that you have these handy questions to shoot to your salesperson, you’re bound to find the perfect bed.

Build A Business From Scratch

My passions have always been gardening and painting. The two seem to go together and this was born out when starting a business in landscaping. It was natural to paint a picture of the finished design in my head. This led me to undertake counseling for those who could not imagine what a garden should look like. My long-standing interest in the outdoors held me in good stead as my little fingers were always in dirt from the time I could toddle.

Once advertising started and my first consulting job came to me it led to other things. The lady was so impressed with what she was offered that she paid me $400 to draw a plan of it. This was something right up my ally.

Putting my imagination to work the plan was a great success and before long there were some 2-3 per week along with consulting jobs. The main requiring for doing something like this is confidence. If one shows that they know what they are talking about and can satisfy their client with quality work, then it has to be a success.

Of course my enterprising didn’t stop there. The main point of this article is that people need to step out of their comfort zone and use their hobbies and interests to build a business. They have to start from scratch to do it but if they have enough confidence and knowledge they will success.

Mistakes will happen and that is the learning curve one has to go through. Costs of consulting work doesn’t have to be over the top as there is no outlay to doing it. Start small and build up. For consulting my charge was $75 and that is more than affordable when most landscape designers might charge 10 times that much for the same advice.

Norma Holt has knowledge that enables her to understand many issues. Political, social and behavioral problems are usually on her list for discussion as well as anything to do with the Spirit of the Universe and reincarnation, which she experienced. She is happy to hear from any of her readers.