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Posts Tagged ‘American Embassy Laos’

7th April 2011

This blogger writes this post in transit between the Vientiane, Laos and Bangkok, Thailand having been retained to assist with Consular Processing at the Post in Laos. It came to this blogger’s attention while physically outside of the US Embassy compound that the Post in Vientiane will be closed on April the 8th for training purposes. This alone would not have concerned this blogger a great deal as United States Missions abroad routinely close local posts in order to use the closure as an opportunity to train personnel. Therefore, those reading this should not necessarily make the assumption that the Post in Vientiane is closing in anticipation of a government shutdown. That said, the forthcoming information, in conjunction with that noted above gave this blogger pause.

Bearing the above paragraph in mind, this blogger was also notified that the US Embassy in Bangkok has been calling prospective visa beneficiaries with upcoming visa interview appointments in order to attempt to reschedule pending visa interviews. It would appear that this is being done in response to the belief that a government shutdown is possibly imminent and should such a shutdown actually occur it would likely result in the closure of the various Immigrant Visa Units and Non-Immigrant Visa Units at US Missions abroad.

In a previous posting on this blog, the administration analyzed the possible ramifications of such a state of affairs and those reading this posting are encouraged to look at that post in order to learn more about this rather serious issue. The previous posting on this issue can be found at: Government Shutdown.

A few notes on the US Embassy in Vientiane, Laos; first, three words accurately describe this Post: courteous, professional, and efficient. The foreign-language officers are extremely helpful and the English-language officer aptly engaged in staying on top of what, to this blogger, appeared to be  substantial caseload and simultaneously dealing with applicants very politely all while checking documents and doing the routine due diligence required of Consular Officers stationed overseas.

At the time of this writing, it remains to be seen whether or not a government shutdown will actually occur, but should the government shutdown, then this could have a substantial impact upon US visa applications for visas such as the CR-1 visa, the K-1 visa, the IR-1 visa, and the K-3 visa. Meanwhile, processing of business visas such as the EB-5 visa and the L-1 visa could also be impacted by a shutdown of the United States government. There is some speculation as to whether or not the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will shutdown as a result of possible government closure as USCIS is self-funded by petition and application fees (although that agency did receive money from the US government last year in order to cover a funding shortfall).

As this situation evolves, the administration of this blog will attempt to keep readers updated.

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17th January 2011

Those who read this web log with any degree of frequency may have noticed that the administration routinely posts the closing schedules of the various US Missions in Asia in an effort to provide wide access to such information for Americans traveling abroad seeking Consular services. Hopefully, postings such as these will help to forestall fruitless trips to US Posts abroad made by Americans unaware of local holiday observance. The following is quoted directly from the official website of the United States Embassy in Vientiane, Laos:

Date Day Holiday Lao/U.S.
December 31, 2010 Friday Substitute for New  Year’s Day U.S./Lao
January 17 Monday Martin Luther King’s Birthday U.S.
February 21 Monday Presidents’ Day U.S.
March 8 Tuesday International Women’s Day Lao
April 13-15 Wed.-Friday Lao New Year Lao
May 2 Monday Lao Labor Day Lao
May 30 Monday Memorial Day U.S.
July 4 Monday Independence Day U.S.
September 5 Monday Labor Day U.S.
October 10 Monday Boat Racing Festival Lao
October 22 Monday Columbus Day U.S.
November 10 Thursday That Luang Festival Lao
November 11 Friday Veteran’s Day U.S.
November 24 Thursday Thanksgiving Day U.S.
December 2 Friday Lao National Day Lao
December 26 Monday Christmas Day U.S.

Substitution days. Please note: According to the prevailing practice in Laos, official holidays which fall on Saturday will be observed on the preceding Friday and Sunday on the following Monday.

Note: Administrative Days: In addition to the dates above, the Consular Section will be closed on the following Fridays for administrative days – February 18, April 8, June 3, September 2, November 25, and December 9.

Those seeking the official homepage of the United States Embassy in Vientiane, Laos please click HERE.

Those seeking services such as issuance of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, US Passport, or additional visa pages for a previously issued US Passport are well advised to contact an American Citizen Services Section of the nearest US Embassy or US Consulate with appropriate jurisdiction.

Those seeking temporary US visas such as the B-2 visa (US Tourist Visa), B-1 visa (US Business Visa), F-1 visa (US Student Visa), or J-1 visa (US Exchange Visitor Visa) are likely to have their visa applications processed through a Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) Unit abroad. It should be noted that those applying for most non-immigrant visa categories are scrutinized pursuant to section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act.

Those who are seeking US family visa benefits in the form of travel documents such as the CR-1 visa or the IR-1 visa are generally required to process an immigration petition through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) prior to applying for a US visa abroad. The K-1 visa, although technically a non-immigrant US fiance visa, is generally treated much the same way as an immigrant visa for application processing purposes. L-1 visa seekers and EB-5 visa seekers should take notice of the fact that applying for such a travel document may entail the processing of an immigration petition prior to visa application at a US Post abroad.

For related information please see: US Visa Laos or K1 Visa Laos.

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21st October 2010

Those who have read some of the blog will no doubt note that this administration often posts information about the K3 visa process and the overall impact of administrative closing of K3 visa applications by the US State Department’s National Visa Center. Many American Citizens who have a Laotian husband or wife pose the question: “Can I get a K3 visa for my wife (or husband) to reunite with me in the USA?” The answer to this question, at the time of this writing, is a rather qualified: no. However, a brief overview of the K3 visa and the recent changes to the K3 visa process may enlighten those who are researching this issue on their own for the first time.

At one time, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) had a substantial backlog of immigrant spouse visa petitions. This lead to a situation in which it could take as long as 3 years to receive USCIS adjudication of a mere immigrant spousal visa petition filed by an American Citizen. Due to this rather untenable situation, the United States Congress and President William Jefferson Clinton promulgated and executed a piece of legislation commonly referred to as the “Life Act”. Under the provisions of the Life Act, the K3 visa category and the K4 visa category were created (The K4 visa is a derivative visa for the children of foreign spouses similar to the derivative K2 visa which can be “piggybacked” onto a K1 visa application). At the time, the K3 visa was greeted by many as a severely needed stopgap solution to a rather pernicious problem: slow processing of classic immigrant visa petitions. In recent years, the USCIS has gone to great lengths to streamline the adjudication process and thereby decrease the time it takes to see an immigrant spouse visa petition adjudicated. As a result, many adjudicated immigrant visa petitions began arriving at the National Visa Center at the same time as their K3 counterparts. At one point, it would appear that a decision was made to “administratively close” K3 visa applications when the Immigrant petition arrives either before or at the same time as the K3 petition. This leads to a situation where American-Lao bi-national couples are compelled to seek immigrant visa benefits rather than K3 visa benefits. It should be noted that immigrant visa benefits are substantially superior to K3 visa benefits as immigrant visas confer lawful permanent residence upon the bearer at the time of his or her entry into the United States. Whereas the K3 visa is simply a non-immigrant spouse visa. Therefore, those entering the USA in K3 status must either file for an adjustment of status or Consular Process their immigrant visa petition at a US Embassy or US Consulate outside of the USA.

The term “K3 visa” has sort of become the buzzword used to refer to a US Marriage Visa over the internet. In point of fact, the classic travel documents used by Lao spouses to reunite with their American counterparts are referred to as either the CR1 Visa or the IR1 Visa. Depending upon a bi-national couple’s circumstances such travel documents may confer either conditional or unconditional lawful permanent residence upon admission to the USA.

For related information please see: K1 Visa Laos or K3 Visa Laos.

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