Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘American Embassy Thailand’

19th March 2020

It now appears that all visa services provided to foreign nationals at American Embassies and Consulates abroad have been suspended. In a recent article from Reuters, the following was reported:

The United States is suspending all routine visa services as of Wednesday in most countries worldwide due to the coronavirus outbreak, a spokeswoman for the State Department said, an unprecedented move that will potentially impact hundreds of thousands of people…The State Department spokeswoman said U.S. missions abroad will continue to provide emergency visa services “as resources allow,” and that the services to U.S. citizens will remain available.

Concurrently, the following message was issued by the US Embassy in Thailand:

Information for Immigrant Visa applicants regarding novel coronavirus: As of March 19, 2020, the United States Embassy and Consulate in Thailand are cancelling Immigrant Visa appointments until further notice.  We will resume routine Immigrant Visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time.  Once we resume Immigrant Visa operations, we will contact you with a new appointment date. Applicants who had their Immigrant Visa interviews cancelled due to the cessation of operations will be given first priority for rescheduling.

Meanwhile, it now appears that all intending entrants to Thailand will be required to present a medical certificate prior to boarding a plane for Thailand. To quote directly from a recent article in the Bangkok Post:

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand now requires all air passengers, Thai and foreign, to show Covid-19-free health certificates and Covid-19 insurance before boarding their flights to Thailand…Airlines must require passengers to present health certificates issued no more than 72 hours before the  flight departs. The certificates must guarantee that the passengers are free of Covid-19, regardles where they board. Airlines must also require that passengers have insurance covering Covid-19 treatment in Thailand, up to at least US$100,000.

We will keep this blog updated as the situation evolves.

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1st January 2020

By any estimate, 2019 was not a great year for those dealing with either the American or Thai Immigration systems. In 2019, those seeking to live in Thailand under an O retirement or marriage visa saw many of the rules regarding that visa category changed. For example, it is now no longer possible for many expats in Thailand to use income affidavits issued from the Embassies or Consulates of their home country in order to prove their financial ability to remain in the Kingdom. Concurrently, the regulations regarding the income or bank balance requirements associated with the marriage and retirement visas are now more strictly enforced and may require a more prolonged maintenance of a bank balance compared with times past. Meanwhile, with respect to Thai retirement visas specifically, the rules regarding retirement visa issuance and extension underwent another adjustment with the introduction of the rule that retirement visa holders in Thailand must obtain health insurance coverage in order to cover medical expenses while maintaining their retiree status in Thailand. Although there were no specific changes with regard to the rules pertaining to Thai business visas, 2019 saw a level of scrutiny with respect to adjudication which is rather unprecedented.

Meanwhile, in the USA the Immigration apparatus has seen a great deal of administrative transformation. Some Immigration practitioners in the USA are calling this the “Invisible Wall” in reference to the current President’s promise to build a wall to deter illegal immigration. With respect to US visas from Thailand specifically, it should be noted that 2019 saw the closing of the USCIS office in Bangkok. Moving forward through 2020 and beyond it appears that those who could once file for Immigration benefits through that office, including applications for IR-1 and CR-1 visas from Thailand, must now file their cases through the relevant USCIS office in the USA. Furthermore, it appears that the number of requests for evidence in cases involving American family based cases is on the rise while it remains to be seen exactly what the National Vetting Center is doing as cases processing through the National Visa Center seem to be processed in increasingly slowly. In cases involving K-1 visas from Thailand the overall process has seen little fundamental change, but the as with other American immigration petitions there seems to be a rise in the number of RFEs issued especially in the wake of changes to the relevant forms associated with such matters.

What can be expected moving forward? With respect to Thai Immigration it seems unlikely that fundamental changes to the retirement visa category (such as the medical insurance requirement) are in the offing. In fact, it seems that the current regulatory framework has been set in place as a rather permanently. However, there is speculation that insurance requirements may be imposed for other categories such as marriage visas and perhaps even business visas, but this remains pure speculation. Further, in light of recent down turns in certain parts of the Thai tourism sector and the increasing strength of the baht it seems Immigration officials are signaling a more moderating tone in order to forestall damage to the tourism sector. With regard to American immigration it seems logical to surmise that the trends of 2019 will continue into 2020 with everyone focusing upon the forthcoming election in November as a possible indicator of where immigration policy will be heading in the forthcoming decade.

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25th October 2018

It recently came to this blogger’s attention, via a press release from the US Embassy in Bangkok, that the Embassy seems to be in the process of discontinuing issuance of income affidavits pertaining to verification of finances in the context of application for certain types of Thai visa extension. To quote directly from the press release:

As of January 1, 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok and the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai will cease to provide the income affidavit for the purpose of applying for Thai retirement and family visas and will not notarize previous versions of the income affidavit.  The Royal Thai Government requires actual verification of income to certify visa applicants meet financial requirements for long-stay visas.  The U.S. government cannot provide this verification and will no longer issue the affidavits.

Those unaware of the importance of these documents should take note of the fact that in the past notarized income affidavits were used in connection with applications for either a Thai retirement visa or a Thai marriage visa. Such documents were utilized in lieu of presenting evidence of a lump sum in a Thai bank account (800,000 THB for a retirement visa, and 400,000 THB for a marriage visa) or proof of a prolonged history of income in a Thai bank account (65,000 THB per month for a retirement visa and 40,000 per month for a marriage visa). These documents were generally issued by the American Citizen Services (ACS) Section of the US Embassy. In the past, a notarized income affidavit from the US Embassy which was legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was sufficient to meet the evidentiary requirements of the Thai Immigration officers adjudicating financial documentation in connection with applications for visa extensions. As seems to be the case in matters pertaining to British income letters, American officials appear to be unwilling to continue issuance these instruments in light of the recent official Thai requests that the veracity of the information in the affidavit be verified rather than merely the authenticity of the signature on the document. It seems that although the Embassy is unable to continue issuing such documentation as it was issued in the past, they will continue to notarize other documentation.

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6th February 2018

It has recently been announced that the Trump administration is creating a new “National Vetting Center”. The following article is intended to shed light on what this institution is designed to do and how it will fit into the overall immigration process.

It should first be noted that the National Vetting Center should not be confused with the preexisting National Visa Center which acts as a sort of clearing house and central repository for documentation pertaining to visa applications through the Department of State. The National Visa Center’s function is to gather relevant documentation and forward cases to the appropriate US Embassy or US Consulate for visa interview scheduling.

The National Vetting Center would seem to have a different mandate, although not altogether different as both institutions deal with matters pertaining to US Immigration. In an effort to provide further insight it is necessary to cite a recent article from the website of USA Today:

The National Vetting Center will be run by the Department of Homeland Security with assistance from the intelligence community and the departments of State, Justice and Defense. Its mission: To “collect, store, share, disseminate, and use” a broad range of information about people who seek to enter the United States, with a goal of identifying people who may be a threat to national security or public safety. “This is yet another step towards knowing who is coming to the United States — that they are who they say they are and that they do not pose a threat to our nation,” said Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in a statement.

Although disregarded by some at the time as overreacting, this blogger has noted in prior discussion of so-called extreme vetting policy that although it was initially discussed in a very narrow geographical and situational context the establishment of the National Vetting Center and the presumption that all future US Immigration processing will involve said institution shows that this policy will have broad ramifications for all visa applicants.

What does this mean for the timing of US visa applications? At this time it is too soon to say whether the addition of National Vetting Center protocols will result in slower processing times. However, it stands to reason that adding an entirely new institutional bureaucracy to the overall immigration framework will result in at least some delays in the processing of petitions and applications.

As has been discussed previously on this blog and through some of our firm’s videos: the Trump administration’s policies with respect to Immigration could have wide ranging and long lasting ramifications for those seeking visas in the future. Furthermore, if a deal can be reached with respect to Comprehensive Immigration Reform it looks as though the era of so-called “chain migration” (allowing extended family of Lawful Permanent Residents and American citizens to seek visa benefits)  and the visa lottery will likely come to an end.

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5th September 2016

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Consulate-General in Chiang Mai will be suspending services from September 12, 2016. It may be best to quote directly from the US Consulate’s website:

Except for U.S. citizen emergencies, consular services at the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai will be suspended from September 12, 2016 to November 1, 2016, due to necessary renovations to the Consular Section…All nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applicants who intend to travel during this period should make appointments with the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok…The American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit will remain available by email and phone for emergency U.S. citizen services such as death and welfare/whereabouts cases; and we will continue to accept voter registration, absentee ballot requests, and absentee ballots.  Also, please note that the ACS Unit will conduct several U.S. citizen outreach events in and around Chiang Mai during this period…

Those wishing to learn more are well advised to click the link above.

Those seeking non-immigrant visas such as US Tourist visas and US student visas will, at least for the time being, be required to interview for such travel documents in Bangkok. It should be noted that this announcement has no impact upon those seeking immigrant visas such as the IR-1 visa or the CR-1 visa nor does it change the current processing protocols of the K-1 fiancee visa as although such fiance visas are considered non-immigrant visas they are processed in much the same manner as immigrant visas. As dual intent visas, holders of the K-1 visa may enter the United States in non-immigrant status with the intention of remaining and thereby use the adjustment of status process in order to convert into lawful permanent resident status (aka Green Card holder status) once in the USA. All of the aforementioned visa categories are initially adjudicated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), a division of the Department of Homeland Security; before undergoing further Consular Processing at the United States Embassy in Bangkok, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of State.

Notwithstanding the continuation of regular immigration services for those wishing to permanently move to the USA. It would appear that this situation may cause inconvenience for those in the North of Thailand seeking American Citizen Services such as passport renewal, notarization, and issuance of Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA). Other than occasional Consular outreach, many of these services will apparently need to be obtained from the Post in Bangkok during this renovation period.

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4th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand is poised to begin exclusively offering routine services at the American Citizen Services section of the Post by appointment only. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of the United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand:

Beginning September 1, 2011, all non-emergency consular services will require an appointment. We hope that this will assist us in providing prompt and efficient consular services to American Citizens residing in Thailand.  Please plan accordingly.

For those who are unfamiliar with matters pertaining to United States Missions abroad it should be noted that an American Citizen Services section of a US Embassy, US Consulate, or American Institute provides many services for Americans resident abroad. Such services include, but are not limited to, US Passport issuance, Consular Report of Birth Abroad issuance, Notary Services, and issuance of additional pages to a previously issued US Passport. It has always been this blogger’s personal experience that the ACS unit of the US Embassy in Bangkok handles matters in an efficient and courteous manner. That stated, the unit always seems hectically busy and it would appear that the new policy is aimed at streamlining the processing of pertinent requests.

Those seeking information regarding visas and immigration to the United States should look for information regarding Immigrant Visa Units and/or Non-Immigrant Visa Units at US Posts abroad as those sections are generally tasked with adjudicating applications for visas such as the B-2 visa, the K-1 visa, the CR-1 visa, and the IR-1 visa.

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11th July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that information posted in the previous posting on this blog may not have been entirely accurate as it would appear that the Kingdom of Thailand is not slated to be added to any kind of “terrorism risk list”. To provide more insight into these developments it may be best to quote directly from an announcement posted on the official website of The Nation,

Re: “Naming of Thailand on new US terror risk list worrying” Editorial, July 10

We’d like to take the opportunity to correct some confusing statements that have been reported in the media recently. Thailand has not been placed on a new “terror risk list” of any kind. In fact, as President Obama highlighted in his June 2011 National Strategy for Counterterrorism, the US considers Thailand a key ally in fighting global terrorism.

In addition, we would like to emphasise that there has been no change in the processing of visas or security checks for Thai citizens travelling to the United States. As has been the case for many years, the overwhelming majority of Thai who apply for US visas receive them, and we’re proud of the robust exchange of travellers between the US and Thailand for tourism, business, education and many other fields. For more information on travelling to the United States, we encourage everyone to visit our web page at

Walter Braunohler


Embassy of the United States of America, Bangkok

The administration of this blog apologizes for any inconvenience or consternation that the previous posting may have caused as this blogger was under the impression that the previously cited quotation contained accurate information.

– Benjamin Walter Hart

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21st May 2011

Those conducting research with regard to United States Family Immigration often look at either the K-1 visa or a CR-1 visa for a recent or prospective spouse. That stated, an acute concern for many American Citizens is the speedy admission of the foreign fiance or spouse to the United States of America. Under many circumstances in places such as the Kingdom of Thailand or the Kingdom of Cambodia, virtually the only means to lawfully bring a Thai or Khmer fiance or spouse to the USA involves a US Marriage Visa (such as the CR-1 visa or the IR-1 visa) or a US fiance visa (officially categorized as a K-1 visa). The question then becomes: which visa can be obtained in a more timely manner?

Currently, it usually takes less time to obtain a K-1 visa compared to a CR-1 visa. That stated, it is this blogger’s opinion that the once large gap separating the processing times of these respective visa categories has closed somewhat, from a practical perspective; and, as a result, it may be best for those researching these issues to ponder the notion of applying for a CR-1 visa or an IR-1 visa from the outset rather than undergoing the K1 visa process. Bearing this in mind, the reader should note that the process is unique to every couple as circumstances tend to dictate the timing of various stages of the process.

Although the K-1 visa does usually result in a foreign fiancee arriving in the United States more quickly than a foreign spouse under the CR-1 visa category, readers should be aware of the fact that CR-1 visa holders are admitted into the United States in Lawful Permanent Resident status. Conversely, those admitted into the United States of America in K-1 visa status must undergo the adjustment of status process in order to obtain their Green Card.

Regardless of the fact that the current USCIS Processing Times note little change in the time it takes to receive adjudication of a K-1 visa petition compared to years past, the plain truth of the matter is that the overall K-1 visa process has lengthened for many in recent months. This increased wait time may be attributable to the fact that the National Visa Center and each and every US Embassy or US Consulate has its own backlog of cases to either process or adjudicate. As the ebb and flow of American immigration continues the consular processing times are likely to increase and/or decrease depending upon the circumstances at the various US Posts abroad. At present, it is difficult to calculate with any specificity what the time frame is for Consular Processing in Asia as many factors must be taken into consideration. It is this blogger’s current opinion that under the totality of the circumstances it may be prudent for prospective family visa petitioners to conduct thorough research into the immigration process before making an irrevocable immigration decision as a visa category that looks more efficient at first glance may, in fact, turn out to be an inefficient travel document if one takes into consideration all of the factors which must be addressed in order to ultimately receive lawful permanent resident status in the U.S.A.

For related information please see: Legal.

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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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28th March 2011

หลายๆเดือนนี้มีแนวโน้มที่รัฐบาลจะปิดดูเหมือนจะเป็นการยิ่งทำให้นัการเมืองต่างๆในสหรัฐอเมริกาแบ่งพรรคแบ่งพวกกันมากขึ้น ในข.ระเดียวกัน ข้อถกเถียงในเรื่องการปิด(แม้แต่การขยายเวลาการทำงานในระหว่างการปิด) ในเวลาเดียวกัน หลายๆฝ่ายวิพากษ์วิจารณ์การปิด  โดยไม่คำนึงถึงความเห็นของฝ่ายหนึ่ง ดูเหมือนการปิดนั้นจะเป็นไปได้และในกรณีที่มีการปิด กระบวนการทั้งหลายที่เกี่ยวกับการเข้าเมืองอาจจะมีการศึกษาถึงผลกระทบว่าการปิดอาจจะมีผลต่อกระบวนการเข้าเมือง


เดือนต่อมาจะมีการเจรจาอย่างเข้มข้นเกี่ยวกับเพดานหนี้และ GOP จะมีการตัดสินใจว่าจะปิด หรือมีการรวมพรรค งบประมาณซึ่งมีการจัดการกับเคนท์ คอนราดและพันธมิตร

ข้อความที่อ้างข้างต้นอาจจะเป็นที่ชัดเจนและกระชับในการที่จะสรุปถึงกรณีที่เกี่ยวข้องกับความเป็นไปได้ในการปิด หน่วยงานทาปกครองแนะนำให้ผู้อ่านคลิกที่ลิงค์ซึ่งเป็นประเด็นที่ค่อนข้างซับซ้อน ผู้ที่สนใจในการยืนยันการปิดอาจจะเป็นเรื่องที่หาได้จากโดยหน่วยทางปกครองอ้างโดยตรงจากวิกกิพี่เดีย

การปิดของรัฐบาลเกิดขึ้นเมื่อรัฐบาลไม่ได้จัดการกับสิ่งที่สำคัญ  โดยทั่วไปแล้ว การบริการซึ่งจะคงดำเนินต่อไปโดยไม่คำนึงถึงการปิดของรัฐบาล เช่น ตำรวจ การดับเพลิง การทหาร สาธารณูปโภค การจัดการทางอากาศ และการควบคุมประพฤติ

การปิดสามารถที่จะเกิดเมื่อครบองค์ประกอบทางกฎหมาย (เช่นมีอำนาจในการออกร่างกฎหมายของการวีโต้โดยสมาชิกระดับสูง) มาสามารถอนุมัติงบประมาณในการจัดสรรเงินของแผนงานรัฐบาลในระหว่างปีงบประมาณ การขาดแคลนกองทุน รัฐบาลทำงานไม่ต่อเนื่องในการจัดสรรบริการที่สำคัญที่จะกระทบต่อการเริ่มต้นปีงบประมาณ ลูกจ้างของรัฐผู้ที่มห้บริการสาธารณะ มักจะอ้างถึง “ความสำคัญของลูกจ้าง เพื่อใหห้ภารกิจต่างๆบรรลุเป้าหมาย”

แม้ว่าการอ้างข้างต้นจะช่วยจัดการกับประเด็นที่เกิดขึ้นโดยการปิดของรัฐบาล คำถามนี้มีแนวโน้มว่า ผู้ที่ชาวต่างชาติอยู่ในระหว่างขั้นตอนกระบวนการเข้าเมือง การปิดของรัฐบาลจะกระทบอย่างไรกับวีซ่าของคู่หมั้น คำตอบก็คือ การปิดของรัฐบาลกลางจะส่งผลให้ขั้นตอนต่างๆในกระบวนการเข้าเมืองของรัฐบาลกลางชะงักลง  ดังนั้น การปิดของรัฐบาลกลางอาจจะส่งผลเล็กน้อย ถ้าหากมี กรณีนี้คำนึงถึงการขอวีซ่าที่สถานทูตหรือสถานกงสุล ข้อมูลเพิ่มเติมอาจจะติดต่อโดยตรงจากบทความ Diplopundit

ในปี 1995 การยื่นคำขอวีซ่าทั้งหมดเป็นแบบยื่นด้วยตัวเอง ทุกวันนี้มีการยื่นคำขอวีซ่าจำนวนมากผ่านทางระบบออนไลน์ นั่นหมายความว่า การนัดวีซ่าจะต้องยกเลิกและมีการนัดหมายใหม่ถ้ามีการปิดลง ส่วนของกงสุลจะเปิดให้บริการเกี่ยวกับชีวิตและและความตาย นั่นหมายถึงคำขอในกรณีที่พาสปอร์ตสูญหาย การแจ้งการเกิดในต่างประเทศ การรับบุตรบุญธรรม การรับรองลายมือชื่อ และอื่นๆ จะต้องคอยจนกว่ารัฐบาลกลางเปิดอีกครั้งหนึ่ง


เป็นที่ปรากฏอย่างชัดเจนว่า การอนุมัติของการปิดลงของรัฐบาลจะเป็นเรื่องที่ยุ่งยากมากสำหรับผู้ที่อยู่ในกระบวนการการขอวีซ่า ในขณะเดียวกัน เป็นที่ปรากฏชัด แม้ว่า USCIS จะดำเนินการปฏิบัติการปกตินอกจากจะเป็นไปได้ในการปิดตัวลง อ้างโดยตรงจากเว็บไซต์

USCIS ประกาศว่า เพราะว่า เป็นบรการที่มีค่าธรรมเนียมม ควรจะยังคงเปิดในระหว่างที่รัฐบาลปิดทำการ การปฏิบัติการของศูนย์บริการสี่แห่งควรจะไม่ได้รับผลกระทบ สำนักงานของ USCIS ท้องถิ่นควรจะยังคงเปิดบริการอยู่

ผู้เขียนขอแนะนำอีกครั้งหนึ่งว่า ผู้ที่สนใจสามารถศึกษาได้เพิ่มเติมจากลิงค์ข้างบน

สิ่งที่พึงระลึกถึงคือ สิ่งที่อ้างถึงข้างต้นใช้คำว่า “ควรจะ” บทความนี้ชี้ให้เห็นว่า สิ่งที่ยากที่จะทำนายถึงผลกระทบของการปิดรัฐบาลที่จะมีผลกระทบต่อหน่วยบริการคนเข้าเมืองและพลเมืองสัญชาติอเมริกา (USCIS) เนื่องจาก หน่วยบริการมีความพยายามที่จะหาเงินทุนด้วยตนเองโดยผ่านทางค่าธรรมเนียมของการยื่นคำขอ อาจกล่าวได้ว่า ประเด็นทั้งหมดของการปิดตัวลงของรัฐบาลเป็นหลักฐานที่ชัดเจน แต่ไม่ควรจะหมายถึงว่า จะไม่เป็นเช่นนั้น ในความเป็นจริงแล้ว พลเมืองอเมริกันผู้ที่ประสงค์จะขอวีซ่ามีแนวโน้มที่เรื่องของพวกเขาจะช้าลงเนื่องจากการปิดของรัฐบาล (ควรจะที่จะเกิดขึ้นซึ่งยังคงที่จะสังเกตเห็นได้)

To view this posting in English please see: US Embassy.

หากต้องการที่จะทราบรายละเอียดเพิ่มเติม โปรดคลิกที่นี่ USCIS processing time.

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