Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘American Visa Thailand’

19th September 2018

In what may be one of the most significant developments in immigration practice in quite some time, it recently came to this blogger’s attention via a policy memorandum from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that the USCIS is radically changing their policies with respect to Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs). For those unaware, an RFE is issued in a case where the adjudicating officer of an immigration petition is not fully satisfied that the beneficiary and/or the petitioner meet the legal requirements. An NOID is similar and may allow the petitioner to rectify a petition notwithstanding prior inadequacy.

That being stated, the procedures regarding issuance of RFEs and NOIDs have been fundamentally altered pursuant to policy memorandum PM-602-0163 dated July 13, 2018 entitled “Issuance of Certain RFEs and NOIDs; Revisions to Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM)Chapter 10.5(a), Chapter 10.5(b)” The provisions of this memo dictate new guidelines for adjudicators of immigration petitions. To quote directly from the USCIS website:

The 2013 PM addressed policies for the issuance of RFEs and NOIDs when the evidence submitted at the time of filing did not establish eligibility. In practice, the 2013 PM limited denials without RFEs or NOIDs to statutory denials by providing that RFEs should be issued unless there was “no possibility” of approval. This “no possibility” policy limited the application of an adjudicator’s discretion.

The policy implemented in this guidance restores to the adjudicator full discretion to deny applications, petitions, and requests without first issuing an RFE or a NOID, when appropriate.

Although the ramifications may not be immediately apparent, especially to those who do not deal with the immigration apparatus on a regular basis, this change in policy is rather profound. The prior doctrine which required that an adjudicator denying a petition without first issuing an RFE or NOID show that there was “no possibility” that a case could receive approval provided a great deal of limitation upon an adjudicator’s ability to unilaterally deny an immigration petition. The removal of this policy encumbrance allows future adjudicators a great deal more discretion in issuing immediate petition denials. The sources noted above go on to note that the primary reason for the change in policy stems from the desire to discourage so-called “placeholder” or “frivolous” filings (which under certain circumstances is laudable as such cases can unnecessarily clog up the immigration processing channels), but there could be significant ramifications for cases which would not necessarily fit those descriptions.

For example, in K-1 visa petitions it is now more likely that more denials will be issued in the future in such cases where it has not been incontrovertibly proven that the couple has in fact met in person within 2 years of filing for the benefit (the so-called Meeting Requirement). Furthermore, in cases involving petitioning for a fiance visa it seems logical to infer that future adjudications may result in a  denial where the petitioner has failed to demonstrate that both parties maintain the requisite intention to marry in the USA.

It is difficult to speculate at this time exactly how this change in policy will be implemented and the full consequences associated therewith. However, two things are clear: 1) visa petitions are likely to be more susceptible to denial moving forward and 2) those thinking of undertaking a do-it-yourself approach to petitioning for a fiancee or marriage visa are well advised to seriously consider the negative aspects of failing to seek professional legal assistance in immigration matters as failure to fully delineate a case clearly and concisely in the initial petition for immigration benefits could result in a denial and thereby a loss of time and resources.

more Comments: 04

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.

more Comments: 04

1st February 2012

In order to provide relevant information to the public-at-large regarding immigration issues in Southeast Asia, the administration of this blog often posts the holiday closing schedules of various American posts in Asia in an attempt to assist those seeking such information. The following is quoted directly from the official website of the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand:

Month Date Day Occasion
January 2 Monday Substitute for New Year’s Day
January 3 Tuesday Special Holiday
January 16 Monday Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday
February 20 Monday Presidents’ Day
April 6 Friday King Rama I Memorial and Chakri Day
April 13 Friday Songkran Day
April 16 Monday Substitute for Songkran Day
May 7 Monday Substitute for Coronation Day
May 28 Monday Memorial Day
June 4 Monday Visakha Bucha Day
July 4 Wednesday Independence Day
August 13 Monday Substitute for Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday
September 3 Monday Labor Day
October 8 Monday Columbus Day
October 23 Tuesday Chulalongkorn Day
November 12 Monday Substitute for Veterans Day
November 22 Thursday Thanksgiving Day
December 5 Wednesday His Majesty the King’s Birthday
December 10 Monday Constitution Day
December 25 Tuesday Christmas Day
December 31 Monday New Year’s Eve

For further information please click HERE.

It has been this blogger’s experience that the personnel at the American post in Bangkok can provide a great deal of assistance with services such as notarization, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, passport renewal, and documentation pertaining to the registration of a marriage in Thailand. It is generally advisable that those seeking such services make an appointment with the Consular Services section prior to arrival at the post. In many cases, this can be accomplished online.

Those wishing to obtain an American visa for a loved one in Thailand are generally required to petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and gain approval of said petition before the case file will be reviewed by a visa section at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. Concurrently, the visa applicant is generally required to undergo an interview at the Post with appropriate Consular jurisdiction prior to possible approval of a visa application.

Those seeking a K-1 visa for a Thai fiancee will generally see the visa application processed through the non-immigrant visa unit while those seeking an immigrant visa for a Thai spouse (such as the CR-1 visa or the IR-1 visa) will generally see their visa application consular processed through the immigrant visa unit. In many cases, an approved USCIS petition will be processed through the National Visa Center prior to processing at the appropriate post overseas.

For information regarding legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

more Comments: 04

12th January 2012

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand made no comment regarding the possibility of a Cabinet reshuffle although she did note that attendance at upcoming children’s day festivities is apparently encouraged by the Thai government. To quote directly from the official website of the Thai-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) News Network at Tannetwork.tv:

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra avoided answering questions about a possible Cabinet reshuffle today and only smiled at reporters...The PM added that she would like to invite children to attend the Children’s Day celebration on Saturday at Government House as she has prepared some surprises for the kids…”

Concurrently it also came to this blogger’s attention that the government of Canada seems to have made some comments regarding same sex marriages performed in that nation. To quote directly from the website Advocate.com:

“Thousands of non-resident same-sex couples married in Canada may not be legally wed if the marriage is not recognized in their home country or state, according to the Canadian government…”

The issues surrounding the status of same sex couples has been an issue of debate in the United States of America especially as the Presidential elections continue to draw closer. However, politics does not appear to be the core concern of those who are the most effected by these issues. For example, those families wishing to maintain a same sex bi-national relationship with a non-American in the United States could be deeply impacted by both American and Canadian policy regarding same sex marriage. This issue could further be hypothetically defined where the same sex marriage (or civil union depending upon the jurisdiction) takes place outside of the United States as such a fact pattern could place the merits of the marriage under the purview of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). How this issue will ultimately be resolved in North America remains to be seen, there is one thing that seems to be a certainty: this issue is not one that will simply disappear since there are many in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Community who wish to see full equality in matters reflecting their marital status. American Courts have dealt with this issue in recent months although a definitive decision does not seem to have been reached hopefully this issue will be resolved in short order.

For related information please see: Full Faith and Credit Clause.

For general legal information pertaining to South East Asia please: Legal.

more Comments: 04

14th June 2011

Those who read this blog with any frequency may have noticed that the administration routinely posts the estimated processing times from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) as a courtesy to the public-at-large. To quote directly from the official website of the USCIS, USCIS.gov:

Field Office Processing Dates for California Service Center as of: April 30, 2011
Form Title Classification or Basis for Filing: Processing Timeframe:
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record Initial issuance or replacement of a Form I-94 2.5 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Blanket L 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker E – Treaty traders and investors 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Visa to be issued abroad 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Change of status in the U.S. 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Extension of stay in the U.S. 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2A – Temporary workers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2B – Other temporary workers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-3 – Temporary trainees 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker L – Intracompany transfers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker O – Extraordinary ability 2 Weeks
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker P – Athletes, artists, and entertainers 2 Weeks
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Q – Cultural exchange visitors and exchange visitors participating in the Irish Peace process 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker R – Religious occupation 5 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker TN – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional 2 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-1/K-2 – Not yet married – fiance and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-3/K-4 – Already married – spouse and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a spouse, parent, or child under 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 September 27, 2007
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 May 7, 2010
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21 June 1, 2010
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister April 25, 2007
I-131 Application for Travel Document All other applicants for advance parole 3 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant All other special immigrants 5 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Religious workers 5 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Employment-based adjustment applications 4 Months
I-526 Immigrant Petition By Alien Entrepreneur For use by an entrepreneur who wishes to immigrate to the United States 5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change status to the F or M academic or vocational student categories 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change of status to H or L dependents 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change Status to the J exchange visitor category 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status All other change of status applications 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of Stay for F or M academic or vocational students 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of stay for H and L dependents 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of Stay for J exchange visitors 2.5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status All other extension applications 2.5 Months
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement Application for a waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement based on exceptional hardship or persecution 4 Months
I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents 6 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on an approved asylum application [(a)(5)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student. [(c)(3)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending asylum application [(c)(8)] 3 Weeks
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending I-485 adjustment application [(c)(9)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for El Salvador [(c)(19)(a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for Honduras/Nicaragua [(c)(19), (a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization All other applications for employment authorization 3 Months
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits Voluntary departure under the family unity program 6 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador extension December 16, 2010
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador initial or late filing December 16, 2010
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua extension December 16, 2010
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua initial or late filing December 16, 2010
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition To request further action on an approved application or petition 3 Months
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) 6 Months
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) based on PL107-273 September 12, 1997
Field Office Processing Dates for Nebraska Service Center as of: April 30, 2011
Form Title Classification or Basis for Filing: Processing Timeframe:
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record Initial issuance or replacement of a Form I-94 2.5 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Blanket L August 1, 2006
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker E – Treaty traders and investors 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Visa to be issued abroad August 1, 2006
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Change of status in the U.S. August 1, 2006
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Extension of stay in the U.S. August 1, 2006
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1C – Nurses 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2A – Temporary workers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2B – Other temporary workers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-3 – Temporary trainees August 1, 2006
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker L – Intracompany transfers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker O – Extraordinary ability August 1, 2006
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker P – Athletes, artists, and entertainers August 1, 2006
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Q – Cultural exchange visitors and exchange visitors participating in the Irish Peace process August 1, 2006
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker R – Religious occupation August 1, 2006
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker TN – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional August 1, 2006
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21 September 9, 2010
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 September 9, 2010
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 September 9, 2010
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21 September 9, 2010
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister September 9, 2010
I-131 Application for Travel Document Refugee or asylee applying for a refugee travel document 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Permanent resident applying for a re-entry permit 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) dependent applying for advance parole 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) principal applying for advance parole 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document All other applicants for advance parole 3 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Extraordinary ability 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Outstanding professor or researcher 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Multinational executive or manager 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Advanced degree or exceptional ability 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Skilled worker or professional 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Unskilled worker 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Advanced degree or exceptional ability requesting a National Interest Waiver 4 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Schedule A Nurses 4 Months
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal Readmission after deportation or removal November 9, 2008
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant All other special immigrants 5 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) November 9, 2008
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Religious workers 5 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Employment-based adjustment applications December 2, 2010
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Based on grant of asylum more than 1 year ago 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Based on refugee admission more than 1 year ago 4 Months
I-526 Immigrant Petition By Alien Entrepreneur For use by an entrepreneur who wishes to immigrate to the United States 5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change status to the F or M academic or vocational student categories January 21, 2011
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change of status to H or L dependents January 21, 2011
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change Status to the J exchange visitor category January 21, 2011
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status All other change of status applications January 21, 2011
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of Stay for F or M academic or vocational students January 21, 2011
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of stay for H and L dependents January 21, 2011
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of Stay for J exchange visitors January 21, 2011
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status All other extension applications January 21, 2011
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement Application for a waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement based on exceptional hardship or persecution 4 Months
I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition Petition for accompanying family members of a refugee or an asylee 5 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on an approved asylum application [(a)(5)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student. [(c)(3)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending asylum application [(c)(8)] 3 Weeks
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending I-485 adjustment application [(c)(9)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for El Salvador [(c)(19)(a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for Honduras/Nicaragua [(c)(19), (a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization All other applications for employment authorization 3 Months
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits Voluntary departure under the family unity program 6 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador extension January 11, 2011
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador initial or late filing January 11, 2011
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua extension January 11, 2011
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua initial or late filing January 11, 2011
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition To request further action on an approved application or petition November 21, 2010
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) 6 Months
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) based on PL107-273 6 Months
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card Initial issuance or replacement 3.5 Months
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card 10-year renewal January 3, 2011
I-90A Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card Initial issuance or replacement for Special Agricultral Workers (SAW) 3.5 Months
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document U.S. citizen applying for a replacement of naturalization or citizenship certificate 6 Months
N-600 Application for Certification of Citizenship Application for recognition of U.S. citizenship 5 Months
N-643 Application for Certification of Citizenship on Behalf of an Adopted Child Application for recognition of U.S. citizenship on behalf of an adopted child 5 Months
Field Office Processing Dates for Texas Service Center as of: April 30, 2011
Form Title Classification or Basis for Filing: Processing Timeframe:
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record Initial issuance or replacement of a Form I-94 January 22, 2011
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Blanket L December 27, 2007
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker E – Treaty traders and investors December 27, 2007
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Visa to be issued abroad December 27, 2007
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Change of status in the U.S. December 27, 2007
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Extension of stay in the U.S. December 27, 2007
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1C – Nurses December 27, 2007
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2A – Temporary workers December 27, 2007
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2B – Other temporary workers December 27, 2007
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-3 – Temporary trainees December 27, 2007
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker L – Intracompany transfers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker O – Extraordinary ability December 27, 2007
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker P – Athletes, artists, and entertainers December 27, 2007
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Q – Cultural exchange visitors and exchange visitors participating in the Irish Peace process December 27, 2007
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker R – Religious occupation December 27, 2007
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker TN – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional December 27, 2007
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-1/K-2 – Not yet married – fiance and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-3/K-4 – Already married – spouse and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a spouse, parent, or child under 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister 5 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Refugee or asylee applying for a refugee travel document 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Permanent resident applying for a re-entry permit 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) dependent applying for advance parole 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) principal applying for advance parole 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document All other applicants for advance parole 3 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Extraordinary ability September 4, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Outstanding professor or researcher September 4, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Multinational executive or manager September 4, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Advanced degree or exceptional ability September 16, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Skilled worker or professional September 16, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Unskilled worker September 16, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Advanced degree or exceptional ability requesting a National Interest Waiver September 7, 2010
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Schedule A Nurses September 16, 2010
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal Readmission after deportation or removal July 31, 2009
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant All other special immigrants July 31, 2010
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) July 31, 2009
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Religious workers July 31, 2010
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Employment-based adjustment applications October 31, 2010
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Indochinese Adjustment Act 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Based on grant of asylum more than 1 year ago November 26, 2010
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Based on refugee admission more than 1 year ago 4 Months
I-526 Immigrant Petition By Alien Entrepreneur For use by an entrepreneur who wishes to immigrate to the United States September 29, 2008
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement Application for a waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement based on exceptional hardship or persecution 4 Months
I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition Petition for accompanying family members of a refugee or an asylee 5 Months
I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents June 29, 2008
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on an approved asylum application [(a)(5)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student. [(c)(3)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending asylum application [(c)(8)] 3 Weeks
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending I-485 adjustment application [(c)(9)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for El Salvador [(c)(19)(a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for Honduras/Nicaragua [(c)(19), (a)(12)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization All other applications for employment authorization 3 Months
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits Voluntary departure under the family unity program 6 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador extension 3 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador initial or late filing 3 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua extension 3 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua initial or late filing 3 Months
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition To request further action on an approved application or petition November 2, 2010
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card Initial issuance or replacement March 16, 2010
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document U.S. citizen applying for a replacement of naturalization or citizenship certificate 6 Months
N-600 Application for Certification of Citizenship Application for recognition of U.S. citizenship 5 Months
Field Office Processing Dates for Vermont Service Center as of: April 30, 2011
Form Title Classification or Basis for Filing: Processing Timeframe:
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Record Initial issuance or replacement of a Form I-94 2.5 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Blanket L 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker E – Treaty traders and investors 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Visa to be issued abroad 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Change of status in the U.S. 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Extension of stay in the U.S. 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1C – Nurses 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2A – Temporary workers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-2B – Other temporary workers 1 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-3 – Temporary trainees 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker L – Intracompany transfers March 13, 2011
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker O – Extraordinary ability 2 Weeks
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker P – Athletes, artists, and entertainers 2 Weeks
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker Q – Cultural exchange visitors and exchange visitors participating in the Irish Peace process 2 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker R – Religious occupation 5 Months
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker TN – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional 2 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-1/K-2 – Not yet married – fiance and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-3/K-4 – Already married – spouse and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21 September 11, 2010
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a spouse, parent, or child under 21 November 27, 2010
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister July 10, 2010
I-131 Application for Travel Document Refugee or asylee applying for a refugee travel document September 14, 2010
I-131 Application for Travel Document Permanent resident applying for a re-entry permit September 14, 2010
I-131 Application for Travel Document Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) dependent applying for advance parole 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) principal applying for advance parole 3 Months
I-131 Application for Travel Document All other applicants for advance parole 3 Months
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Extraordinary ability January 30, 2008
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Outstanding professor or researcher January 30, 2008
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Multinational executive or manager January 30, 2008
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Advanced degree or exceptional ability January 30, 2008
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Skilled worker or professional January 30, 2008
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Unskilled worker January 30, 2008
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Advanced degree or exceptional ability requesting a National Interest Waiver January 30, 2008
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Schedule A Nurses January 30, 2008
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal Readmission after deportation or removal 4 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant All other special immigrants 5 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 5 Months
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Religious workers 5 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Employment-based adjustment applications November 13, 2010
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Indochinese Adjustment Act 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Based on grant of asylum more than 1 year ago 4 Months
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Based on refugee admission more than 1 year ago 4 Months
I-526 Immigrant Petition By Alien Entrepreneur For use by an entrepreneur who wishes to immigrate to the United States 5 Months
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change status to the F or M academic or vocational student categories February 12, 2011
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change of status to H or L dependents February 12, 2011
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Change Status to the J exchange visitor category February 12, 2011
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status All other change of status applications February 12, 2011
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of Stay for F or M academic or vocational students February 12, 2011
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of stay for H and L dependents February 12, 2011
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status Extension of Stay for J exchange visitors February 12, 2011
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status All other extension applications February 12, 2011
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement Application for a waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement based on exceptional hardship or persecution 4 Months
I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition Petition for accompanying family members of a refugee or an asylee 5 Months
I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents 6 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on an approved asylum application [(a)(5)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student. [(c)(3)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending asylum application [(c)(8)] 3 Weeks
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending I-485 adjustment application [(c)(9)] 3 Months
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for El Salvador [(c)(19)(a)(12)] October 31, 2010
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on TPS for Honduras/Nicaragua [(c)(19), (a)(12)] January 6, 2011
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization All other applications for employment authorization 3 Months
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits Voluntary departure under the family unity program 6 Months
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador extension October 31, 2010
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status El Salvador initial or late filing October 31, 2010
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua extension October 31, 2010
I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status Honduras and Nicaragua initial or late filing October 31, 2010
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition To request further action on an approved application or petition 3 Months
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) 6 Months
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Removal of lawful permanent resident conditions (immigrant investors) based on PL107-273 6 Months
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card Initial issuance or replacement 3.5 Months
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card 10-year renewal March 31, 2009
I-90A Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card Initial issuance or replacement for Special Agricultral Workers (SAW) 3.5 Months
I-914 Application for T Non-immigrant Status Provide temporary immigration benefits to an alien who is a victim of trafficking in persons, and immediate family 4 Months
I-918 Petition for U Non-immigrant Status Provide temporary immigration benefits to an alien who is a victim of qualifying criminal activity, and their qualifying family 4 Months
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document U.S. citizen applying for a replacement of naturalization or citizenship certificate 6 Months
N-600 Application for Certification of Citizenship Application for recognition of U.S. citizenship 5 Months
N-643 Application for Certification of Citizenship on Behalf of an Adopted Child Application for recognition of U.S. citizenship on behalf of an adopted child 5 Months

Readers may recall that the processing times noted above only pertain to the USCIS processing portion of the overall US visa process. Therefore, readers should not mistake the processing times noted above for the time it takes to actually acquire a visa. After a visa petition has been adjudicated by the officers at the USCIS, if approved, the case file is forwarded to the National Visa Center where it is then sent on to the US Embassy, American Institute, or US Consulate with appropriate Consular jurisdiction. This phase of the process is referred to as Consular Processing. Consular Processing can sometimes be quite quick while, in some cases, the process can be rather cumbersome if the facts of the case are extremely complex.

For related information please see: K1 Visa Thailand.

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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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2nd February 2011

While surfing the World Wide Web, this blogger came across an interesting piece on the Diplopundit blog pertaining to the United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. The administration of this blog highly recommends that readers go to the Diplopundit blog to read the entry in its entirety. That said, the following was quoted directly from the aforementioned blog:

We understand that Bangkok’s FY 2009 NIV workload declined by over 20,000 cases from its FY 2008 high. The IV workload also declined from a FY 2006 high of approximately 8,500 to fewer than 3,000 cases in FY 2009. Still — we feel bad for the ELOs [English Language Officers] — no counseling, late performance reviews and a rotation program that spans 3-4 months — are not/not great introductions to a new career.

There is obviously a leadership disconnect here. The CG meets with the officers regularly but the Visa Chief reportedly does not, and neither were “regular participants in [visa] line work.” Ever wonder how this translates to — lead by example? Or building great teams?

The above quotation seems to drip with a certain level of sarcasm while maintaining a genuine concern for efficiency at American Missions abroad. That stated, this blogger cannot comment upon the caseload, processing policies, or personnel issues at the US Embassy in Bangkok due to a general lack of personal knowledge regarding the overall staffing situation at the Post. However, this blogger can state from personal experience that the officers at the US Embassy Thailand really did “go above and beyond” during the year 2010.

The Kingdom of Thailand saw a great deal of political, economic, and social turbulence in 2010. Most notable for those interested in matters pertaining to the US Embassy was the fact that the Post was closed for a number of days due to the riots in the late spring and early summer in Bangkok, Thailand. The so-called “Red Shirts” mounted a protest which eventually lead to a government crackdown, but not before causing major disruptions in the Bangkok Metropolitan area. The reason this riot is pertinent to this posting is the fact that this blogger personally saw, on more than one occasion, Consular Officers, of virtually every level, at the US Embassy in Bangkok going out of their way to assist and provide services to people leading right up to the actual crackdown (the same could also be said for the USCIS office in Bangkok, but that is a digression from the point of this posting).

In many ways, the situation in Bangkok could have been detrimental to the health and safety of the Consular Officers at the Post, but said employees continued to diligently perform their duties nonetheless. Although none of this goes precisely to the heart of the issues discussed in the Diplopundit blog posting this blogger felt that it should be noted in order to provide a human, if somewhat intangible, perspective on the situation in Bangkok over the past year. Perhaps this blogger is being “soft,” but it is simply the opinion of this blogger that credit ought to be given where it is due.

For related information please see: K-1 Visa Thailand.

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28th January 2011

Those who have read this web log with any frequency in the past may have noticed that the administration routinely posts information regarding attorney licensure and the practice of United States Immigration law. Recently, this blogger discovered some interesting information on this subject while researching the issue on the official website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). To quote some of that information directly:

If Then
You are filing within the United States Attorneys and accredited representatives may communicate with USCIS on your behalf and receive information from USCIS regarding your application or petition.
You are filing an application or petition at an office outside the United States Attorneys and accredited representatives may communicate with USCIS on your behalf and receive information from USCIS regarding your application or petition…

It should be reiterated that only a licensed American attorney has the unfettered privilege of practicing American immigration law before the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Although charitable organizations in the USA may be accredited to represent individuals before the USCIS and/or the US Immigration Courts, such representation is conducted on a not-for-profit basis. Licensed American attorneys are generally in a good position to provide advice and counsel regarding immigration matters due to education and experience. However, so-called “immigration consultants,” “visa agents,” and “visa companies” lack both the credentials and qualification to provide advice and representation of clients before USCIS, DHS, and/or the Department of State (DOS). To quote the USCIS website further:

Attorneys must be a member in good standing of the bar of a U.S. State (or U.S. possession, territory, Commonwealth, or the District of Columbia) and not be under any court order restricting their practice of law. Attorneys will check the first block on Form G-28 and must provide information regarding their admission to practice.

Only attorneys and accredited representatives may communicate on your behalf regarding your application with USCIS.

In choosing an attorney, you should:

  • Ensure that the attorney is a member in good standing of the “bar” of a U.S. State (or possession, territory, Commonwealth or District of Columbia)
  • Ensure that the attorney is not under any court order restricting their practice of law
  • Review the current attorney licensing document for the attorney and contact the relevant State bar admission authorities to verify the information.  See the “American Bar Association – State Bar Associations” link to the right for a list of state bar associations.
  • Review the “List of Currently Disciplined Practitioners” in the link to the right. This is where the Executive Office for Immigration Review lists if an attorney has been expelled or suspended from practice before USCIS/DHS
  • Review the “List of Previously Disciplined Practitioners” available from the “List of Currently Disciplined Practitioners”  page on the EOIR website

A lawfully admitted attorney should honor your request for this information, as State Bar practice rules require disclosure of this information to clients. Before you pay attorney fees for help with your immigration case, make sure that the individual is a licensed attorney.

You should also review the lists of currently disciplined and previously disciplined practitioners on the Executive Office for Immigration Review website. These lists will help you to determine whether the attorney has been expelled or suspended from practice before USCIS/DHS.  To review these lists, please see the links in the “External Links” section of this page.

Those wishing to retain professional assistance during the United States Immigration process are well advised to take note of the citation quoted above as this information is very useful for those seeking attorney assistance. That said, the forthcoming quote deals with the issue of fake lawyers, visa agents, notarios, and immigration consultants who have been known to imitate genuine American attorneys in an effort to further their own interests while simultaneously fleecing an unsuspecting public (both immigrants and American Citizens). To quote the USCIS website one further time:

Notarios, notary publics and immigration consultants may NOT represent you before USCIS.

Those wishing to bring their loved one from another country for family reunification in the USA should take note of the above quotation. In Thailand, for example, there are some fly-by-night operators claiming both expertise in immigration law as well as qualification, without actually possessing either. For this reason, it is always prudent to ask for the licensure information of those claiming the ability to represent individuals before USCIS, DHS, and DOS.

Licensed foreign lawyers may, under some circumstances, be able to provide some limited representation, but only upon authorization from USCIS, those interested should consult the USCIS website directly as this issue is not the intended topic of this posting.

For related information please see: K1 Visa Thailand.

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1st January 2011

For those who read this blog with any frequency it has no doubt been noted that the administration often attempts to post the holiday closing schedules of the various US Embassies and Missions outside of the United States of America as a convenience to travelers who may be in need of services abroad. Below is the is the holiday closing schedule for the United States Embassy in the Kingdom of Thailand as quoted from the official website of the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand:

MONTH DATE DAY OCCASION
January 17 Monday Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday
February 21 Monday Presidents’ Day
April 6 Wednesday King Rama I Memorial
and Chakri Day
April 13 Wednesday Songkran Day
April 14 Thursday Songkran Day
April 15 Friday Songkran Day
May 5 Thursday Coronation Day
May 17 Tuesday Visakha Bucha Day
May 30 Monday Memorial Day
July 4 Monday Independence Day
August 12 Friday Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday
September 5 Monday Labor Day
October 10 Monday Columbus Day
October 24 Monday Substitute for
Chulalongkorn Day
November 11 Friday Veterans Day
November 24 Thursday Thanksgiving Day
December 5 Monday His Majesty the King’s Birthday
December 12 Monday Substitute for Constitution Day
December 26 Monday Substitute for Christmas Day

Those interested in receiving Consular services such as notary services and/or issuance of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, US Passport, or additional visa pages are well advised to contact an American Citizen Services Section of the nearest US Mission with Consular jurisdiction over the area in which one is located.

Those wishing to find the US Embassy in Bangkok’s official website homepage please click Here.

Each year, many Thai-American couples opt to seek US immigration benefits in the form of travel documents such as the K-1 visa or the CR-1 Visa. Meanwhile, many multi-national companies or individual immigrant investors seek investment or business based visas such as the L-1 visa for intra-company transferees, the E-2 visa for Treaty Investors traveling to the USA, or the EB-5 visa for Immigrant Investors making a minimum $500,000 investment in an eligible program in the United States. In most cases, Thai applicants for the visas noted above will be required to process their visa application with the Immigrant Visa Unit or Business Travel Unit of the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.

Those Thai nationals seeking Non-immigrant visas such as the J-1 visa (Exchange Visitor Visa), F-1 visa (Student Visa), B-2 visa (Tourist Visa), or the B-1 Visa (Business Visa) must process their application through the Non-immigrant Visa Unit in Bangkok if the Thai applicant resides within the Consular jurisdiction of the US Embassy in Bangkok as opposed to the Consular jurisdiction of the US Consulate-General in Chiang Mai Thailand.

Those interested in learning further information about the process of obtaining a United States visa from the Kingdom of Thailand please see: US Immigration.

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11th December 2010

The issue of immigration fraud is a serious one. Authorities of the United States government within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of State (DOS), the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP), and the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (USICE) are all tasked with the responsibility of screening and investigating matters pertaining to visa and immigration fraud. It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service, colloquially referred to as ICE, apprehended a Nigerian man in connection with US visa fraud. To quote directly from the ICE.gov website:

HOUSTON – A Nigerian man on Monday was stripped of his U.S. citizenship at his sentencing hearing for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, marriage fraud, naturalization fraud, and making a false statement to a federal agency. The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno, southern District of Texas. The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Ibraheem Adeneye, 33, who is originally from Nigeria and became a naturalized U.S. citizen, was convicted of the charges May 7 by a jury. He has been in federal custody on these charges for about six months. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt sentenced Adeneye to the time he has already served in prison. The judge also granted the government’s motion to strip Adeneye of his U.S. citizenship. Adeneye is now subject to deportation.

Denaturalization is the process by which a person is stripped of United States Citizenship and returned to foreign national status. Regarding the issue of sham marriage and the United States Immigration process, the report went on to note:

The ICE HSI investigation was initiated in 2008. Adeneye indicated that he was engaged in brokering sham marriages between Nigerian nationals and U.S. citizens so that the Nigerians could obtain immigration benefits, ultimately leading to U.S. citizenship. In return, the U.S. citizen “spouses” received cash payments to assist the Nigerians in the deception.

Incorporating a sham marriage into an effort to obtain United States visa benefits is a serious crime as can be seen from the above cited report. Those thinking of filing for American Immigration benefits should note that it is NEVER a wise course of action to lie to immigration authorities or attempt to deceive the United States government or its officers. Even if one becomes a United States Citizen, then previous fraudulent activity during the visa process could result in possible de-naturalization and criminal charges.

It should further be noted that those seeking American visa benefits should consult a licensed attorney in an effort to gain insight into the immigration process as only an American attorney licensed and in good standing in at least one US state is entitled to provide advice, counsel, and/or possible representation before the United States Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State.

For related information please see: K1 visa Thailand or K1 Visa Singapore.

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