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Posts Tagged ‘AOS’

22nd October 2009

There is something of an “alphabet soup,” when it comes to discussing United States Immigration. There are many agencies under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the most important from an Immigration standpoint are: the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Meanwhile, the United States Department of State (DOS) has jurisdiction over the National Visa Center (NVC) as well as United States Embassies and Consulates outside of the USA. This mix of acronyms alone can cause a sane man to go crazy, add on top of this the fact that sometimes different phases of the Immigration process have the SAME acronym and one is left very befuddled.

For example, the process of converting a K1 visa to permanent residence (Green Card) is called Adjustment of Status. when a Thai fiancee travels to the United States on a K1 visa she has 90 days to execute a legal marriage and submit an application to regularize her status. As stated previously, this is commonly referred to as adjustment of status.  It is possible to adjust other non-immigrant visas, such as J1 visas, F1 visas, or B2 visas, but it can be more difficult and one should not travel to the US using one of these visas with the intent to adjust as these categories do not allow for dual intent. One should not confuse the adjustment of status process with the change of status process, which is the process of converting a visa from one non-immigrant visa category to another.

Another “AOS” commonly used in United States Immigration vernacular is the Affidavit of Support. The affidavit of support is the document showing that a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident can financially maintain a foreign fiancee or spouse in the United States. The worry of government officials is that the foreign loved one may become a “public charge,” the affidvait of support is used to illustrate that this will not be an issue. An affidavit of support is signed by a K1 visa petitioner and submitted at the visa interview at the United States Embassy. At the time of the adjustment of status a different affidavit of support is submitted. K1 visa applications also utilize a different affidavit of support compared to visa petitions for a foreign spouse (K3 visa, Cr1 visa, Ir1 visa).

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9th July 2009

For Thai-American couples seeking Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Card) in the United States for the spouse of an American Citizen the options are either the CR-1 or IR-1 visa. A CR-1 (Conditional Resident) visa provides conditional lawful permanent residence to the visa holder while the IR-1 (Immediate Relative) visa provides unconditional permanent residence upon entry into the United States.  An often asked question with regard to these visas: what is the difference?

When seeking a United States visa for a Thai spouse, the classic method of obtainment is through filing an I-130 visa application. After the I-130 is approved by either a USCIS Service Center in the United States or USCIS Field office abroad, it will be forwarded to a US Diplomatic post that adjudicates Immigrant visas. In Thailand, the US Embassy in Bangkok processes all US Immigrant visa petitions. Assuming that a visa is ultimately approved, the Thai spouse shall be entitled to travel to the USA in order to take up residence.

For those holding a visa conferring conditional permanent residence, it will be necessary to eventually file to have the conditionality of the visa lifted. In practical terms, this means that the Thai wife’s residence will no longer be based upon her marriage to an American citizen.  Instead, the permanent residence will become independent and unconditional. For those who enter the USA on a conditional resident visa and subsequently end their marriage during the conditional period, loss of permanent residence is highly likely.

Some people confuse the lift of conditions with adjustment of status. In cases involving a K-1 visa for a Thai fiance, adjustment of status is the process of obtaining conditional permanent residence for the fiancee (now wife) after marriage in the United States.  For those couples who adjust status in the US, after the adjustment interview, should the application be approved, the adjustment date will be that written on the adjustment of status approval letter from USCIS.

One must file for a lift of conditions within 90 days of the two year anniversary of the the Thai spouse taking up residence, in the case of adjustment the two year anniversary will be marked from the date of  adjustment approval. For the Thai who enters on a CR-1 visa, it will be the date the Thai spouse entered the USA.

In order to obtain a lift of conditions the I-751 application must be filed with an approved by USCIS. After approval, the Thai spouse may remain in the United States permanently.

For related information please see: Thailand permanent residence

(This post is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be legal advice. No lawyer/client relationship is formed by reading this information.)

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