Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Consular Report of Birth Abroad Thailand’

6th May 2010

Few people realize that Puerto Rico is, for immigration purposes, part of the United States of America. This legal posture is enshrined in the United States Immigration and Nationality Act. In a recent posting on the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration Website it was announced that the Puerto Rican authorities will be making sweeping changes to the rules effecting the issuance of birth certificates:

The government of Puerto Rico has enacted a new law (Law 191 of 2009) aimed at strengthening the issuance and usage of birth certificates to combat fraud and protect the identity and credit of all people born in Puerto Rico.

The new law was based on collaboration with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to address the fraudulent use of Puerto Rico-issued birth certificates to unlawfully obtain U.S. passports, Social Security benefits, and other federal services.

Under the new law, all Puerto Rico birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010, will be invalidated so that new, more secure certificates can be issued. Until that date, all birth certificates will remain valid.

It is important to understand that there is no need to rush out and get a new birth certificate on July 1.  It is suggested that only people who have a specific need for their birth certificate for official purposes need request a new birth certificate right away.

As many may be aware, birth certificates are an integral component of many visa petition packages. This is particularly true for K1 visa petitions, K3 Visa petitions, IR1 and CR1 visa petitions. How these proposed chages will impact immigration to the United States from abroad, and from Puerto Rico, remains to be seen, but it is clear that government officials are taking the issue of fraud prevention seriously.

Birth certificates are such an important piece of documentation that some believe that it is clearly self evident that maintaining the integrity of such documents is vitally important in maintaining security in the United States of America. In the 50 United States, there have been innumerable programs that are intended to make it more difficult for individuals to obtain fraudulent documentation. It would appear that this overall policy is being extended to US territorial possessions in order to provide increased document security in the outlying jurisdictions of the United States of America.

For more information about births overseas and obtaining birth registration documentation from abroad please see: Consular Report of Birth Abroad. For information about registering Thai births overseas please see: Thai Consular Report of Birth Abroad.

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5th March 2010

Recently we reported on this blog that the fees associated with passport issuance are likely to be increased in the near future. In a recent press release Brenda S. Sprague, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services, discussed the proposed fee increase and the policy reasons underlying the American State Department’s proposal for an increase in fees associated with American passports:

“Over the last five years, the demand for passports has increased to an average of 15 million applications per year. On February 9th, the State Department published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to increase certain fees related to U.S. passport and passport card applications. The proposed fee change is based on a comprehensive cost-ofservices study, completed in June, 2009, that was the most detailed and exhaustive study the U.S. State Department has ever conducted of its for-fee services, and updates the schedule of fees from four years ago.”

Many who are reading about this fee increase for the first time are probably wondering what the cost of passports would be under the recent proposed rule:

“Under the proposed fee schedule, the total cost for a first-time applicant aged 16 and older, who is applying for a passport book will be have $135. For those younger than 16, the price will be $105. The cost of a passport card for a first-time applicant 16 or older is $55. And for those younger than age 16, the price is $40. Passport books and cards for people who are 16 or older are valid for 10 years, books and cards issued to individuals younger than 16 are available for five years.”

When discussing this issue with American expatriates in Thailand, the initial reaction regarding this fee increase is: what are they increasing the fess and what will the new funding be used for? Hopefully the following excerpt will shed light on this issue:

“Passport fees are critically important to our keeping up with the latest developments in technology. Research and development, production, and implementation of new technologies for use in our U.S. passport books and cards must be an ongoing priority if we are to keep one step ahead of the resourceful and technologically savvy criminals, terrorists groups, and subversive elements bent on doing our nation harm. The fees cover the costs of fraud prevention initiatives such as facial recognition to help us to detect look-alike fraud and data-sharing programs that permit us to verify the validity of social security numbers, driver’s licenses, birth records, and naturalization certificates. Passport fees also help to cover the costs of providing emergency services for American citizens overseas in crises situations, something that our U.S. citizens stranded in Haiti undoubtedly appreciated.”

This issue is of critical importance to those who have American Citizen children outside of the USA. In Thailand, the usual protocol at the US Embassy in Bangkok or the US Consulate in Chiang Mai is for an American Citizen to first apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad. After this document is obtained from the American Citizen Services Section of the US Consulate in Bangkok, then a passport can be issued. However, the recently proposed rule would also increase the fees associated with Consular Reports of Birth Abroad as well. That being said, the rule has yet to be adopted as there is still an official comment period so these issues have yet to be fully resolved, but it is highly likely that the rule will be implemented and the fees will be raised apparently in an to reflect what the State Department claims are the increased costs of promulgating these travel documents.

For information about American Immigration from Thailand please see: US Visa Thailand.

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