Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘CR1 Visa Thailand’

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

17th September 2013

Since the relatively recent decision from the United States Supreme Court known colloquially as the Windsor decision, there have been a few lingering questions from members of the LGBT community regarding the United States immigration options now available for same sex couples.

Due to section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the past it was not possible for same sex married couples (even those with a valid marriage in one of those American jurisdictions permitting same sex marriage) to receive federal benefits based upon their marriages. This lack of federal recognition precluded the possibility of a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident sponsoring a foreign spouse or fiance for a US marriage visa or a US fiance visa. With the high Court’s pronouncement that same sex marriage should be accorded the same recognition as different sex marriage this all changed.

Section 3 of DOMA reads as follows:

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

From the moment the Supreme Court ruled this section unConstitutional, the Federal government was instantly required to allot the same benefits to lawfully married same sex and LGBT couples as would be allotted to different sex couples in similar circumstances. What does this mean from an immigration standpoint? LGBT and same sex couples are now permitted to petition and apply for the same types of visas as their different sex counterparts. Therefore, a couple of the same sex who is already married in the U.S. or a foreign jurisdiction recognizing such unions may now apply for a U.S. marriage visa such as the CR1 visa, the IR1 visa, or the K3 visa. Furthermore, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has made it clear that they will also adjudicate K1 Visa petitions (petitions for immigration benefits for foreign fiances of U.S. Citizens) for same sex couples in the same way that such petitions are adjudicated for different sex couples.

The Catch Section 2

One issue that has been of concern for experts studying this issue is the practical impact of the Court’s seeming unwillingness to speak to the issue of the Constitutionality of Section 2 of DOMA. Section 2 of DOMA reads as follows:

No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.

The fact that Section 2 of DOMA has not been overturned means that same sex couples may NOT receive the same STATE benefits as their different sex counterparts depending upon the local laws of the couples’ State of residence and notwithstanding the fact that the couple may have a perfectly legal marriage in one of those U.S. jurisdictions allowing such marriages. An example of how this could work in a practical sense would be a situation where the same sex couple is married legally in one state, but resides in a state which forbids same sex unions, a spouse having state retirement benefits may not be able to fully pass on their retirement benefits to their same sex spouse. How would this work in an immigration context? USCIS and the Department of State have already issued answers to a series of frequently asked questions regarding LGBT immigration. On the question of US fiance visas, the USCIS as well as the State Department have noted that so long as the couple has a bona fide intention to celebrate their marriage in one of those states which permit such unions then the immigration petition and application will be adjudicated no differently than a similarly situation petition or application for a different-sex couple.

One issue which may be concerning for same sex partners in the Kingdom of Thailand arises from the fact that, at present, same sex marriage is not legal under Thai law and therefore authorities in Thailand will not register a marriage to two people of the same sex. That stated, there is currently legislation being drafted to allow same sex marriage in Thailand. However, as of the time of this writing it is not clear whether the Thai government will ultimately pass said legislation. As there is not another jurisdiction in the region which recognizes same sex unions, it may not be feasible for same sex partners to marry prior to submitting a US marriage visa petition. This leaves many same sex Thai-American couples in a position where their only option is to apply for a K-1 fiance visa and marry in the United States.

For related information, please see: K1 Visa Thailand.

more Comments: 04

6th April 2012

The administration of this web log routinely posts the estimated case processing times of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in order to provide pertinent information to interested parties. The following estimated processing times are quoted directly from the official website of USCIS:

Field Office Processing Dates for California Service Center as of: January 31, 2012
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 June 22, 2011
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 January 13, 2010
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 May 22, 2010
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21 June 15, 2010
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister February 11, 2010
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 February 24, 2007
I-526 Immigrant Petition By Alien Entrepreneur For use by an entrepreneur who wishes to immigrate to the United States 8 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 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-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 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 Texas Service Center as of: January 31, 2012
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 November 9, 2011
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-1/K-2 – Not yet married – fiance and/or dependent child October 2, 2010
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-3/K-4 – Already married – spouse and/or dependent child October 2, 2010
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 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 May 3, 2010
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant All other special immigrants April 2, 2011
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) May 3, 2010
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Religious workers April 2, 2011
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Employment-based adjustment applications June 2, 2011
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 August 16, 2011
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Based on refugee admission more than 1 year ago 4 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 June 4, 2011
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)] August 9, 2011
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student. [(c)(3)] August 9, 2011
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending asylum application [(c)(8)] October 17, 2011
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Based on a pending I-485 adjustment application [(c)(9)] August 9, 2011
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 August 9, 2011
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits Voluntary departure under the family unity program 6 Months
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition To request further action on an approved application or petition May 31, 2011
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: January 31, 2012
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 November 20, 2011
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Change of status in the U.S. November 20, 2011
I-129 Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker H-1B – Specialty occupation – Extension of stay in the U.S. October 16, 2011
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 December 18, 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 November 27, 2011
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 June 17, 2011
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21 January 9, 2011
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 November 13, 2010
I-131 Application for Travel Document Refugee or asylee applying for a refugee travel document August 2, 2011
I-131 Application for Travel Document Permanent resident applying for a re-entry permit August 2, 2011
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-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal Readmission after deportation or removal May 2, 2011
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant All other special immigrants April 17, 2011
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) April 17, 2011
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Religious workers June 5, 2011
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status Employment-based adjustment applications August 14, 2011
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 8 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 June 20, 2011
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)] December 25, 2011
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 July 16, 2011
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-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 July 25, 2011
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 May 23, 2011
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

It should be noted that these processing time estimates may not accurately reflect the overall time it takes to process an entire case as further time may be expended processing a case through the National Visa Center (NVC). Furthermore, those awaiting a US visa (such as a K-1 visa or a CR-1 visa) outside of the United States will likely be required to undergo Consular Processing at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad  before prospective issuance.

For related information please see: K1 visa Thailand.

more Comments: 04

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.

more Comments: 04

6th December 2010

In an interesting recent decision by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit the Court found that they indeed have the prerogative to review and rescind an I-130 denial. The following is a direct quotation from the Court’s opinion which was distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):

In addition, interpreting the statutory language as the government advocates would force this court to classify every decision involving fact-finding by the Attorney General as discretionary and would remove all such decisions from judicial review. That is not a reasonable interpretation in light of the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act itself setting forth our standard of review for factual determinations in removal proceedings.

As one could likely gather from the above cited quote, the United States government’s position regarding denial of I-130 petitions basically could have created a situation in which Courts would not be able to review the decisions made by adjudicators at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). It was interesting that the Court was not persuaded by this argument and reviewed the decision notwithstanding government objection.

For those who are unaccustomed to the US visa process, the I-130 petition is generally the first step in bringing an alien immediate relative to the USA. This petition is often utilized by those wishing to bring a foreign spouse to the United States. In cases where the I-130 petition is approved, the case file is usually forwarded on to the United States National Visa Center (NVC) which is an agency under the jurisdiction of the American State Department. The NVC acts as a sort of clearinghouse for visa applications. Therefore a Vietnamese spouse will likely process his or her visa application at the United States Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City via the NVC. Meanwhile, a Thai spouse will likely process his or her visa application through the US Embassy in Bangkok by way of the National Visa Center. Chinese spouses may process through one of the many US Consulates in China or the US Embassy in Beijing. The same can be said for India as the US Missions in both countries have dramatically changes Consular Processing procedures to provide more convenient options to American visa seekers after NVC processing.

The issue of judicial review in matters pertaining to United States immigration is a complicated one. Therefore, differing aspects of the US visa process may be subject to varying levels of judicial review depending upon the circumstances of a given case. For this reason some bi-national couples opt to retain attorney assistance in processing visa petitions and applications as a licensed professional can provide significant insight into overall processing procedures and provide strategies for streamlining the visa process.

Fore related information please see: K1 Visa Thailand, IR1 Visa Thailand, or CR1 Visa Thailand.

more Comments: 04

13th June 2010

With the recently announced fee increases associated with K visa applications filed overseas, there are many who feel that serious thought should be given to the type of visa a couple should petition to obtain. In the past, many couples who were thinking of marriage opted to apply for a US fiance visa, also referred to as a K1 visa. That being said, it was recently announced that the application fee for all K visas sought overseas would be increased from $131 to $350. Apparently, the resources accrued are to be used in furtherance of fraud prevention measures as well as implementation of measures meant to streamline the overall visa process. As the fee increase was only recently announced, it remains to be seen how newly acquired fees will be used on the Consular level. With that in mind, it has also been recently announced that USCIS may be raising fees for Immigrant visa petitions. For those who are unfamiliar with this blog, it should be noted that for purposes of traveling to the USA, the K1 visa and the K3 Visa are considered to be immigrant visas even though they do not automatically confer lawful permanent residence to the bearer upon entry in the USA.

Those seeking a US visa would be prudent to seriously consider their options because the costs associated with the process of applying for and obtaining a CR1 visa or an IR1 visa may be lower in some cases when compared to the costs associated with the K1 visa process. When viewed from a long term perspective the CR1 visa, although more time consuming to obtain, confers lawful permanent residence to the bearer upon entry and thereby negates the necessity of adjustment of status which is necessary for those who travel to the US on a K1 visa with the intent to marry the Petitioner and remain in the USA permanently.

In most cases, those wishing to bring a spouse to the USA are wise to bear in mind the fact that K3 visa applications, once a popular travel document for bi-national married couples, are now being administratively closed by the National Visa Center if the underlying I-130 is approved prior to, or at the same time as, the I-129f application. This has lead to many instances of spouses being required by circumstance to process a CR1 or IR1 visa rather than a K3 visa because the NVC simply will not process the K3 application.

For those interested in further information about US Immigration please see: American Visa Thailand.

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23rd May 2010

Please be advised that the following was posted on the official website of the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand:

Updated Warden Message: Curfew Extended, Embassy to Reopen on May 25

(May 23, 2010) This warden message alerts U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Thailand that the Royal Thai Government through the Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) has announced that it will impose a shortened curfew for at least one more day and will evaluate the need to extend the curfew on a day-to-day basis.  To find out if the Royal Thai Government has extended the curfew, please refer to local media and our website.  We will not send out another email warden message solely regarding the curfew, but will update this message on our website.

The curfew is in place tonight, Sunday, May 23 from 11:00pm to 5:00am.  This curfew applies to the Bangkok metropolitan area and to the Thai provinces listed below.  Royal Thai Government officials may change this list after this Warden Message is sent out, so please refer to media or local officials for the latest information.  Reports indicate that troops have authority to shoot on sight in response to acts of inciting unrest.  American citizens should maintain a low profile and refrain from nighttime outside activity until the situation improves.

If you will be flying out of Bangkok in the next several days, we recommend that you leave for the airport well in advance of the curfew hours.  If you are arriving at a Bangkok airport during curfew hours, we recommend that you stay at the airport until after curfew hours.  Reports indicate that Airports of Thailand (AOT) may coordinate transportation for passengers from Suvarnabhumi Airport to a few central locations in Bangkok during curfew hours.  However, they are evaluating providing this service on a day-to-day basis.  Passengers may not be able to find any transportation from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Bangkok during curfew hours and may need to wait until after curfew hours to go to Bangkok.

The U.S. Embassy, including visa operations, will be closed Monday, May 24.  We will reopen all operations, including all consular services, on Tuesday, May 25.  On Monday, May 24, American Citizen Services (ACS) will be at our temporary location at the Westin Grand Sukhumvit.  Please see details in our recent announcement. ACS is also available by phone at 02-205-4049.  For after-hours emergencies, please call 02-205-4000.


A curfew from 11:00pm to 5:00am has been declared in the following provinces:

·       Ayuthaya

·       Bangkok metropolitan area

·       Chaiyaphum

·       Chiang Mai

·       Chiang Rai

·       Chonburi

·       Kalasin

·       Khon Kaen

·       Lampang

·       Mahasarakham

·       Mukdaharn

·       Nakhon Pathom

·       Nakhon Ratchasima

·       Nakhon Sawan

·       Nan

·       Nong Bua Lamphu

·       Nonthaburi

·       Pathum Thani

·       Roi Et

·       Sakon Nakhon

·       Samut Prakarn

·       Sisaket

·       Ubon Ratchathani

·       Udon Thani

U.S. citizens are reminded that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence with little or no warning.  U.S. citizens are urged to avoid the areas that may be targeted for demonstrations and to exercise caution in their movements around Bangkok.

Since May 15, 2010, the Department of State has advised U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to Bangkok and all non-essential travel to the rest of Thailand.  You should review the Department’s most recent Travel Warning for Thailand.

The Department strongly encourages U.S. citizens in Thailand to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok or through the State Department’s travel registration website. For information on general crime and security issues, U.S. citizens may also consult the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for Thailand and the Worldwide Caution, located at the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website.  U.S. citizens may also obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 from the United States and Canada, or 202-501-4444 from overseas.

The American Citizen Services section of the U.S. Embassy Bangkok is located at 95 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.  The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy can be reached by calling 66-2-205-4049 and by e-mail at acsbkk@state.gov.  The emergency after-hours telephone number is 66-2-205-4000.

Please note that the Embassy is scheduled to resume normal operations on Tuesday May 25th. That being said, routine follow-up matters for the Immigrant Visa Unit can only be dealt with on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Therefore, document remittances in response to 221g refusals for travel documents such as the K1 visa or the CR1 Visa will likely only be accepted on Wednesday May 26, 2010.

For more information about recent Post closures in Bangkok please see: US Embassy. For information about attorney assistance with American Immigration matters please see: US Visa Thailand.

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21st April 2010

For information in English please see: National Visa Center.

NVC คืออะไร?

กระบวนการขอรับผลประโยชน์จากการเข้าเมืองของสหรัฐอเมริกาอาจจะยุ่งยากเป็นบางครั้ง แต่โดยภาพรวมแล้วหากว่าเข้าใจขั้นตอนหรือมีการจ้างทนายความผู้มีประสบการณ์ก็อาจจะทำให้ง่ายขึ้น

คำถามที่พบบ่อยๆเกี่ยวกับกระบวนการขอวีซ่าก็คือ NVC คืออะไรและมีหน้าที่อะไร NVC ย่อมาจากศูนย์วีซ่าแห่งชาติ ซึ่งเป็นหน่วยงานรัฐภายใต้อำนาจของกระทรวงต่างประเทศสหรัฐอเมริกา NVC มีสำนักงานอยู่ที่ Portsmouth มลรัฐ New Hampshire อำนาจของ NVC คือการดำเนินการคำขอวีซ่าและทำให้แน่ใจว่าคำขอวีซ่าจะถูกส่งต่อไปยังหน่วยงานที่อยู่ในพื้นที่ผู้รับผลประโยชน์มีภูมิลำเนาอยู่

NVC ยังรับผิดชอบในการรวบรวมค่าธรรมเนียมวีซ่าถาวร และเอกสารสำคัญที่จำเป็นต้อเจ้าหน้าที่กงสุลในการพิจารณาคำขอ

กระบวรการดำเนินการของ NVC วีซ่าไม่ถาวรและวีซ่าถาวร

การดำเนินการของ NVC นั้นยุ่งยากและใช้เวลาค่อนข้างมากกว่าสำหรับวีซ่าถาวร ซึ่งตรงข้ามกับวีซ่าไม่ถาวร กิจกรรมหนึ่งที่ NVC ทำบ่อยๆก็คือการตรวจสอบด้านความมั่นคงและตรวจสอบภูมิหลังของผู้ที่มีความประสงค์จะเข้าประเทศสหรัฐอเมริกา หลังจากเหตุการณ์ 11 กันยายน 2544 NVC ได้มีบทบาทสำคัญเพื่อทำให้มั่นใจว่าบุคคลเหล่านั้นจะไม่เป็นภัยต่อความมั่นคงของประเทศสหรัฐอเมริกา

NVC นั้นบางครั้งถูกเข้าใจสับสนกับ NBC หรือ ศูนย์ผลประโยชน์แห่งชาติซึ่งได้รับมอบหมายจาก USCIS ให้จัดการเกี่ยวกับเอกสารก่อนสัมภาษณ์สำหรับการสัมภาษณ์คนเข้าเมืองในประเทศสหรัฐอเมริกา

สำหรับคนที่ต้องการนำคู่หมั้นชาวไทยไปอเมริกาโดยวีซ่า K1 ขั้นตอน NVC มักจะเร็วกว่าผู้ขอวีซ่าอพยพ ซึ่งก็เป็นจริงสำหรับกรณีวีซ่า K3 จากประเทศไทยที่ยื่นคำขอเพิ่มเติม I129F ในกรณีใดๆก็ตาม เมื่อวีซ่าได้รับการอนุมัติจาก USCIS มันจะถูกส่งต่อไปยัง NVC และ เมื่อได้รับอนุมัติคำขอจะถูกส่งไปยังสถานทูตสหรัฐอเมริกาหรือสถานกงสุลใหญ่

ขึ้นอยู่กับจำนวนเรื่องที่ NVC กระบวนการอาจจะใช้เวลาจาก 2 ถึง 8 สัปดาห์ ในการดำเนินการและส่งต่อเรื่องไปยังสถานทูตในต่างประเทศ อย่างไรก็ตามนี่ก็เป็นแค่ระยะเวลาโดยเฉลี่ยเท่านั้น ระยะเวลาในการดำเนินการสำหรับหน่วยงานของสหรัฐก็มักจะต่างกันไป

เมื่อยื่นคำขอที่ USCIS ในกรุงเทพมหานคร NVC จะไม่เข้ามามีส่วนในขั้นตอนใดๆเนื่องจากคำขอจะถูกส่งตรงไปยังสถานทูตอเมริกาประจำกรุงเทพมหานครซึ่งอยู่ฝั่งตรงข้ามทันที

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20th April 2010

In previous posts this author has discussed the I-130 petition for an immediate relative for a visa to the United States of America. For those present in countries that do not have an office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) it may be possible to file such a petition directly with the Consulate by utilizing a method known as Direct Consular Filing. However, in a country where an overseas office of USCIS is located it is incumbent upon to petitioner to file at the local USCIS office, provided he or she meets the residence requirements for the office to take jurisdiction. That being said, many are under the mistaken impression that only the petitioner and beneficiary, together, can submit an application. This is not necessarily the case.

8 CFR 292.1 states:

(a) A person entitled to representation [before USCIS] may be represented by any of the following:

(1) Attorneys in the United States. Any attorney as defined in §1.1(f) of this chapter.

Section 1.1(f), referenced above states:

“The term attorney means any person who is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of any State, possession, territory, Commonwealth, or the District of Columbia, and is not under any order of any court suspending, enjoining, restraining, disbarring, or otherwise restricting him in the practice of law.”

In practical terms, this means that a licensed attorney in the United States is entitled to represent clients before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. There is no geographical restriction placed upon this right. Therefore, those wishing to file an I-130 to travel to the United States are entitled, as a matter of law, to attorney representation.

This can provide a real boon to those who do not wish to deal with the petition submission process. Since an attorney in entitled to act on behalf of clients in matters involving petitions for the IR1 visa and the CR1 visa in Thailand, the Petitioner and Beneficiary need simply provide required documents to their attorney and the attorney can file the petition on their behalf. In some limited cases, USCIS officers require that a Petitioner or Beneficiary appear in person regarding a pending case. Should this situation arise, the Petitioner or Beneficiary is entitled to have their attorney present for such a meeting with USCIS officers.

Unfortunately, in Thailand there are many agencies and “fly by night” operations claiming to have the right and expertise to assist in visa matters. However, many of these so-called “lawyers” are not licensed to practice law in the United States, nor in any other jurisdiction. Therefore, they cannot present an I-130 submission on behalf of another. In a way, an I-130 local filing is a “litmus test” of whether or not an individual is really an American attorney. If a so-called “attorney” requires the Petitioner and/or Beneficiary to file the I-130 personally and the so-called “attorney” is unwilling to appear personally, then this may be a sign that they are an unlicensed operator and should be avoided.

For further information please see US Visa Thailand. For further information regarding USCIS local jurisdiction please see: USCIS Bangkok.

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19th April 2010

สำหรับผู้ที่กำลังหาข้อมูลเกี่ยวกับเอกสารวีซ่าอเมริกาที่เรียกว่า Notice of Action 2 ซึ่งถูกกล่าวถึงบ่อยในกรณีที่เกี่ยวกับคำขอวีซ่าคู่สมรสและวีซ่าคู่หมั้น กะทู้นี้จะอธิบายว่า Notice of Action 2 คืออะไร และมีความหมายอย่างไรกับคำขอวีซ่าที่อยู่ระหว่างพิจารณา

เมื่อยื่นคำขอวีซ่า เอกสารตอบรับฉบับแรกที่ได้รับจาก USCIS คือใบรับเรียกว่า Notice of Action 1 ( NOA 1 ) เพื่อเป็นการแจ้งแก่ผู้ยื่นขอวีซ่าว่า USCIS ได้รับคำขอวีซ่าแล้ว มีบางกรณีที่เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้พิจารณาเรื่องเห็นว่าต้องมีการยื่นหลักฐานเพิ่มเติมก่อนที่เรื่องจะได้รับการพิจารณา ในกรณีเช่นว่านี้ คำขอหลักฐาน ( รู้จักกันในชื่อ RFE ) จะถูกส่งไปยังผู้ยื่นขอวีซ่า อย่างไรก็ตาม ในกรณีส่วนใหญ่ หลักฐานเพิ่มเติมก็ไม่มีความจำเป็นและหากว่าคำขอวีซ่าได้รับการอนุมัติแล้ว Notice of Action 2 ก็จะถูกส่งไปยังผู้ยื่นขอวีซ่า ถ้าคำขอวีซ่าถูกปฏิเสธ ก็จะมีการส่งหนังสือแจ้งไปยังผู้ยื่นเช่นกัน

แม้ว่าจะไม่ค่อยเกิดขึ้นซักเท่าไหร่สำหรับคำขอวีซ่าครอบครัว การปฏิเสธของ USCIS ก็สามารถเกิดขึ้นได้ การปฏิเสธมักเป็นผลมาจากการที่คำร้องนั้นไม่แสดงให้เห็นความสัมพันธ์อันแท้จริงระหว่างผู้ยื่นและผู้รับผลประโยชน์ในขณะที่ยื่น หรือในอีกกรณีคือการที่ยิ่นขอวีซ่าผิดประเภท การสมรสตามประเพณีไทยก็เป็นอีกสาเหตุหนึ่งที่ทำให้เข้าใจทางเลือกในการขอวีซ่าอพยพเมริกาได้อย่างผิดๆ ในประเทศไทย หากว่าการสมรสนั้นมิได้เป็นการจดทะเบียน ณ สำนักทะเบียนอำเภอ ก็ถือว่ามิได้เป็นการสมรสโดยถูกต้องตามกฎหมายในสายตาของ หน่วยงานคนเข้าเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกาและไม่ถือว่าเป็นเหตุที่ทำให้สามารถขอวีซ่าอพยพเข้าเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกาได้

ดังนั้น หากว่าคู่รักที่ได้สมรสกันอย่างไม่เป็นทางการยื่นขอวีซ่า IR 1, CR 1 หรือ K3 คำขอก็จะถูกปฏิเสธเพราะว่ามีคุณสมบัติไม่เพียงพอในการออกวีซ่าให้ อย่างไรก็ตามสำหรับคู่รักในกรณีเหล่านี้ คุณสามารถขอวีซ่า K1 ได้

หลังจากที่ USCIS ออก Notice of Action 2 ให้ คำขอจะถูกส่งต่อไปยัง National Visa Center ในกรณีที่เกี่ยวกับวีซ่าอพยพถาวร NVC จะดึงเรื่องไว้นานพอสมควร อย่างไรก็ตาม หากเป็นกรณี ของวีซ่า K1 NVC จะไม่ดึงเรื่องเอาไว้นานสักเท่าไหร่ แต่จะดำเนินการตรวจสอบทางความมั่นคงและส่งต่อเรื่องไปยังสถานทูตสหรัฐอเมริกา ในกรณีคู่หมั้นชาวไทย จะมีการส่งเรื่องไปยังสถานทูตสหรับอเมริกาประจำกรุงเทพมหานคร กงสุลใหญ่ ประจำเชียงใหม่ จะไม่ดำเนินการวีซ่าอพยพถาวร

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