Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘IR1 Visa Thailand’

2nd May 2020

The past 6 weeks have been very eventful in terms of the response to the COVID-19 (or Coronavirus) lock down in Thailand. This crisis has also had a significant impact upon the American visa process. By way of an update, the Thai government has recently announced an easing of restrictions associated with the lock down of business and social interaction in Thailand. It now appears that as of May 3rd, small eateries, parks, hair salons, stores selling certain retail as well as electronic goods, and pet shops will be allowed to reopen. Thai government officials have announced that further phased reopening measures will be implemented in coming weeks should circumstances permit. Concurrently, it was initially announced that the ban on the sale of alcohol in Thailand would be extended throughout the month of May. There was some speculation that a “grace period” would be permitted on Mat 1st and 2nd to allow the public time to “stock up” on alcohol products in anticipation of further restrictions over the forthcoming month.

Shortly after these predictions and the announcement that the ban on alcohol sales would continue, it was announced that retail alcohol sales could recommence beginning May 3rd. Further, it appears that those eateries which maintain an alcohol license and usually sell alcohol in the course of their day-to-day business will be permitted to sell alcohol on a “take-away” basis. Therefore, for the forthcoming days small restaurants and other venues will be reopened to the public and life in Thailand appears to be normalizing somewhat. Notwithstanding these measures, restrictions on pubs and entertainment establishments remain.

While all of this is unfolding in Thailand, in the USA the US immigration system appears to be preparing for further delays associated with the processing of visa cases. The following announcement from USCIS recently came to this blogger’s attention:

On March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services temporarily suspended routine in-person services to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). USCIS plans to begin reopening our offices on or after June 4, unless the public closures are extended further.

In prior announcements it had been noted that May 4th would be the presumptive date of reopening. It now appears that there will be at least another month delay for in-person services with USCIS. At the same time, the new Immigration Ban remains in effect although it is unlikely to have any impact upon those seeking a K-3 visa, CR-1 visa, IR-1 visa, or K-1 visa from Thailand as the ban specifically excludes spouse visas and only pertains to immigrant visas. Therefore, as a fiance visa is not, by definition, an immigrant visa, the provisions this new ban do not apply to fiances of American citizens. However, notwithstanding the fact that the immigration ban does no directly impact most family based visas from Thailand it is effectively a moot point for the immediately foreseeable future due to the fact that the Immigrant Visa Unit and the Non-Immigrant Visa Unit at the US Embassy in Bangkok are not currently holding visa interviews nor are the issuance immigrant and non-immigrant visa as they remain closed due to the coronavirus. We, in this office, are currently looking at the USCIS presumed reopening date as the best indication of when it seems prudent to presume that the Embassy will reopen for interviews. That stated, the ultimate date of reopening remains to be seen, but we will try to keep you up to date on this blog.

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22nd April 2020

An Executive Order has been issued by the Trump administration regarding suspension of immigration to the United States for the forthcoming 60 days. However, the order does not appear to apply to those seeking a K-1 visa to bring a foreign fiance to the USA. Concurrently, it also does not appear to apply to American visas for the spouses and children of U.S. Citizens. To quote directly from the relevant sections of the order as posted on the White House website:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) and 1185(a), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, hereby find that the entry into the United States of persons described in section 1 of this proclamation would, except as provided for in section 2 of this proclamation, be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and that their entry should be subject to certain restrictions, limitations, and exceptions.  I therefore hereby proclaim the following:

Section 1.  Suspension and Limitation on Entry.  The entry into the United States of aliens as immigrants is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.

Sec2.  Scope of Suspension and Limitation on Entry.  (a)  The suspension and limitation on entry pursuant to section 1 of this proclamation shall apply only to aliens who:

(i)    are outside the United States on the effective date of this proclamation;

(ii)   do not have an immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation; and

(iii)  do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.

(b)  The suspension and limitation on entry pursuant to section 1 of this proclamation shall not apply to:

(i)     any lawful permanent resident of the United States;

(ii)    any alien seeking to enter the United States on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees;  and any spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of any such alien who are accompanying or following to join the alien;

(iii)   any alien applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;

(iv)    any alien who is the spouse of a United States citizen;

(v)     any alien who is under 21 years old and is the child of a United States citizen, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;

(vi)    any alien whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee;

(vii)   any member of the United States Armed Forces and any spouse and children of a member of the United States Armed Forces;

(viii)  any alien seeking to enter the United States pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa in the SI or SQ classification, subject to such conditions as the Secretary of State may impose, and any spouse and children of any such individual; or

(ix)    any alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.

Sec3.  Implementation and Enforcement.  (a)  The consular officer shall determine, in his or her discretion, whether an immigrant has established his or her eligibility for an exception in section 2(b) of this proclamation.  The Secretary of State shall implement this proclamation as it applies to visas pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may establish in the Secretary of State’s discretion.  The Secretary of Homeland Security shall implement this proclamation as it applies to the entry of aliens pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may establish in the Secretary of Homeland Security’s discretion.

(b)  An alien who circumvents the application of this proclamation through fraud, willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or illegal entry shall be a priority for removal by the Department of Homeland Security.

(c)  Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to limit the ability of an individual to seek asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, consistent with the laws of the United States.

Sec4.  Termination.  This proclamation shall expire 60 days from its effective date and may be continued as necessary.  Whenever appropriate, but no later than 50 days from the effective date of this proclamation, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Labor, recommend whether I should continue or modify this proclamation.

Sec5.  Effective Date.  This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on April 23, 2020.

Sec6.  Additional Measures.  Within 30 days of the effective date of this proclamation, the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall review nonimmigrant programs and shall recommend to me other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers.

Sec7.  Severability.  It is the policy of the United States to enforce this proclamation to the maximum extent possible to advance the interests of the United States.  Accordingly:

(a)  if any provision of this proclamation, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this proclamation and the application of its provisions to any other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby; and

(b)  if any provision of this proclamation, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid because of the lack of certain procedural requirements, the relevant executive branch officials shall implement those procedural requirements to conform with existing law and with any applicable court orders.

Sec8.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or,

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This proclamation shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This proclamation is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
twenty-second day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.

DONALD J. TRUMP

 

Clearly, there are many who might see their cases negatively impacted by this order. To preface any further analysis, it should be noted that visa processing has been suspended at the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand as well as the US Embassy in Vientiane, Laos and the US Embassy in Phnom Phen, Cambodia due to the COVID-19 outbreak. So regardless of this order, it is not currently possible to obtain a visa from these posts as interviews have been suspended. Bearing the above in mind, the following analysis will demonstrate that this order will NOT have an impact on fiance visa and marriage visa cases for the fiances and/or spouses of American citizens:

The executive order states: “The entry into the United States of aliens as immigrants is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.” The K-1 visa is designed for the fiance of an American citizen to to travel to the United States with the intention of marriage. It grants the bearer 90 days of lawful status in the USA in which to marry their American fiance and file for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence (aka Green Card status). It is important to note: the K-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, albeit a dual intent visa. For purposes of processing it is treated as an immigrant visa (for example K-1 cases process through the Immigrant Visa Unit of the American Embassy in Thailand), but pursuant to United States law it is in fact a non-immigrant visa. The above cited executive order only pertains to immigrant visas. Therefore, this order does not have any bearing upon the processing of a K-1 fiance visa case.

What about cases involving the spouse of an American citizen where the spouse would enter the USA and be granted an I-551 stamp thereby granting permanent residence to the foreign spouse upon entry? The above executive order speaks directly to such a situation: “The suspension and limitation on entry pursuant to section 1 of this proclamation shall not apply to:…(iv) any alien who is the spouse of a United States citizen“[Emphasis Added]. Clearly the suspension ordered in Trump’s executive order will exempt spouses of Americans. Therefore, those foreign spouses of American citizens seeking a K-3 visa, CR-1 visa, or IR-1 visa will not be adversely impacted by the provisions of this executive order.

Finally, the following should be noted: “This proclamation shall expire 60 days from its effective date…This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on April 23, 2020.” Thus, unless this order is extended it will expire 60 days from now. We will keep readers updated on this blog as the situation progresses.

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19th March 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

We will keep this blog updated as the situation evolves.

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1st March 2020

In recent months, both Thai and American immigration systems have been in a state of flux. In some ways the systems have become more streamlined, but in other ways it is becoming more difficult to navigate these systems. The Trump administration has been implementing policies which make immigration to the United States more difficult, as a practical matter. Recently, these prerogatives are starting to have an impact on the ground in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and ASEAN as a whole. For example, Myanmar has been placed upon a list of countries banned from traveling to the USA. As a result, Myanmar nationals will not be able to enter the USA, nor will such nationals be granted visas to travel to the USA. If and/or when this ban will be lifted remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, there has been a great deal of discussion surrounding the administration’s implementation of new public charge rules in relations to immigrant visas for the USA. It is clear that there will be a direct impact upon those who are seeking family based immigrant and non-immigrant visas to the United States. For example, those seeking a CR-1 visa or an IR-1 visa will need to deal with the DS-5540 Public Charge Questionnaire when undertaking Consular Processing of their cases at the US Embassy or US Consulate in the jurisdiction in which the applicants reside. Concurrently, it is also clear that those who travel to the United States on a K-1 visa or a K-3 visa will need to deal with the I-944 form as part of the implementation of public charge adjudication during adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence (a.k.a. “Green Card” status”).

A question posed to this blogger recently: When seeking a K visa abroad, will I need to fill out a DS-5540? The answer to this question is not overly clear at first glance. This blogger did some research and came upon the following information in the Foreign Affairs Manual:

9 FAM 302.8-2(B)(4) (U) Applying INA 212(a)(4) to Nonimmigrants

d. (U) Alien Seeking Admission as K Nonimmigrants: K nonimmigrants and their petitioners are not permitted to complete form I-864. You may request a K applicant complete Form DS-5540 to assist in evaluating likelihood of becoming a public charge. Note that K applicants will again be assessed under the public charge ineligibility by USCIS at the time of adjustment of status where the K nonimmigrant seeking adjustment of status will be required to submit a Form I-864.

It is clear that non-immigrant visas are not the same thing as immigrant visas, but K visas are an odd hybrid creature in the immigration world and their posture in these matters can be somewhat fluid. Note that the FAM states the adjudicating officer “may request a K applicant complete Form DS-5540,” but it is not required. Meanwhile, it goes on to note that the applicant is not allowed to file an I-864 and that the issue of public charge we be adjudicated again at the adjustment of status phase of the process. Is this wording designed to allow American Embassies and Consulates leeway to not require K visa applicants to file a DS-5540? Perhaps, the practical implications of the public charge rule at the US Embassy in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia remain to be personally witnessed by this blogger, but rest assured as soon a there is further clarification we will follow up on those developments.

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6th February 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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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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.


more Comments: 04

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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