Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘IR1 Visa’

1st September 2021

The lockdowns in Bangkok and other highly populated areas of Thailand appear to be abating as it has recently been decreed that certain retail businesses may reopen while restaurants and other eateries may again serve dine-in customers from today onward. There seems to be an implication that further easing will be forthcoming, but we have seen that attitude before only to see things suddenly reverse. Hopefully, the business community in Bangkok and Greater Thailand has finally come through the worst of these rather stringent measures and things can move on.

Meanwhile, various destinations in Thailand are attempting to “Move On“. Notably, Phuket has implemented initiatives in the “Phuket Sandbox” program to allow travelers in that location to travel to other destinations after an initial 7 days on the island in the “7+7” program. Although this is definitely good news tourism numbers remain far below normal and therefore it remains to be seen how many people will actually avail themselves of this opportunity. The sandbox initiative has not garnered the tourism interest that many had hoped, but with high season coming this could change. It is worth noting that a number of non-immigrant Thai visa holders have availed themselves of the sandbox scheme as it is viewed as less cumbersome compared to dealing with 14 days of quarantine when traveling to other parts of Thailand.

It is notable that Thailand is one of the only jurisdictions in Southeast Asia which is permitting tourists to enter the country. Not to mention non-immigrant visa holders (most of whom were completely barred from reentry last summer). That stated, issues still arise for foreign nationals in Thailand as there are those who have problems either maintaining their status due to unforeseen work issues or no longer meet the requirements of their lawful status. Under such circumstances it is optimal to avoid falling into overstay and attempt to obtain a Thai visa conversion in order to remain in the Kingdom.

American immigration is not moving as quickly as was the case prior to 2020. That stated, things are moving more quickly compared to the situation in 2020. Although appointments for non-immigrant visas to the USA such as tourist visas are difficult to come by and even obtaining an appointment for a K-1 visa interview can be difficult. There are those who hope that a change in administration in the USA will result in concrete changes to the American immigration apparatus, but any improvements remain to be seen.

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10th August 2021

As the current economic situation in Thailand continues down a precarious path due to lockdowns. There are many who fear tourism may not return to Thailand in high numbers any time in the near future. In fact, quarantine rules do not look like they are going away and the Phuket sandbox has proven to be less of a draw than initially anticipated. There are some who have speculated that Thailand may have come to overly rely upon tourism as an integral component of the overall economy. Whether or not this is true is difficult to ascertain, but it should be noted that anyone predicting the events of 2020 and 2021 in, say, the year 2018 would have been called worse names than crazy so the notion that Thailand came to overly depend upon tourism is only an argument that operates logically in hindsight.

Although the Phuket sandbox has been discussed a great deal as of late, there is also a similar program which has been initiated in Samui and those wishing to avail themselves of this tourism opportunity may do so by traveling through Bangkok in “sealed terminals” in order to undergo “sandbox quarantine” for 14 days on that island. Presently, travel restrictions in Thailand have precluded wide travel latitude for those wishing to leave the Phuket sandbox, but this does not appear to currently be an issue in the Samui system. Those wishing to travel to Bangkok from abroad may do so, but they are still required to undergo quarantine in a Bangkok hotel via the Alternative State Quarantine system.

Business travelers to Thailand are not precluded from using either the Samui or Phuket sandboxes so those with a Thai business visa and/or Thai work permit may return to Thailand without undue hardship. It is worth pointing out that Thailand is one of the few jurisdictions in Southeast Asia which is trying to maintain tourist travel as well as admitting non-immigrant visa holders such as the aforementioned B visa holders as well as those holding an O visa for marriage to a Thai or for retirement. Thai Embassies and Consulates are still issuing O-A retirement visas to those retirees abroad. Thailand remains one of the few countries in Southeast Asia actively issuing visas to foreign retirees.

Those seeking visas to the USA may continue to do so under present circumstances although appointment scheduling has proven somewhat cumbersome in recent months as the American Embassy in Bangkok appears to be either understaffed or unable to process a large caseload due to restrictions associated with the response to COVID-19. However, appointments are available, albeit it in a relatively limited number.

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24th May 2021

The overall posture of American immigration has improved considerably since the beginning of 2021. With the transition to a new administration there have been a number of changes in how immigration cases are processed. As noted previously, the public charge rule has reverted back to pre-Trump criteria. Concurrently, it appears the current administration has rolled back a potentially disturbing policy regarding collection of biometric data from not only intending immigrants to the United States, but American petitioners and sponsors as well. Presently, there are a number of backlogs holding up cases at various points in the US immigration process. For example, processing times at USCIS are longer overall. Meanwhile issues at the National Visa Center are prolonging case processing. Finally, the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand has had to postpone a number of appointments citing the COVID situation. Although it seems the Embassy is prioritizing family based Immigrant Visa Unit matters over the non-immigrant visa unit as some level of priority seems to be conferred to cases such as applications for the K-1 visa (for fiances of America citizens) and the marriage visa cases (K-3, IR-1, and CR-1 visas). There does seem to be some hope on the horizon that things will start looking better as this administration does not seem as intent on being deliberately obtuse with respect to processing immigration cases.

Turning to Thai immigration news, the situation in Thailand has turned less positive since April and the upshot in an immigration context is the re-extension of the quarantine time in Thailand. As of the time of this writing, all travelers (including those vaccinated) arriving in Thailand are required to undergo a 14 day quarantine. On a more general note, Thailand remains under a state of pseudo-lockdown which is having a tremendously negative impact upon the SME sector. However, there is hope that things will begin to turn around as the COVID vaccination is rolled out in early June. Key officials in Thailand have also stood firm behind their commitment to reopen Phuket for the “sandbox” initiative in July. This is apparently still moving forward and, as yet, this doesn’t seem likely to be cancelled. That stated, many initiatives (such as “travel bubbles” or reduced quarantine) have been proposed and ultimately shot down or have been rolled out only to be rolled back. Therefore, it is difficult to predict exactly how things will progress moving forward in the course of the next few weeks, but hopefully these days ahead will be better than those recently transpired.

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18th March 2021

The overall Immigration system in both the United States and Thailand have been in a state of flux for a number of months. The transition in Administrations in the United States has had a number of effects upon the Immigration apparatus as a whole, most recently the Secretary of Homeland Security announced changes with respect to the public charge rule. To quote directly from the Department of Homeland Security website:

Today, DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced that the government will no longer defend the 2019 public charge rule as doing so is neither in the public interest nor an efficient use of limited government resources.

“The 2019 public charge rule was not in keeping with our nation’s values. It penalized those who access health benefits and other government services available to them,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Consistent with the President’s vision, we will continue to implement reforms that improve our legal immigration system.”

President Biden’s Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans called for an immediate review of agency actions on public charge inadmissibility and deportability. DHS’s review, in consultation with the Departments of Justice and State and the federal benefits-granting agencies, is ongoing.

Clearly, this represents a sea change with respect to immigration policy on issues associated with acting as a sponsor for an intending immigrant or in cases where adjustment of status is involved. This is likely to have a tremendous impact upon processing of cases such as the K1 Visa, the K3 Visa, the CR1 Visa, and the IR1 Visa. In K-1 visa cases, those acting as sponsors must file an I-134 affidavit of support while the I-864 applies to immigrant visas. Hopefully, the recently announced policy change will benefit those seeking these types of visas.

Meanwhile, it seems officials in Thailand are going ahead with easing of quarantine measures. The process of lifting the quarantine is slated to occur in phases, with phase 1 set to commence in April. There are to be 4 phases of the quarantine easing with phase 2 (so-called “area quarantine“) set to commence at the beginning of the summer and apparently the Kingdom will open much more in October. Much of the reopening appears contingent upon the broad adoption of so-called vaccine passports, with certificates of entry to be phased out in favor of that documentation. Notwithstanding these announcements, it now appears that quarantine will continue albeit on a truncated basis, with those who can prove prior vaccination and a clear COVID test able to enjoy 7 days of quarantine (as opposed to 14 days) beginning in April. Those unvaccinated with a clear COVID test will only be compelled to quarantine for 10 days.

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12th September 2020

The overall immigration and visa environment in both the USA and Thailand are in an extreme state of flux. In recent months the response by the US Embassy in Bangkok to the COVID-19 pandemic has been to shutdown the Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visa Units and preclude interviews. However, an announcement in recent weeks suggests that this shutdown is coming to an end. Quoting directly from the US Travel Docs website:

Beginning October 1, 2020, U.S. Embassy Bangkok and U.S. Consulate General Chiang Mai will resume routine nonimmigrant visa services for all visa categories.  The number of visa interviews per day will be limited to ensure social distancing. Starting from September 9, 2020, you can renew your visa by mail, provided you meet all the qualifications listed on https://www.ustraveldocs.com/th/th-niv-visarenew.asp.  Please read all the information before submitting your application by mail. Applicants for H1B, H2B, L1, and certain J categories and their dependents covered by Presidential Proclamation 10052 should request an appointment only if you have reason to believe you may qualify for one of the exceptions listed in the Proclamation here.  For more information on exceptions, click here. U.S. Embassy Bangkok has also resumed processing most immigrant visa categories and is currently addressing its backlog of cases, namely those applicants whose interview appointment was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Immigrant Visa unit will be in direct contact with applicants currently eligible to reschedule their interview appointment.

Although the actual easing of current restrictions remains to be seen, many waiting for a K-3, CR-1, IR-1, or K-1 visa interview are anxious to see the beginning of October and, along with it, the resumption of visa processing.

Meanwhile, the current posture of the Thai Immigration system remains relatively inert compared to normal circumstances as most all travel to Thailand is heavily restricted. That stated, there are some non-immigrant visa categories which are approved for usage to enter Thailand. Most notable among the categories are the Thai Business Visa (with work permit or work authorization [either WP3 or WP10 depending upon circumstances) and the Thai O visa for those foreign nationals who have a Thai spouse, children or parents. Presently, those with a Thai retirement visa will not be able to gain access to Thailand utilizing that travel document as their sole and exclusive means of lawful admission. Based upon some accounts, it appears likely that this restriction may remain until the beginning of 2021.

Thai officials have been attempting to balance health and safety concerns against the strong desire to readmit tourists to Thailand. A multitude of initiatives have been discussed in recent weeks including further discussion of a “travel bubble” initiative as well as discussion of the “safe and sealed” program. More recently, the “Phuket Model” is being discussed in earnest as a means of admitting foreign tourists while simultaneously taking necessary precautions to assuage those concerned about public health. It seems the roll out of the “Phuket Model” is not a foregone conclusion and it now seems likely that, once implemented, it will be a plan pertaining to all of Thailand rather than specifically targeting Phuket. However, implementation remains to be seen and therefore comment as to the details associated therewith would be an exercise in conjecture at this time. Concurrently, there also appear to be discussions regarding “Green Lanes” to allow business travelers access to Thailand.

Within Thailand, issues surrounding Thai immigration are becoming increasingly urgent as the Thai visa amnesty (sometimes referred to as the automatic Thai visa extension) is coming to an end on September 26th. Thai Immigration officials have made a number of statements regarding the end of the amnesty and noted that waiting until too close to the deadline may prove problematic for prospective visa applicants. Some officials have even gone so far as to hint at possible future announcements regarding Thai immigration rules in coming days. At the same time, it appears an ad hoc system is being put in place to allow temporary extensions for those who can produce an Embassy letter requesting such accommodation. That stated, statements from both he American and British Missions to Thailand would suggest that compelling reasons must be shown in order to ultimately have one’s Thai visa status maintained on a temporary basis pursuant to this prospective scheme. Those wishing to maintain long term lawful status past the end of the amnesty are well advised to either obtain an extension of status or a conversion into longer term immigration status in Thailand BEFORE the September 26 deadline.

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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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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 December 2017

Khmer language translation of video found here: ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​រៀបការសំរាប់​ពលរដ្ឋ​កម្ពុជា​ទៅ​រស់​នៅ​សហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក

សួស្ដី! ខ្ញុំឈ្មោះ Benjamin Hart ។ ខ្ញុំគឺជាមេធាវី និងជានាយកគ្រប់គ្រងនៃក្រុមហ៊ុនIntegrity Legal នៅក្នុងទីក្រុងបាងកកនៃប្រទេសថៃ ។

នៅក្នុងវីដេអូថ្ងៃនេះ យើងនឹងពិភាក្សាអំពីទិដ្ឋាការប្រភេទរៀបការ​ ដោយផ្តោតទៅលើបរិបទនៃ​ស្ថាន​ទូត​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិកប្រចាំ​នៅ​រាជធានី​ភ្នំពេញនៃប្រទេសកម្ពុជា ។

ដូចដែលយើងបានលើកឡើងខាងលើ យើងស្ថិតនៅក្នុងទីក្រុងបាងកក ។ ខ្ញុំ​គឺ​ជា​មេធាវី​ជនជាតិ​អាមេរិកាំង ប៉ុន្តែ​ក្រុមហ៊ុន​របស់​យើង​គឺ​ស្ថិត​នៅ​ក្នុង​ទីក្រុង​បាងកក ។ ការ​ងារ​របស់​យើង​ជា​ច្រើន​ដែល​ពាក់ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​ការ​ធ្វើ​អន្តោប្រវេសន៍​ទៅ​កាន់​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក គឺ​កើតឡើង​នៅ​ជុំវិញ​ទីក្រុង​បាង​កក និង​ការិយាល័យ​កុងស៊ុល​នៃស្ថាន​ទូត​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក ហើយ​ជាពិសេស​ ​សំណុំរឿង​របស់​យើង​ គឺ​នឹង​ត្រូវ​បញ្ចប់​នៅ​ក្នុង​កុងស៊ុល​នៃស្ថាន​ទូត​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិកនៅ​ទី​នេះ ។ ជាមួយ​គ្នា​នេះ​ យើង​ក៏​ទទួល​យក​សំណុំរឿង​ផ្សេងៗ​នៅ​ក្នុង​តំបន់​ផង​ដែរ ។ ខ្ញុំ​បាន​រត់ការ​សំណុំរឿង​ផ្សេងៗទាំង​នោះ​ញឹកញាប់​គួរសម​ដែរ ។ បើ​និយាយ​អោយ​ជាក់​លាក់ទៅ កម្ពុជា​គឺ​ប្រទេស​មួយ​ដែល​ខ្ញុំ​បាន​ធ្វើ​ការ​ជាមួយ​ញឹកញាប់​ជាង​គេ​នៅ​ក្នុង​តំបន់នេះ ។ ខ្ញុំ​គិត​ថា​ វា​អាស្រ័យ​ទៅ​លើ​ឆ្នាំផ្សេងគ្នា ។ ប៉ុន្តែ​យើង​បាន​ពិភាក្សា​អំពី ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​ K-1 នៅ​ក្នុង​វីដេអូ​ផ្សេង​មួយ​ទៀត ដែលជា​​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​គូដណ្ដឹង ។ នៅ​ក្នុង​វីដេអូ​នេះ យើង​នឹង​ពិភាក្សា​ជា​ពិសេស​អំពី​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទរៀប​ការ ។ ដូច្នេះ​ក្នុង​ពេល​នេះ ខ្ញុំ​នឹង​និយាយ​អំពីទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​ CR-1, IR-1 ឬ​ K-3 ។ មាន​វីដេអូ​មួយ​ផ្សេងទៀត​នៅ​ក្នុង​ទំព័រ​នេះ ដែល​និយាយ​ជា​ពិសេស​អំពីទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​ K-3 ហើយ​ខ្ញុំ​នឹងទុក​អោយ​វីដេអូ​នោះ​​ពិភាក្សា​លំអិត​ ឬ​ជាក់លាក់​អំពី​ទិដ្ឋាការ​នេះ​ ។ ទោះ​បី​ជា​យ៉ាង​ណា​ក៏​ដោយ ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​ CR-1 និង IR-1 ដែល​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​ CR-1 គឺ​ប្រភេទ​អ្នក​រស់​នៅជា​អចិន្ត្រៃយ៍​ដោយ​មាន​លក្ខខ័ណ្ឌ និង IR-1 ជា​ប្រភេទ​សាច់ញាតិ​ផ្ទាល់ ហើយ​អ្នក​ដែល​ចូល​ទៅកាន់​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក​តាម​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​ IR-1 គឺ​ជា​អ្នក​រស់​នៅ​ជា​អចិន្ត្រៃយ៍​ដោយ​ស្របច្បាប់​ដោយ​មិនមាន​លក្ខខ័ណ្ឌ ដែល​ខុស​ពី​​អ្នក​រស់​នៅ​ជា​អចិន្ត្រៃយ៍​ដោយ​ស្របច្បាប់​តែមាន​លក្ខខ័ណ្ឌ ។ និយាយ​ជា​រួម គឺ​ខ្ញុំ​និយាយ​អំពី​ជន​បរទេស ដែល​បាន​រៀប​ការ ហើយ​ខ្ញុំ​និយាយ​ជា​ពិសេស​អំពីពលរដ្ឋ​ខ្មែរ ដែល​រៀបការ​ជាមួយ​នឹងពលរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក ។ ទោះ​បី​ជា​ការ​វិភាគ​នេះ​អាច​យក​ទៅអនុវត្ត​បានចំពោះ​​​​អ្នក​រស់​នៅ​ជា​អចិន្ត្រៃយ៍​ដោយ​ស្របច្បាប់​នៅ​ក្នុង​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក​ដែល​មាន​បំណង​ចង់​យក​ប្ដី​ឬ​ប្រពន្ធ​ជនជាតិ​ខ្មែរ​របស់​ពួក​គេទៅ​កាន់​​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិកក៏​ដោយ​ ក៏​ប៉ុន្តែ​ខ្ញុំ​នឹង​ព្យាយាម​និយាយតែ​​អំពី​ពលរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក ដែល​មាន​បំណង​ចង់​យក​ប្ដី​ឬ​ប្រពន្ធ​ជនជាតិ​ខ្មែរ​របស់​ពួក​គេទៅ​កាន់​​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិកតែ​ប៉ុណ្ណោះ ។

ដូចនេះ អ្វី​ដែល​ត្រូវ​គិត​ពាក់ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​ពលរដ្ឋ​ខ្មែរ​ដែល​ចង់​ដាក់​ពាក្យ​សុំ​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​រៀបការដើម្បី​ទៅ​រស់​នៅ​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក គឺ​ថា​វា​គឺ​ជា​ដំណើរ​ការ​ដែល​មាន​៣​ផ្នែក ដែល​អ្នក​ត្រូវ​តែ​ចាប់​ផ្ដើម​ដោយ​រត់ការ​ដាក់​ពាក្យ​នៅ​​ក្រសួង​សន្តិសុខ​មាតុភូមិ​ និង​ភ្នាក់ងារ​សេវាអន្តោប្រវេសន៍ និង​ពលរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក ។ បន្ទាប់​មក​ទៀត អ្នក​ត្រូវ​ពាក់ព័ន្ធ​ជាមួយ​នឹង​មជ្ឈមណ្ឌល​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ជាតិ ដែល​នៅ​ក្នុង​បរិបទ​ទិដ្ឋាការ​អន្តោប្រវេសន៍ប្រភេទ​ប្ដីឬ​ប្រពន្ធ​ មជ្ឈមណ្ឌល​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ជាតិមាន​តួនាទី​ផ្សេងពីតួនាទីរបស់​ខ្លួន​ពាក់​ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​ទិដ្ឋាការ​​ប្រភេទ K គឺ​ប្រភេទ K-1 និង K-3 ។ នៅ​ក្នុង​សំណុំ​រឿង​សុំ​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ K-1 និង K-3 ដែល​ក្នុង​ករណី​ទាំង​នោះ​​​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ K-3 ត្រូវ​បាន​សំរេច​យល់​ព្រម នោះ​មជ្ឈមណ្ឌល​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ជាតិគ្រាន់​តែ​ដើរ​តួ​ជា​ទី​កន្លែង​លាង​សំអាត​ឯកសារ ឬ​កន្លែង​បញ្ជូន​ឯកសារ ដើម្បី​ធានា​អោយ​ប្រាកដ​ថា​សំណុំ​រឿង​នោះ​ចាក​ចេញ​ពី​ភ្នាក់ងារ USCIS ទៅ​កាន់​ស្ថានទូត​ក្រៅ​ប្រទេស​ដែល​សមស្រប ។ ពាក់ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​ទិដ្ឋាការអន្តោប្រវេសន៍​ទៅ​រស់​នៅ​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក វិសាលភាព​នៃ​ការ​ងារ​របស់​មជ្ឈមណ្ឌល​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ជាតិគឺ​មាន​លក្ខណៈ​ទូលំទូលាយ ។​ ពួក​គេ​ធ្វើ​ការ​ប្រមូល​ឯកសារ​ជា​ច្រើន ពួក​គេ​នឹង​ទាក់​ទង​ទៅ​អ្នក​ដាក់​ពាក្យ​ប្រសិន​បើ​ពួក​គេមាន​អារម្មណ៍​ថា​ខ្វះឯកសារ​ណាមួយ ឬ​ពួកគេ​មាន​អារម្មណ៍​ថាត្រូវ​ការ​ពត៌មាន​ចាំបាច់​បន្ថែម​ទៀត ។ នៅ​ក្នុង​វីដេអូ​មួយ​ផ្សេង​ទៀត​នៅ​ក្នុង​ទំព័រ​នេះ​យើង​បាន​ពិភាក្សាអំពីអ្វី​ដែល​គេ​ហៅ​ថា និតិវិធី​នៃ​ការ​ត្រួតពិនិត្យ​ដ៏​ខ្លាំង​បំផុត​របស់​រដ្ឋបាល​ប្រធានាធិបតី​ Trump ក្នុង​ពេល​ឥឡូវ​នេះ ។ ខ្ញុំ​មិន​ដឹង​ដែរ ហើយ​​ខ្ញុំក៏​​មិន​ទាន់​បាន​ឃើញ​ការ​​ត្រួតពិនិត្យ​ដ៏​ខ្លាំង​បំផុត​ណាមួយ​ត្រូវ​​បានធ្វើ​ឡើង​នៅ​មជ្ឈមណ្ឌល​​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ជាតិនៅ​ឡើយ​ទេ ប៉ុន្តែ​ខ្ញុំ​អាច​មើល​ឃើញ​ថា​នៅ​ក្នុង​ពេល​ណា​មួយ​នៅ​​ថ្ងៃ​អនាគត មជ្ឈមណ្ឌល​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ជាតិ​នឹង​អនុវត្ត​និតិវិធី​នៃ​ការ​ត្រួតពិនិត្យ​ដ៏ខ្លាំង​បំផុតនេះ ។ ទោះ​បី​ជា​យ៉ាង​ណា​ក្ដី ពួក​គេ​មាន​តួនាទី​យ៉ាង​សកម្មក្នុង​សំណុំ​រឿង​ទិដ្ឋាការ​អន្តោប្រវេសន៍ ។ នៅពេ​ល​ដែល​មជ្ឈមណ្ឌល​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ជាតិយល់​ថា​ឯកសារ​មាន​គ្រប់​គ្រាន់​ហើយ ពួកគេ​នឹង​បន្តដំណើរ​ការ​សំណុំរឿង​ទៅ​កាន់​ស្ថានទូតសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកប្រចាំនៅរាជធានីភ្នំពេញ ហើយ​ថ្ងៃ​សំភាស​នឹង​ត្រូវ​កំណត់​នៅ​ស្ថានទូត ។ នៅ​ពេល​សំភាស មាន​រឿង​ជា​ច្រើន​ដែល​អាច​កើត​ឡើង ដែល​មាន​ដូច​ជា​អ្វី​ដែល​គេ​ហៅ​ថាសំណើ 221-G ដើម្បី​ស្នើសុំ​អោយ​បេក្ខជន​ដាក់​ឯកសារ​បន្ថែម ដែល​មន្ត្រី​ដែល​ធ្វើ​ការ​សំភាស​ចង់​ឃើញ​ពាក់​ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​ករណី​នោះ ។ ជា​ទូទៅ បន្ទាប់​ពី​មាន​ការ​ត្រួត​ពិនិត្យ​ពីមជ្ឈមណ្ឌល​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ជាតិហើយ ការ​ស្នើ​សុំ​ឯកសារ​បន្ថែម​នេះ​មិន​សូវ​ជា​មាន​ញឹក​ញាប់​ទេ ប៉ុន្តែ​វា​អាច​កើតឡើង​បាន ។ ខ្ញុំមិន​គួរ​និយាយ​ថា​វា​កំរ​កើត​ឡើង​នោះ​ទេ ។ នៅ​ក្នុង​ករណី​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ​ K-1 វា​អាច​កើត​ឡើង​ជា​ញឹកញាប់​ ដោយ​សារ​តែ​ស្ថានភាព​នីមួយៗ​គឺ​ផ្សេងៗគ្នា ។ ទិដ្ឋាការប្រភេទ​រៀបការ ហាក់​ដូច​ជា​មាន​ភាព​ច្បាស់​លាស់ និង​ងាយ​យល់ ហើយ​ខ្ញុំ​គិត​ថា​វា​ជា​រឿង​ដែល​ត្រឹម​ត្រូវ​ក្នុង​ការ​មើល​ទៅ​លើ​ករណី​នេះ​តាម​បែប​​ហ្នឹង ។ ប៉ុន្តែ​អ្វី​ដែល​ខ្ញុំ​ចង់​និយាយ​នៅ​ពេល​នេះ​គឺថា មជ្ឈមណ្ឌល​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ជាតិនឹង​កំណត់​ថ្ងៃ​សំភាស ហើយ​កាល​កំណត់​នោះ​នឹង​ត្រូវ​បញ្ជូន​ទៅ កាន់​ស្ថានទូត​នៅ​រាជធានី​ភ្នំពេញ បន្ទាប់​មក​អ្នក​ត្រូវ​តែ​ចូល​សំភាស ។ ជា​រឿយៗ យើង​ធ្វើ​ការ​ត្រៀម​សំភាស​ជាមួយ​អតិថិជន​របស់​យើង ដើម្បី​អោយ​ពួកគេ​មាន​ការ​យល់​នូវ​អ្វី​ដែល​មន្ត្រី​កុងស៊ុល អាច​នឹង​ចង់ដឹង​ពាក់ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​ពាក្យ​សុំ ឬ​ពាក់​ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​ចំណុច​ជាក់លាក់​ណា​មួយ​នៃ​អ្នក​ដែល​ដាក់​ពាក្យ​សុំ ។​ រឿង​ផ្សេង​ទៀត​ដែល​យើង​ធ្វើ​គឺ​ផ្ដល់​នូវ​ការ​យល់​ដឹង​ខ្លះៗ​ពាក់​ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​និតិវិធី​ដែល​សំណុំ​រឿង​នឹង​ត្រូវ​ដំណើរ​ការ​នៅ​ស្ថាន​ទូត ។

ជា​រួម​ ខ្ញុំ​គិត​ថា​វិធីមើល​ទៅ​លើ​ដំណើរ​ការ​ទូទៅ​នៃ​ការ​ដាក់​ពាក្យ​សុំ​ទិដ្ឋាការអន្តោប្រវេសន៍​ទៅរស់​នៅ​សហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក​គឺដូចនេះ៖ វា​ចាប់​ផ្ដើម​នៅ​ក្រសួង​សន្តិសុខមាតុភូមិនៃ​សហរដ្ឋ​អាមេរិក ហើយ​បន្ត​ទៅ​មជ្ឈមណ្ឌល​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ជាតិដែល​ខុសពី​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ប្រភេទ K មជ្ឈមណ្ឌល​ទិដ្ឋាការ​ជាតិ​ មាន​តួនាទី​យ៉ាង​សកម្ម​ក្នុង​ដំណើរ​ការ​នេះ ហើយ​បន្ទាប់​មក​វា​នឹង​ត្រូវ​បញ្ជូន​ទៅ​កាន់​ស្ថានទូតសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកប្រចាំនៅរាជធានីភ្នំពេញ ។ នៅ​ពេល​នោះ ការ​សំភាស​នឹង​ត្រូវ​ធ្វើ​ឡើង ហើយ​ឯកសារ​បន្ថែម​ផ្សេងៗ​អាច​នឹង​ត្រូវ​ស្នើសុំ ដែល​អ្នក​នឹង​ត្រូវ​ ​រក​ឯកសារ​ដើម្បី​ដាក់​ជូន​ទៅ​កុងស៊ុលមុនពេល​ដែល​ ទិដ្ឋាការ​អាច​នឹង​ត្រូវ​សំរេច​យល់​ព្រមចេញ​អោយ​អ្នកនៅ​ចុង​បញ្ចប់ ។

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21st November 2017

The following is a transcript of a video which can be found here: US Marriage Visa Cambodia

In this video today, we are going to be discussing marriage visas in the specific context of the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

As you can see from the aforementioned preamble to this video, we are based here in Bangkok. I am an American attorney but the firm is based here in Bangkok. The bulk of our work in US immigration matters does revolve around Bangkok and the Consular section of the US Embassy here primarily our cases that are going to end up at the US Consular Section here. That being said, we do take other cases in the region, I do deal with a fair number of these rather frequently. Cambodia is one I deal with probably more often than any other country in the region if I ‘m being very specific. It kind of depends on the year, I guess. But that being said, the K-1, we discussed specifically in another video, that’s a fiancée visa. In this video, we are discussing US marriage visas specifically. So for now, I’m talking about the CR-1, IR-1 or the K-3 visa. There’s another video on this channel which goes specifically into the K-3 visa and I am going to sort of leave it to that video to discuss that directly if there’s specific things to think about with respect to the K-3. But suffice it to say, the CR-1 and the IR-1, CR-1 is Conditional Resident category, IR-1 is Immediate Relative and the person that enters on an IR-1 enters in unconditional lawful permanent residence as opposed to conditional lawful permanent residence to the United States. Generally speaking, I am talking about foreign nationals married, and I am specifically talking about Khmer, Cambodian Nationals married to an American citizen. Although some of this analysis could apply to a lawful permanent resident in the United States trying to bring their Cambodian spouse over as well but I’m going to try to keep it more on point with respect to an American citizen, seeking to bring a Cambodian female or male spouse to the United States.

So the thing to think about with respect to Cambodian nationals applying for marriage visa benefits to the US, it’s kind of a 3 part process in so far as you have to initially deal with the Department of Homeland Security and their United States Citizenship and Immigration Service  apparatus. Then you have got to go ahead and deal with the National Visa Center which in the context of Immigrant Spousal Visas, the National Visa Center is a very different animal than when you compare it to the K categories, the K-1 and the K-3. In the K-1 and the K-3 cases, in those cases where the K-3 gets processed through, in a way NVC just acts as a sort of clearing house or sort of a postal hub, if you will, to make certain that the case gets from USCIS over to the correct embassy abroad. With respect to US Immigrant visas the NVC’s job is much more broad in scope, and depth for that matter. They do a lot of document collection, they will do follow ups if they feel there’s a document deficiency or they feel that more information is necessary. In another video on this channel we discussed the so called extreme vetting protocols of the Trump Administration right now. I don’t know, specifically I haven’t seen anything with extreme vetting happen yet at NVC but I can see theoretically, sometime in the future, extreme vetting protocols may pertain directly to NVC at some point as well.  But that being said, they have a much more active role in the immigrant visa cases.  Once they are satisfied documentarily at National Visa Center, they will then go ahead and process the case out over to the embassy in Phnom Penh and an interview date will be set at the embassy. At the interview, things can happen like what are called the 221-G request for further documentation where basically the interviewing officer determines that they would like to see something more with respect to the case. Generally speaking, after an NVC vetting, this isn’t very frequent, but it does happen. I shouldn’t say that it’s infrequent. In K-1s, it can happen quite frequently because the circumstances are different. Marriage visas, the cases tend to be more clear-cut, I guess is the right way to look at it.  But that being said, basically the point I want to get across is, NVC will set that interview appointment, it will get over to the embassy in Phnom Penh and you have got to get in for an interview. We oftentimes do an interview prep with our clients so that they have an understanding, generally speaking, what the officer is probably going to want to know regarding the application or regarding the specifics of the person making the application and the other thing is we provide some insight with respect to the protocols for how the case is going to be taken in and dealt with at the post.

So to sort of sum up, I think the way to look at the overall process of applying for a US immigrant is this: it starts in the United States with the Department of Homeland Security, it moves over to the NVC which unlike the K categories, the NVC has a very active role in this process and then finally, it’s going to end up at the US Embassy at Phnom Penh and at that point the interview is going to take place and it’s possible more documentation could be requested and you may have to deal with a follow on submission before hopefully, the visa is ultimately approved.

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