Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘K1 Visa Myanmar’

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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5th June 2011

This posting discusses the issues associated with retaining an American attorney to assist with the K-1 visa process. Those thinking about retaining assistance in the K-1 visa process are well advised to conduct thorough research prior to making any irrevocable decisions.

The K-1 visa is a non-immigrant US fiance visa which was intended to be used solely by the foreign fiances of American Citizens. The K-1 visa allows the foreign fiancee of an American Citizen to enter the United States for a period of 90 days of the purpose of marriage. Those who do not marry their American fiance after 90 days in the USA will be required to depart from the USA. Readers should bear in mind that the entrant to the United States on a K-1 visa who marries their loved one must undergo the adjustment of status process in order to gain lawful permanent residence in the U.S.A.

The purpose of this article is to provide insight to Americans about the perils of dealing with non-licensed individuals who purport to be qualified to practice United States Immigration law (or any American law, for that matter) . Pursuant to 8 CFR 292.1 only a qualified lawyer licensed to practice law in at least one U.S. State or Federal jurisdiction is entitled to engage in the receiving of client fees in connection with the practice of United States immigration law. Therefore, those not so qualified must either fit within a narrow exception to the aforementioned rule lest their behavior be deemed to be illegal. It should be noted that attorney-client confidentiality is a significant issue which should be considered when ascertaining the credentials of those claiming qualification in United States immigration matters abroad as there are many so-called “visa agents” or “immigration consultants” claiming qualification to provide services in connection with U.S. immigration. Attorney-client privilege is not extended to those not qualified as an American attorney and therefore discussions with unqualified individuals are likely not privileged communications. Meanwhile, some individuals brazenly, albeit falsely, portray themselves as American attorneys when, in fact, this is simply not the case.

For all of the reasons outlined above it should be noted that only a competent licensed attorney from the United States should be retained to assist prospective clients. Readers should understand that this message is not conveyed as an advertisement of this particular blogger’s services, as this is not this blogger’s intention in creating this posting. Instead, this post should be viewed as a reminder to readers that this decision should be made by prospective clients after serious contemplation and thorough research of all possible candidates for an attorney position. Attorney-Client relationships are not “one size fits-all” and neither is quality legal service. Therefore, the public should conduct research before coming to an informed decision about hiring an attorney.

For related information please see: K1 Visa Thailand or K1 Visa Cambodia.

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20th January 2011

The following information was quoted directly from the official website of the United States Embassy in Rangoon (Yangon), Burma (Myanmar):

Date Day U.S.* Burmese**
December 31 Friday New Year’s Day
January 4 Tuesday Independence Day
January 17 Monday Martin Luther King’s Birthday
February 12 Friday Union Day
February 15 Monday President’s Day
April 13 Wednesday THINGYAN (Water Festival)
April 14 Thursday THINGYAN (Water Festival)
April 15 Friday THINGYAN (Water Festival)
May 17 Tuesday Full Moon of Kason
May 30 Monday Memorial Day
July 4 Monday Independence Day
July 15 Friday Full Moon of Waso(Beginning of Buddhist Lent)
July 19 Tuesday Martyr’s Day
September 5 Monday Labor Day
October 10 Monday Columbus Day
October 12 Wednesday Full moon of Thadinkyut
November 10 Thursday Full moon of Tazaungmone
November 11 Friday Veteran’s Day
November 24 Thursday Thanksgiving Day
December 26 Monday Christmas Day

* American Holidays falling on Saturday will be observed the preceding Friday. Holidays falling on Sunday will be observed on the following Monday.

** Burmese Holidays falling on either Saturday or Sunday will be observed only on the respective day. The Embassy will be OPEN the preceding Friday and the following Monday when Burmese holidays are celebrated on either Saturday or Sunday.

For Idd, Deepavali, Karen New Year, Peasants’ Day and Full Moon day of Tabaung, Embassy will observe a liberal leave policy.

Those wishing to visit the official homepage of the American Embassy in Burma please click HERE.

Those Americans seeking services such as issuance of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, US Passport, or additional visa pages for a previously issued US Passport are well advised to contact an American Citizen Services (ACS) Section at a US Consulate or US Embassy abroad. Those wishing to receive services from an ACS Section abroad may find it beneficial to make an appointment online to visit the post. Setting an appointment in advance can greatly streamline the processing of requests put before ACS.

Those seeking a temporary visa such as a B-2 visa (US Visitor Visa), B-1 visa (US Business Visa), J-1 visa (US Exchange Visitor Visa), F-1 visa (US Student Visa) are likely to process their visa application through a Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) Unit at a US Embassy abroad. It should be noted that non-immigrant visa applications are scrutinized pursuant to section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act.

Those seeking American family visa benefits such as the CR-1 visa or the IR-1 visa are likely to see their visa application processed through an Immigrant Visa (IV) Unit at a US Post abroad. It should be noted that the K-1 visa, a non-immigrant US fiance visa, is generally treated in much the same manner as immigrant visas. In the past, the same could have been said for the K-3 visa, but since the National Visa Center’s promulgation of the “administrative closure” policy far fewer K-3 visa applications are processed abroad compared to the past.

Those seeking an EB-5 visa or an L-1 visa are likely to be required to process an immigration petition at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in the USA prior to processing a visa application abroad.

For related information please see: US Visa Burma.

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19th October 2010

A common question on the lips of many American Citizens with a Burmese husband or wife is: “Can I get my Burmese husband (or wife) a US K3 marriage visa?” In the past, this question would likely have received an unqualified: yes. However, recent changes to the K3 visa process have resulted in the effective end of broad K-3 marriage visa issuance due to the American State Department’s National Visa Center and their policy of “administrative closure” for many K3 visa applications.

To understand the K3 visa process one must first understand why the K3 visa was invented. It was designed to act as a sort of expedited travel document for spouses of American Citizens at a time when the backlog for adjudication of classic Immigrant spouse visa petitions at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) was running quite high. In fact, there was a time when bi-national Burmese-American couples could wait as long as 3 years just to see their I-130 petition adjudicated (this does not take into account National Visa Center processing and Consular Processing of pending visa applications). Due to the aforementioned backlog, Congress and the US President enacted the so-called “Life Act” which, among other things, created the K-3 visa category. The K3 visa petition sort of “piggybacks” onto an underlying spouse visa petition and can only be filed after an initial Immigrant visa petition is filed.

In 2010, the National Visa Center announced that they would “administratively close” K3 visa applications when the underlying Immigrant visa petition arrived before, or at the same time as, the K-3 petition. It would seem that this policy is based upon the premise that the K-3′s utility is negated when USCIS has already adjudicated the Immigrant visa petition. Bearing this in mind, it should be noted that the Immigrant spouse visas (also known as the CR1 Visa or the IR1 Visa, depending upon the circumstances of the couple seeking the visa benefits) confer Lawful Permanent Residence upon the visa holder when admitted to the USA at a port of entry. A K3 visa holder is admitted as a non-immigrant, but the entrant retains the option of either adjusting status in the USA or applying for their immigrant visa at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. In any case, the K-3 visa, although slightly faster from an initial processing standpoint, does not grant superior benefits to the foreign spouse upon entry compared to the Immigrant visa categories. Therefore, those currently researching American spousal immigration are wise to delve into information regarding the CR1 or IR1 visas.

Fore related information please see: K3 Visa Burma or K1 Visa Burma.

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24th September 2010

In previous posts on this blog, this author has discussed proposed fee increases of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). In a recent announcement from USCIS, this matter again came to this author’s attention as USCIS announced a final rule on the issue. To quote directly from the actual announcement as distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced a final rule adjusting fees for immigration applications and petitions. The final rule follows a period of public comment on a proposed rule, which USCIS published in the Federal Register on June 11, 2010. After encouraging stakeholders to share their input, USCIS considered all 225 comments received. The final rule will increase overall fees by a weighted average of about 10 percent but will not increase the fee for the naturalization application. The final rule will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow,September 24, and the adjusted fees will go into effect on November 23, 2010.

“USCIS is grateful for the valuable public input that we received as we prepared the final fee rule,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “We remain mindful of the effect of fee increases on the communities we serve, and we will continue to work to enhance the services we provide.”

The final fee rule establishes three new fees, including a fee for regional center designations under the Immigrant Investor (EB-5) Pilot Program, a fee for individuals seeking civil surgeon designation, and a fee to recover USCIS costs to process immigrant visas granted by the Department of State. Additionally, the final rule reduces and eliminates several fees, including some for servicemembers and certain veterans of the U.S. armed forces who are seeking citizenship-related benefits. The final rule also expands the availability of fee waivers to additional categories.

USCIS is a primarily fee-based organization, with about 90 percent of its budget coming from fees paid by applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits. The law requires USCIS to conduct fee reviews every two years to determine the funding levels necessary to administer the nation’s immigration laws, process immigration benefit requests and provide the infrastructure needed to support those activities. The final fee rule announced today concludes a comprehensive review begun in 2009.

USCIS’s fee revenue in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 was much lower than projected, and fee revenue in fiscal year 2010 remains low. While USCIS received appropriations from Congress and made budget cuts of approximately $160 million, this has not bridged the remaining gap between costs and anticipated revenue. A fee adjustment, as detailed in the final rule announced today, is necessary to ensure USCIS recovers the costs of its operations while also meeting the application processing goals identified in the 2007 fee rule.

Those with foreign fiances may take note of the fact that within this same announcement it was noted that the petition fees for the fiance visa will be reduced from 455 United States dollars to 340 United States dollars. On the whole, there are some who may not particularly welcome this announcement, but it would appear that the costs associated with providing Immigration services have reached the point that a fee adjustment is in order.

It should be noted that the fees noted above may not be the only costs that arise during the processing of a United States visa. This is due to the fact that the US visa process is somewhat bifurcated as USCIS is tasked with adjudicating the initial immigration petition while a US Embassy or US Consulate with appropriate jurisdiction is responsible for processing visa applications for travel documents sought outside of the United States of America. Recently, the US Department of State announced an increase in fees associated with adjudication of K1 visa applications abroad. That said, other fees were reduced. These fee adjustments seem to correlate to the underlying costs and fees associated with the adjudication of these applications.

For related information please see: K1 Visa Thailand.

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21st October 2009

US Visa from Myanmar (Burma)

Posted by : admin

Although not boasting the same tourist numbers like countries such as Thailand and Indonesia, Myanmar (Burma) has a large number of nationals applying for United States visas, particularly when one takes into account the fact the Myanmar (Burma) is one of the most politically isolated countries in Southeast Asia. Although a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Myanmar has not signed the protocols allowing for visa free travel for citizens of ASEAN countries. Therefore, it can be extremely difficult for Burmese visa seekers to travel to another US Consular or Diplomatic post in the region in order to process a visa application.

The US Embassy in Myanmar (Burma) is located  in Yangon (Rangoon). This post does process visa applications for those of Burmese (Myanmar) nationality or those residing in the Consular District. That being said, obtaining a US visa for a Burmese national can be very complicated due to the fact that the government of the Union of Myanmar (Burma) is reluctant to issue passports to its citizenry. Further, the government in Myanmar (Burma) takes a dim view of Burmese nationals marrying foreigners. Government officials can often cause delays in obtaining necessary documentation. The implacable nature of some bureaucrats leads many to apply for a USA visa in a different jurisdiction.

Many Americans in Thailand meet Burmese nationals who are living and working in the Kingdom of Thailand. In most situations, Burmese-American couples opt to process their visa application at the US Embassy in Bangkok. Taking this course of action does not eliminate the need for a Myanmar passport, but in some cases, if the Burmese national can obtain a Thai visa, then they will be able to remain in Thailand until the visa interview at the US Embassy. Further, if the Burmese national obtains a Thai visa, then this will likely ensure that the US Embassy will take jurisdiction over the case, rather than forwarding the application to the Embassy in Yangon (Rangoon).

That being said, some opt to utilize the K-3 visa as it can be beneficial for those with a Burmese fiancee who wish to process their application in Thailand. Before getting married, the couple may need to decide where they wish to apply for a visa as this may have an effect upon where the marriage should be executed. Even still, a K1 visa will still be faster and if the Burmese national remains in lawful immigration status in Thailand, then it is likely that the American Embassy will take jurisdition over the case.

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2nd June 2009

Origin of the K1 Visa

Posted by : admin

Certain provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act promulgated in 1952 create differing means and methods for family immigration to the USA. Of particular interest are the provisions specifically designed to provide visas and travel documents for foreign loved ones of Americans.

Pursuant to prior US immigration statutes and rules, an American Citizen with an alien fiancee was required to marry the alien loved one outside of the United States and subsequently petition for an Immigrant visa in order to obtain immigration benefits for the alien spouse. As time went by the number of United States Citizens marrying foreign nationals grew. As a result, the immigration caseload increased.

Over the years, the United States Congress has made efforts to ease the administrative burden shouldered by agencies involved in US Immigration. Concurrently, Congress has also passed measures designed to provide  more immigration options to those United States Citizens who have alien loved ones.

The K1 Fiance visa is an example of Congressional intent to assist bi-national couples. One major problem with the pre-K1 immigration regulations: what does a couple do if they cannot get married in the foreign fiancee’s home country? Prior to passage of the legislation creating the K1 visa category many couples found themselves unable to immigrate to the USA together if the non-US Citizen’s home country would not legalize the marriage.

These types of situations can be seen even today. In Southeast Asia, there are many countries that make restrictions upon marriage to foreigners. Burma (also known as Myanmar) has enacted stringent rules regarding marriage to foreigners. At different points in Cambodia’s history, there have been instances of government attempts to keep Cambodians from marrying non-Cambodians. In situations such as this, a K1 visa can be a godsend for couples because it allows them to obtain a US visa without the requirement of formalized marriage. Once present in the USA on a K1 visa the foreign fiancee can marry the American Citizen and submit an application for adjustment of status. After the adjustment of status application is approved, the foreign fiancee is given permanent residence.

In Thailand, a country that makes no specific provisions barring foreign nationals from marrying Thais, the K1 visa is often sought because the processing time is quick in comparison to the K3 visa or the Immigrant US Marriage Visa. However, the K1 is not necessarily the fastest option because sometimes locally filing an immigrant visa petition is the fastest method of visa acquisition.

(No attorney-client relationship is created between the author and reader of this post. This post is written and distributed for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice.)

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