Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘K3 Visa Laos’

21st October 2010

Those who have read some of the blog will no doubt note that this administration often posts information about the K3 visa process and the overall impact of administrative closing of K3 visa applications by the US State Department’s National Visa Center. Many American Citizens who have a Laotian husband or wife pose the question: “Can I get a K3 visa for my wife (or husband) to reunite with me in the USA?” The answer to this question, at the time of this writing, is a rather qualified: no. However, a brief overview of the K3 visa and the recent changes to the K3 visa process may enlighten those who are researching this issue on their own for the first time.

At one time, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) had a substantial backlog of immigrant spouse visa petitions. This lead to a situation in which it could take as long as 3 years to receive USCIS adjudication of a mere immigrant spousal visa petition filed by an American Citizen. Due to this rather untenable situation, the United States Congress and President William Jefferson Clinton promulgated and executed a piece of legislation commonly referred to as the “Life Act”. Under the provisions of the Life Act, the K3 visa category and the K4 visa category were created (The K4 visa is a derivative visa for the children of foreign spouses similar to the derivative K2 visa which can be “piggybacked” onto a K1 visa application). At the time, the K3 visa was greeted by many as a severely needed stopgap solution to a rather pernicious problem: slow processing of classic immigrant visa petitions. In recent years, the USCIS has gone to great lengths to streamline the adjudication process and thereby decrease the time it takes to see an immigrant spouse visa petition adjudicated. As a result, many adjudicated immigrant visa petitions began arriving at the National Visa Center at the same time as their K3 counterparts. At one point, it would appear that a decision was made to “administratively close” K3 visa applications when the Immigrant petition arrives either before or at the same time as the K3 petition. This leads to a situation where American-Lao bi-national couples are compelled to seek immigrant visa benefits rather than K3 visa benefits. It should be noted that immigrant visa benefits are substantially superior to K3 visa benefits as immigrant visas confer lawful permanent residence upon the bearer at the time of his or her entry into the United States. Whereas the K3 visa is simply a non-immigrant spouse visa. Therefore, those entering the USA in K3 status must either file for an adjustment of status or Consular Process their immigrant visa petition at a US Embassy or US Consulate outside of the USA.

The term “K3 visa” has sort of become the buzzword used to refer to a US Marriage Visa over the internet. In point of fact, the classic travel documents used by Lao spouses to reunite with their American counterparts are referred to as either the CR1 Visa or the IR1 Visa. Depending upon a bi-national couple’s circumstances such travel documents may confer either conditional or unconditional lawful permanent residence upon admission to the USA.

For related information please see: K1 Visa Laos or K3 Visa Laos.

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5th October 2010

Southeast Asia is a beautiful and  often visited part of the world. One of the lesser known, but highly enjoyable, destinations in Southeast Asia is the country of Laos. This small landlocked country north of the Kingdom of Thailand, the Kingdom of Cambodia, and South of the Peoples’ Republic of China has been a destination of choice for those seeking the adventure and natural beauty of tropical Asia. Some Americans who travel to Laos meet a special someone whom they wish to bring back to America. For these people, the first thing that comes to mind is: “Will my girlfriend (or boyfriend) need a US Visa?” In most cases, a visa will be necessary as the United states does not allow Laotians to come to America on the US Visa Waiver Program. Therefore, the next question for many is: “Can I get my Lao girlfriend (or boyfriend) a US Tourist Visa?” In most cases, the answer to this question is: no, but a deeper understanding of relevant immigration law may provide insight into the reason for possible denial.

Relatively few Americans are aware of a provision in the United States Immigration and Nationality Act called section 214(b). Under this section of the INA a Consular Officer adjudicating a non-immigrant visa application (like a B2 visa application, B2 is the official category for tourist visas) must presume that the applicant is an intending immigrant unless the applicant can provide strong evidence to the contrary. This creates a sort of “strong ties” vs. “weak ties” analysis whereby the Consular Officer will balance the applicant’s ties to the USA and Laos (or another country abroad). If the applicant can show strong ties to Laos and weak ties to the USA, then that applicant may be granted the tourist visa. However, in cases where a US Citizen is a significant other of the applicant such a relationship may have a negative impact upon the visa application as the relationship itself could be viewed as a “strong tie” to the USA. This should NOT be read as to imply that a relationship should not be disclosed as it is this author’s opinion that failure to disclose the existence of an American significant other could be construed as misrepresentation. That said, such a relationship could still have an adverse impact upon an applicant’s tourist visa application.

Those who wish to bring a Lao loved one back to the United states for the purposes of marriage and subsequent residence are well advised to seek either a US fiance visa (K1 visa) or a US Marriage Visa (CR1 Visa, IR1 Visa, or a K3 Visa although the K3 visa category has been effectively phased out by the National Visa Center in recent months).  That said, no one should ever enter into any type of relationship strictly as a pretext for obtaining a US Immigration benefit. Therefore, the relationship that acts as a basis for any visa application or petition ought to be bona fide and genuine.

For related information please see: US Visa Vietnamese Girlfriend or K1 Visa Laos.

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5th July 2010

Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia. In recent years it has become a popular destination among back-pack tourists as well as those wishing to see the majestic splendor of Laos’ natural beauty. As is often the case in countries around the globe, a US Embassy provides services to those seeking a US visa or a other services which can be provided either through the Consulate proper or the American Citizen Services Section. Those wishing to travel to an Embassy are generally advised to check the hours of operation and the local holiday closing schedule in an effort to forestall an unnecessary trip to the Embassy due to Post closure. The following is a direct quote from the official website of the US Embassy in Laos:

Holidays 2010

Date Day Holiday Lao/U.S.
January 1 Friday New Year’s Day U.S./Lao
January 18 Monday Martin Luther King’s Birthday U.S.
February 15 Monday Presidents’ Day U.S.
March 8 Monday International Women’s Day Lao
April 14-16 Wed.-Friday Lao New Year Lao
April 30 Friday Lao Labor Day Lao
May 31 Monday Memorial Day U.S.
July 5 Monday Independence Day U.S.
September 6 Monday Labor Day U.S.
October 11 Friday Boat Racing Festival Lao
October 22 Monday Columbus Day U.S.
November 11 Thursday Veterans Day U.S.
November 19 Friday That Luang Festival Lao.
November 25 Thursday Thanksgiving Day U.S.
December 2 Thursady Lao National Day Lao
December 24 Friday Christmas Day U.S.

Substitution days. Please note: According to the prevailing practice in Laos, official holidays which fall on Saturday will be observed on the preceding Friday and Sunday on the following Monday.

As can be gathered

Note: Administrative Days: In addition to the dates above, the consular section will be closed on the following Fridays for administrative days — March 12, June 11, September 10, November 12, and December 10.

Staff at a US Embassy or a US Consulate can usually provide assistance, or insight, regarding documentation such as the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), Notarized affidavits, Passports, visa pages, etc. In situations where an American Citizen must travel to the American Citizen Services Section of a United States Embassy or Consulate it may be wise to check the US Embassy’s website in order to ascertain whether or not one can set an appointment online. This makes the situation far less cumbersome for both the American and the Consular Officer as the Post can be prepared ahead of time to deal with the petitioner’s request.

With regard to visas, those petitions which are filed in the USA (such as a K1 visa petition or a K3 Visa petition) must first receive approval from USCIS before the petition will be forwarded to the Department of State and the US Embassy.

For further information, please see: US Visa Laos.

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