Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘my thai fiancee’

23rd November 2009

The K1 visa process is long and complicated. At the end of the process, the K1 visa holder is permitted to enter the United States one time for a duration of 90 days. Unlike a United States Tourist visa, the K1 fiance visa is a dual intent travel document. This means that the bearer is entitled to simultaneous immigrant and non-immigrant intent. Luckily, the K1 visa holder would likely not be placed in expedited removal proceedings based upon the notion that the alien is an undisclosed immigrant without proper documentation. That being said, there are still considerations which must be made before a Thai fiancee enters the United States of America.

The first major issue many American men ask about: Can My Thai fiancee leave the USA after she enters on her K1 visa? She can leave the United States, but doing so would cause her to fall out of K1 status and a new visa would need to be obtained. There is a document called an advance parole travel document which would allow the Thai fiancee to leave the USA and reenter in the same status. That being said, it is never wise to leave the USA after entering on a K1 until after the adjustment of status application is approved. It is wise to make certain the the Thai fiancee does not have any pressing concerns that must be dealt with abroad. Some circumstances cannot be foreseen, but it is not advisable to plan on turning around and leaving the USA shortly after entering on a K1.

Upon reaching a port of entry in the USA, the Thai fiancee will pass through Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This is the point at which she will need to present her visa. Most people do not realize that the visa is not merely the document in her passport, but also a large amount of documentation that the Embassy gives her after approving the application. This documentation is remitted in a sealed envelope which is not to be opened by anyone other than the CBP Officer. Generally, the CBP officer will ask some routine questions and usually admit the alien fiancee. In very extreme cases, it may be possible for a CBP officer to turn the entrant away. However, this author has yet to see a K1 visa holder turned away at the port of entry. With this in mind, couples should keep an eye upon the expiration date of the visa as this is critically important. If the visa expires before entry, then the entrant will need to reapply for a new visa at an Embassy or Consulate in Thailand.

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1st October 2009

A major topic on this blog is the pursuit of unlicensed immigration practitioners and others who prey upon unsuspecting prospective immigrants for the pursuit of collecting illicit profits. As mentioned previously, the State of New York has taken a hard line against those posing as immigration attorneys. Recently, to quote a document issued by the State of New York:

“Subpoenas were issued today to the following organizations and several of their principals: Amanda C. Gillespie Inc., Mister Enry’s Consulting Services Ltd., Immigrants United Foundation, Immigration Specialist Helpline, Yours and Yours Only, Simply Different, Lian Tong Services, American Corporate Society, Mendez Accounting and Tax Service Corp., New York Novelties, North America Immigrant Services, Inc. d/b/a North America Immigration Consulting Corp., Omnipoint Naturalization Center, National Foundation for New Americans, Simply Done Immigration, Tamizdat Inc., Tanc. Inc., Worldwide Immigration Consultation Services, Baocheng Immigration Service Center, American Assessment Association, Xiu’s Restoring Center, and JP Consulting Services”

Impostors claiming to be Immigration attorneys are an unfortunate problem that State and Federal authorities are trying to address. The New Your State Attorney General commented upon this practice and his remarks were noted in the aforementioned press release:

“The consequences of bad legal advice can devastate individuals and their families, threatening their citizenship and chances for a life in this country. Today’s subpoenas broaden our investigation to nearly 100 entities across the five boroughs and underscore our commitment to finding and prosecuting unauthorized service providers that disregard the rights of people trying to make this country their home.”

In Thailand it is an all too common story to hear about people being hoodwinked by those posing as accredited immigration “agents.” This leads many Americans in Thailand to pose the question: “How can I be sure that the person advising my Thai fiancee is on the level?” One very effective method for ascertaining the qualifications of an “Immigration Lawyer,” is to simply ask the individual if they are: licensed to practice law, if so, in what US state, and can proof of said qualification be produced? A reputable attorney should be willing to provide this information and documentation. Should an individual be asked to provide this information and thereafter become hostile or non-responsive, then this may be an indication that the individual does not have a license to practice United States Immigration law. Caveat Emptor is a good principle to bear in mind when thinking of hiring another person to handle an Immigration matter, particularly in the field of US Family Immigration as one’s family members and loved ones more precious than any amount of money.

For related information please see: K1 visa

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28th September 2009

United States Immigration law offers many long term benefits for the spouses and fiancees of American Citizens. One of the many questions posed by those American’s researching US Immigration from Thailand is: how does my Thai fiancee acquire United States Citizenship?

There are many misconceptions about who can naturalize as a US citizen and under what circumstances. As a rule, naturalization to US citizenship takes approximately five years, if the applicant is already in lawful permanent resident status. However, for the husband or wife of a United States Citizen, the amount of time necessary to naturalize is greatly reduced. In order for the spouse of an American citizen to naturalize, the spouse must have been in lawful permanent residence for 3 years prior to the application for naturalization. Further, the husband or wife who meets this criterion must also have been physically present in the United States for an aggregate of 18 months prior to application. For United States Immigration and naturalization purposes, half-days in the US are counted as full days when determining physical presence in the United States of America.

For those bringing a Thai fiancee into the United States on a K1 visa, the clock does not begin ticking toward naturalization until the Thai applicant successfully is approved for adjustment of status. The date noted on the adjustment of status approval is the date from which one can begin accruing presence toward ultimate naturalization. In the case of the K3 visa, even though it is a marriage visa, time in the USA does not accrue towards Citizenship until after approval of an adjustment of status application or the applicant returns to the US Embassy for processing of the underlying IR1 or CR1 visa application.

It should be noted, much like the lift of conditionality, one can, and perhaps ought to, file for naturalization ninety days before the applicant hits the three year mark for time in the US in lawful permanent residence.

There are some exceptions to the 3 years plus 18 months aggregate presence requirement. Most notable is the fact that in certain situations, a permanent resident can acquire citizenship after only one year in lawful permanent resident status if they are accompanying a United States Citizen abroad in order to work in a job related to the United States Military, Government, or other government related endeavor.

If a couple makes plans ahead of time, it may be possible for a Thai fiancee or spouse to acquire United States Citizenship in an efficient and timely manner. That being said, for those seeking US Citizenship, the road can be difficult as naturalization requires a great deal of time and effort on the part of the foreign applicant as well as an investment of resources on the part of the US Citizen spouse.

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24th September 2009

The question asked by many American Citizens in the United States or Expats in Thailand with a Thai Girlfriend: How do I obtain a Green Card for My Thai Fiancee? Before answering this question, the researcher needs to discern exactly what a Green Card is.

The Document commonly referred to as a “Green Card,” is in fact a term used to describe Lawful Permanent Residence in the USA. In family visa applications, there are essentially two ways of obtaining lawful permanent resident status: applying for an Immigrant visa and obtaining said status upon entry into the United States; or applying for a K1 visa, entering the United States, and applying for permanent residence through the process of adjustment of status. There are two types of lawful permanent residence: conditional lawful permanent residence and unconditional lawful permanent residence. Conditional permanent residence is reserved for those couples who either opt to adjust status in the United States or who have been married less than 2 years at the time they apply for a visa. Conditional permanent residence is conferred upon the entrant who travels to the United States on a CR1 visa. Unconditional permanent residence is conferred upon an entrant to the United States traveling on an IR1 visa.

If seeking an immigrant visa for a Thai fiancee, then the American Citizen will need to marry the Thai national before the application’s submission. In Thailand, marriage registration can be a very straightforward process provided both parties are legally free to marry. A common question with regard to Thai marriage registration: will the US recognize my Thai marriage to my thai fiancee? In short: yes. The United States recognizes the legality and binding effect of a legally sanctified matrimonial union executed in the Kingdom of Thailand provided that it is registered at the local Amphur office.

What about bringing my Thai fiancee to the United States on a K1 visa? This is an option pursued by many Thai-American couples as it is generally the fastest method of getting a Thai fiancee into the United States. The only real downside of the K1 visa is the fact that it requires a post-marital adjustment of status.

Where the fiancee enters and adjusts or marries abroad and enters on an Immigrant visa, if she decides to travel abroad subsequent to acquiring permanent resident status, then she may be wise in obtaining a reentry permit so that a presumption of residential abandonment does not arise. Those who have acquired a US reentry permit are free to remain abroad for up to 2 years without raising the suspicion that they are not ever returing to the United States.

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