Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘US Embassy Vietnam’

23rd November 2017

The following is a transcript of the video which can be found here: K-1 Visas from Vietnam

In this video we are going to be discussing K-1 Visas specifically in the context of cases that will be processed presumably through the US Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City primarily.

As can be heard from the preamble to this video, I’m an American attorney but we’re located here in Bangkok. Primarily we do the vast majority of our cases do involve Thai nationals though we do deal with cases regionally and I sort of thought about it the other day and I said that you know, I really don’t do enough videos talking about some of the other posts and other nationalities we deal with in the immigration context within the immigration practice here. So I went ahead and decided to do this video.

The way to look at the K-1 process specifically and the K-1 fiancée process is slightly different than dealing with other family based petitions. First of all, you have to be intending to marry an American citizen unlike marriage visas where you can be married to a lawful permanent resident and process a case that way for one of the preference categories. K-1 Visas are only between a foreign national and an American citizen. Both parties have to be legally free to marry, that’s rather important. This can come up and cause some confusion, and cause some problems in a lot cases because folks think “oh, we filed and now we can marry”. “No, you have to remain fiancées throughout the whole process!”  You have to be legally free to marry up until the fiancée, the Vietnamese fiancée comes to the United States at which point it is then possible to go ahead and get married in the United States and file for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence. In another video on this channel I discuss specifically adjustment of status. Adjustment of status is the process by which an individual comes to the United States, in this case in K-1 status, gets married and goes ahead and  lawful permanent residence attached,  aka Green Card Status. Another thing to keep in mind with respect to the K-1 specifically, the couple in question needs to have met physically in person within 2 years of the filing of the petition for the visa benefits.  There are exceptions to this rule but they are very, very narrow in scope and for that reason it’s best to effectively just go ahead and say “look, I have to meet in person. That usually means they are going to have to travel at least once to, in the case of a Vietnamese fiancée, presumably Vietnam and meet physically in person, the Vietnamese fiancée before filing can be perfected or at least before an acceptable filing can be perfected.

Some things to think about as far as how it works.  Well the case starts off over at the Department of Homeland Security, specifically USCIS, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. They go ahead and process the petition. If the petition is approved, the case moves to the National Visa Center which is under the auspices of the Department of State. The National Visa Center, they act as a sort of clearing house or sort of administrative hub for sending these cases out, making sure it gets from the approval at DHS and gets to the appropriate embassy or consulate. In the vast majority of cases involving Vietnam you’re  not going to be dealing with the post in Hanoi, in the vast majority of cases at least that we deal with, you’re dealing with the consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. It is a higher volume post, so processing can take a little bit longer. In Vietnam, as far as Consular processing goes, it can take a little bit longer when compared to other posts in the region, Bangkok included, but Bangkok is a pretty high volume post as well. Some of the other smaller posts, Cambodia, Laos definitely, even Yangon, don’t quite have the volume so things may move a little bit more quickly.  But that being said, it’s just the process you have to deal with and every case is sort of being unique and you have to deal with the circumstances as you take them.  So that being said, it will go to the Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City and at that point the case, the Vietnamese fiancée will be informed of the protocols that he or she needs to undertake to go ahead and complete the consular processing portion. In the cases where we have been retained to assist in these matters, we often assist with translations, compilation of documentation, filling out of various forms, both online and physical forms cases and in a lot of cases going ahead and submitting the request for the actual visa application interview.  And then on top of that we go ahead and assist in preparing certain questions or I really hate to say we provide the questions that they are going to ask, we don’t; we provide an overview with respect to how, what is the process looking for? What kind of due diligence is the Consular Officer likely to be interested in conducting? In most cases it’s ascertaining that the couple is a genuine couple, they are legally free to marry, they’ve remained legally free to marry, they adhere to the law, they adhere to the Immigration policy, they don’t have any legal grounds of inadmissibility and all the documentation relevant to the case that that officer feels is pertinent is present and accounted for with respect to the underlying application. That’s basically what they’re looking to do. It’s not an exercise in “stump the applicant”, it’s an exercise in due diligence. They want to make certain that the couple is bona fide.  So for that reason, that is sort of a general overview of what the interview process is like. If the officer requests further documentation, they can issue what is called a 221-G request for further documentation.

In some cases they may feel that the case is denied for various reasons. They have to give a legal reason why they are denying the case. In most cases that I have dealt when you get a denial, you are looking at a legal ground of inadmissibility, and a legal ground of inadmissibility is defined in the Immigration Nationality Act and in some cases it’s often possible to overcome that legal ground of inadmissibility through use of an I-601 waiver. There are various videos on this channel with respect to the I-601 specifically but to sort of just sum up K-1 visa processing through Vietnam, you’re looking at a matter of months; I think you are looking at probably 8 or 9 months with respect to the overall “door to door” process with respect to processing a successful K-1 visa, on average.  There are outliers on both sides. Every case is unique; it’s like a snow flake. But that being said, that’s kind of a general overview with respect to timeline, the thing to keep in mind, just sort of in sum. It’s a 3 part process. It effectively begins in the US, goes through various offices in the US, finally to wind up, generally speaking, at the US Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City where the matter will be adjudicated by the Consular Officer at the Immigrant Visa Unit. Again, K-1s are interesting because they’re a non-immigrant visa that has dual intent. You are actually a non-immigrant visa but to all intents and purposes, the consular section treats it as if it were an immigrant visa and you go ahead and undertake the interview and hopefully, presuming a successful interview, a visa will be issued shortly after the interview date.

more Comments: 04

21st February 2012

In order to provide pertinent information to those researching issues associated with American immigration from Asia the administration of this web log routinely posts the holiday closing schedules of various US posts in Southeast Asia. To quote directly from the official website of the United States Embassy in Vietnam:

Holiday Date Day Type
New Year’s Day (observed) January 2 Monday A&V
Martin Luther King’s Birthday January 16 Monday A
Lunar New Year Festival January 23-27 Mon-Fri V
President’s Day February 20 Monday A
National Anniversary of Hung Kings April 2 Monday V
Victory Day April 30 Monday V
International Labor Day May 1 Tuesday V
Memorial Day May 28 Monday A
Independence Day July 4 Wednesday A
Vietnamese National Day (observed) September 3 Monday V
Labor Day September 3 Monday A
Columbus Day October 8 Monday A
Veterans Day (observed) November 12 Monday A
Thanksgiving Day November 22 Thursday A
Christmas Day December 25 Tuesday

Those wishing to visit the official website of the US Embassy in Vietnam are encouraged to click HERE.

Those seeking services which can only be provided by an American Mission abroad, such as: Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, American notarial services, passport renewals, or passport issuance are encouraged to ascertain whether it is necessary to schedule an appointment online prior to traveling to the post as this  can greatly streamline processing of requests.

On a related note, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the US Embassy in Vietnam will apparently no longer process adoption cases. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote directly from a posting on the official website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) dated February 2, 2012:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced it cannot approve a Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, filed on behalf of a child to be adopted from Vietnam. The Department of State (DOS) has determined that Vietnam has not proven capable of meeting its obligations under The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). As a result, DOS consular officers cannot issue the required Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Declaration…Until further notice, USCIS will not be able to approve any Form I-800 that is filed on behalf of a child to be adopted from Vietnam. Because U.S. prospective adoptive parents cannot complete the immigration process for an adopted child from Vietnam, USCIS strongly urges parents to not file any Form I-800 on behalf of a child to be adopted from Vietnam…

Readers are encouraged to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this posting in detail. Foreign adoption can be a complex and, at times, convoluted process hopefully this announcement will spare prospective adoptive parents from any undue frustration.

In cases in which an American fiance or spouse is seeking a K-1 visa (fiance visa), K-3 visa (non-immigrant spouse visa), or either an IR-1 visa or CR-1 visa (immigrant spouse visa) there may be a misconception that adoption is necessary to bring the child of the foreign fiancee or spouse to the USA. Under such circumstances this may not be the case if the foreign spouse is the sole parent, sole custodial parent, or the other parent consents to the child’s immigration to the USA since a derivative visa category may be available to the child in the form of visas such as the K-2 visa, the K-4 visa, or the IR-2/CR-2 visa. In any case, United States immigration can be a complicated endeavor and the process may vary depending upon the circumstances of the family in question.

more Comments: 04

3rd January 2011

The administration of this blog routinely posts the holiday closing schedules of various United States Missions in Asia in an effort to share this information with those Americans or foreign nationals traveling outside of the United States who need to obtain services which can only be provided by an American Post abroad. The following is the holiday closing schedule of the US Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam as quoted from the US Embassy’s official website:

The following list of official holidays for 2011 has been approved consistent with the provisions of 3 FAM 2336 (American holidays) and the revised Article 73 of the Vietnamese Labor Code. The U.S. Embassy will be closed on these days.

Holiday Date Day Type
New Year’s Day January 03 Monday A&V
Martin Luther King’s Birthday January 17 Monday A
Lunar New Year Festival February 02-07 Wed-Mon V
President’s Day February 21 Monday A
National Anniversary of Hung Kings April 12 Tuesday V
Victory Day (observed) May 02 Tuesday V
International Labor Day (observed) May 03 Wednesday V
Memorial Day May 30 Monday A
Independence Day July 04 Monday A
Vietnamese National Day September 02 Friday V
Labor Day September 05 Monday A
Columbus Day October 10 Monday A
Veterans Day November 11 Friday A
Thanksgiving Day November 24 Thursday A
Christmas Day (observed) Dec 26 Monday A

V = Vietnamese Holidays
A – American Holidays

Those seeking services such as issuance of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, US Passport, or addition of visa pages to an already issued US Passport are well advised to contact the American Citizen Services Section of the nearest US Embassy, US Consulate, American Institute, or US Mission with appropriate Consular jurisdiction.

Those seeking the homepage of the official website of the US Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam should click HERE.

Those seeking information regarding matters pertaining to United States Immigration are well-advised to contact a licensed American lawyer in order to receive advice and counsel regarding the practical implications of the application of relevant American Immigration law.

Those seeking Non-immigrant visas such as the B-2 visa for tourists, the B-1 visa for business travelers, the J-1 visa for cultural exchange visitors, or the F-1 visa for students are likely to have their visa application processed through the Non-immigrant Visa Unit of the nearest American Mission.

Generally, those seeking US family based visas are required to process their application through an Immigrant Visa Unit of a US Mission abroad. For purposes of visa application processing the non-immigrant US fiance visa (the K-1 visa category) is treated in essentially the same manner as the Immigrant spouse visas such as the CR1 Visa or the IR1 Visa.

Those seeking business and/or investment based visas such as the EB-5 visa or the L-1 visa are generally required to process an Immigration petition at the Department of Homeland Security‘s United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) prior to Consular Processing of the visa application.

For related information please see: US Visa Vietnam or K-1 Visa Vietnam.

more Comments: 04

30th November 2010

Those who are regular readers of this blog will no doubt be aware that the issue of 221(g) denials promulgated in relation to visa applications brought before at US Missions, Embassies, and Consulates outside of the United States can be very concerning for those seeking American Immigration benefits for a foreign loved one. In the case of the US Embassy in Vietnam, most US family visa cases are processed out the US Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. It would seem that the American Consulate in HCMC is considered by State Department officials to be a “high volume” Post as a significant number of visa applications are adjudicated in that jurisdiction each year. Meanwhile, as is the case for any US Mission abroad, the officers at the US Consulate in HCMC take visa fraud seriously and therefore heavy scrutiny is placed upon pending visa applications in an effort to ensure that those receiving visa benefits are legally entitled to such benefits. Furthermore, Consular Officers also review US family visa applications very carefully in order to ascertain whether or not a prospective foreign beneficiary has the requisite subjective intent. Subjective intent is often of great concern in K1 visa applications as the applicant must have a genuine intention to marry their American fiance within 90 days of entering the USA.

The culmination of the US visa process is usually the visa interview which is generally conducted at the US Mission with Consular jurisdiction to adjudicate the visa application. However, in some cases, a Consular Officer may feel that further documentation is necessary in order to complete the adjudication. The American State Department refers to the 221(g), which is a reference to section 221(g) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act, as a refusal although for purposes of the Department of Homeland Security the 221g is considered a denial. This can be an important distinction for foreign nationals holding the passport of a country which participates in the US Visa Waiver Program as the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) considers 221g refusals to be denials which must be disclosed by travelers through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). It should noted that Vietnam is not currently a participant in the Visa Waiver Pilot Program.

In some cases, 221g denials are highly complex and may cause frustration to the applicant and/or their American counterpart. Some find that attorney assistance can be beneficial. An American Immigration attorney can provide insight into the overall process and also assist in making a follow-up with the US Consulate regarding a 221g denial. Furthermore, American Immigration attorneys based in South East Asia can deal with such matters before the Consulate in real time. This can be especially beneficial if the 221g evolves into a situation in which the visa application is denied due to a legal finding of inadmissibility. This can sometimes occur and in such an event the finding of inadmissibility may only be overcome through use of an I-601 waiver. In some cases, there may be no remedy if the applicant is found inadmissible for reasons that cannot be waived. Those thinking about filing for immigration benefits should always be aware that putting on the best case at the outset is the most efficient way of attempting to ensure visa issuance.

For related information please see: US Visa Vietnam or US fiance visa.

more Comments: 04

20th January 2010

Virtually every United States Embassy or Consulate will close in recognition of United States Federal Holidays. Most will also close in recognition of local holidays or customs. The United States Embassy in Vietnam is no different. Below, please find the 2010 holiday closing schedule for the US Embassy located in Hanoi:

Holiday Date Day Type
New Year’s Day Jan 1 Friday A&V
Martin Luther King’s Birthday Jan 18 Monday A
Lunar New Year Festival Feb 15-18 Mon-Thur V
President’s Day Feb 15 Monday A
Anniversary of Hung Kings April 23 Friday V
Victory Day April 30 Friday V
International Labor Day(observed) May 3 Monday V
Memorial Day May 31 Monday A
Independence Day Jul 5 Monday A
Vietnamese National Day Sep 2 Thursday V
Labor Day Sep 6 Monday A
Columbus Day Oct 11 Monday A
Veterans Day Nov 11 Thursday A
Thanksgiving Day Nov 25 Thursday A
Christmas Day Dec 24 Friday A
2011 New Year’s day (observed) Dec 31 Friday A

The above notation of “A” and “V” denotes the type of holiday. “A” stands for American, while “V” stands for Vietnamese.

In Vietnam, the bulk of United States visa and immigration matters are handled at the US Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. This situation is the opposite of the internal mechanics of the posts in Thailand as the US Embassy in Bangkok handles nearly all Immigrant visa petitions while the US Consulate in Chiang Mai deals with Non-Immigrant visa applications for visas such as the US Tourist Visa, the J1 visa, and the F1 visa.  That being said, the holiday closing schedule of the US Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is identical to the schedule of the US Embassy in Hanoi. Therefore, those interested in that post’s closing schedule should look to the information above.

For those in a legitimate emergency, it may be possible to contact the Embassy during a holiday. That being said, this is contacting Embassy staff may be difficult as most Embassy and Consulate personnel use holidays to take much needed time off. Therefore, those with an impending issue would be wise to take care of it before a holiday as it is unlikely that the Embassy will make special accommodations.

For those who need passports, notary services, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, or visa pages it would be wise to contact the American Citizen Services Section of the local US Embassy or US Consulate.

For those interested in learning more about the US Embassy in Hanoi please click here. For those who wish to learn maore about the US Consulate in HCMC please click here. Finally, for those interested in US visas from Southeast Asia please see K-1 visa, CR-1 visa, or K-3 visa.

more Comments: 04

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisement. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.