Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘US Marriage Visa Thailand’

22nd May 2010

Please be advised that the following was posted upon the official website of the United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand:

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

U.S. Embassy Visa Services Closed May 24, 2010

Due to continuing security concerns in the area and access issues on Wireless Road, the U.S. Embassy is currently operating under emergency personnel staffing only.  The Non-immigrant and Immigrant Visa sections will be closed May 24, 2010.  If you have a non-immigrant visa interview appointment scheduled for May 24, 2010, your appointment will be rescheduled.  As soon as the U.S. Embassy has determined the situation to be safe for Embassy Consular staff to return to work and for visa applicants to travel to the Embassy for visa appointments, we will advise those impacted through e-mail or phone with details on new appointment dates.  Please Note:  As a large number of people have been affected by these events, and the volume of appointments that have been scheduled for the upcoming weeks, it will not be possible to consider expedited appointments.  We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this has caused.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I reschedule my appointment?

At present, we must ask applicants with visa appointments scheduled for the period of May 14 through May 24 to wait until the Embassy has determined when that it is safe to conduct visa appointments.  All those impacted by this unexpected closure will be notified through the e-mail address or phone number provided during the visa interview appointment process.

I had a visa appointment scheduled during the period of May 14 – May 24.  I have urgent travel to the United States, what can I do?

Unfortunately, due to the current security situation, the U.S. Embassy Visa Services is currently closed.  We are unable to reschedule any visa appointments for applicants who had appointments made for the period of May 14 – May 24 and will be unable to accommodate expedited appointments.  We suggest that you make alternate travel plans.

I had a visa appointment scheduled during the period of May 14 – May 24.  Can I reschedule my appointment at another U.S. Embassy in a neighboring country?

Each U.S. Embassy has its own scheduling system and requirements for visa applicants.  Fees paid in Thailand for the visa interview cannot be used abroad.

I had a visa appointment scheduled during the period of May 14 – May 24.  Can I reschedule my appointment for the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai?

The U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai has its own appointment system and you must live within their consular district to schedule an appointment there.  Please see http://chiangmai.usconsulate.gov/ for more information.

I had a visa appointment scheduled during the period of May 14 – May 24.  Can I make a special request?

Due to the current security situation, the U.S. Embassy Visa Services will be closed for the period of May 14 – May 24.  As such, we will be unable to reply to visa inquiries and/or special requests during that period.  We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience our disruption of service has caused.

I am an immigrant visa applicant – can I come in for my scheduled appointment, to drop off documents, or to pick up my visa?

If you had/have an immigrant visa appointment for the period of May 14 – May 24, it will be rescheduled.  You will be contacted with a new date and time once the Embassy reopens.  If you have been told to bring in documents on Mondays or Wednesdays, or to come in to pick up your visa, please do not come in until the Embassy reopens.  Please look for announcements on the Embassy website.

The documentation mentioned above is likely referencing 221g refusals or requests for other types of documentation related to the issuance of travel documents such as, but not limited to, the K1 visa, the K3 Visa, or Immigrant visas such as the CR1 Visa and the IR1 Visa.

For further information about American attorney assistance in Immigration matters as well as Consular Processing in Bangkok, Thailand please see: US Embassy Bangkok and/or US Embassy Thailand.

more Comments: 04

6th March 2010

Since the recent worldwide economic downturn the global tourism industry has suffered a great deal. Much can be attributed to the fact that people have less disposable income, but others are of the opinion that increased promotion may be the key to dealing with this issue. In the United States, the government and business leaders have devised a plan to promote more travel to the USA. To quote a recent posting on CNN’s website:

“President Obama signed legislation into law Thursday to create the United States’ first national travel promotion program…The act will create a nonprofit Corporation for Travel Promotion that will promote the United States as a travel destination and explain travel and security policies to international visitors…”

One aspect of the new program that is stirring up some resentment is the addition of a $10 fee that much be paid by those wishing to enter the United States on the visa waiver program (not to be confused with an I-601 waiver of inadmissibility):

“A $10 fee charged to visitors from countries included in the Visa Waiver Program will partially fund the public-private organization. These visitors will pay the fee every two years when they register online using the Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization…”

As readers may recall, The Electronic System For Travel Authorization (ESTA) is used by those who wish to seek entry into the USA on a visa waiver. This system pre-screens foreign entrants for security purposes. As mentioned previously, tourism around the world is declining, but this program may provide stimulus to this sector of the US economy:

“Despite strong global growth in long-haul international travel between 2000 and 2008, the U.S. welcomed 633,000 fewer overseas visitors in 2008 than it did in 2000, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Oxford Economics, an economic consulting and forecasting company, estimates a well-executed promotional program would draw 1.6 million new international visitors annually and generate $4 billion in new visitor spending.”

It remains to be seen how this program will work, but certainly encouragement of tourism is necessary. However, some have questioned how requiring a new fee for travel to the United States will encourage tourism. This is certainly a valid point as increased restrictions on travel for so-called “visa waiver countries” may be one of the reasons behind decreased tourism. There are those who have called ESTA a new type of visa and now that there is a charge for the service it is beginning to become a sort of online visa. That being said, balancing security and economic concerns is difficult.

This new law will likely have very little impact for those from Thailand as Thai nationals do not enjoy “visa waiver” privileges. For this reason Thai nationals must apply for a US tourist visa if they wish to enter the US for recreational purposes. Further, Thais wishing to travel to the US to be with a fiance or spouse must apply for either a K1 visa or a US marriage visa before they will be able to be lawfully admitted.

more Comments: 04

25th May 2009

An issue that many Thai-American couples grapple with is that of deciding whether or not to register a marriage in Thailand or wait and conduct a marriage in the United States. This is an issue that can have a major impact on a Thai-American couple’s US Immigration options because United States Citizenship and Immigration Services as well as the US Embassy in Thailand view a couple with a registered marriage differently than a couple without a registered marriage. Also, a US Citizen’s marital status vis-a-vis a Thai Fiancee or Thai wife will affect the processing time for the type of visa being sought, and not in a way that most people expect.

The Irony of K1 Visas from Thailand: Why being Unmarried may be Beneficial

A counter intuitive aspect of K1 visas is the fact that they are generally a faster visa and immigration option than a marriage visa. This is due to the fact that there seems to be a lower case backlog of K1 visas at USCIS when compared to CR-1 and IR-1 Visas.  Also, the fact that a K1 visa is a non-immigrant visa might lead to less scrutiny from both USCIS and the US Embassy because the visa does not confer permanent residence, conditional or otherwise. This is not to imply that either adjudicators at USCIS or consular officers at the US Embassy in Bangkok are not fully conducting due diligence, but instead there seems to be an inherently lower level of scrutiny for non-immigrant visas when compared to immigrant visas. This is also true when comparing the K1 visa to a US tourist visa because the applicant for that visa must overcome the 2statutory presumption of immigrant intent. Since a fiance visa is a “hybrid visa” there is no need to overcome the presumption of immigrant intent threshold in order to be granted the visa, as with other non-immigrant visas.

Marriage Visas from Thailand

Some people who have already married in Thailand ask if it is possible to register a Thai divorce and subsequently apply for a K1 visa. Although technically feasible, the discretionary power of adjudicators in both USCIS and the Embassy in Bangkok could result in a finding that the relationship is not bona fide because the couple is divorced only to enjoy the benefit of faster processing times of the K1 visa over the US Marriage visas. For those married and residing in Thailand it may be possible to apply for an immigrant visa at the local USCIS office in Bangkok, in this situation marriage registration may be a boon to the Thai-American couple.

Thanks for reading, for more information please see: Marriage Registration Thailand or US Visa Thailand

(Please note: this writing is intended for informational purposes only and should not be utilized as a substitute for legal advice from a Licensed US Immigration Lawyer. No attorney client relationship is created between the author and any reader of this piece.)

more Comments: 04

15th May 2009

US Visas for Immediate Relatives related by Marriage


For those who wish to bring their family to the United States there are options under United States Immigration Law that allow immediate relatives of American Citizens entry into the United States as well as the possibility of permanent residence. At one time, the most common method of bringing a loved one to the United States was by marriage and petitioning for an immediate relative visa to the USA. The application for an Immediate Relative Visa was the I-130.

Congress then passed legislation creating two visa categories, where before there had been only one, for relatives related by marriage. Currently, there is what is known as a CR-1 visa which stands for Conditional Resident Visa. The conditionality of this visa means that the visa is conditioned upon the marriage lasting for two years. The other type of marriage visa is the IR-1 Visa. This visa is a Immediate Relative visa and there are no conditions implied with this visa.

As the legal situation evolved and the backlog of Immigration petitions increased, it became necessary to provide a more expedited visa for spouses of American Citizens. For this reason, legislation creating the K3 visa was enacted.

As recently as 2 months ago, this author advised clients that the K3 was an efficient and expeditious method of bringing a spouse to the USA in comparison to the CR-1 or IR-1 Visas. However, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has recently cleared a great deal of its backlog of cases and as a result the processing times for the I-129f petition (the Supplemental petition filed in order to obtain a K3 visa, those seeking a K1 visa will recognize this as the application form for that visa category) are nearly the same as the I-130 petition.

A K3 visa has many advantages and tactical uses, but the speed advantage of the K3 visa has recently been diminished by the faster processing time of the I-130 petitions. The I-130 is currently processing quickly, but the backlog could increase again later, although it does not seem likely. At its inception the K3 visa was being issued as a multiple entry non-immigrant visa with a validity of ten years. However, at the time of this writing, the K3 visa is being issued with a validity of two years. CR-1 Visas conditional period lasts for two years while IR-1 Visas, as mentioned previously, are unconditional

Deciding which category of US marriage visa to use is a decision that should be made after thoughtful study and consultation with the loved one who will be immigrating as well as an attorney should a couple find it necessary to retain one.

(Note: The information contained herein is meant for general use only and is not meant as a commentary on specific situations. This writing should not be used as an alternative for personalized legal advice from a competent attorney. No Lawyer-Client relationship is created between the reader and writer of this piece.)

more Comments: 04

22nd April 2009

Strategic Uses for K3 Visas

Posted by : admin

The Role of the K3 Visa

I have written before about how the usefulness of the K3 Visa is somewhat questionable now that the processing times for both the K3 and CR-1 visas are relatively similar. However, this does not mean that the K3 Visa does not have its uses.

First, the K3 is still an expedited visa and it may be very useful where a couple is already married, but truly wishes to get the immigrant spouse to the United States as quickly as possible. Other positive aspects of the K3 include the fact that it is a non-immigrant visa that has multiple entries, so if the foreign spouse is not particularly interested in working there may be some tax benefits to using a K3 rather than taking permanent residence and thus possibly being liable for more US taxes as a green card holder (this is speculation as I am not a tax expert, so if this idea is appealing first check with an American tax attorney before making any decisions in this regard).

All of these benefits are fairly negligible when compared to the dual facts that a K3 takes longer than a K1 Visa, but does not grant permanent residence to the beneficiary like the CR-1 or IR-1 Visa. The fact is, the K-3′s original raison d’etre is gone: the Immigrant visas no longer take a great deal more time to process and therefore there is really no need for an expedited us marriage visa.

Strategic Use of the K3 Visa For an Unmarried Couple

The K3 has one major strategic advantage over the K1 and Immigrant visas, namely: the right to pick your Embassy for interview. Normally, a US visa will be adjudicated by a consular officer with a diplomatic mission in a fiancee or spouse’s home country (her country of nationality). Some people, for whatever reason, wish to use an Embassy other than their home country Embassy. There are myriad legitimate reasons for wishing to do this, but the usual reason revolves around the fact that a foreign fiancee or spouse may be working in a country other than their home country. This can pose problems because the 3rd country US Embassy may not take jurisdiction over the foreign spouse forcing them to come to their home country for interview, and should a 221 g be issued, a delay may result.

Embedded in the statute promulgating the K3 is a mechanism whereby a couple can choose which Embassy they wish to have jurisdiction over the eventual interview. If not yet married then it may be possible for a couple to use the K3 in order to choose the Embassy they wish to use at interview time. For an issue such as this it is prudent to contact a licensed attorney in order to obtain competent legal advice.  It may be wise to contact an American attorney in Bangkok in order to assist with the process in Thailand.

Note: None of the above should be used as a substitute for legal advice from a competent Licensed US Immigration Attorney in your jurisdiction.

For more please see us visa thailand or us embassy thailand

or contact Integrity Legal by email at Info@Integrity-Legal.com

more Comments: 04

18th April 2009

The affidavit of support is used to prove that an American Citizen can support a Thai fiancee or wife in the USA. Although the form is issued by USCIS, it is presented at the Thai fiancee or spouse’s interview at the American Embassy in Bangkok Thailand. The type of visa one wishes to obtain will make the difference in the type of Affidavit of Support that will be necessary to show the US Citizen petitioner’s ability to support a Thai fiancee or wife in the United States.

The I-134 and I-864 affidavit of support to Prove Financial ability for US Visa Sponsorship

There are two affidavit forms used in US Family Immigration matters that are used to prove that a US citizen is indeed capable of sponsoring his loved one at the statutorily prescribed levels. The I-134 and the I-864 are the two different affidavit forms and their use with regard to visa category depends upon the situation and the visa being sought.

Financial Requirements

Currently, for the I-864 affidavit of support, the US Citizen must show that he or she can support his Thai fiancee or spouse at a level equal to 125% of the Federal poverty guidelines (as calculated by Housing and Human Services) for the year in which the visa is being sought.

The Binding Effect of the I-864 affidavit of Support upon a US Citizen

Some US Citizens are interested in how binding their financial commitments are with regard to the I-864 affidavit of Support. There is some case law that has allowed US Permanent Resident former spouse of US Citizens the right to collect money from the US Citizen spouse based upon the finding that the Permanent Resident is the third-party beneficiary of an agreement between the United States government and the US Citizen. Also, the US Citizen will be liable to the US government for the relevant costs should the Permanent Resident spouse become a public charge.

Proving Financial Ability and Obtaining Assistance with the Affidavit of Support

Generally, a US Citizen’s ability to support a fiancee or spouse is proven by presenting evidence showing the US Citizen’s income is above the statutorily mandated 125% of the poverty guidelines. Proving the financial ability to support a fiancee can be somewhat difficult if the US Citizen’s income does not meet the 125% requirement. Using assets to prove financial ability is one method, while many people opt to simply utilize a joint sponsor in order to meet the financial requirements. Joint sponsorship is a popular method of overcoming affidavit of support issues.

Note: Nothing in the post should be used in lieu of legal advice from a licensed US attorney with Immigration experience.

For More US Immigration Information Please see:

US Visa Thailand

Thai Fiance Visa

K1 Visa Thailand or

USA Visa Thailand

more Comments: 04

11th April 2009

People often wonder about the role of the USCIS offices overseas. USCIS’s role in the United States is generally the adjudication of visa petitions. After the petition is adjudicated it is forwarded to the National Visa Center and then on to the US Embassy where the visa interview will take place. Outside of the United States, there are various USCIS District Offices. This post takes a look at the USCIS District office in Thailand and its functions with regard to US Immigration.

USCIS Bangkok District Office Jurisdiction and Functions

To quote the US Embassy website regarding USCIS:

“The District Director and Deputy District Director of USCIS Bangkok District Office oversee the Bangkok District office as well as USCIS sub-offices in Beijing, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Manila, New Delhi, and Seoul.  The USCIS Bangkok District has jurisdiction over Hong Kong, B.C.C., and the adjacent islands, Taiwan, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand; all of continental Asia lying to the east of the western border of Afghanistan and eastern borders of Pakistan and India; Japan, Korea, Okinawa, and all other countries in the Pacific area.

The USCIS Bangkok Office itself, however, only reviews petitions from Australia, Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand.”

As can be seen the USCIS office in Bangkok is responsible for a large area of the world. The office’s main functions include adjudicating I-601 waivers, immigrant visa petitions, naturalization, parole, abandonment of lawful permanent resident status (Green Card), refugee services, and adoptions.

Filing a US Visa Application at the USCIS Office in Bangkok Thailand

One of the major functions of particular interests to Americans with Thai spouses is whether they can submit a visa petition to the USCIS office in Bangkok. The reason for submitting a petition in Bangkok rather than the United States stems from the fact that the processing time at the district office in Bangkok is much faster than the service center in the United States. The obvious reason for the speed differential is the fact that far fewer immigrant petitions are received at the Office in Bangkok compared to the USA.

An issue arises when someone wishing to submit a visa petition in Bangkok is barred from doing so because he or she does not meet the 1 year residence requirement of USCIS. According to USCIS District office policy, only residents in Thailand who have been living in Thailand for at least one year on a 1 year Thai visa are allowed to petition at the District office. Further, only a “resident” non-immigrant Thai visa holder will be allowed to submit a US visa application in Bangkok (non-immigrant visas categories include the Thai ED Visa, Thai Business Visa, and the Thai O Visa). Therefore, those present in Thailand long term on a Thai tourist visa are ineligible to submit a petition at USCIS Bangkok. USCIS defines those present in Thailand on a tourist visa as “non-residents.”

Direct Consular Filing

The difference between filing an immigration visa petition at a Service Center in the United States using a local USCIS office overseas and Direct Consular Filing is somewhat difficult for people to understand and this goes for laymen as well as attorneys.

In a previous article I wrote about Direct Consular Filing, I used the term somewhat loosely when discussing the ability to use the District Office of USCIS when filing for immigrant visas for Thai spouses. Strictly speaking a direct consular filing occurs only when a US visa petition is submitted directly to the consulate or the consular section of the US Embassy abroad. In Thailand, since there is a USCIS district office  in the Kingdom, the American Embassy Thailand rarely, if ever takes direct consular filings. However, as mentioned above, petitioning USCIS in Bangkok for an immigrant visa is a major component of the District Office’s mandate.

For more information about Bangkok USCIS at its role in American Immigration please see US Visa Thailand.

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.