Integrity Legal

6th July 2009

US Immigration and Thai Immigration have a great deal in common and also many differences. I decided to write a quick blog post exploring the differences between the two systems in order to provide more clarity for those seeking to immigrate to either Thailand or the United States.

With regard to ease of visa obtainment, overall it is generally more difficult to obtain a USA visa than a Thai Visa. That being said, there are certain aspects of US Immigration that are far more generous than Thailand’s system. For example Thai Permanent Residence is very difficult to obtain from a practical standpoint and almost no one enters the country with Permanent Residence, especially if they have never been to Thailand before. In contrast, the United States confers lawful permanent residence upon entry to the USA for those married to a United States Citizen for longer than 2 years at the time of visa application.  For those married less than 2 years at the time of application, conditional permanent residence is immediately granted upon entry and the conditionality must be lifted later.

A Thai Business Visa is somewhat similar to an American Business Visa in that both allow for travel to the USA or Thailand for business purposes. However, neither visa actually confers the right to work in either country. This is where the similarities end because in order to obtain lawful employment in the USA the immigrant would need to get a visa that has work authorization. In Thailand, the immigrant would need to obtain a Thai work permit. Getting work authorization for Thailand is somewhat easier in Thailand than in the United States.

The Thai Tourist Visa and the American Tourist Visa are quite similar. They both are non-immigrant visas designed for recreational purposes. Currently, the Thai Tourist visa is being offered free of charge to those wishing to visit the Kingdom of Thailand. This is not the case for the American tourist visa as a non-immigrant application fee and pin number fee are required for those applying for a tourist visa.

One of the most significant differences between United States Immigration and Immigration to Thailand is the fact that Thailand does not have any provisions in its Immigration law for a Fiance visa. The Fiancee Visa in the United States is commonly know by its visa category classification: K-1 visa. No matter what it is known as, it is designed to allow a Fiancee of an American Citizen entry into the United States for the purpose of marriage and permanent residence in the USA. Thailand has nothing remotely resembling this type of visa. Further, it does not appear that Thailand will be creating anything like the K1 Visa anytime soon.

Overall, Thai Immigration is dissimilar to American Immigration because US Immigration is far more substantially funded and has more agents operating under the aegis of USCIS and the US State Department.

(Nothing contained in this blog post should be used as legal advce. No Attorney/client relationship shall be created between author and reader.)


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One Response to “Comparing and Contrasting US and Thai Immigration and Visas”

  1. H.B says:

    Interesting comparison.

    This is not only a very educational article but your web site is very interesting. Book marked it.
    Thank you

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