Integrity Legal

8th April 2009

US Visa Lawyer Thailand

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Finding an American Immigration attorney in Thailand can be somewhat difficult due to the fact that there are quite a few “con-men” claiming to be visa experts in the Kingdom of Thailand. They range from people outright lying about being US Visa Lawyers to “visa agents” who claim they can assist in preparing Immigration forms for submission to USCIS or the US Embassy. In reality only a licensed American Attorney is allowed to represent clients before USCIS (Immigration).  Perhaps it is best to quote the USCIS website:

“Notarios, notary publics and immigration consultants may NOT represent you before USCIS. They may not give you legal advice on what immigration benefit you may apply for or what to say in an immigration interview. These individuals may NOT hold themselves out as qualified in legal matters or in immigration and naturalization procedure and may only charge nominal (inexpensive) fees as regulated by state law. In many other countries, the word “notario” means that the individual is an attorney, but that is not true in the United States. Individuals seeking help with immigration questions should be very careful before paying money to non-attorneys.”

Former Commissioner of the INS (now USCIS)  Doris Meissner at one point released a memo stating, “Only attorneys and accredited representatives may engage in the practice of law before the Service.” There are exceptions to this rule, but Meissner continued, “These exceptions are available only if the person receives no payment for the appearance.” She also wrote that the “practice of law includes advising individuals concerning the selection, completion, and filing of Service forms (such as petitions or applications), in addition to actually appearing before the Service officer… Even advice limited to something as simple’ as selecting and completing the proper Service forms constitutes the practice of law, since this depends on a legal conclusion that the client is eligible for the particular benefit.” For more on this memo and its effect on immigration consultants in the USA please click here.

Only an attorney licensed to practice law in at least one US state, territory, commonwealth, or the District of Columbia may represent clients in Immigration matters before USCIS. Therefore, any “visa agent” or “immigration consultant” that is claiming that they are a US Visa Lawyer and have the right to represent people before USCIS is lying.

The day before writing this post I personally went to the US Embassy in Bangkok in order to respond to a 221g refusal in the process of providing the information I spoke with a consular officer who probed me about my credentials. I showed him my state and federal bar cards and he very politely informed me that he apologized for any inconvenience, but he just wanted to ensure that I was duly licensed. This would similarly occur at USCIS if I had been representing a client there. Had I not been a licensed attorney, I do not know what would have happened. Although I have an idea because the consular officer explained that security had already been called. Had I not been able to produce the proper credentials I think I would have been escorted out.

For more Information about retaining the services of a licensed American Immigration Attorney in Thailand please see US Visa Lawyer Thailand

Note: None of the above information should be used as a substitute for advice from a competent US Immigration Attorney


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