Integrity Legal

19th August 2009

Each year the United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand processes numerous applications for visas to the United States. In recent years, their caseload has become increasingly large particularly since tourist visa applicants and applicants for other non-immigrant visa categories (student, exchange visitor, etc.) have required interviews at the consular post. With this in mind, the Embassy also must conduct due diligence to ensure that those applying for visas are presenting a bona fide application.

In some cases, applicants attempt to defraud the United States consular officers by presenting a knowingly false application or attempting to acquire immigration benefits based upon a relationship that is not bona fide. Due to increasing demand for access to the United States, there has been an increasing number of instances where fraudulent applications are submitted. In an effort to curtail fraudulent applications, the United States Embassy has a division called the Fraud Prevention Unit.

The Fraud Prevention Unit’s mission is best described using the following excerpt from the website of the United States Embassy in the Dominican Republic:

“Welcome to the Fraud Prevention Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo.  Our principal mission is to safeguard U.S. borders by detecting and stopping fraud in applications for U.S. passports, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas.  We accomplish this critical goal by training Consular Section staff on fraud detection, maintaining close cooperation with U.S. and Dominican law enforcement agencies and deploying our staff of highly trained investigators to conduct interviews and investigations.”

The US Embassy Bangkok also has a Fraud Prevention Unit with a similar, if not identical mandate. The Unit screens applications and applicants for red flags which could denote fraudulent activity. For instance, if an application for a K1 visa does not have a great deal of evidence that shows a bona fide relationship between the petitioner and beneficiary, then the case might be forwarded to the Fraud Prevention Unit for review. Most applications will never be placed under the scrutiny of the Fraud Prevention Unit, and the staff of the United States Embassy in Bangkok is very cooperative with regard to visa applications, but fraud prevention is a legitimate reason to scrutinize applications where the underlying bona fides are questionable.

For couples in a truly bona fide relationship, it is important to produce adequate documentation to show that the relationship is real and the parties are serious about their intentions. Further, lying to the officials at the Embassy or intentionally misrepresenting oneself before the Embassy is a good way of increasing the odds that the Fraud Prevention Unit will be looking over your visa petition and therefore it is not only ethically correct to tell the truth, but a better strategy for achieving one’s immigration goals.


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