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Posts Tagged ‘American Tourist Visa Thailand’

6th April 2009

The US B2 Tourist Visa

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The B-2 Tourist Visa is designed to allow the bearer entry into the USA for the sole purpose of visiting for short time leisure or entertainment. The Tourist Visa for a Fiancee or Spouse is generally not advisable because it is likely that a Thai applicant  for a Tourist Visa (in a relationship with an American) will be turned down due to a failure to overcome the presumption of immigrant intent made by the consular officer adjudicating the visa application. As a US Visa Lawyer I generally advise against the tourist visa unless the applicant truly fits the statutory elements requisite to obtain this travel document.

The Presumption of Immigrant Intent and the US Tourist Visa

Under Section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) there is a legal presumption that all applicants for non-immigrant visas (such as US B2 tourist visas and F-1 student visas) are actually “intending immigrants”. To put this another way, there is a legal presumption that a non-immigrant visa applicant intends to overstay in the United States in violation of the restrictions inherent to the visa. Therefore, the burden of proof is placed upon the applicant to establish that they will depart from the US at the conclusion of their stay in the USA. To overcome the presumption of immigration the applicant must prove through quantifiable evidence that they posses strong ties to their mother country (in this case Thailand) and weak ties to the United States. In the best case scenario these strong ties to Thailand should show that the applicant is essentially  required to leave the United States and return to Thailand at the end of their proposed trip.

This presumption becomes a major issue where a Thai-American couple wishes to obtain a US Tourist Visa for the Thai National in order to visit the USA. As stated above a “strong tie” such as having an American partner in a relationship could result in denial because there can be a plausible inference that the Thai may go to the United States and never return because they will remain in the United States with their loved one.

Visa Fraud Using the US Tourist Visa

Another issue that comes up with regard to US Tourist Visas for Thais is the issue of visa fraud and adjustment of status once present in the USA. It is technically visa fraud to enter the US on a Tourist Visa with intent to marry an American and adjust status. Many applicants in the past used the Tourist visa as an expedited alternative to the usual channels for US Family Immigration (K1 Visa and the US Marriage Visa) .  In a way, this past practice has resulted in heightened scrutiny on the part of the consular officers adjudicating B2 applications. The upshot of this heightened scrutiny seems to be a higher rate of rejection of those applicants for a Tourist Visa who have an American loved one (specifically, boyfriend, spouse, or fiancee, although the author cannot speak about those applicants who have other American relatives).

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