Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘CR-1 Visa Thailand’

23rd December 2009

For those who have been married to an alien spouse for less than 2 years, the only immigrant visa category that the couple may apply for is a CR1 visa. For those who have been married for more than 2 years at the time of application an IR1 visa may be available. Usually, when the alien spouse travels to the United States of America on a CR1 visa he or she will be admitted with conditional lawful permanent residence. However, there is a question on the lips of many couples: what if we were married less than two years when we filed a visa application, but more than two years when we obtained the visa? The answer: the alien spouse’s status at entry may depend upon the duration of the marriage at the time of his or her admission to the United States of America.

For aliens with conditional lawful permanent residence, it is necessary to file for a lift of conditions before the alien will be granted unconditional lawful permanent residence.

When an alien is admitted to the United States, they must pass through a Customs and Border Protection checkpoint, this is commonly referred to as a port of entry. It is a common misconception that a US visa gives the visa holder the “right,” to enter the USA. In reality, a visa only provides the bearer with the right to travel to a US port of entry and ask for admission. When a CR1 visa holder travels to the USA they are admitted in lawful permanent residence, but the conditionality of that residence is determined by the Customs and Border Protection Officer admitting the alien. For couples who have had their two year anniversary before the alien spouse’s first trip to the USA, Customs and Border Protection will likely admit the alien spouse to unconditional permanent residence because conditionality is determined at the time of entry.

In some cases where a couple fails to meet the two year marriage requirement, but their second anniversary is in the very near future, it may be prudent for them to simply wait until after their second anniversary before the alien spouse asks for permission to enter the US for the first time. This way, the couple would not need to apply for a lift of conditions after the alien spouse enters the USA because the alien spouse will likely be granted unconditional permanent residence upon arrival in the United States.

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4th October 2009

For those who have already executed a marriage in Thailand, the options for United States visas can become more limited. In general, the two Immigration options most applicant couples choose to pursue immediately following lawful marriage are the K3 visa and the CR1 visa. Unless there exist strategic reasons for applying for the K3 visa (speed of issuance, or choice of interview forum), the CR1 visa is often the better choice as it confers conditional lawful permanent residence upon the applicant at the moment they are admitted into the United States of America.

The CR1 visa is available to those couples who have been married for less than two years. IR1 visas are used by couples who have been married more than 2 years. In Thailand, a common misconception is that getting married is the best way to ensure a fast visa for a Thai loved one. In many cases, this is untrue because the K1 visa is sometimes a faster Immigration option. That being said, in cases where the United States Citizen is entitled to file an I-130 application abroad (known as a local filing or direct consular filing) marriage might provide a way of expediting the US visa process. If a US Citizen opts to file locally for a US visa and the couple has been married for less than 2 years, then a CR1 visa will be issued upon application approval.

Once in the United States, the foreign spouse will eventually need to apply for a lift of the conditions of his or her visa. This is accomplished by filing an I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence. The United States Citizen spouse will need to file the petition within ninety days of the second anniversary of the foreign spouse’s entrance into the US and once the application is approved the foreign spouse’s lawful permanent residence will no longer be contingent upon their continuing marital status.

Essentially, this application to lift conditions is somewhat similar to the adjustment of status application. For those with a fiance visa it is necessary to adjust status to permanent residence before being able to remain in the US indefinitely. The lift of conditions is analogous because it is a necessity that must be dealt with before permanent residence is unconditional and failure to apply for the lift of conditions could result in the foreign spouse falling out of lawful status. It should be noted that for those who adjust status from a K1 visa, permanent residence is deemed to begin on the date noted upon the adjustment of status approval notice. Within ninety days prior to the two year anniversary of said date, the foreign spouse must apply to Remove the Conditions of Residence.

Upon approval of an application to remove conditions, the former CR1 visa holder will be converted to an IR1 visa and be issued a 10 Permanent Resident Card (Green Card).

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17th July 2009

There are many family relationships that can be used as a basis for obtaining a US visa. In cases where a betrothed couple wishes to get married and live in America there is a US fiance visa, also known as a K-1 visa. For an expedited marriage visa, some people opt utilize a K-3 visa. Further, in cases where a couple wishes to have some discretion about where the visa application will be adjudicated a K-3 visa could theoretically be used to “forum shop.” However, the classic marriage visa are the immigrant spouse visas discussed further below. Of particular interest to those applying for an immigrant spouse visa is the fact that a step-child can also receive an immigrant visa based upon the child’s relationship to the United States Citizen and foreign beneficiary.

In cases where a couple gets married overseas and wishes to immigrate to the USA, there are immigrant spouse visas known as CR-1 and IR-1 visas.  These visas require the filing and approval of an I-130 immigrant visa application.  In many cases, the foreign spouse will have children. Therefore, the question arises: what is to be done with the step children? In most cases, a step child will be able to travel to the United States in order to take up residency, but it is possible that a step child will be precluded from immediately traveling to the United States.

For step children over the age of twenty-one, an visa petition will have a lower priority than for a step child under 21 years of age. An Immediate question that usually follows up this statement: what about a child who turns 21 while the visa application is pending? Under current Immigration law the step child who was under 21 at the time of USCIS approval will have their status preserved until visa issuance, so turning 21 after petition approval will not cause the applicant to fall into a lower preference category.

Another issue with regard to step-child petitions involves the age of the step child at the time of the marriage this fact can have a crucial impact upon the step-child’s status and possibly preclude the step-child from obtaining an immigrant visa in an expedited manner. In complicated cases, it may be best to consult an Immigration lawyer, but for those who wish to deal with the matter on their own, the website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service can be very helpful.

In cases involving K-4 visas, which are derivative of K-3 visas for step-children, some of the above analysis is correct, but due to the different nature of the K-3 application, the laws and regulations could be different. Where possible, it is usually better to obtain an Immigrant visa because the beneficiary obtains permanent residence (Green Card) upon entry into the USA.

(This article is not legal advcie. This article does not create any type of Attorney/Client relationship.)

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9th July 2009

For Thai-American couples seeking Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Card) in the United States for the spouse of an American Citizen the options are either the CR-1 or IR-1 visa. A CR-1 (Conditional Resident) visa provides conditional lawful permanent residence to the visa holder while the IR-1 (Immediate Relative) visa provides unconditional permanent residence upon entry into the United States.  An often asked question with regard to these visas: what is the difference?

When seeking a United States visa for a Thai spouse, the classic method of obtainment is through filing an I-130 visa application. After the I-130 is approved by either a USCIS Service Center in the United States or USCIS Field office abroad, it will be forwarded to a US Diplomatic post that adjudicates Immigrant visas. In Thailand, the US Embassy in Bangkok processes all US Immigrant visa petitions. Assuming that a visa is ultimately approved, the Thai spouse shall be entitled to travel to the USA in order to take up residence.

For those holding a visa conferring conditional permanent residence, it will be necessary to eventually file to have the conditionality of the visa lifted. In practical terms, this means that the Thai wife’s residence will no longer be based upon her marriage to an American citizen.  Instead, the permanent residence will become independent and unconditional. For those who enter the USA on a conditional resident visa and subsequently end their marriage during the conditional period, loss of permanent residence is highly likely.

Some people confuse the lift of conditions with adjustment of status. In cases involving a K-1 visa for a Thai fiance, adjustment of status is the process of obtaining conditional permanent residence for the fiancee (now wife) after marriage in the United States.  For those couples who adjust status in the US, after the adjustment interview, should the application be approved, the adjustment date will be that written on the adjustment of status approval letter from USCIS.

One must file for a lift of conditions within 90 days of the two year anniversary of the the Thai spouse taking up residence, in the case of adjustment the two year anniversary will be marked from the date of  adjustment approval. For the Thai who enters on a CR-1 visa, it will be the date the Thai spouse entered the USA.

In order to obtain a lift of conditions the I-751 application must be filed with an approved by USCIS. After approval, the Thai spouse may remain in the United States permanently.

For related information please see: Thailand permanent residence

(This post is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be legal advice. No lawyer/client relationship is formed by reading this information.)

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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.)

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15th March 2009

The CR-1 Visa is one of, if not the, most common US Visa sought for Thai Loved ones seeking to journey to the USA (The K1 Fiance Visa from Thailand is another widely used US Immigration tool from Thailand, please see Fiance Visa Thailand for more details). The reason for this is likely due to the fact that many Thai-American couple’s situation fits the criteria of a CR-1 Visa.

CR-1 stands for “conditional resident 1,” in practical terms this means that a person in the US on a CR-1 Visa has conditional permanent residence. In practical terms, the difference between conditional permanent residence and unconditional permanent residence is that a conditional permanent resident could lose their permanent residence status. A situation in which one might lose their permanent residence would be where a Thai/American married couple obtains a Cr-1 Visa on behalf of the Thai wife. Subsequent to obtaining the CR-1 Visa and entering the US, the couple divorces, but not before they file for a “lift of conditionality.” (A lift of conditions of a CR-1 Visa is generally filed by the American Citizen spouse at the 2 year anniversary of the permanent resident’s entry into the USA) If the lift of conditions has not been granted and the couple has divorced, then the condition upon which the visa was granted has ceased to exist and therefore the visa should be revoked. There are exceptions that allow for a Cr-1 visa to have the conditions lifted without the US Citizen Spouse’s consent (Most notably the violence against women act), but these situations are limited.

An IR1 visa does not have these conditions. In order to apply for this visa, the Thai-American couple must have been married for at least 2 years. If they meet this requirement then after obtaining the visa at the US Embassy in Thailand, then the Thai spouse will enter the US on an Ir-1 Visa which confers unconditional permanent residence from the moment the Thai spouse enters the United States.

The form necessary to obtain a CR-1 Visa is the I-130 petition. It should be filed with the USCIS office having jurisdiction over the area in which the US Citizen spouse resides. One of the reasons why a CR-1 Visa is sought over a K-3 in Thailand Visa is the fact that a K-3 Visa requires Adjustment of Status for a Thai wife. A Thai wife entering on a CR-1 Visa does not need to adjust her status in the USA, only obtain a lift of conditionality.

As with all US Immigration matters it is always wise to obtain the advice of a duly licensed US Immigration Attorney with experience dealing with US Immigration Law. Integrity Legal’s Managing Director is a licensed US Attorney and member of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association. When seeking licensed a Immigration Lawyer AILA can be an invaluable resource.

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