Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Fiancee Visa Thailand’

3rd June 2009

The Thai legal system is based upon a system known as civil law. Unlike common law countries, civil law countries generally do not recognize marriages that are not duly registered. In a common law jurisdiction that upholds the concept of “common law marriage,” a couple that holds themselves out to the public as married can be deemed to be married by operation of law. This is not the case in Thailand where even having a wedding ceremony, referring to one another as man and wife, and sharing tax liability will generally not be enough for any court to recognize the existence of a marriage.

This marriage recognition system can have an impact with regard to US Immigration because one’s marital status in the eyes of USCIS can determine what type of visa a couple can apply for. There are some situations in which USCIS will recognize a customary marriage when the couple has no ability to register a marriage in the appropriate jurisdiction, this issue can arise in refugee marriages. However, this is the exception and not the rule. In most cases, USCIS will make determinations based upon actual marital registration status.

Therefore, if a couple has conducted a customary wedding ceremony (religious or otherwise) and has yet to register the marriage at the Amphur office, then it is likely that USCIS will view the couple’s status as unmarried. However, it may be wise to retain attorney assistance in cases where marital registration is an issue, because failure to properly explain the couple’s marital situation could lead to a visa denial by USCIS based upon the decision that the couple does not meet the statutory requirements for the visa category.

From a strategic point of view, marriage registration can be beneficial or disadvantageous depending upon where the US petitioner resides because residence will determine which USCIS office has jurisdiction. In some cases being married will qualify the couple for an Immigrant Spouse visa that would have a comparatively quick processing time because the US Citizen petitioner qualifies for overseas filing. In other cases, being unmarried may be an advantage because a K1 visa can be obtained. Regardless, decisions pertaining to marriage should not be made solely or the purpose of acquiring US Immigration benefits. It is always wise for couples to make informed and thoughtful decisions after careful research and investigation.

Issues regarding a couple’s relationship status will likely become even more complex should Congress decide to pass the Uniting of American Families Act which would entitle Permanent Partners of US Citizens to Immigration benefits.

(Please take notice: this blog post should be used for informational purposes only and should not be used in place of competent legal advice from a licensed attorney. An Attorney-Client Relationship is NOT created between the author and reader of this piece.)

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27th May 2009

Although it seems like a simple issue, discerning the difference between a fiancée and a wife for the purposes of US Immigration can be crucial, and oftentimes less than straightforward when looked at from the perspective of International law.

The reason for the unexpected ambiguity stems from the fact that different countries have different legal systems and as a result, there are different methods for legalizing marriages. The English common law is in place in the United States, as in many former British Colonies and current members of the British Commonwealth. As a result, in many of these countries the principle of “common law marriage,” has either been in previous existence under the law or is currently still good law. In either case, in common law countries, the concept of “common law marriage,” is a widely understood notion amongst laypeople.

In civil law countries, there is usually no history of judicial recognition of anything akin to a “common law marriage.” That being said, not all civil law countries deal with marital issues in the same way. There are instances where an otherwise “civil law” country will promulgate “common law,” legal mechanisms by statute (an example being where a civil law country adopts trust law via statute).

In countries that have no history of “common law marriage,” a marriage is only legalized upon compliance with whatever rules govern marriage formalization. For instance, in the Kingdom of Thailand a marriage is only legalized by registration at the local government office (known as an Amphur office in Thai). Failure to register a marriage results in a situation in which the couple may consider themselves married, but they are legally unwed. For more on this issue please see:  Marriage Registration Thailand

Deciding whether a couple is legally married is important from a US Immigration perspective because a couple’s marital situation can have a major impact upon their ability to obtain certain types of visas. Marital situation can also impact the processing time of a US visa. Therefore it is important to be clear on the couple’s marital situation upfront. In Thailand, for example, many couples engage in a ceremonial or customary wedding ceremony, but never formalize a marriage. Filing for a marriage visa rather than a fiancee visa can lead to a great deal of wasted time and resources because USCIS and the US Embassy are unlikely to grant the marriage visa because the couple is not legally married.

(Please be advised that all of the information contained in this writing is for educational use only and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice should be obtained in a one-on-one consultation with a licensed attorney. No attorney client-relationship is formed between any reader of this piece and the author.)

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8th March 2009

Many Americans journey to Thailand each year for a myriad of reasons. One of the main reasons is tourism, as one of the top tourist destinations in the world Thailand boasts a thriving tourism sector. The upshot of a large tourism sector is a large percentage of American tourists coming from the US meet and form relationships with Thais. Many people each year fall in love in the Land of Smiles and seek to bring their Thai fiancée or spouse back to their home in the USA. US Immigration can be a daunting process for those unfamiliar with US Immigration laws and procedures. This is why it could be beneficial to retain the advice of a competent Immigration Attorney before filing any applications for a US Visa from Thailand.

What is a K1 Fiancée Visa and is it the proper American visa for my Thai Fiancée?

The K1 Fiancée Visa is a hybrid visa in that it is technically a non-immigrant visa, but it is a non-immigrant visa issued for the sole purpose of traveling to the US for the purpose of getting married and adjusting status to permanent residence. In order to get a K1 fiancée Visa in Thailand an I-129f petition for a K1 Visa must first be submitted to the USCIS (Immigration) office with jurisdiction over the American Citizen’s residence. After approval, USCIS will forward this I-129f application on to the National Visa Center and ultimately the US Embassy in Bangkok, where the Thai fiancée will conduct her visa interview.

How long does it take to get a K1 Visa for a Thai?

The K1 Visa sought in Thailand is generally the fastest family based visa to obtain. It usually takes approximately 6 months from submission of the I-129f petition at USCIS until the Thai fiancée receives the Fiancée Visa from the US Embassy in Bangkok.

Getting Started: How do I begin the K1 Visa Process from Thailand?

The best way to begin the K1 Visa process is to contact Integrity Legal at [email protected] or call us today. Let Integrity Legal help your Thai loved one obtain a K1 Visa in the fastest most efficient way possible.

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