Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Immigration Lawyer Thailand’

1st October 2009

A major topic on this blog is the pursuit of unlicensed immigration practitioners and others who prey upon unsuspecting prospective immigrants for the pursuit of collecting illicit profits. As mentioned previously, the State of New York has taken a hard line against those posing as immigration attorneys. Recently, to quote a document issued by the State of New York:

“Subpoenas were issued today to the following organizations and several of their principals: Amanda C. Gillespie Inc., Mister Enry’s Consulting Services Ltd., Immigrants United Foundation, Immigration Specialist Helpline, Yours and Yours Only, Simply Different, Lian Tong Services, American Corporate Society, Mendez Accounting and Tax Service Corp., New York Novelties, North America Immigrant Services, Inc. d/b/a North America Immigration Consulting Corp., Omnipoint Naturalization Center, National Foundation for New Americans, Simply Done Immigration, Tamizdat Inc., Tanc. Inc., Worldwide Immigration Consultation Services, Baocheng Immigration Service Center, American Assessment Association, Xiu’s Restoring Center, and JP Consulting Services”

Impostors claiming to be Immigration attorneys are an unfortunate problem that State and Federal authorities are trying to address. The New Your State Attorney General commented upon this practice and his remarks were noted in the aforementioned press release:

“The consequences of bad legal advice can devastate individuals and their families, threatening their citizenship and chances for a life in this country. Today’s subpoenas broaden our investigation to nearly 100 entities across the five boroughs and underscore our commitment to finding and prosecuting unauthorized service providers that disregard the rights of people trying to make this country their home.”

In Thailand it is an all too common story to hear about people being hoodwinked by those posing as accredited immigration “agents.” This leads many Americans in Thailand to pose the question: “How can I be sure that the person advising my Thai fiancee is on the level?” One very effective method for ascertaining the qualifications of an “Immigration Lawyer,” is to simply ask the individual if they are: licensed to practice law, if so, in what US state, and can proof of said qualification be produced? A reputable attorney should be willing to provide this information and documentation. Should an individual be asked to provide this information and thereafter become hostile or non-responsive, then this may be an indication that the individual does not have a license to practice United States Immigration law. Caveat Emptor is a good principle to bear in mind when thinking of hiring another person to handle an Immigration matter, particularly in the field of US Family Immigration as one’s family members and loved ones more precious than any amount of money.

For related information please see: K1 visa

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24th September 2009

The question asked by many American Citizens in the United States or Expats in Thailand with a Thai Girlfriend: How do I obtain a Green Card for My Thai Fiancee? Before answering this question, the researcher needs to discern exactly what a Green Card is.

The Document commonly referred to as a “Green Card,” is in fact a term used to describe Lawful Permanent Residence in the USA. In family visa applications, there are essentially two ways of obtaining lawful permanent resident status: applying for an Immigrant visa and obtaining said status upon entry into the United States; or applying for a K1 visa, entering the United States, and applying for permanent residence through the process of adjustment of status. There are two types of lawful permanent residence: conditional lawful permanent residence and unconditional lawful permanent residence. Conditional permanent residence is reserved for those couples who either opt to adjust status in the United States or who have been married less than 2 years at the time they apply for a visa. Conditional permanent residence is conferred upon the entrant who travels to the United States on a CR1 visa. Unconditional permanent residence is conferred upon an entrant to the United States traveling on an IR1 visa.

If seeking an immigrant visa for a Thai fiancee, then the American Citizen will need to marry the Thai national before the application’s submission. In Thailand, marriage registration can be a very straightforward process provided both parties are legally free to marry. A common question with regard to Thai marriage registration: will the US recognize my Thai marriage to my thai fiancee? In short: yes. The United States recognizes the legality and binding effect of a legally sanctified matrimonial union executed in the Kingdom of Thailand provided that it is registered at the local Amphur office.

What about bringing my Thai fiancee to the United States on a K1 visa? This is an option pursued by many Thai-American couples as it is generally the fastest method of getting a Thai fiancee into the United States. The only real downside of the K1 visa is the fact that it requires a post-marital adjustment of status.

Where the fiancee enters and adjusts or marries abroad and enters on an Immigrant visa, if she decides to travel abroad subsequent to acquiring permanent resident status, then she may be wise in obtaining a reentry permit so that a presumption of residential abandonment does not arise. Those who have acquired a US reentry permit are free to remain abroad for up to 2 years without raising the suspicion that they are not ever returing to the United States.

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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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