Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘US Consulate Chiang Mai’

25th October 2018

It recently came to this blogger’s attention, via a press release from the US Embassy in Bangkok, that the Embassy seems to be in the process of discontinuing issuance of income affidavits pertaining to verification of finances in the context of application for certain types of Thai visa extension. To quote directly from the press release:

As of January 1, 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok and the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai will cease to provide the income affidavit for the purpose of applying for Thai retirement and family visas and will not notarize previous versions of the income affidavit.  The Royal Thai Government requires actual verification of income to certify visa applicants meet financial requirements for long-stay visas.  The U.S. government cannot provide this verification and will no longer issue the affidavits.

Those unaware of the importance of these documents should take note of the fact that in the past notarized income affidavits were used in connection with applications for either a Thai retirement visa or a Thai marriage visa. Such documents were utilized in lieu of presenting evidence of a lump sum in a Thai bank account (800,000 THB for a retirement visa, and 400,000 THB for a marriage visa) or proof of a prolonged history of income in a Thai bank account (65,000 THB per month for a retirement visa and 40,000 per month for a marriage visa). These documents were generally issued by the American Citizen Services (ACS) Section of the US Embassy. In the past, a notarized income affidavit from the US Embassy which was legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was sufficient to meet the evidentiary requirements of the Thai Immigration officers adjudicating financial documentation in connection with applications for visa extensions. As seems to be the case in matters pertaining to British income letters, American officials appear to be unwilling to continue issuance these instruments in light of the recent official Thai requests that the veracity of the information in the affidavit be verified rather than merely the authenticity of the signature on the document. It seems that although the Embassy is unable to continue issuing such documentation as it was issued in the past, they will continue to notarize other documentation.

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5th September 2016

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Consulate-General in Chiang Mai will be suspending services from September 12, 2016. It may be best to quote directly from the US Consulate’s website:

Except for U.S. citizen emergencies, consular services at the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai will be suspended from September 12, 2016 to November 1, 2016, due to necessary renovations to the Consular Section…All nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applicants who intend to travel during this period should make appointments with the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok…The American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit will remain available by email and phone for emergency U.S. citizen services such as death and welfare/whereabouts cases; and we will continue to accept voter registration, absentee ballot requests, and absentee ballots.  Also, please note that the ACS Unit will conduct several U.S. citizen outreach events in and around Chiang Mai during this period…

Those wishing to learn more are well advised to click the link above.

Those seeking non-immigrant visas such as US Tourist visas and US student visas will, at least for the time being, be required to interview for such travel documents in Bangkok. It should be noted that this announcement has no impact upon those seeking immigrant visas such as the IR-1 visa or the CR-1 visa nor does it change the current processing protocols of the K-1 fiancee visa as although such fiance visas are considered non-immigrant visas they are processed in much the same manner as immigrant visas. As dual intent visas, holders of the K-1 visa may enter the United States in non-immigrant status with the intention of remaining and thereby use the adjustment of status process in order to convert into lawful permanent resident status (aka Green Card holder status) once in the USA. All of the aforementioned visa categories are initially adjudicated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), a division of the Department of Homeland Security; before undergoing further Consular Processing at the United States Embassy in Bangkok, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of State.

Notwithstanding the continuation of regular immigration services for those wishing to permanently move to the USA. It would appear that this situation may cause inconvenience for those in the North of Thailand seeking American Citizen Services such as passport renewal, notarization, and issuance of Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA). Other than occasional Consular outreach, many of these services will apparently need to be obtained from the Post in Bangkok during this renovation period.

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1st October 2013

The United States government has recently shut down due to the inability of Congress to make a deal regarding the budget and current debt ceiling level. The reverberations from this recent turn of events will likely be felt in many sectors of the United States government and by those who may have business with the US government. As a general matter, governmental functions which are deemed essential will still be available. However, those governmental activities and employees deemed non-essential will likely be discontinued and work furloughed until such time as Congress reaches an agreement. It has been 17 years since the United States government last shut down. As of the time of this writing, the Office of Management and Budget has instructed supervisors of various governmental entities to “execute plans for an orderly shutdown.”

What is the practical impact of the government’s closure upon the immigration process? It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the following has been posted on the official website of the United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand:

The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok and Consulate General Chiang Mai remain open to the public. As always, our priorities remain providing safety, security, and service to U.S. citizens. We are open for all consular services, including visa processing.

It could be inferred that the Embassy is attempting to dispel rumors that a shutdown will negatively impact the processing of US visa applications as well as applications for US passports, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA), and various notarial services requested by Americans living in Thailand. Hopefully, the recently announced government shutdown will not last long and thus not cause any great problems for those seeking visas to the United States of America. However, a protracted shutdown could mean that processing of US visa applications could move at a slower pace, or, in a worst case scenario, be discontinued until such time as a budget is agreed upon. Hopefully, this will not happen and the processing of applications will continue apace.

Meanwhile, it is likely that the shutdown will not affect processing of immigration petitions at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). As USCIS is funded by the fees paid by petitioners, it seems likely that a government shutdown will not adversely impact those seeking immigration benefits from USCIS. Again, as the United States has not seen a government shutdown in nearly two decades some of the details about the impact of the current shutdown remain somewhat speculative. Readers of this blog should take note that further information will be provided herein as it becomes available.

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6th April 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Center for Disease Control and the United States Department of State are likely to begin imposing more stringent regulations upon visa applicants, especially immigrant visa applicants, seeking a travel document for lawful admission to the United States of America. According to research conducted by the administration of this blog as well as credible anecdotal evidence it would appear that those with tuberculosis or those who have previously had tuberculosis are likely to be required to undergo intense screening in order to ascertain whether the applicant has fully recovered from the disease and poses no threat of future contagion.

In the past, tuberculosis has been a significant issue for those within the consular jurisdiction of the US Embassy Thailand as the applicants applying for visas at the US Embassy in Bangkok and the US Consulate Chiang Mai are sometimes found to either have tuberculosis or to have had it previously. The major issue associated with Consular Processing is timing. Even for those who no longer have TB, it could take a matter of weeks or even months to undergo testing necessary to prove that the disease has been treated to such a degree that contagion is no longer an issue.

Meanwhile, there are likely to be rule changes regarding X-rays as well. For example, in the past it was possible to have the required chest X-ray waived for pregnant women. It has come to this blogger’s attention that such waivers are unlikely to continue to be granted. Therefore, those pregnant spouses and fiancees of American Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents seeking visas such as the K-1 visa, the K-3 visa, the CR-1 visa, or the IR-1 visa are likely to be required to either undergo an X-ray while using a lead screen to shield the fetus or await the birth of the child and then see that the mother undergoes an X-ray post-pregnancy. As to children, it would appear as though child seekers of visas such as the K-2 visa, K-4 visa, or the IR-2 visa may be required to have skin tests to check for illnesses. It may also prove necessary for children to be X-rayed in connection with diseases such as tuberculosis.

Notwithstanding upcoming changes some recent changes to the rules regarding disease and admission to the United States have resulted in more lax requirements for visa applicants. For example, only relatively recently have visa applicants seen the restrictions imposed on those with HIV lifted. Bearing this in mind, the reader should note that the removal of the imposition of inadmissibility upon HIV infected immigrants does not mean that it is necessarily easy to gain admission to the United States for those with HIV as such visa applications are generally subjected to intense scrutiny to ascertain whether the intending immigrant has adequate medical coverage for the duration of their lawful status in the United States. In the past, those infected with HIV needed an I-601 waiver in order to overcome the legal grounds of inadmissibility. As HIV infection is no longer a legal grounds of inadmissibility an I-601 waiver is no longer required under such circumstances.

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28th March 2011

หลายๆเดือนนี้มีแนวโน้มที่รัฐบาลจะปิดดูเหมือนจะเป็นการยิ่งทำให้นัการเมืองต่างๆในสหรัฐอเมริกาแบ่งพรรคแบ่งพวกกันมากขึ้น ในข.ระเดียวกัน ข้อถกเถียงในเรื่องการปิด(แม้แต่การขยายเวลาการทำงานในระหว่างการปิด) ในเวลาเดียวกัน หลายๆฝ่ายวิพากษ์วิจารณ์การปิด  โดยไม่คำนึงถึงความเห็นของฝ่ายหนึ่ง ดูเหมือนการปิดนั้นจะเป็นไปได้และในกรณีที่มีการปิด กระบวนการทั้งหลายที่เกี่ยวกับการเข้าเมืองอาจจะมีการศึกษาถึงผลกระทบว่าการปิดอาจจะมีผลต่อกระบวนการเข้าเมือง


เดือนต่อมาจะมีการเจรจาอย่างเข้มข้นเกี่ยวกับเพดานหนี้และ GOP จะมีการตัดสินใจว่าจะปิด หรือมีการรวมพรรค งบประมาณซึ่งมีการจัดการกับเคนท์ คอนราดและพันธมิตร

ข้อความที่อ้างข้างต้นอาจจะเป็นที่ชัดเจนและกระชับในการที่จะสรุปถึงกรณีที่เกี่ยวข้องกับความเป็นไปได้ในการปิด หน่วยงานทาปกครองแนะนำให้ผู้อ่านคลิกที่ลิงค์ซึ่งเป็นประเด็นที่ค่อนข้างซับซ้อน ผู้ที่สนใจในการยืนยันการปิดอาจจะเป็นเรื่องที่หาได้จากโดยหน่วยทางปกครองอ้างโดยตรงจากวิกกิพี่เดีย

การปิดของรัฐบาลเกิดขึ้นเมื่อรัฐบาลไม่ได้จัดการกับสิ่งที่สำคัญ  โดยทั่วไปแล้ว การบริการซึ่งจะคงดำเนินต่อไปโดยไม่คำนึงถึงการปิดของรัฐบาล เช่น ตำรวจ การดับเพลิง การทหาร สาธารณูปโภค การจัดการทางอากาศ และการควบคุมประพฤติ

การปิดสามารถที่จะเกิดเมื่อครบองค์ประกอบทางกฎหมาย (เช่นมีอำนาจในการออกร่างกฎหมายของการวีโต้โดยสมาชิกระดับสูง) มาสามารถอนุมัติงบประมาณในการจัดสรรเงินของแผนงานรัฐบาลในระหว่างปีงบประมาณ การขาดแคลนกองทุน รัฐบาลทำงานไม่ต่อเนื่องในการจัดสรรบริการที่สำคัญที่จะกระทบต่อการเริ่มต้นปีงบประมาณ ลูกจ้างของรัฐผู้ที่มห้บริการสาธารณะ มักจะอ้างถึง “ความสำคัญของลูกจ้าง เพื่อใหห้ภารกิจต่างๆบรรลุเป้าหมาย”

แม้ว่าการอ้างข้างต้นจะช่วยจัดการกับประเด็นที่เกิดขึ้นโดยการปิดของรัฐบาล คำถามนี้มีแนวโน้มว่า ผู้ที่ชาวต่างชาติอยู่ในระหว่างขั้นตอนกระบวนการเข้าเมือง การปิดของรัฐบาลจะกระทบอย่างไรกับวีซ่าของคู่หมั้น คำตอบก็คือ การปิดของรัฐบาลกลางจะส่งผลให้ขั้นตอนต่างๆในกระบวนการเข้าเมืองของรัฐบาลกลางชะงักลง  ดังนั้น การปิดของรัฐบาลกลางอาจจะส่งผลเล็กน้อย ถ้าหากมี กรณีนี้คำนึงถึงการขอวีซ่าที่สถานทูตหรือสถานกงสุล ข้อมูลเพิ่มเติมอาจจะติดต่อโดยตรงจากบทความ Diplopundit

ในปี 1995 การยื่นคำขอวีซ่าทั้งหมดเป็นแบบยื่นด้วยตัวเอง ทุกวันนี้มีการยื่นคำขอวีซ่าจำนวนมากผ่านทางระบบออนไลน์ นั่นหมายความว่า การนัดวีซ่าจะต้องยกเลิกและมีการนัดหมายใหม่ถ้ามีการปิดลง ส่วนของกงสุลจะเปิดให้บริการเกี่ยวกับชีวิตและและความตาย นั่นหมายถึงคำขอในกรณีที่พาสปอร์ตสูญหาย การแจ้งการเกิดในต่างประเทศ การรับบุตรบุญธรรม การรับรองลายมือชื่อ และอื่นๆ จะต้องคอยจนกว่ารัฐบาลกลางเปิดอีกครั้งหนึ่ง


เป็นที่ปรากฏอย่างชัดเจนว่า การอนุมัติของการปิดลงของรัฐบาลจะเป็นเรื่องที่ยุ่งยากมากสำหรับผู้ที่อยู่ในกระบวนการการขอวีซ่า ในขณะเดียวกัน เป็นที่ปรากฏชัด แม้ว่า USCIS จะดำเนินการปฏิบัติการปกตินอกจากจะเป็นไปได้ในการปิดตัวลง อ้างโดยตรงจากเว็บไซต์

USCIS ประกาศว่า เพราะว่า เป็นบรการที่มีค่าธรรมเนียมม ควรจะยังคงเปิดในระหว่างที่รัฐบาลปิดทำการ การปฏิบัติการของศูนย์บริการสี่แห่งควรจะไม่ได้รับผลกระทบ สำนักงานของ USCIS ท้องถิ่นควรจะยังคงเปิดบริการอยู่

ผู้เขียนขอแนะนำอีกครั้งหนึ่งว่า ผู้ที่สนใจสามารถศึกษาได้เพิ่มเติมจากลิงค์ข้างบน

สิ่งที่พึงระลึกถึงคือ สิ่งที่อ้างถึงข้างต้นใช้คำว่า “ควรจะ” บทความนี้ชี้ให้เห็นว่า สิ่งที่ยากที่จะทำนายถึงผลกระทบของการปิดรัฐบาลที่จะมีผลกระทบต่อหน่วยบริการคนเข้าเมืองและพลเมืองสัญชาติอเมริกา (USCIS) เนื่องจาก หน่วยบริการมีความพยายามที่จะหาเงินทุนด้วยตนเองโดยผ่านทางค่าธรรมเนียมของการยื่นคำขอ อาจกล่าวได้ว่า ประเด็นทั้งหมดของการปิดตัวลงของรัฐบาลเป็นหลักฐานที่ชัดเจน แต่ไม่ควรจะหมายถึงว่า จะไม่เป็นเช่นนั้น ในความเป็นจริงแล้ว พลเมืองอเมริกันผู้ที่ประสงค์จะขอวีซ่ามีแนวโน้มที่เรื่องของพวกเขาจะช้าลงเนื่องจากการปิดของรัฐบาล (ควรจะที่จะเกิดขึ้นซึ่งยังคงที่จะสังเกตเห็นได้)

To view this posting in English please see: US Embassy.

หากต้องการที่จะทราบรายละเอียดเพิ่มเติม โปรดคลิกที่นี่ USCIS processing time.

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13th May 2010

The following message was posted on the website of the United States Embassy in the Kingdom of Thailand:

Warden Message: Embassy Closed Friday, May 14; Update on Possible Outages in Bangkok

(May 13, 2010) This warden message alerts U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Thailand that the Royal Thai Government through the Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) has announced its plans to close off the demonstration area at the Ratchaprasong rally site in an attempt to disperse the protesters.  We understand that beginning today, May 13, at 6:00 p.m., authorities will take the following measures:

–limit transportation services, including the BTS Skytrain, MRTA, canal routes, and possibly bus routes.

–set up check points at all access routes to control and limit access to the rally site.  For details on what routes may be affected, please refer to local media.

–cut off electricity, water, and telephone to the rally site and possibly surrounding areas.  It is currently unclear how large an area will be affected.  It is also unclear how the UDD will respond.

The U.S. Embassy, including visa operations, will be closed tomorrow, Friday, May 14.   American Citizen Services (ACS) will be available for emergencies only.  If at all possible, the U.S. Embassy recommends against coming to this area on May 14.  If U.S. citizens currently have appointments with ACS for May 14, you may go online or call us at 02-205-4049 to reschedule.

U.S. citizens should avoid travel to and lodging in this area and the areas in and around all demonstrations, if possible.  If U.S. citizens must travel to these areas, they should exercise special caution and remain vigilant with regard to their personal security.  U.S. Embassy personnel who live around this area have been given the option to relocate to housing outside of the affected area until the situation is resolved.  U.S. citizens are reminded to exercise caution and vigilance at all times.

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (aka UDD or “red-shirts”) continues to demonstrate in central Bangkok.  The UDD may change or expand their demonstration locations at any time.  Various other groups are engaging in pro-government or counter-demonstrations.  There have been several clashes between the security forces and the UDD and other demonstrators.  These clashes may escalate with no warning.  For areas currently affected by demonstrations, please refer to local media.  These demonstrations are expected to continue in Bangkok indefinitely.

U.S. citizens are reminded that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence with little or no warning.  U.S. citizens are urged to avoid the areas that may be targeted for demonstrations and to exercise caution in their movements around Bangkok.

The Department strongly encourages U.S. citizens in Thailand to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok or through the State Department’s travel registration website. For information on general crime and security issues, U.S. citizens may also consult the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for Thailand and the Worldwide Caution, located at the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website.  U.S. citizens may also obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 from the United States and Canada, or 202-501-4444 from overseas.

The American Citizen Services section of the U.S. Embassy Bangkok is located at 95 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.  The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy can be reached by calling 66-2-205-4049 and by e-mail at [email protected].  The emergency after-hours telephone number is 66-2-205-4000.

The U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai is located at 387 Wichayanond Road in Chiang Mai.  The American Citizen Services Unit of the Consulate General can be reached by calling 66-53-107-777 and by e-mail at [email protected].  The after-hours emergency telephone number is 66-81-881-1878.

For information about attorney assistance with Consular Processing in visa matters please see other pages on this website or click here: US Embassy Thailand or US Embassy.

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11th April 2010

The following was posted on the website of the US Embassy in Thailand:

Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release
April 10, 2010

Statement by P.J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs

“The United States deeply regrets the violence on the streets of Bangkok April 10, and the loss of life.  Violence is not an acceptable means of resolving political differences. We call on the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) and the Thai security forces to show restraint going forward.  The United States firmly believes both sides can and should work out disagreements peacefully through earnest negotiation.  We once again stress the importance of all players in Thailand working to resolve differences in a way that strengthens democracy and rule of law.  We strongly support the Thai nation and its people during this difficult period.” [Bold and Italics added]

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27th March 2010

In a few recent blog posts, this author has discussed the proposed fee increases for services offered at US Diplomatic and Consular Posts abroad. Apparently, the Department of State will be increasing the fees associated with Passport procurement. Also, those who wish to obtain new pages in their passport will no longer be able to have pages added free of charge. Finally, although on a slightly different topic, the fees for non-immigrant family based visas is to be raised as well. For those who are unfamiliar with the details of US Immigration the US Fiance Visa (also called the K1 visa) and the Non-Immigrant US Marriage visa (Also called a K3 Visa) are issued at American Embassies overseas.

The Department of State issued some statements in a supplement regarding the proposed rule that would increase the fees for Consular Services:

“The Department of State (“Department”) published two proposed rules in the Federal Register on December 14, 2009 (74 FR 66076, Public Notice 6851, RIN 1400-AC57), and on February 9, 2010 (75 FR 6321, Public Notice 6887, RIN 1400-AC58), proposing to amend sections of part 22 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the Schedule of Fees for Consular Services. The Department’s proposed rules solicited comments, and a number of comments requested additional detail on the Consular Services Cost of Service Study (CoSS) as well as time to comment on that detail. In response, the Department is providing the additional written detail below.”

The Department of State should be commended for taking the time to explain to the public the policy reasons for a fee increase. In many ways, a fee increase is periodically necessary as each US Embassy and/or US Consulate must serve the needs of the Americans using the post while at the same time stay within a budget. Balancing these two objectives can be difficult at times. The statement went further in describing the reasons behind the increase in fees, but used an analogy to make the point:

“Example: Imagine a government agency that has a single facility it uses to prepare and issue a single product–a driver’s license. In this simple scenario, every cost associated with that facility (the salaries of employees, the electricity to power the computer terminals, the cost of a blank driver’s license, etc.) can be attributed directly to the cost of producing that single item. If that agency wants to ensure that it is charging a “self- sustaining” price for driver’s licenses, it only has to divide its total costs for a given time period by an estimate of the number of driver’s licenses to be produced during that same time period.”

As this analogy points out, if an organization is just producing one product, then determining the cost of the product is relatively easy:

“However, if that agency issues multiple products (driver’s licenses, non-driver ID cards, etc.), has employees that work on other activities besides licenses (for example, accepting payment for traffic tickets), and operates out of multiple facilities it shares with other agencies, it becomes much more complex for the agency to determine exactly how much it costs to produce any single product. In those instances, the agency would need to know what percent of time its employees spend on each service and how much of its overhead (rent, utilities, facilities maintenance, etc.) are consumed in delivering each service to determine the cost of producing each of its various products–the driver’s license, the non-driver ID card, etc. Using an ABC model would allow the agency to develop those costs.”

Apparently, the Department of State, through use of modeling, has discovered the true cost of their services and is attempting  to adjust their fees accordingly. It remains to be seen how thee changes will impact expats and Americans using United States Consular Posts abroad. In Thailand, it is this author’s opinion, that this fee increase will have the biggest impact upon the American Citizen Services Unit of the US Embassy Bangkok and the US Consulate Chiang Mai as those respective units deal with issues like new passport issuance on a regular basis.

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10th March 2010

Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA) are similar to birth certificates in that they note that a child was born, but they differ in their reason for issuance. A Consular Report of Birth Abroad also notes that a child was born an American Citizen. There are two ways that a child can be born an American Citizen. One way is by birth in the United States. Although, the American Immigration and Nationality Act defines “United States” (for purposes of US Immigration) as all of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico birth in the non-US states or the District of Columbia may or may not cause the transmission of automatic Citizenship depending upon the situation. That being said, birth in the 50 US states definitely confers automatic Citizenship. However, there is another method of transmission of United States Citizenship and that is by blood. A United States Citizen may transmit their citizenship to their child outside of the US if  at least one of the child’s parent’s meets the legal requirements for Citizenship transmission. This can become complicated as automatic citizenship transmission can be dependent upon many factors.

In order to obtain a Consular Report of Birth Abroad an applicant usually makes an appointment with the American Citizen Services Section of the appropriate US Embassy or US Consulate. In Thailand, the CRBA interview would likely take place at either the US Embassy in Bangkok or the US Consulate General in Chiang Mai.

What concerns us in this post is the prospect of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad Denial. If, by law, an American Citizen cannot transmit their Citizenship to their child automatically because the US Citizen parent did not spend enough time physically present in the US at the time of the child’s birth, then a Consular Report of Birth Abroad may not be issued and the child may not be entitled to a US passport. It should be noted that in some cases a parent cannot prove up their actual presence in the United States, but later procures proof. In this case, it may be possible to re-apply for the CRBA and, assuming the new evidence is acceptable to the Consular Officer, thereby legally prove transmission of Citizenship. However, there are some cases where the transmission of Citizenship either cannot be proven or did not, in fact, occur. In situations such as these, Americans are basically left with one option: they may petition for an Immigrant visa for their child. An American Citizen may petition for Immigrant visa benefits for their child and upon approval of a visa application and petition, the child may enter the United States with their US Citizen parent. Under the provisions of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 if the child enters with their US Citizen parent in order to take up residence, then the “foreign” child becomes a US Citizen by operation of law upon lawful admission.

In this situation, the child may then obtain a Certificate of Citizenship (similar to a Naturalization Certificate) in order to prove their status.

For related information please see: US Visa Denial or CR1 Visa.

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5th March 2010

Recently we reported on this blog that the fees associated with passport issuance are likely to be increased in the near future. In a recent press release Brenda S. Sprague, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services, discussed the proposed fee increase and the policy reasons underlying the American State Department’s proposal for an increase in fees associated with American passports:

“Over the last five years, the demand for passports has increased to an average of 15 million applications per year. On February 9th, the State Department published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to increase certain fees related to U.S. passport and passport card applications. The proposed fee change is based on a comprehensive cost-ofservices study, completed in June, 2009, that was the most detailed and exhaustive study the U.S. State Department has ever conducted of its for-fee services, and updates the schedule of fees from four years ago.”

Many who are reading about this fee increase for the first time are probably wondering what the cost of passports would be under the recent proposed rule:

“Under the proposed fee schedule, the total cost for a first-time applicant aged 16 and older, who is applying for a passport book will be have $135. For those younger than 16, the price will be $105. The cost of a passport card for a first-time applicant 16 or older is $55. And for those younger than age 16, the price is $40. Passport books and cards for people who are 16 or older are valid for 10 years, books and cards issued to individuals younger than 16 are available for five years.”

When discussing this issue with American expatriates in Thailand, the initial reaction regarding this fee increase is: what are they increasing the fess and what will the new funding be used for? Hopefully the following excerpt will shed light on this issue:

“Passport fees are critically important to our keeping up with the latest developments in technology. Research and development, production, and implementation of new technologies for use in our U.S. passport books and cards must be an ongoing priority if we are to keep one step ahead of the resourceful and technologically savvy criminals, terrorists groups, and subversive elements bent on doing our nation harm. The fees cover the costs of fraud prevention initiatives such as facial recognition to help us to detect look-alike fraud and data-sharing programs that permit us to verify the validity of social security numbers, driver’s licenses, birth records, and naturalization certificates. Passport fees also help to cover the costs of providing emergency services for American citizens overseas in crises situations, something that our U.S. citizens stranded in Haiti undoubtedly appreciated.”

This issue is of critical importance to those who have American Citizen children outside of the USA. In Thailand, the usual protocol at the US Embassy in Bangkok or the US Consulate in Chiang Mai is for an American Citizen to first apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad. After this document is obtained from the American Citizen Services Section of the US Consulate in Bangkok, then a passport can be issued. However, the recently proposed rule would also increase the fees associated with Consular Reports of Birth Abroad as well. That being said, the rule has yet to be adopted as there is still an official comment period so these issues have yet to be fully resolved, but it is highly likely that the rule will be implemented and the fees will be raised apparently in an to reflect what the State Department claims are the increased costs of promulgating these travel documents.

For information about American Immigration from Thailand please see: US Visa Thailand.

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