Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘us visa bangkok’

28th January 2010

On this blog, we frequently take the time to point out the fact that only a US licensed attorney or other accredited representative can represent clients before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the National Visa Center (NVC), or the US Embassy in Bangkok. Recently, USCIS has promulgated a brochure for consumers regarding US Immigration and fraud perpetrated against unwitting immigrants. Unfortunately, there are those who claim to be US Immigration experts when they are in fact unlicensed to practice United States law. These people claim all sorts of titles in order to sound as though they have a right to practice American Immigration law. The fact of the matter is that there are only two types of representatives that USCIS or the Department of State recognizes as legally able to represent clients.

The first category of authorized representatives is Attorneys. To quote directly from the brochure, USCIS requires the following in order for an attorney to act as a representative for clients in an Immigration matter:

An attorney must be in good standing with a U.S. state bar association (or U.S. possession, territory, Commonwealth, or the District of Columbia) and may not be under any court order restricting their practice of law. The best way to protect yourself is to ask the attorney to show you their current attorney license document. Write down the information and contact the state bar admission office to verify the accuracy of the information.

In a further quote from this brochure, USCIS explains what an individual or organization needs in order to be recognized as an accredited representative in immigration matters:

An accredited representative must work for an organization that has permission from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to provide legal advice on immigration matters. The organization will have an order from the BIA that gives the accredited representative permission to assist individuals with their immigration applications and petitions. The best way to protect yourself is to ask the accredited representative to show you the BIA order. Write down the information and contact the BIA to verify the accuracy of the information.

There it is, from USCIS itself, there are only two ways to verify that one calling himself an attorney is actually certified or licensed to practice Immigration law. Those seeking Immigration advice would be wise to undertake the above measures in order to be certain that their representative is able to effectively represent their interests. So-called visa agents, Immigration Consultants, legal advisors, and/or anyone calling themselves a “lawyer” should be able to provide either a license to practice law in a US state or territory, a US bar membership card, or a letter of permission from the Board of Immigration Appeals, anyone who cannot produce one of these documents is not authorized under US law to practice in the area of United States Immigration. This brochure went on to note that only an American attorney or an accredited representative is entitled to submit a form G-28 to the USCIS service center. Anyone who prepares an application without including this G-28 document should be asked why they are not submitting it.

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23rd October 2009

Recently the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that a revised form has been issued for those who wish to file for an I-601 Waiver. An I-601 waiver is a waiver of legal grounds of inadmissibility under the United States Immigration and Nationality Act. An alien is found inadmissible if they meet the elements of inadmissibility under the act. Common grounds of inadmissibility among applicants in Thailand are overstay, prostitution, Crimes involving moral turpitude, and health related grounds. If a finding that one of these grounds exists is made by the Consular or Immigration officers, then the applicant must seek an I-601 waiver before they will be entitled to enter the United State lawfully.

In recent days, USCIS has been revising some of the forms that they will accept in connection with certain immigration matters. For example, USCIS recently announced that they will only be accepting an updated version of the G28 Notice of Attorney Appearance. Those who have already filed applications for Immigration benefits before this update comes into effect will not need to submit any new forms as the service will continue to recognize the old forms in an effort to seamlessly transition from the old forms to the new. These efforts seem to be an attempt to streamline the, somewhat complicated, administrative aspects of the US Immigration application process. To quote directly from the USCIS press release:

USCIS has revised Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (Revision Date 04/06/09 N, OMB Expiration Date 04/30/11) to make it easier for applicants to complete. Applicants may now select from a list of grounds of inadmissibility on the form itself and mark all which apply to them in order to request a waiver. In addition to the list, the form includes a section where applicants can describe, in their own words, why they believe they are inadmissible. In the previous edition of Form I-601, information about grounds of inadmissibility could only be found of the form’s instructions.

We applaud the efforts on the part of the Service to make this process less complicated and more straightforward. For those interested in submitting a successful I-601 waiver application, it should be remembered that in most cases involving an I-601 waiver, the applicant(s) must show that to deny the waiver would result in an “extreme hardship” to a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident. This can be a difficult legal obstacle to overcome which is why it may be wise to retain an immigration lawyer to assist with the preparation and submission of such a petition.

Unlike the United States Embassy in Bangkok, which only has jurisdiction ovr the Kingdom of Thailand. The local USCIS office in Bangkok has administrative jurisdiction over most of Asia. Therefore, I-601 waiver applications filed in connection with a K1 visa, K3 visa, or CR1 visa sought from Asia could be submitted at USCIS Bangkok.

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2nd April 2009

US Visa for a Thai Fiance or Spouse’s Child

An often asked question regarding US Immigration from Thailand is: how do I bring my Thai fiancee or wife’s Thai child with us to the USA. The answer to this question depends upon what type of visa is being sought. Each Family Visa category has a derivative visa counterpart. Therefore, the K1 Fiancee Visa has the K2 child Visa, the K3 has the K4 Child Visa, the Cr-1 has the Cr-2 for a Thai child, and the IR-1  has the IR-2 Child Visa. All derivative visa applications must be filed with the appropriate office of USCIS.

Conditions and Validity of a US Visa for a Thai Child

These derivative visas have the same conditions and validity as the underlying visa upon which they are based. Therefore in the case of the K-2 and K-4 Visa the visas are non-immigrant visas and therefore require adjustment of status before the beneficiary will obtain lawful permanent residence in the USA. It should be noted that failure to file for adjustment of status for the derivative visa could lead to the Thai child falling out of status in the USA. This could occur if the US Citizen spouse and the Thai mother of the Thai child file for adjustment of status, but, for whatever reason, fail to file on behalf of the child. The moment that the mother’s application for adjustment is approved the Thai child’s application is dead because the underlying visa has been canceled as a result of the status adjustment.

The CR-2 and IR-2 visas do not have this problem because they are immigrant visas and therefore adjustment of status is not a necessity once the visa holders arrive in the USA. However, with regards to the CR-2 Visa, since the underlying CR-1 Visa confers conditional permanent residence a filing for a lift of conditions is required for the CR-2.

Thai Children at the Visa Interview at the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand

Thai Child Immigrant’s presence will generally be required at the Visa interview at the US Embassy in Thailand. Although their presence is requested they may or may not be interviewed. To file for a derivative visa a concurrent visa filing must be submitted at the time of submitting the underlying visa petition.

In some cases, the Thai mother wishes to wait to bring the child to the USA until after the wedding or until after the move to the USA. In a case such as this, after the marriage or the arrival of the Thai wife in the US, the American  Citizen spouse may file a visa petition for the Thai child as a step-child or the Thai mother may file a visa petition on behalf of the child as a minor child of a lawful permanent resident (if the situation fits these facts). Generally, it is advisable to file the child visa petition concurrently with the underlying petition if speed is an issue.

For more information Please See: US Visa Thailand

Note: Nothing in this post should be used in lieu of competent advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

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