Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Visa 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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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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27th July 2009

US Immigration and Nationality is an interesting and complex area of American jurisprudence. As a statutorily driven field of law, it can be one of the more rules driven areas of Federal regulation. Many Americans born in the United States acquire their citizenship through a combination of jus sanguinis (Latin meaning “right of blood”) and/or jus soli (Latin meaning “right of the soil” or “right of the territory”). For those born outside of the United States, or its possessions, how can United States Citizenship be proven? This is why the United States government has promulgated the US Certificate of Citizenship.

The Certificate of United States Citizenship is a legal document distributed by the government authorities of the United States of America and used in order to provide proof of the bearer’s United States Citizenship. Those who are qualified to submit an application for a United States Certificate of Citizenship include those who acquired United States of America citizenship while living in the United States or those Americans who were born outside of the United States, or any possession or territory of the USA, to United States citizens. Specifically eligible to submit an application for a US Certificate of Citizenship are:

  • those born abroad who have parents with United States citizenship, or
  • those with at least one naturalized parent who naturalized when the citizen was  under 18 years of age and met special criteria of United States Immigration and Nationality law.

It should be noted that the US certificate of citizenship is a substantially different document from the United States naturalization certificate. Naturalization occurs when a foreign national acquires United States Citizenship. The certificate of naturalization is conferred in order to prove acquisition of US Citizenship. The certificate of citizenship is generally granted to those who were born as United States Citizens.  Therefore, the documents, although similar, denote two different types of US Citizenship.  Generally, one must submit an application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in order to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship. USCIS is an agency under the Department of Homeland Security which is tasked with maintaining Immigration, naturalization, and Citizenship records for those persons in the USA.

United States Citizenship is important from a US Immigration perspective because only a US Citizen can petition for a K1 visa (fiance visa) or a K-3 visa (expedited marriage visa) on behalf of a foreign national. Therefore, proving one’s United States Citizenship could be critical in obtaining a USA Visa for a foreign loved one.

(This content is intended for educational purposes only and does not constitute advice regarding the law. No Lawyer-Client Relationship exists between author and reader.)

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17th July 2009

Yesterday I received an inquiry regarding the possibility of obtaining a United States V Visa. It had been a while since I had read anything about that category so I decided to do some quick research and share a few things regarding the US V Visa.

The Immigration Category known as the V visa was created under the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act of 2000. In the provisions of this legislation, spouses and minor children (not married and under the age of twenty-one) of United States Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders) could receive a temporary visa in order to join their family member in the United States, while the immigrant visa process is pending.

As a rule, spouses and children of American permanent residents must wait for a comparatively longer period of time to get a visa than the spouse of a United States Citizen or a child (or step-child) of a United States Citizen. That being said, lawful permanent residents cannot avail themselves of the comparative benefits of a fiance visa, also known as a K-1 visa, because that visa category is only available to those betrothed to an American Citizen.

Currently, the V visa is only available to spouses and children of Lawful Permanent Residents who filed their visa application on or before December 21, 2000, as a result of this provision, fewer and fewer V visas are being issued as the pending applications are adjudicated.

The V visa is somewhat similar to the K-3 visa because they were statutorily designed with the intention of allowing spouses and children to travel to the United States of America while their immigrant visa was processing through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). A major difference between these two visa categories is the fact that the K-3 is still currently obtainable for the spouse of any United States Citizen and has not been effectively “phased out,” by statute. Thai being said, those that enter the United States on a K-3 visa after the approval of a K-3 application still must go through the adjustment of status process or return to Thailand in order to go through consular processing and visa interview at the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand because, like the V visa, the K-3 is a two year non-immigrant multiple entry visa and therefore is only issued for a validity of limited duration.

(This post is not legal advice and should not be construed as such. Please contact an Immigration lawyer for individualized legal advice. No Attorney-Client relationship is formed by reading this piece.)

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