Integrity Legal

5th Jun 2009

Consular Processing: Visa Interview Preparation for a Thai Fiancee or Wife

One unique aspect of practicing United States Immigration law abroad is the ability to assist a foreign loved one with the US Embassy in Bangkok. Currently, the US Embassy’s policy states that no one other than the Thai applicant may be present for the visa interview at the Embassy on the day of the interview (this included the US Citizen spouse or Fiancee). Due to the fact that the foreign loved one will go through the interview process alone, the services of an immigration attorney can be very beneficial in preparing the foreign fiancee or spouse for the interview and giving the fiancee or spouse prior notification of Embassy procedure and what to expect. Depending on the category of US visa (K-1, K-3, or CR-1) different thresholds of proof will be required with regard to the bona fides of the relationship.

Interview preparation can be vital in facilitating a successful outcome at the United States Embassy, particularly in situations where the Thai fiancee or spouse has difficulty communicating in the English language or becomes easily nervous when dealing with government officials. That being said, many of a Thai fiancee’s fears regarding the Embassy can be laid to rest by a competent lawyer who can explain the situation and dispel any rumors or myths that a fiancee or wife has heard.

Assistance with 221 g Responses

Embassy officials are hard working individuals and at the Consular Service Section they process a large number of cases each year. Therefore, in the interests of speed and efficiency where there is a deficiency of documentation the consular officer will likely issue a 221 g denial. In many cases, fiancees or wives believe this to be a denial of the visa application and that the denial is final. In point of fact: 221g’s are denials, but they are denials pending further documentation. Therefore, if an applicant can cure the deficiency, then the visa will likely be issued. This is where retaining an attorney can be of great use. Currently, the US Embassy in Bangkok gives licensed American attorneys the privilege of presenting 221 (g) documentation on behalf of a visa applicant (the Embassy will not deal with visa agents or unlicensed so-called “lawyers”). This can be of great advantage particularly to the fiancee or spouse who does not live in Bangkok. By using an immigration attorney, it is generally unnecessary for the fiancee or spouse to return to Bangkok after the initial interview (this is not always the case, because consular officers can request that applicants return for a follow-up interview, as a practical matter, this rarely, if ever, happens).

Inadmissibility and Waiver

In cases where there exists a legal ground of inadmissibility, retaining an attorney is highly advisable particularly at the pre-interview phase. The reason for this is the fact that an attorney can prepare the waiver application in anticipation of the denial on a ground of inadmissibility. An I-601 application could be filed at virtually the same moment of denial. This would save time because the attorney is on the ground in real time and could interact with both the Embassy and the USCIS district office.

For more information, please see: US visa Thailand

(Nothing contained herein is an adequate substitute for a personal legal consultation. No Attorney-Client Relationship should be deemed to exist between author and reader.)

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