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American Immigration from Thailand: US Visa Processing

Transcript of the above video:

I deal with a great many US Immigration matters in a given year, in a given month, in a given week it seems like, and there are certain things that come up throughout the process and certain issues that seem to be sort of a constant concern to potential clients or just people who are looking for information on these matters. 

Recently within the past week, well it will probably be 2 - 3 weeks by the time this video goes live, the US Immigration, Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, has upgraded a number of forms that pertain to various petitions for various types of immigration benefits in the United States.  In the overall immigration process, let’s talk about it strictly from the family base spousal and fiancée visa categories, okay? Which seems to be the bulk of the cases that come through here in Bangkok or that are processed here in Bangkok. During the US visa processing, there’s two phases: there’s US Immigration and that’s occurring stateside, and then there’s dealing with Consular processing, that’s the US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. There’s another video on this channel which pertains specifically to Consular processing; for those who are having issues dealing with an embassy or Consulate, I urge them to go over and view that video as that’s more relevant.  This video specifically is looking at the process from the standpoint of the Immigration authorities and agencies in the United States. So these form changes, they happen fairly regularly and for those who are ”in the know about them”, we sort of have some fair warning on it but for those who are filing a case as sort of pro se or just simply looking at information about this stuff, this is some rather detailed technical information that may not be just sort of readily available on the internet and it’s just one of the aspects of the visa process that can make it so daunting, frustrating and confusing for people who have never dealt with it before. Someone like me, I have been dealing with US Immigration matters for almost 10 years now, it’s fairly routine. I have some clients who even sometimes get frustrated with me because certain things that I just operate and deal with as sort of second nature, it’s the first time that most people have ever dealt with these matters. In fact, most people will only ever deal, especially in a family context, will probably only ever deal with the process one time and they’ll really never have to deal with it again for the rest of their lives which is arguably one of the reasons that it might not be a terrible idea to simply retain a professional to handle this because as frustrating and detailed and in certain ways, complex and byzantine as the process can be, why sort of stress yourself out to basically gain a slight knowledge base about this process and you are only going to ever use it one time in your life? Again, that is sort of an argument for perhaps hiring somebody to assist in these matters. But that being said, what I am sort of getting at is, the process of dealing with Department of Homeland Security, although in certain aspects and in certain ways can be sort of routine, in other ways certain things can change throughout the process that you know, someone like me has just grown able to adapt to when dealing with these cases, for example form changes, these forms go out of date. So someone files a case with the wrong form and it’s out of date, it can be sent back, basically it can be refused to be filed or what’s called a Request for Evidence can be issued. In certain limited, and I am not   going to say  it’s particularly going to happen very often it’s a possibility, you know  failure to file the proper forms can lead to a denial under certain circumstances. So I simply bring up these things with respect to visa processing because it’s a difficult process on the front end, from the standpoint of, one is dealing sort of remotely with the immigration apparatus in the United States; this is all going to be done by correspondence. Yes, the internet is a great tool but in a lot of ways, the internet can be somewhat misleading about how this process works.  Again, not so much like Thai Immigration where there’s a lot more discretionary things going on sort of “there’s a million ways to skin a cat” sometimes in the Thai Immigration System; in the US Immigration System, that is not the case at all.  In most situations, you are going to have a pretty good idea of how things are going to process based on past experience. However all cases are unique and there could be some kind of snafu in a given case. I have had situations where USCIS has actually, it is very, very rare but USCIS has actually lost a case file on me. We happen to find that case by tracing the check that paid the fee and ultimately the case was found and it was dealt with and to their credit, the officers acted with a great deal of alacrity and with a great deal of  good grace and cordiality about it but it was an issue that had to be dealt with. These things happen. Every case is going to process, even ever  so slightly differently, so sort of taking sort of a “one size fits all“ approach to dealing with the front end of this process isn’t a great idea. Another thing to think about is although it’s in two phases, the National Visa Center in a lot of ways, is something of a third phase in its own right especially in matters involving spousal visas; US marriage visas, CR-1s, IR-1s not so much with the K-3, although the K-3 really in my opinion isn’t the best thing to process anymore any way, although there are certain limited circumstances where the K-3 is advantageous. In a spousal visa case, there’s going to be a great deal of interaction with the National Visa Center in fact in a lot of ways, the National Visa Center essentially front loads most of the documentation that pertains to Consular processing.  So from that side of it, I am not going to get too far into NVC, I might even do a video specifically on NVCs, just to sort of discuss, like an overview of how NVC works and what it does but the thing to keep in mind is dealing with the Department of Homeland Securities, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, again a “one size fits all’ approach is probably not the way to take it. Each case is going to process individually and it’s going to process uniquely and depending on the timing of things, fees change, recently that just occurred. Quite a few of the fees have gone up with regard to USCIS processing. Some of the fees have gone up with respect to DOS, Department of State processing. These things can happen and to the lay person who is not, you know, routinely doing this, this can be the cause of a great deal of frustration and confusion resulting from the fact that these changes, these plates, these tectonic immigration plates just sort of shift while the process is sort of ongoing or right when one is filing something and because it didn’t get in by a certain date, you don’t have the right filing fee or you don’t have the right form, this can cause delays in the process. For that reason, you know, some people opt to go ahead and hire a professional because we are sort of equipped to handle those kinds of adaptations to the process. That being said, it’s always a good idea to check all ones options, do research, ask questions, talk to attorneys and you know, figure out what’s going to be the best scenario for one’s, in a personal sense, and for one’s spouse or fiancée who’s going to the United States.