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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawShould I Use a Visa Service to Apply for a US Tourist Visa?

Should I Use a Visa Service to Apply for a US Tourist Visa?

See transcript of the above video below:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Visa services and US tourist visa applications to the United States of America.

When I say US tourist visas, I'm going to go ahead and use that as a blanket term to describe either a B-1 Visa, a B2 Visa or B1/B2 Visa, all of which I'm going to go ahead and just be referring to sort of broadly as a Tourist Visa to the United States. 

I have had this question posed of me many times with respect to a tourist visa applications, will I take it a tourist visa application?  In point of fact, I have not done a great number of tourist visa applications over these 11, 12 years I've been doing Immigration work.  Quite frankly because oftentimes there is very little value added that I can provide and also because the likelihood of denial, especially through the US Embassy here in Bangkok under the circumstances where I see inquiries regarding US tourist visas, often times the likelihood of denial is quite high and I say this because in many cases we are talking about often times single Thai women who are in a relationship with an American citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States and they want to get a tourist visa to go visit that individual. Unfortunately, pursuant to Section 214 (b) of the Immigration Nationality Act, it's a very, very tough threshold to overcome to get over that Section and there's other videos on this channel specifically on Section 214 (b) of the Immigration Nationality Act but to sort of concisely describe it in this video, it basically requires the Consular Officer adjudicating the tourist visa application, to undertake an analysis where they need to see that the applicant shows strong ties to Thailand or any other country where they're applying from, and weak ties to the United States. Unfortunately in the cases that I see quite frequently where people are seeking tourist visas to the USA, those folks are going to go ahead, those folks are basically in a situation where as I said it is generally a Thai female.  She's in a relationship, now it may not be, it may not quite rise to the level of a fiancée relationship or even a marital relationship but they do want to go ahead and try to get a tourist visa so oftentimes the purpose is so that individual can see the United States and the Officer at the Embassy just goes ahead and denies pursuant to section 214 (b). Under those circumstances denials are quite often and for this reason, I am making this video because as I said I have not done a number of those visa applications in the past out here in our practice with respect to US Immigration mostly because

1. We can't add a great deal of value and

2. The likelihood of denial is strong; it's really, really high. 

And for that reason I think it's not ethically correct to go ahead and take those kinds of cases because of the likelihood of denial.

Now that being said, if people want to go ahead and apply on their own, as long as they are telling the truth to the US Embassy in their visa application, great, but I don't take those cases very often and the thing that I would like to convey in this video is be careful with a "Visa agency", "Visa company", whatever, who basically says "Oh yeah, yeah no problem. This is going to be great."  You know the likelihood of being approved on a tourist visa application is not guaranteeable and in fact I would argue that the likelihood under circumstances I described previously in this video, the likelihood is actually very disfavorable and in fact it is very likely that a denial will be issued with respect to an application for a B1/B2 under similar circumstances.

So the thing to take away from this video is the likelihood of denial is fairly high, especially pursuant to section 214(b) of the Immigration Nationality Act. In my opinion, little value can be added by an Immigration Attorney under those circumstances. 

Now there are some folks that just want assistance with that. We have done them in the past. Generally speaking though I don't particularly like to do them, especially now where it  can all pretty much be done by the applicants online especially now with DS-160 being essentially an online application tool.  And again this goes back to the issue of value-add; is the attorney adding any value or more importantly, or more pertinent to this video, is this “Visa company” adding any value.  You know again things like translation. Yes there are services that can be provided but one can go obtain their own translations on their own. Why do they need a visa company to facilitate application for these kinds of visas? In my opinion it's not overly necessary and the other thing is you need to be really careful when dealing with some of these operators because frankly they oftentimes and I've seen this anecdotally and I have actually seen this firsthand when dealing with cases on behalf of clients who have dealt with other services who been told a lie.  It's not unheard of for these kinds of operators to go ahead and tell people to lie and that can result in huge problems down the road.  Not only could it be construed as Immigration fraud but it could result in a finding of fraud and misrepresentation which is a legal ground of inadmissibility which in a subsequent case, for example, again a single Thai woman with an American boyfriend, a subsequent fiancée visa case or a marriage visa case, you could have serious problems if there was a finding of fraud and misrepresentation and then you're trying to file for subsequent case. 

So the thing to take away from this video, to sum it all up and rounding it all out, the denial rate could be fairly high especially in the context of Thailand. You are also looking at what kind of value is really being added by this so-called “Visa Service” and finally you're going to want to be very aware that a) it could probably be done on your own you could probably do it on your own,  but also take things that somebody's operator say with a grain of salt because lying with respect to the US Immigration process is never a good idea just from sort of a moral and ethical standpoint but it could also lead to substantial legal consequences that especially with respect to a finding of fraud and misrepresentation.