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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawThings to Know Before Applying for a US Tourist Visa From Laos

Things to Know Before Applying for a US Tourist Visa From Laos

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing US Tourist Visa applications specifically from the US Embassy in Laos. 

Now I am making this video because we get a number of enquiries in the region. Generally if it is outside of Thailand we are usually hearing stuff from folks in Laos or Cambodia and it is specifically on the topic of denial of US Tourist Visas; I often get emails on this. People I think fail to understand the dynamic under which a US Tourist Visa will ultimately be issued. They fail to understand what is called section 214 B of the Immigration and Nationality Act and they fail to understand what is called the Doctrine of Consular Absolutism. 

So under Section 214 B the Immigration Nationality Act it basically creates an analytical framework that the Consular Officer has to deal with wherein they have to be satisfied that the person in question has sufficient strong ties to their home country, in this case Laos or a third country for example Thailand if it is a Laos national living in Thailand and they show sufficient strong ties for example to Thailand, that is certainly possible. They also have to show sufficient weak ties to the United States. So the thing most folks don't really understand it that weak ties analysis and where there is an American loved one involved especially for example a fiancé, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a spouse or even another family member, maybe a brother or sister is an American citizen, or a brother and sister is a Lawful Permanent Resident or a parent is a Lawful Permanent Resident or an American citizen, these type of things can operate to the detriment of a Tourist Visa application pursuant to section 214b. 

Another thing to bear in mind is what is called the Doctrine of Consular Absolutism or Consular Non-reviewability.  Under this Doctrine, the Consular Officer's factual findings are irrefutable; they cannot be appealed. For this reason, oftentimes where you have a US Tourist Visa application being submitted where the applicant has family ties to the United States, there is a pretty high incidence and I would say it is up above 90% oftentimes of denials of Tourist Visas under those circumstances. 

So the thing to take away from this video is I am not trying to scare anybody or sound overly pessimistic with respect to the US Tourist Visa. What I am simply trying to say is it is a heavy threshold. It is a real uphill battle with respect to US Tourist Visas. 

Another thing to keep in mind with respect to US Tourist Visa applications oftentimes I hear people that say  "We hired a service and they said they knew how to do it." Sometimes they will even go so far as to say we have a “special connection”!  Always, always be very leery when you hear "we have a special connection at the US Embassy". In any event one of these Services basically took their money, I often think knowing full well the likelihood of denial is quite high, and they basically “assisted” them in going through the process. Certainly there are cases that get denied; it does happen. I don't really do to US Tourist Visas primarily for the reason that I am well aware that there is a high denial rate oftentimes especially in cases involving US loved ones and I also am of the belief that there is not a great deal of value-add. I am a qualified American attorney. I have been doing American Immigration work for over a dozen years  I don't think there is a great deal of added value I am going to add to the process of obtaining a US Tourist Visa or I should say trying to obtain a US Tourist Visa.

The thing I would put across to folks watching this video is if I don't think I can add a lot of value, I am not really seeing what a so-called “Visa Service” or “Immigration Service” is really adding to that process. Take that and act on it accordingly. I just simply don't see what value is being added by these so-called Services where most of it can be done on one's own. It is mostly done online now and it is really not covered under a legal framework that it really makes it conducive for an attorney or anybody else to add any value to the process. It is just my opinion to simply apply, tell the truth and deal with the consequences.  I really would urge people that are watching this video be very careful with any Visa Service that claims an ability to assist in the US Tourist Visa application because I just simply think that that is probably not in sync with reality, for lack of a better term.