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

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing US Tourist Visa application specifically from the Embassy here in Thailand. 

The reason I am making this video is I basically want people to have a good notion of what they are dealing with when it comes to the US Tourist Visa application from Thailand. What I mean to say is I think a lot of folks have some presumptions,  usually folks who have never dealt with the Immigration apparatus before, for example those who have a loved one who is Thai for example of spouse or a girlfriend or fiancée, boyfriend, husband, these types of things. Folks who are the citizens of any country oftentimes have very little idea about how the Immigration apparatus works in that country because quite frankly they never have to deal with it.

The Tourist Visa is one of these situations I have found over the years where people have misconceptions about how it works, what people are looking for with respect to it and that is why I thought I would go ahead and make this video. 

So the thing to know going into the Tourist Visa application is what is called section 214B of the Immigration and Nationality Act and specifically section 214B creates the mandate that the Consular Officer adjudicating the visa application be satisfied that the applicant shows strong ties to their home country, in this case Thailand, and weak ties to the United States. 

Now a lot of folks fail to understand, they usually get the strong ties part, but often times proving the weak ties can be a real problem. That is going to be circumstantially dependent but to sum things up with respect to Thailand, in a lot of cases where there is an American loved one or family member involved, you are going to see a much higher incidence of denial with respect to those cases. I mean it is a pretty high incidence of denial I should say where there is a loved one, be it a spouse, family member whatever in the United States because that weak ties analysis comes into play and that can prove to be a problem. So Tourist Visas are not just sort of a formality. You should not view them that way. They are adjudication and they are often times denied. 

The other thing that I think is good to keep in mind with respect to going into a Tourist Visa process is, it is probably not necessary to hire a service of any kind. I don't think there is a great deal of value. We don't really do a lot of Non-immigrant Visas here at the office. We don't deal with a lot of Tourist Visas. There is the occasional case that involves some finer point of law that we may need to deal with; often times it's in a waiver context. By and large I really don't deal with Tourist Visas from the standpoint that I don't feel that there is a lot of value-added and most folks can do it themselves. Also, at least here in Thailand, the high incidence of denial of those cases causes me to not want to take them from a client management standpoint as I don't really want my clients to have sort of a bad taste in their mouth. 

So the thing to take away from this video with regard to Visa Services is it is one thing to hire somebody to translate a document but if they say "oh we are going to help you and prepare", I don't really think there is any value added by anybody and especially where they are not qualified to provide any Immigration advice, they are just somebody putting together documentation. Most of the process these days is done online and folks pretty much do it themselves. I just don't really think it is a good idea to engage any kind of a service with respect to a Tourist Visa but the thing I would hope people take away from this video is perhaps more realistic expectations with respect to a US Tourist Visa application for a Thai loved one.