If you live in Thailand and wish to immigrate to the US, you must get approval from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before you can apply for a visa. You must submit a petition through an employer or relative.
Therefore, to immigrate successfully, you need to get sponsorship from a citizen in the US or an immediate relative who lives in the US. A prospective US employer, as noted, can also help you immigrate.
The Process Begins by Getting a Sponsor
The process begins when the sponsor files a petition on your behalf. Afterward, you will need to follow the legal steps for the visa process. Once the USCIS approves your petition and the visa processing has been completed, you can work with a lawyer to receive further guidance.
Why You Need a Visa to Live or Travel in the US
Before you begin, you need to define and understand the purpose of a US Visa. Anyone who wishes to enter the US must first obtain this document. One of the various visas may be issued, such as the K-1 visa, the K-3 visa, the US tourist visa, and the CR-1 visa.
Do You Plan to Marry a US Citizen?
The K-1 visa is issued to a fiancée or fiancé who wishes to marry a US citizen and reside in the United States. The K1 visa will be issued to you if you meet the following requirements:
- You and your fiancé or fiancée are free to marry legally; and
- You plan to marry within 90 days of entering the US on the K1 visa.
Review Your Options with an Immigration Attorney
The K-1 visa is issued after an I-129F petition is filed on your behalf. If you do not plan to take up residence in the US indefinitely after you marry, you need to apply for a B-2 visa, or you may be eligible for a travel visa-free under the US visa waiver program. You just need to review your options with a qualified Thai immigration law attorney
K-4 Visas Cover US Travel for Children
When a K-3 visa is issued, it covers any immigrant who wishes to marry a US citizen who is waiting for approval for an I-130 immigrant petition. A child under the age of 21, who does not claim US citizenship may apply for a K-4 visa. Both the K-3 and K-4 visas allow people to travel in the US while they await approval for their petitions.
Obtaining a Marriage Visa or a CR-1 or IR-1 Visa
The CR-1 visa is a marriage visa that permits a Thai resident to immigrate to the US with his or her US spouse. Another marriage visa is the IR-1 visa. The CR-1 visa covers immigration for a foreign spouse and US spouse who has been married for 2 years or less while an IR-1 visa covers the immigration needs of couples married for a longer time, or 2 years or more.
To apply for the CR-1 visa or IR-1 visa, you should be legally married to a US citizen. Common-law marriages may be recognized. However, the ability to apply for a CR-1 visa or IR-1 visa is based on the laws of the jurisdiction where the marriage occurred.
The Steps to Take if You Want to Apply for a Marriage Visa
To proceed with the CR1/IR1 visa process, you need to do the following:
- Pay the associated fees.
- Obtain a petition for alien relative.
- Obtain a copy of the US citizen’s passport (all the pages) or his or her birth certificate and include it for processing.
- Obtain a copy of the marriage certificate for processing.
- Obtain a document that shows any prior marriages have been terminated legally. These documents may take the form of divorce paperwork or a death certificate (if the former spouse died).
- Show evidence that you are legitimately married.
Nonimmigrant and Immigrant Visas
Both nonimmigrant visas and immigrant visas are issued by the US and have different filing and application requirements. Applying and getting a visa can become quite complex if you do not speak about your travel or immigration plans to a qualified attorney.
Obtaining a US Tourist Visa for Business or Leisure Activities
If you don’t plan to live in the US but wish to travel there, you can obtain a US tourist visa. You will need to complete a nonimmigrant visa electronic application, or form DS-160 form online. Next, you will need to pay the visa application fee. The B1/B-2 visitor visa is designed to cover travel for people who are visiting the US on business or for pleasure or medical care.
Usually, the B-1 visa covers anyone who wishes to attend business or professional conferences or needs to settle an estate or negotiate a contract. The B-2 visa covers leisure or recreational travel, including visiting relatives or friends, sightseeing, or receiving medical treatments. Frequently, a B-1 and B-2 visa are combined so they can be issued as one visa for an applicant’s business and leisure travel needs.
What You Must Show to Travel in the US
When you apply for a US tourist visa, you must show the following:
- The purpose of your US visit and demonstrate that it is a temporary trip.
- You will stay in the US for only a specific time.
- You have the funds to cover the costs of your trip to the US.
- You have a residence in Thailand and a binding economic or social connection that will ensure you will return to Thailand at the end of your US trip.
To apply for this visa, you can do so easily by going online and using the DS-160 form to apply.
Adjustment of Status – Applying for a US Green Card
If you wish to apply for permanent resident status in the US, the process is known as an adjustment of status, also referenced as applying for a green card. When you immigrate this way, you can obtain the green card without the need to return to Thailand for Visa processing.
As you can see, immigration to the US or obtaining a visa for travel can be complicated. While it helps to know the basic details for applying, you still need to rely on a knowledgeable immigration attorney to help you with the steps. Contact an immigration legal specialist first before you apply for a visa or become involved in the immigration process. He or she can direct you so you can obtain a petition and/or apply for the proper visa without further complications.
If you need the assistance of a US immigration specialist, please feel free to contact us.