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Applying for a US Visa in Thailand

May 3

If you are interested in traveling to the US, you need to obtain a B-2 visa. This visa allows you to travel to the US for pleasure or medical treatments. Otherwise, business travelers in Thailand must obtain a B-1 visa. This visa permits you to attend professional conventions, negotiate contracts, settle an estate, or consult with business colleagues in the US.

Consider the B-2 visa a recreational visa or a US tourist visa – one that can be used for visiting with US friends or relatives, or obtaining medical therapy. Many times, travelers will receive a combination of the B-1 and B-2 visas for convenience.


What It Takes to Obtain a US Tourist Visa or Business Visa

When you apply for a B-1 visa and/or B-2 visa, you need to show that you meet the eligibility requirements. The criteria set for getting these visas include the following:

  • You are only planning a temporary visit to the US.
  • You plan to stay in the US for a certain time period.
  • You can show that you can pay for your expenses while in the US.
  • You have a residence in Thailand and binding ties with the US, socially or economically. Therefore, you will return to Thailand after your journey.

This visa is an example of the visa you should get if you are traveling. Other visas cover Thai residents who may eventually want to live in the US. Some of the visas also support people who wish to temporarily live or study in the US.

Regardless of the type of visa you obtain, make sure the information on the document is correct. All the personal information on the visa should match what is featured on your passport. If you notice errors, contact the US Embassy in Thailand or a US Consulate office right away.


How Long You Can Stay – Refer to the Date Stamped on Your Passport

The expiration date on any visa is the last day you can enter the US. It does not show how long you can stay in the US. Your US stay will be determined by the US Department of Homeland Security at the port of entry. As long as you comply with the laws set for visa holders, you should be able to enter without difficulty. Therefore, if your visa expiration date falls before the date that is stamped on your passport, you need to refer to the date the Department of Homeland Security officer stamped on the passport.

When applying for any US visa, you need to show that you have strong ties in the country. These ties can be represented by what you do for a living, your home, or your relations with friends and family. When conducting visa interviews, US consular officers look at each application. It is not a cut-and-dried process. They consider the applicant’s situation, financial resources, travel itinerary, and connections inside and outside the US.

If you need a visa to work in the US, you cannot have a relative sponsor you for the visa. Only an employer can petition this type of visa. Therefore, it is best to contact an immigration lawyer when you apply for a visa. Doing so will keep you from making misinterpretations.


Other Important Visas

The K1 Visa

One of the visas that are often used by couples is the K1 visa. The K1 visa is frequently issued to the Thai fiancé or fiancée of a US resident. If you currently live in Thailand and want to marry a US citizen, this visa is the one you need to obtain. Doing so will allow you to get married in the US, provided you do so within 90 days of your entrance. You can also use the K1 if you plan to leave the country and reside in Thailand after you marry. Again, just make sure you get married within 90 days.

If you do plan to live in the US, you can make an adjustment of status. This adjustment allows you to obtain a green card – a card that shows you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR). The next step, if you choose, is to become naturalized or a US citizen.


The K3 Visa

The K3 visa is another important visa for couples. This visa is designed for a Thai resident who is currently married to a US resident and wishes to enter the US as non-immigrant. Once you enter the US, again, an adjustment of status can be made. To make this move, you need to fill out an I-485 form and file it with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service – otherwise known as the USCIS. The UCIS is part of the previously mentioned Department of Homeland Security.


The CR-1 Visa

If you are a Thai citizen who is already married to a US resident, you can apply for either a CR-1 visa or an IR-1 visa for immigrants. The CR-1 visa is used when you have been married under two years while the IR-1 visa makes it possible for couples, married over 2 years, to obtain a visa for a Thai national.

The CR-1 visa or IR-1 visa is also called a spousal visa and is issued to an alien who wants to reside and stay with his or her US citizen spouse. The processing time takes up to 10 months. Therefore, you really need to plan ahead if you plan to migrate to the US and live with your US husband or wife.

As you can see, you have to plan ahead if you want to make sure you enter the US and abide by the laws established for immigration. The US posts clear laws online about what you should expect and the forms you need to file. However, all this can get quite confusing if you do not work with a US immigration attorney. As you have to submit a good deal of paperwork, you need direction in this respect. Make sure you know what is expected of you. That way, your trip to the US will be both beneficial and positive.