The US State Department announced that it plans to close all of its overseas US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field offices throughout the coming year, including Thailand’s immigration office located in Bangkok.
USCIS field offices typically handle family visa requests and issues, international adoptions, and a wide range of other more specialized immigration services.
The Bangkok USCIS office is the regional “hub” office for Southeast Asia.
The USCIS has another 22 offices spread across regions of Latin America, Asia, and Europe.
Based on the planned closures, USCIS field office services will be transferred to US embassies and consulates as well as the State Department.
Specific key functions that can be expected to be taken care of by embassies and consulates after the change include petitions from citizens attempting to bring their family members to the US, processing requests from asylum seekers and refugees, assisting US citizens in adopting foreign children, naturalizing US military personnel who don’t yet hold citizenship, and investigating fraudulent visa applications.
Our law firm’s most frequent cases involving the local Bangkok USCIS office have primarily been returning US resident family visa applications and renouncing permanent residency status.
The services provided by the Bangkok USCIS office will likely be assumed by the US Embassy in Thailand or US-based USCIS offices.
The closure will primarily affect US citizens residing in Thailand who seek to petition for family-based US visas for immediate family members.
Under the current system, US residents in Thailand can often use the Bangkok USCIS directly, saving significant time.