A Thai Lawyer’s Perspective on K1 and K3 Interviews at the US Embassy in Bangkok

by admin on June 11, 2009

Sawitree Ngakorn is an Attorney-at-law specializing in US fiancé(e) and spouse visas for Thai nationals.  She has years of experience accompanying Thais to the US Embassy in Bangkok through her work at Chaninat & Leeds, an American law firm in Bangkok.  Ms Sawitree sheds some light on the final interview process. 

Q: How long do applicants usually spend at the Embassy? What are the operating hours?
A: The Embassy’s operating hours are between 7 am and 4 pm and interviewees are usually at the Embassy for between 3 to 4 hours. After the Embassy receives Packet 3, they will send Packet 4 to the applicant which will contain the exact date for interview, which will usually be scheduled up to 10-12 after the Embassy receives Packet 3.  The interview times will be listed by case number on the Embassy’s website.   

Q: Is the interview conducted in English or Thai? 
A: The interview is in English but before the actual interview is conducted, a Thai Consular Officer will check the applicant’s documents in Thai. 

Q: Are there long lines of people? Is there any place to sit and rest? Eat or drink?
A: There are usually lineups to enter the building and submit documents but it really depends on the day, some are busier than others.  There are seats inside for waiting but none are available outside.  Water is provided but there is nowhere to purchase food.

Q: Does the Embassy have security upon entrance? 
A: Yes, the Embassy is quite strict about security, checking each person’s belongings. You must leave your mobile phone and other belongings at the entrance.

Q: Can I bring my friend or attorney to the interview?
A: No. Only the person undergoing the interview will be admitted into the interviewing room. 

Q: What documents should be prepared in advance? Do I get them back?
A: You will require documents that substantiate your relationship with your fiancé(e) or spouse, such as emails or phone records that detail calls to their number.  Copies of these documents will be prepared but you must submit the original as well.  The original documents will be returned.

Q: Would you say the majority of applicants are successful? 
A: I think that 80% of couples are successful but often the Officer will ask for more documents establishing the couple’s relationship. 

Q: For fiancé(e) and marriage visas, what grounds are most people denied on?
A: In my experience, HIV is a very common ground of denial.  The applicant can subsequently submit an HIV waiver to the USCIS.

Q: Have you ever had a couple caught trying to deceive immigration officers?
A: I’ve actually never experienced a couple trying to fraudulently enter the US on marriage or fiancé(e) visas.

Q: Are the Consular Officers polite and cordial?
A: They are polite but very matter-of-fact. 

Q: Will the US embassy keep a record of my application?
A: Yes, your application will be kept on file.

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