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A US Tourist Visa for Thai Girlfriend? | US Visa Immigration in Thailand

A US Tourist Visa for Thai Girlfriend?

by admin on June 4, 2009

Given the relatively short wait times for a US tourist visa, many American/Thai couples are tempted to use the tourist visa to enter the country and subsequently get married.  What are the associated risks??  Let’s ask an American attorney in Bangkok:

Is it difficult to obtain a tourist visa for a Thai girlfriend?

The US Embassy in Bangkok is highly reluctant to approve tourist visas for an American citizen’s unmarried partner.  The B2 Visitors’ Visa is intended for those travelling to the US for purposes of tourism and temporary stays for pleasure.  The US Embassy in Bangkok will deny granting tourist visas to non-US citizens entering the States with their American boyfriend/girlfriend as a matter of regular practice unless special circumstances exist.  The reason for this is one of the fundamental principles of US Immigration law:  that a non-immigrant visa applicant must overcome the presumption of being an intended immigrant.  In other words, in order to qualify, you have to convince the US Embassy that your girlfriend has few or no ties to the US and very strong ties to Thailand.  Obviously, having a partner or spouse who is a US citizen living in the US would not help you with this process.

How can I convince the US Embassy that my girlfriend does not intend to stay for longer than permitted by a tourist visa?

The Embassy is looking for indications that your partner will return to Thailand or her home country.  In our experience, the following characteristics will assist in granting a tourist visa: married persons, professionals employed by large or multinational companies, high status Thai government civil servants, the very wealthy, and elderly persons seeking to visit relatives.  The following characteristics will be negative factors: single persons, persons unemployed or with sporadic employment records and persons without higher educational degrees.  Fulfilling the above characteristics, however, still does not often result in obtaining the B2 visa.

What if my girlfriend and I get married after she entered the US on a tourist visa?  Will this cause a problem?
Since the purpose of the B2 visa is exclusively for tourist visits, the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not look kindly on those that abuse this sole purpose.  When the time comes for the visa holder to extend the visa or adjust status (applying for a green card) serious legal problems can arise.

If I married my Thai girlfriend while she was on a tourist visa in the US, can we adjust her status to permanent resident?

Again, the USCIS will not appreciate that the marriage occurred on B2 visa and will extensively question the couple as to their original intentions when the partner entered the country.  I always recommend to my clients that if an American is serious about his/her Thai partner, the K1 visa will give them less problems in the long run.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Joseph M March 9, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Question: I am going to marry my Thai girlfriend this month …I would like to visit the US with her …I am a US citizen working in the middle east for the US government ..We intend to go for two weeks and of course return …How would I approach this as far as acquiring a tourist visa for her…………..Thanks for your time …….Joseph M

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