Filing for US Immigrant Visas at the USCIS in Bangkok

by admin on June 12, 2009

Typically, applications for US immigrant visas begin by sending a petition to the US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) that has jurisdiction over their place of residence in the United States.  In some cases, however, the petitioner may file directly with the USCIS office in Bangkok, reducing wait times in some cases up to 1 -3 months for a marriage visa.

What is “Direct Consular Filing” or USCIS Overseas Jurisdiction Filing?
The process of submitting a petition directly to the Bangkok USCIS office is often referred to as “direct consular filing”.  This terminology is not officially correct but it is the commonly used term to refer to filing an immigrant visa petition with an overseas USCIS office.  The USCIS is under the control of the Department of Homeland Security and is not a “consular” office. This “direct” process is appealing to many Thai-American couples as it is known to significantly reduce the amount of time required for visa processing.

What are the Requirements for Filing at the Bangkok USCIS?
There are strict requirements the petitioner must meet in order to qualify for the ability to directly file with the Bangkok USCIS.  First, only immediate relative petitions (I-130) are permitted to file in an overseas jurisdiction; fiancé(e) or K1 visas will not be permitted to file this way; secondly, the petitioner must have resided in Thailand for at 365 days out of the previous two years and have adequate proof to demonstrate such residence such as a work permit or long term visas (including non-immigrant “O”, “B”); those on education visas will not be considered.  Petitioners should expect the USCIS to examine the passport of the US citizen in order to determine his residence status in Thailand.  The current standard is 365 days out of the previous two years.   The USCIS website makes it clear that filing in an overseas jurisdiction will only be approved in a limited number of cases.

What Status is Conferred after the Application is Approved?
The application process that proceeds from filing at the Bangkok USCIS office continues similar to the regular petitioning process. Once the application is approved, the alien gains direct permanent residence status in the United States, as opposed to the non-immigrant K1 or K3 visas where status must be adjusted after arriving in the United States.  Immigrant family visas (CR-1 or IR-1) typically take longer to process in normal situations, i.e. filing at a USCIS regional office in the US. But applying at the Bangkok USCIS can significantly reduce the length of processing time. Whether one will benefit from pursuing direct filing with the USCIS can be determined by a registered US visa lawyer in Thailand by looking at the facts of individual cases.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Wichit July 13, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Can you give me advice on when I will get the packet 4 for my Thai daughters inteview with IV in Bangkok? We applied for I 130 for her on June 21, sent off packet 3 July 9-embassy recieved July 12th. Do we have any hope of getting an interview for her before school starts in US in August? Any advice appreciated.

ploy August 21, 2011 at 5:22 am

We are looking to apply for the US immigrant visa here in Bangkok. Just wonder how much do you charge for this service?

Bamrung Cappel January 10, 2012 at 9:26 am

Let me to get update immigrant spounse visa timeline status Texas carry on last year October 2011

Christopher nozzarella August 11, 2014 at 5:42 am

I am Looking for help with Dierct Consular filing . Ihave lived in Thailand for 2 1/2 years and have been married to a wonderful Thai lady for almost a year. Her Name iis Nichiapha nozzarella ( yes she changed her name and passport to reflect that). i am a US citizen working in thailand now but the job end in December and i can not bear the thought of being without her! Phone #0886725754

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