After 15 years of practicing U.S. Immigration law, I received my first transgender relationship case. A long term relationship between an American man and a Thai transgender. The United States Supreme Court recently declared that laws preventing same sex marriages were unconstitutional….
Australia is an amazingly country with a multicultural population, beautiful beaches, diverse wildlife, and a cultural indigenous history that dates back more than 50,000 years. It is a place where adventure is everywhere and an endless summer awaits. For most non-waiver countries, foreign nationals would require a visitor visa to enter the country.
What are the requirements to obtain a Visitor Visa for non-waiver nationals?
If you want to visit Australia for vacation, recreation or to visit friends and family, they will need a Visitor Visa. The visa can also be used for other short term non-work purposes of less than three months.
The purpose of the visit must be documented. If you are visiting friends and family, there needs to be an invitation letter, evidence of the relationship, and evidence of the legal status of the inviter in Australia.
If you plan on traveling in Australia, they should submit a detailed itinerary, bookings for accommodations, and evidence of planned activities.
If you are traveling for a specific purpose, you should obtain a letter from the institution with information on the purpose of their visit to Australia and that the stay will be less than three months.
What financial documents are required to obtain a Visitor Visa?
Visitors must submit evidence that they have the ability to support themselves during their short term stay in Australia and also pay to leave Australia at the end of their authorized stay. This includes copies of bank statements over series of time showing a consistent savings balance, copies of documents which show any funds or assets held, and the last three years of tax documents.
There must also be evidence of their current employment situation. For employed individuals, they should submit a letter from their employer staying their position, salary, length of employment, and confirmation of the leave of absence. If the applicant is self-employer, evidence of the operating business should be submitted.
If they applicant is retired, they should evidence of their retirement and support income. For students, they need to submit evidence of their school enrollment. Applicants who are over the age of 75 must provide evidence of overseas health insurance.
If the visitor will be staying with family or friends in Australia, the sponsor should submit a Statutory Declaration stating their support and providing evidence of their ability to provide support. Even if the visitor has a sponsor, it is important for the visitor to provide financial documentation as evidence of their intent to return home.
If the applicant is planning on bringing their dependent family members with them, the family members will have to submit their own visa applications and they the visa fee. The visa fee is non-refundable even if the visa is not granted or withdrawn.
For Thailand, the visa application is submitted at the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC) in Bangkok. Once the application has been lodged, it is forwarded to the Australian Embassy to complete processing. The time varies depending on the case workload but generally takes about two weeks.
Canada is the second largest country in the world. It stretch across a continent and touches two oceans. Visitors in awe of its rolling mountains, dense forests, and magical winters. But Canada is more. It is cosmopolitan cities, multicultural communities, sporting activities, and amazing food. For nationals of visa waiver countries, there is no need to obtain a visa to enter Canada for a short period. For non visa waiver nationals, they need to obtain a Canadian Temporary Resident Visa.
What is a Temporary Resident Visa?
A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) is issued by the Canadian visa office. It allows a foreign national admission into Canada which includes the visitor visa.
In order to be issued a TRV, the foreign national must submit evidence that:
- They will leave Canada at the end of the authorized period of stay.
- The visitor must show that they have enough funds to support themselves and their family members during their stay in Canada.
- They have the ability to leave the country without illegally working in Canada.
- The foreign national must be law abiding without a criminal record.
- They must be in good health. The officer may request that the applicant submit medical evidence.
- They must not be a security risk to Canada.
Previous visa violations will also affect the ability of receiving a visa. A valid visitor visa does not guarantee entry into Canada. The officer at the port of entry will make the final determination of whether the foreign national will be allowed to enter the country.
What documents are required to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa?
The potential list of supporting documents are extensive. For each person, the amount of evidence will be determined by their individual circumstances. It is important to ensure that all of the forms are completed properly.
The applicant must document the purpose and itinerary of their trip. The supporting document should include:
- a travel schedule,
- place where they will stay,
- copies of plane tickets,
- proof of financial support,
- and evidence that the foreign national will return back to their home country.
The evidence that the foreign national will return can be established by showing current employment, family ties, financial and property in their home country, social connections, and previous travel history.
If families are submitting a single package for a visa, it is important to submit evidence of the family ties including marriage certificates and birth certificates.
Applicants for a tourist visa should submit as many documents as possible to alleviate any concerns of the officer that the applicant will not return if their tourist visa is issued.
The United Kingdom is one of the top tourist destinations of the world. It is filled with historic monuments, museums, and royalty. London is the financial capital of Europe a major hub for the arts/entertainment, and home venue for top tier sporting events. The United Kingdom is a wonderful place to visit. The problem is that there are many individuals who apply for a visitor?s visa with the intent of a long term stay. So what does the British Consulate look for when they decide whether to grant a visitor’s visa?
The general visitor applicant must prove to the consulate the following to be granted a visa:
- That the applicant is genuinely seeking to enter the UK for a limited period of time as requested in the application.
- That the applicant is not using the visitor visa as a means for extended stays to live in the UK through extensions or multiple successive visits.
- That the applicant will not work in the United Kingdom for remuneration or for free.
- The applicant will not produce goods or provide services including the selling of goods or services to the public.
- If the applicant is attending an educational course in the UK, that it is not the main purpose of the visit and not longer than 30 days.
- The applicant has sufficient funds to support themselves on their visit without the need of public funds or employment. If the applicant will be accommodated by relatives or friends in the UK, they have to provide a statement that they are legally present in the UK (or will be at the time of the visit) and intend to provide accommodations and support.
- The applicant has the means to leave the United Kingdom at the end of their stay.
In addition, there are specific visitor’s visa which are required for individuals who have an alternative purpose for entering the United Kingdom..
Business Visitor There is a business visitor;s visa for individuals who enter the UK to attend meetings, conferences, or interviews, attend trade fairs for promotional work, arrange deals or negotiate contracts, take part in an overseas film, undertake religious work, act as a visiting professor, or a long variety of business or training related purposes.
Sports Visitors A sports visitor’s visa is allowed for individuals who wants to enter the UK to be a participant in a sports tournament, a sports charity event, to be a member of an amateur team, or to serve as a member of the technical or official staff attending the event.
Entertainer Visitor An entertainer visitor?s visa is allowed for individuals who take part in a music or entertainment competition, be part of an amateur entertainment group, to take part in a free cultural event or festival as an entertainer, or to be a member of the technical or personal or production team of an entertainer.
Private Medical Visitor Individuals who are suffering from medical problem and is not a danger to the public health can enter the UK for medical treatment of a finite duration. The applicant must have the funds required to meet the costs of the medical treatment.
Parent of a Child in School Visa Parents of a child attending a private school in the UK can enter the UK on a temporary visa as long as they can provide proof that they will be able to support their stay without violating the UK’s immigration laws.
Marriage Visitor’s Visa ?Individuals can apply for a marriage visitor?s visa for the purpose of getting married or entering into a civil partnership in the United Kingdom.
Student Visitor’s Visa The Student Visitor’s visa is available for individuals who are entering the UK to study in a program that does not exceed six months. The educational institution must be appropriately accredited.
These are some of the many types of visitor visas to the United Kingdom. When looking to apply for a visa, it may be in the best interest of the applicant to seek the assistance of the local consulate or professional to ensure that they are applying for the correct visa.
The Schengen Area is an area of 26 countries that are signatories of the Schengen Agreement. Schengen refers to a town in Luxemburg where the agreement was signed. Individuals with a Schengen visa can travel throughout the Schengen Area with a single visa for short term trips. There are three types of Schengen visas. There is a short stay travel visa for up to three months, an airport transit visa, and transit visa through Schengen territory for a maximum of five days.
The visa application should be submitted at the Schengen visa at the country where the applicant plans on spending the most time during the trip. If the visa applicant plans on traveling through multiple countries without a main destination, the applicant should be submitted at the embassy where they will enter the Schengen area.
Each country has their own requirements for a Schengen visa. There are two types of Schengen Visas ? A Uniform Schengen Visas (USV) allows travel throughout the Schengen area or a Limited territorial Validity Visa (LTV) which only allows travel in specific Schengen Countries. In addition, there single entry and multiple entry Schengen visas. Multiple entry visas will allow the holder reenter the Schengen area multiple times during the validity of the visa.
Every person who wants a Schengen visa must make an appointment and apply in person. The applicant can apply up to 12 weeks in advance of the trip but it is recommended that the interview occur a minimum of 15 days prior to the date of departure. The officer may interview the applicant about the purpose of the trip and the ability to support yourself during the trip.
The number of foreigners moving to Thailand seems to be growing every year. For many foreign nationals, they come to Thailand for a short visit then fall in love with the country. For others it was not the country but it was a specific person that they found that has kept them in the country. Whether the new couple has decided to live in Thailand or move overseas, they usually begin their lives together in matrimony.
What are the laws in regards to engagement and marriage in Thailand?
An engagement is not required to get married but it is custom and Thai law covers the particulars of the engagement and dowry. There are two types of dowry. An engagement is not valid until the man gives or transfer property to the woman which is called the Khongman. The man can also give property to the woman’s parents in return for the woman agreeing to marry which is called the Sinsod. If the woman causes the marriage to not take place, the man can request the return of the Khongman and Sinsod. An accepted engagement however does not force the woman or the man to marry each other. There cannot be an agreement for one party to pay a penalty if the marriage does not occur.
If there is an asset imbalance where one party is entering into the marriage with a larger financial assets than the other party, a premarital agreement should be considered. A prenuptial agreement is an agreement between the couple summarizing their personal assets and liabilities before marriage and outlining the property division in case of a breakup. A prenuptial agreement must be in writing, signed and witnessed by two witnesses, and registered at the local provincial office (Amphur) before the marriage registration. A prenuptial agreement cannot be altered except with authorization of a court.
A religious marriage ceremony in Thailand is not a legal marriage. Thailand is a civil law country that requires couples to register their marriage with the local Amphur. The documents required for marriage registration is different for a foreigner/Thai couple versus a Thai couple.
Foreigners who want to marry in Thailand must submit proof of the eligibility to get married. Since a Thai?s marriage history is recorded, a Thai national is not required to submit an affidavit of the ability to marry. Most foreign nationals can obtain an affidavit at their local embassy or consulate. The affidavit must be executed at the consulate, translated into Thai, and then legalized at the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There is no minimum period of stay in Thailand required before a marriage can take place.
The minimum age for marriage in Thailand is seventeen. If either one of the marrying couple is under 20 years old, the Ampur will require written consent of the marriage from the parents. If either one of the couple has been previously married, they will need to submit an original, government issued document showing that the previous marriage has been terminated. The documents could be in the form of a death certificate, divorce certificate, or court annulment.
Foreign nationals have to bring their original passport, 2 copies of their passport, copies of the entry visa, authenticated affidavit of the freedom to marry with copies, and original proof of the termination of previous marriages with copies. The Thai national will have to submit their Thai identification card and house registration with copies. All non-Thai documents need to be translated into Thai. A marriage registered in Thailand is legally binding and is generally recognized all over the world.
Property obtained prior to the marriage, property that is used for personal use, or property acquired as a gift or by will is considered separate party of the husband or wife. Property acquired during the marriage, by gift or will to the married couple, and fruits from separate property are considered marital property. The couple can designate separate property and marital property prior to the marriage through a properly prepared and filed premarital agreement.
If you are a foreign national, a marriage in Thailand is generally recognized all over the world unless it comes in conflict with local laws. Some countries allow same sex marriages and some countries will not recognize them. Other countries allow polygamous marriages while other nations outlaw them. There are also differences in the age of consent and the degree of family relationships in varying nation?s marital laws. It is best to review the applicable laws and regulations for both countries before deciding to get married. In addition, it is important not to be rush into a marriage without considering the consequences of a break up.
The United States immigration processing is based on a quota and preference system. There is an overall cap of 480,000 family sponsored immigrant visas available every year. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens may be admitted in unlimited amounts every year but the numbers used will reduce the overall cap of 480,000 visa. However the amount of available visas available for the other preference categories cannot be reduce to below 226,000 visas.
Immediate relatives are the spouse, parents (if U.S. Citizen is over 21 years old) and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of the petitioning U.S Citizen. The term children also includes the step-children under the age of 18 at the time of the U.S. citizen’s marriage to the step-child’s parent and children adopted prior to the age of 16.
The remaining family visas are separated and allocated through a tiered system of preference categories. Only a limited amount immigrant visas are available to each preference category. The first preference category is for unmarried children of U.S. citizens who are over the age of 21. The children in this category must have qualified as “children” of the U.S. citizen when they were under 21. The minor children of the first preference immigrant can immigrate with them. An example is if the adult child of a U.S. citizen is married and has a child. If the adult child divorces, the adult child can bring their minor child with them when the first preference category date is reached.
The second family preference category is separated into two subsections, (2A) the immediate family members of U.S. Permanent Residents and (2B) unmarried adult children of U.S. Permanent Residents. The entire preference category is allocated 114,200 annual visa with 77% going to the 2A subcategory and 23% going to the 2B subcategory. Like the first preference category, the minor children of second preference immigrants can immigrate with them. Spouses of permanent residents whose marriage was created within two years prior are granted only a conditional permanent resident status.
The third family preference category are for married children of U.S. citizens. As with the first and second preference category, the adult child must have qualified as an immediate relative prior to turning 21. The spouse and minor children of third preference immigrants can immigrate with them. The entry of the derivative immigrants (spouse and children) are charged against the 23,400 immigrant visas allotted to this preference category.
The fourth family preference category are for siblings of a U.S. citizen. The U.S. citizen must be at least 21 years old before applying and the siblings must have the same parent. There are 65,000 visa allotted to this category. The sibling immigrant can bring their spouse and minor children with them. The entry of the derivative immigrants are charged against the visa allocation.
When the visa allotments are exhausted, the existing cases will have to wait until the following year’s visa allotments are released. The visa allotments have consistently been exhausted every year. As a result, all non-immediate family preference categories have waits of several years. The wait for the fourth preference category of siblings of U.S. citizens are routinely over 12 years. The current wait processing dates can be located on the U.S. State Department’s Visa Bulletin. (http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/law-and-policy/bulletin.html)
Millions of international students who want to go to the United States to study. American universities are globally recognized and respected. Thai students with degrees in the United States are highly prized by employers in Thailand.
Many Thai students make missteps in the process to get a student visa. There are students who go to the United States under a generic tourist visa and enroll in an educational program. Then they try to change to an F-1 student status to be denied.
There are restrictions on foreigners who entered the United States on a generic tourist visa to change to an F-1 student. Only students who receive a B-2 visa with a notation that they are a prospective student can apply for a change of status to an F-1 student status while in the United States.
The first step toward getting a student visa is to obtain an I-20 from an accredited school which is registered with the Department of Homeland Security. The I-20 is evidence that the student has been accepted into an accredited education program.
The second step to gather financial documentation of the ability to financially support the student?s stay in the United States during their F-1 status. The I-20 will provide the cost of the student’s education and living costs. The student will have to document their ability to pay for their educational expenses including scholarships, sponsorship, and personal assets.
The last requirement is that the student needs provide evidence that they will return to their home country upon completing the educational program. This can be difficult because students are generally young with few tangible assets to bring them back to their home country. The student must do their best in documenting their ties to their home country with the intent of working in their home country upon completing their education in the United States. Some consular officers may ask the prospective student for a bond to be placed on hold until the student returns to their home country.
With these three sets of documents, the B-2 Prospective Student can apply for a change of status in the United States or prospective student can apply for an F-1 visa at the local consulate or embassy.
The L-1 Intracompany Transfer visa allows multinationals companies to send their key personnel to their U.S. operations temporarily and permanently. Managers, executives, and workers with specialized knowledge can obtain the L-1 classification and work in the United States for a period between five and seven years.
The United States requires that the employee must have worked at least one year out of the last three years for the multinational firm or affiliate or subsidiary and who seeks to render services for the same employer, subsidiary, or affiliate as a manager, executive, or employee with specialized knowledge.
The U.S. office must have a corporate relationship with the foreign company abroad and there must be concrete evidence of the relationship. The U.S. entity must have physical office space in the United States and the office space must be an appropriate sized space to do business.
An L-1 status holder can bring their spouse and minor children to join them under the L-2 visa. The L-2 spouse is allowed to apply for employment authorization and can work anywhere in the United States. The L-2 minor child can attend U.S. public schools but cannot apply for employment authorization.
L-1 Managers and executives are given priority status for permanent residence. Managers and executives can bypass the stringent Permanent Labor Certification process and the U.S. employer can file an employment immigration petition directly with the USCIS.
L-1 Specialized Knowledge employees must submit a permanent labor certification application with the Department of Labor with evidence that there are no U.S. residents or citizens who are able to fulfill the employment requirements. Upon receiving an approved certification from the Department of Labor, the U.S. employer can submit an application for immigration for the employer.
The process for applying for an intracompany transfer visa is complicated and time consuming. Prior to starting the process, it is important to speak to an experienced professional. Contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Multinational companies who want to extend their reach into Thailand without creating a separate legal entity. The have two options for entering the Thai market. They can form a branch office or a representative office. Both are governed by the Foreign Business Act but they serve two different functions.
Branch offices can operate in a broader range of activities than representative offices. The Foreign Business Act treats a branch office as a mere extension of the head office. They are considered as part of the same legal entity as its head office and can engage in any and all activities within the head office’s scope of business.
A branch offices is not a separate legal entity but will have to obtain a foreign business license to legally operate and earn profit in Thailand. Branch offices have to obtain a taxpayer ID and register for VAT. In addition, the liabilities of the branch office is not limited to the branch office but also extends to the head office. Branch offices are treated the same as a limited company in the application of work permits for foreign employees.
A foreign branch office is considered like a foreigner and is subject to the Foreign Business Act. The branch is also subject to restrictions placed on foreigners under the Foreign Business Act. A branch office may be required to obtain a Foreign Business License depending on the type of business activities.
The decision of whether the foreign multinational company should open a branch office should be made after careful consultation with an experienced professional. Contact us at email@example.com.