Thai Prostitution – US Visa Waiver

The U.S. Embassy Officer has full discretion whether a Thai person will get a visa. The officer will look for reasons for a visa not to be granted. Sometimes the officer will accuse Thai woman of prostitution even if she did not commit prostitution.

If the Thai woman lives in areas where there are red light areas like Pattaya, Phuket, Hat Yai, or Bangkok, they will look for a reason to charge prostitution. If the woman has worked as a bar girl or worked in the massage shop, they will look for prostitution. If the Thai woman has worked overseas in places that are known to import Thai woman for prostitution like Bahrain, Indonesia, or South Korea, the officer will look for prostitution. If you never committed prostitution, it is important to deny that the charge of prostitution.

Whether you have previously been a prostitute or have never been committed prostitution, if the officer denies your visa because of prostitution, you will need an immigration waiver to get the visa.

To get an immigration waiver for prostitution, we need to show that you are no longer committing prostitution, you are a good person, and that you will not commit prostitution in the United States.

I am a licensed U.S. lawyer who has handled many immigration waiver cases. I can help you prepare the immigration waiver so that you can obtain a visa so that you can go to America.

If you need help, contact me at info@virasin.com.

U.S. Visa Waiver for Prostitution

 

At the U.S. Embassy, the consular officer is given full discretion to determine whether an applicant qualifies for the visa. When the officer states that they have evidence that the applicant has committed an act that prevents them from issuing a visa, the burden of proof shifts to the applicant to prove that they have not committed the action. The officer will attempt to obtain a statement from the visa applicant confirming the accusation. A denial is generally not sufficient. It is difficult to prove a negative of an accusation.

For some young women without a formal education, their applications are closely reviewed for where they have lived and worked. Women who have worked in the service industry such as a waitress or massage therapist in a high tourist area are sometimes unfairly presumed to have engaged in prostitution. The visa applicant should be ready to rebut such accusations with evidence. The United States Embassy in Bangkok does not allow attorneys or the U.S. citizen petitioner to attend the interview.

If the accused applicant cannot convince the consular officer that they have never engaged in prostitution, they could be found inadmissible to the United States because of INA 212(a)(2(D). This section of the U.S. Immigration Code prevents someone who has engaged in prostitution in the past 10 years of obtain a visa.

However, a denial of a visa for prostitution is not the end for the visa applicant. An applicant who has been denied a visa for prostitution can file to waive the finding. Unlike other types of waivers, there is no need to prove extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen relative.

Section 212(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides that the U.S. Attorney General may waive the application of certain crimes including prostitution. The applicant has to demonstrate that their admission would not be contrary to the national welfare, safety, or security of the U.S. and they have been rehabilitated.

For those who have been denied a visa because of a finding of prostitution, the 212(h) waiver is an option to reunite the Thai national with their U.S. Citizen. Evidence of the applicant’s reformation and good moral character is required. The process is complicated and takes about six months to process. Once the waiver is approved, the US Embassy will be notified and the visa applicant will be called in for another interview.

If your visa has been denied because of a finding of prostitution, please contact our office.

Family Preference Categories

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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)

 

F-1 Student Visa

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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.

L-1 Intracompany Transfer

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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 info@virasin.com.

Representative Office

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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.

The primary function of a representative office is to provide information and assistance to their foreign head offices. Representative offices in Thailand are not allowed to engage in profit seeking activities or act on behalf of third parties. They are not allowed to receive orders or to offer to negotiate a sale with any person or juristic person. Because of this fact, representative offices are exempt from Thai corporate income taxes or registering for the VAT.

The scope of their activities are limited to non-trading activities such as:

  1. Search and procuring information for the overseas headquarters
  2. Ensuing the quality and quantity of the product ordered by the headquarters
  3. Advise the head office on products offered by the head office to local distributors or consumers
  4. Disseminate news or updates regarding new products or services offered by the head office
  5. Reporting the economic or political situation in Thailand to the headquarters.

Representative offices are meant to only provide support to the head office and engage local customers. Exceeding the scope of activities can result in the income of the parent or affiliated companies being considered to be earned in Thailand and be subject to Thai taxation.

As a foreign business, a representative office will have to obtain a Foreign Business License. Representative Offices can also support a work permit for a foreign national.

Contact our office at info@virasin.com.

Treaty of Amity

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The United States-Thailand Treaty of Amity allows the U.S. citizens and businesses the ability to establish a company or branch office in Thailand on the same basis as a Thai company. There are restrictions on certain types of business activities that U.S. and foreign citizens may not engage in. These types of business include owning land, communications, inland transportation, banking, agriculture, or the exploitation of land or other natural resources.

To receive protection under the Treaty of Amity, the U.S. citizen or the U.S. entity must register with the Department of Commercial Registration in the Ministry of Commerce as an American owned and controlled business. The shares of the entity must be 51% held by Americans and a minimum of 50% of the directors must be Americans.

The Treaty of Amity does not grant Americans unrestricted freedom to work in Thailand or to live in Thailand. Americans have to obtain entry visa and work permits just like other foreign nationals. In order to obtain work permit for the U.S. citizen or foreign nationals, the entity must be a partnership or a limited company. In addition, they are required to have a minimum capital requirement of 2 million THB if the business is not restricted by the Foreign Business Act and 3 million THB if the business is restricted.

A partnership, branch office, joint venture, or limited company are required to submit the following documents to the U.S. Commercial Services at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok to be notarized. There may be additional documents required depending the specific type of entity.

  1. Articles of Incorporation
  2. Company Bylaws
  3. Affidavit of a Corporate Officer verifying the company information, shareholder nationality, and number of shares.

After the documents are certified by the U.S. Commercial Service, the documents are submitted with the registration form at the Department of Commercial Registration. Ownership can be transferred but the company will have to remain a U.S. majority shareholder and with a majority U.S. board of directors in order to qualify for the benefits under the Treaty of Amity.