K1 Visa Thailand: What if I Don’t Marry My Thai Fiancée within 90 Days?

The purpose for the issuance of K1 visa Thailand or US fiancé visa is to allow the Thai fiancée to travel to the U.S. to marry her US citizen fiancée within 90 days from entry to the United States.

 

After the marriage celebration was accomplished the Thai spouse can file a petition for adjustment of status to a conditional residency. However, in case circumstances did not permit them to marry within the prescribed period, certain consequences must be faced by both parties.

On the part of the Thai Fiancée —
The K1 visa issued at the US Embassy in Thailand will automatically expire after 90 days from entry and its validity may not be extended. If the K1 holder (Thai fiancée) did not marry the petitioner (US fiancé) who filed the Petition for Alien Fiancé in favor of her, she may be immediately removed from the US.

If K2 visas were issued in favor of the Thai children of the K1 holder, their visas will also be deemed revoked. They will also have to leave the US to avoid facing deportation or removal.

Even if the K1 holder marries another US citizen other than the petitioner, she will still have to leave. Her husband will have to file another petition in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to permit her to enter the US and consequently adjust her status.

On the US Fiancé’s side —
The US citizen fiancé is also affected by the non-celebration of the marriage. The consequence is actually on the future petition for alien fiancé he will file. Under the International Marriage Broker regulation Act (IMBRA for brevity), US citizens are only allowed to have 2 approved Petitions for Alien Fiancé at any time.

Being so, the US citizen fiancé, if he this is already his second similar petition, he may already be barred from filing another petition unless there was a waiver granted by the USCIS.
Even if the case is the first approved petition, the US citizen Fiancé may not file another petition of similar nature within the next two years counted from the filing date of the approved petition.

K1 Visa Thailand Interview Questions by the US Embassy

The K1 Visa interview at the US Embassy in Thailand will make anyone nervous. But knowing what the consular officer is looking for will make an applicant feel at ease and confident.

 

What are they looking for?

The Consular Officers of US Embassy in Bangkok will usually check if the applicant is qualified to be issued the requested K1 visa. The following are primarily screened prior to the filing of the petition:

– If the petitioner is a U.S. Citizen.
– The intention to marry within 90 days from entry to the U.S.
– If both parties are free from any legal impediment to marry, and
– Have met each other at least once within the last 2 years prior to filing of the petition.

The meeting requirement may only be waived if there is a strict and long- established customs of either couple prevents them from personally meeting each other, or that such requirement would be too burdensome on the part of the petitioner.

Proof of correspondence with the Thai fiancée such as love letters and copy of emails, as well as pictures will help in proving there is a bona fide relationship. These may be brought along with other supporting documents.

Possible Interview Questions

Taking note of the above mentioned criteria will serve as a guide to possible questions that may be asked. The succeeding are few questions commonly asked by consular officers.

a. How did you meet your fiancé / fiancée?
b. Where do you live and what is your occupation?
c. Where did you get engaged?
d. How long are you engaged?
e. Where are you getting married?
f. What does your fiancée do for a living?
g. Where does your fiancée live?

Be honest and accurate with your response. The officials at the US Embassy in Bangkok are trained at determining the habits of people who are being deceptive. You should plan ahead and write down your responses prior to the interview. Practice talking in front of a mirror or role-play the K1 visa interview with a friend. This will help you feel more confident during your actual interview for the K1 visa Thailand.

The United States’ CR-1 Visa Thailand

The United States of America recognizes the right of its citizens to a happy married life. It is for this purpose that a U.S. citizen who decides to marry a Thai national is granted the privilege to bring his or her Thai spouse to the United States.

 

The CR-1 Visa is one of the visas created by the U.S. government through the Department of Homeland Security, a government agency that deals with the Immigration of foreign nationals. This type of visa was also created to cater to the U.S. citizen’s desire to start a complete family life in the United States with his/her Thai spouse.

The CR-1 Visa (CR stands for Conditional Residency) grants the Thai spouse legal permanent status upon entry albeit on a conditional basis. A permanent resident status is awarded only after two years following the grant of the conditional residence visa. Three months or exactly ninety days before the second year anniversary of being a conditional resident, the couple will have the conditional status lifted by filing a petition to the USCIS.

As we may all know, every petition has to undergo a due process with underlying rules and or requirements to satisfy before the Thai spouse can be eligible for the CR1 Visa Thailand. The sponsoring husband or wife also called as the Petitioner and his or her Thai spouse, also called as the Beneficiary have to make sure that they meet all the requirements for the CR1 visa to be granted. First, the length of the marriage must be at most two years by the time of the visa application. Second, they must be able to establish that their marriage is valid which means that all the legal requirements have been complied with as required in Thailand or the jurisdiction where the marriage was consummated. Third, they must be able to prove or validate that they have genuine marriage and that they have an on-going marital relationship by providing evidence like photos together, chat and phone records. Fourth, it is also necessary that the sponsoring husband or wife be a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States and that the person whom the CR-1 Visa is applied for is none other than the Thai spouse. Fifth, the sponsoring husband or the petitioner must meet the income requirement as stated in the Poverty Guidelines. Sixth, the Thai spouse must not be inadmissible to the US as inadmissibility prevents a foreign national from obtaining a visa to enter the US. Inadmissibility includes the following:

-Health issues (ex. communicable disease of public health significance, inability to receive vaccinations, physical or mental disorders);
-Involvement with or use of drugs, controlled substances, or chemicals;
-A criminal record;
-Involvement in prostitution;
-Likely at any time to become a public charge (i.e. the US citizen cannot support the foreign spouse); -Violations of any immigration law (including being removed from the US, being unlawfully present in the US, entering the US illegally, and misrepresenting or omitting facts on or in connection with a visa application); or
-Seeking to enter the United States to engage in any unlawful activity.

Once qualifications and requirements are met and satisfied, an expeditious and easy petition process is on the imminent, which commence with the filing of the Petition for Alien Relative (Form 1-130) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Service Center that covers the state where the Petitioner resides.

There are three government agencies that process the CR1 Visa Thailand. The initial process is at the USCIS Service Center, either California or Vermont where CR-1 visa documents are reviewed, and processed with $355 USCIS fee. Once petition is approved, USCIS will forward the visa application to the National Visa Center (NVC), the second government agency that handles the petition where further review and processing are done, not to mention the fees collection of the Affidavit of Support amounting to $70, Choice of Address and Agent amounting to $400 and other required government fees concerning the immigrant visa petition. The NVC retains the petition until it is ready for adjudication by a consular officer in Thailand. Once the applicant and petitioner meet all the required documents, pay all the underlying government fees, and processing is completed, the National Visa Center will coordinate with the United States Embassy in Thailand to schedule the interview. The foreign national spouse will then be informed on the interview schedule at the US Embassy in Bangkok via letter and email following the receipt of the visa application from the NVC. The final stage and the last government agency that handles the petition process is the US Embassy in Thailand where the interview is conducted and visa is either denied or granted.

Concisely, the CR-1 Visa Thailand is not only convenient for the sponsoring husband or wife but also to the Thai spouse as he/she upon entry to the United States will receive his/her conditional resident card, and Social Security Number. He/she can also start working to earn a living for his or her new family. This type of visa further saves the Thai national from adjusting his/her status from a non-immigrant K-3 visa Thailand to an immigrant visa or conditional residency. Likewise, the CR-1 Visa allows the Thai spouse to travel outside the United States, either to go on a business trip or for the long awaited honeymoon somewhere on the pristine beaches of Thailand without worrying of any hassle of coming back provided that he/she will not stay for at least six months in another country.

Thailand K1 K3 Visas & the International Marriage Broker Regulation (IMBRA)

The US Citizen wishing to sponsor his Thai Fiancée for a K1 Visa in Thailand or the K3 Spouse Visa in Thailand will face new regulations regarding how and where he met his fiancée or spouse as well as the petitioner’s background. This new regulation may affect their chance for a successful Thai Fiancée K1 Visa – Thailand K3 Marriage Visa application at the US Embassy in Bangkok.

 

The US Citizen wishing to sponsor his Thai Fiancée for a K1 Visa in Thailand or the K3 Spouse Visa in Thailand will face new regulations regarding how and where he met his fiancée or spouse as well as the petitioner’s background. This new regulation may affect their chance for a successful Thai Fiancée K1 Visa – Thailand K3 Marriage Visa application at the US Embassy in Bangkok.

International Marriage Broker Regulation, IMBRA for brevity, is a part of a law “Violence against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005” enacted by the U.S. Congress last January 5, 2006. It was passed in order to avoid incidents of U.S. citizens after bringing their fiancé in U.S. commits violent crimes against the latter.

In consonance with the purpose of the law, several provisions were made in order to at least minimize, if not obliterate, these cases. Here are the salient features of the law:

The Section 214 of the Immigration and Nationality Act has been amended to the effect that:

A. Effects on Petitions for Alien Fiancé or spouse and K1- K3 Visa Applications
It obligates the Secretary of Homeland Security to require the petitioner in a Petition for Alien Fiancé to disclose all previous criminal convictions regardless of gravity.

Prior to approval of the petition, the Secretary must see to it that the petitioner, previous to the pending petition, had not made the same petition with respect to 2 or more applying aliens (except when 2 years has already lapsed from the approval of the last petition);

Even if the petitioner has a record involving a crime against persons, the petition may still be approved if the petitioner has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty and who is or was not the primary perpetrator of violence in the relationship upon a determination that –

a. The petitioner was acting in self-defense;
b. The petitioner was found to have violated a protection order intended to protect the petitioner; or
c. The petitioner committed, was arrested for, was convicted of, or pled guilty to committing a crime that did not result in serious bodily injury and where there was a connection between the crime and the petitioner’s having been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty.

The Secretary of Homeland security was tasked to create a database for the purpose of tracking multiple visa petitions filed for records.

Once two K1 Fiancé or K3 Spousal petition has been approved for the same petitioner, the petitioner will be notified that he has been entered into the multiple petition tracking database and that all subsequent petitions of similar nature will be recorded in the database.

Once the petitioner has had two fiancé (K1 Visa) or spousal (K3 Visa) petitions approved already and a subsequent petition was made within 10 years from the date of the first visa petition, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall notify the petitioner and the beneficiary of the number of previously approved fiancé or spousal petitions. A copy of the information and resources pamphlet on domestic violence developed under Sec.833 of the IMBRA shall be mailed to the beneficiary.

If there is any, the beneficiary or the K visa applicant shall be informed of the criminal background of the petitioner.

B. Regulation of International Marriage Brokers
IMBRA expressly repealed the Mail-Order Bride provision of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.
International Marriage Brokers are required to request from their clients a certification duly signed relating to background information like criminal record, marital history, and list of states or countries where he resided after turning 18.
Regulations on the disclosure of information received from clients are made.

The above cited provisions clearly minimize instances of violence against Thai Fiancé or Thai Spouse. The law has created regulations that will make sure that no petition for Alien Fiancé will be granted in case that the petitioner has a tendency of maltreating the beneficiary. It is also favorable to the beneficiary of the petition. The Thai Fiancé or Thai Spouse will be immediately informed of the risk of living with the petitioner after being informed of his criminal background.

The Role of American Consulates

The Consulates of the United States of America, located in most countries around the world, are in charge of receiving, processing and authorizing the granting of “Non-Immigrant” (B1-b2, L1, H1, etc.) or “Immigrant” visas (Residences) to citizens of other nationalities so that they can enter U.S. territory through its various points of migration inspection, at airports, seaports or land borders.

 

The Consulates of the United States of America, located in most countries around the world, are in charge of receiving, processing and authorizing the granting of “Non-Immigrant” (B1-b2, L1, H1, etc.) or “Immigrant” visas (Residences) to citizens of other nationalities so that they can enter U.S. territory through its various points of migration inspection, at airports, seaports or land borders.

The State Department of the United States administers and puts into operation the migratory, technological and legal instruments for the granting of American visas through its various Consulates and the international factors that influence in the work of the State Department when it has to decide whether to granting a new visa or renew an already valid one are many and varied.

It should be emphasized that American Consulates collaborate in the security of American citizens living abroad, offering them: (a) the delivery of new American passports, (b) Notary Public Services, (c) the location of medical services, (d) visits to American citizens imprisoned abroad, (e) matters related to deaths, marriages, births, etc., (f) in obtaining economic funds, (g) aid in emergency evacuations and dehorns, and (h) attention to general emergencies through the Office of Aid to Citizens Abroad of the State Department.

The Consular Officers who work at the various U.S. Consulates around the world, play a vital role in the control and direct security of U.S. territories and of U.S. citizens. They handle thousands of requests for American visas from foreign citizens who wish to enter the United States, either for family reunions, business matters, pleasure, studies, or work, among other reasons. However, there are other groups or individuals who seek to destabilize American democratic policy, or who wish to commit terrorist acts, or to deal in prohibited substances, or to illegally extract technology for arms trafficking or unfair commercial competition, including the trade and distribution of fake products, thus violating international laws and agreements on Copyrights or Industrial Property Rights, (Trade Marks, Patents on Inventions, etc.), or Author’s Rights, known internationally as Intellectual Property Rights.

The Consular Officers, who are sent by the U.S. State Department to the many American Consulates around the world, carry a great responsibility on their shoulders, as they are the ones who receive the American visa requests and must interview the foreign candidate to evaluate, to verify and evaluate the family background of the individual as well as his social, commercial and economic connections in the country where he lives.
A series of administrative and technological mechanisms come into play before an American visa can be granted to anyone. Information about the candidate must be crossed checked by other federal governmental organisms to verify whether he is a delinquent, either in his own country or abroad, whose present situation or passed conduct may be a threat to the U.S. community or to the system of federal and state laws of the United States of America.

Consular Officers must closely observe many faces, lists of requests and newspaper clippings to determine whether the foreign candidate is deserving or not of an American visa, and they execute their task in a way that sometimes pleases and in other cases annoys the applicant.

It has always has been quite clear that consular criteria for the rejecting or cancelling a foreigner’s American visas are based on the candidate’s present, passed and future economic aspects, both within or outside the United States.

U.S. Consular Officers receive numerous visa requests from foreign citizens who, on their request forms, attach fraudulent documents about their family, their economic or work connections in their country of residence, in an attempt to confuse the Official, and thus, obtain the desired American visa, only to be able to commit misdeeds within the American territory, like defrauding and even abusing the educational or health systems, in detriment of the honest residents and North American citizens who pay their taxes and lead a successful and transparent life within American territory.

Visa M1 – Studing Aviation in USA

The regulations of the United States, Department of Homeland Security-DHS- requires most foreign students to attend aviation-flight-training programs on M-1 student visas.

 

The regulations of the United States, Department of Homeland Security-DHS- requires most foreign students to attend aviation-flight-training programs on M-1 student visas.
M 1Visas are for vocational education and the approval for the attendance of non-academic students and may be solicited by a community college or junior college that provides vocational or technical training and awards associated degrees; a vocational high school; a trade school or a school of non academic training other than language training.
The American aviation schools providing training must be authorized by USCIS-DHS and will issue a form I-20M-N, which will certify an applicant’s eligibility, only after foreign student application for admission and TSA (Transport Security Administration) preliminary approvals have been received and the required documentation is on file.

The M1-Visa allows the holders to train for individual or multiple courses.The M1 visa will be issued to cover the time expected for the student to complete the course and can be re-issued for any additional training that may be required to complete the course. The M-1 student visa will also allow students seeking practical training a period of one year to work after completing studies.

HOW TO APPLY :
1.- Applications for Admissions for the school is filled out and received by the American flight school.
2.-The applicant registers on TSA’s (Transport Security Administration), at www.flightschoolcandidates.gov for preliminary approval.
3.-Once the TSA notifies school that the foreign applicant has received preliminary approval for flight training and the official responsible for admissions to the school has accepted the prospective foreign student for enrollment in a full course of study, an acceptance letter and enrollment agreement will be mailed to the prospective foreign student with : a.-Official record of schooling or other educational achievement, b.-Proof of financial ability to apply all educational expenses and support.
Upon completion of all above steps, the school will courier the completed I-20M-N form and the SEVIS fee payment receipt, which has to be approved and stamped by the American Consulate posted in student’s country, with the respective DS 156 form for the consular interview.

Foreign applicants from non-English speaking countries must complete the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) examination as a demonstration of English proficiency with a score of at least 550.

TIPS ABOUT THE CONSULAR INTERVIEW :

In most countries, first time Visa M1 applicants are required to appear for an in-person consular interview. However, each American Consulate abroad sets its own interview policies and procedures regarding F1 Visas applications. Foreign students should consult American Embassies web sites or call for more details and information. The Consular Officer during the consular interview may need to get special clearances depending on the course of study and nationality of the student. As part of the visa application process, an consular interview at the American Consulate abroad is required for Visa F1 applicants from age 14 through 79. Persons age 13 and younger, and age 80 and older, generally do not require an interview, unless requested by the American Consulate abroad.

The Security Clearance screening used by some schools is triggered by nationality, country of citizenship, countries visited in the past and the field of study or expertise.Visa Application Supplemental Form (DS-157) has been created to accompany the Non-Immigrant Visa Application. This form must be completed by all foreign male, non immigrant applicants, between the ages of 16 and 45 regardless of nationality and regardless of the country where the application is submitted. Students who are required to go through a State Department security clearance will need to remain in Canada or Mexico until they receive a decision on their Visa F1 application. Students who are required to go through a State Department security clearance will need to remain in Canada or Mexico until they receive a decision on their Visa F1 application. Students from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea and Cuba are not eligible to use Automatic Revalidation. Students with a “Cancelled” Visa F1 are not eligible to use Automatic Revalidation.

SEVIS – SEVEP INFO TIPS :

All foreign students applicants must have a SEVIS generated I-20 form issued by an American flight school approved by Department of Homeland Security, which they submit when they are applying for their student Visa F1. The Consular Officer during the consular interview will verify the student Form I-20 in order to process the Visa F1 application. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) helps the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State likes monitor school and exchange programs. Exchange visitor and student information is maintained in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
SEVIS is an system that maintains accurate and current information on non-immigrant foreign students (F and M visa), exchange visitors (J visa), and their dependents (F-2, M-2, and J-2). SEVIS enables schools and program sponsors to transmit mandatory information and event notifications to the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State throughout a foreign students or exchange visitor’s stay in the United States.
SEVP collects , maintains and provides the information so that only legitimate foreign students or exchange foreign visitors gain entry to the United States of America territory. The result is an efficient accessible information system that provides fast and safe information to the Department of State, U.S. Customs and Border Protection in airports, sea ports and land borders , U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) acts as the eyes for the US federal government organizations that have an interest in information on foreign students. SEVP is high technology and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), tracks and monitor schools and programs, foreign students, exchange foreign visitors and their dependents throughout the duration of approved participation within the american education system.

Born In The USA: Why Chinese ‘Birth Tourism’ Is Booming In California

When Ma Fahong approached the immigration desk at Los Angeles International Airport, the customs agent had only two questions for her.

“Why are you coming to the U.S.?”

“I’m here to have a baby.”

“How much cash do you have on you?”

“I only have $1,000 in cash, but I have a debit card with much more in the bank.”

Passport stamped. Welcome to Los Angeles.

Ma is part of a growing wave of Chinese women who are flocking to the United States — California, in particular — to have children who will grow up as American citizens. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizenship to every person born on American soil, a fact that has long motivated foreigners from all over the world to give birth in the U.S.

The conversation about immigrant families in the U.S. is typically centered around people from Latin America seeking economic opportunities in the States. But as incomes in China rise and visa hurdles fall, women from China are making up a larger share of foreign births in the U.S, and they’re complicating many of the popular ideas about immigrant mothers.

Most of the Chinese mothers come with large sums of cash at their fingertips, money they often spend on houses and luxury goods. While many, like Ma, enter and give birth in the U.S. legally, others buy package plans from “birth tourism” agencies — profit-seeking and sometimes illegal organizations that arrange accommodations and hospital visits for groups of Chinese women. These businesses have clustered in California, a top tourism destination that also boasts large Chinese-American communities that make many expectant mothers feel at home.

In March, federal agents raided several “maternity hotels” in the Los Angeles area. Undercover investigations had revealed that the groups were evading taxes, encouraging women to lie to immigration officials and sometimes defrauding hospitals.

No reliable data exists on the number of Chinese births in the U.S, but estimates by industry publications projected a total of 60,000 for 2014, a sixfold increase over 2012. Awareness of the trend skyrocketed in China in 2013 when the popular romantic comedy “Finding Mr. Right” portrayed a Chinese woman, the mistress of a wealthy businessman, sneaking into Seattle on a tourist visa in order to buy Gucci bags and have an American child.

That film popularized and sensationalized the phenomenon, but Ma and her husband, Zhu Yuesheng, are much more low-key. Born near the dawn of Chinese economic reforms in the late 1970s, Ma and Zhu left behind the farms their parents tilled in order to attend college. Riding China’s economic boom, the couple sought work in the southern manufacturing powerhouse of Guangdong province, eventually starting their own factory that produces computer handbags.

When the couple had their first child a decade ago, legally giving birth in the U.S. was only an option for the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan Chinese couples. But over the past 10 years, visas to the U.S. have become easier to get for Chinese nationals, and the country’s per capita GDP has more than doubled.

In that same span of time, China has also been plagued by health scandals that have struck fear into expectant mothers. Food safety scares — including tainted infant milk powder — often dominate the news, and the public has woken up to the dangers of the toxic smog engulfing many Chinese cities. One recent study linked high levels of air pollution to lower birth weights that put babies at risk in their first month and later in life.

But foremost in many Chinese parents’ minds are the educational opportunities available in the U.S. Weary of their country’s test-obsessed education system, record numbers of Chinese parents have been sending their children to American kindergartens, Ph.D. programs and everything in between. An American passport makes many of these opportunities cheaper and more accessible.

Having a child in California is not cheap for Chinese parents: Package deals at maternity hotels often start at $20,000 and go much higher. Ma and Zhu chose to rent a room from a friend in Long Beach, but they still estimate that they spent around $30,000 in total.

But even those high outlays essentially pay for themselves in many cases. If Ma and Zhu had given birth to their second child in China, they likely would have faced fines equal to $40,000 for violation of the country’s “one-child policy.”

Zhu first traveled to the U.S. in 2008 for a trade show in Las Vegas. (His initial impressions of America: “Dry and lots of gambling.”) It was through the international sales of his factory’s handbags that he and his wife first met Cora Callanta and her husband, who would eventually host them during their stay in Los Angeles.

Callanta is an immigrant herself, having followed her mother to the U.S. from the Philippines as a teenager. Her mother worked hard to support nine children, and that experience shaped how Callanta views Ma and another Chinese woman who stayed with their family while giving birth.

“[My mother] instilled in our minds that you are not to go on welfare. You’ve got to work hard and support yourself, and you don’t depend on the government for anything,” Callanta told The WorldPost. “I see the two Chinese families that I’ve crossed paths with and they’re the same way. They’re not taking advantage of the system.”

But not all observers are so sanguine about the trend. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), who has called the phenomenon “nuts,” is one of several senators to introduce legislation that would end birthright citizenship. Jon Feere of the Center for Immigration Studies has testified before Congress, arguing that “birth tourism” represents a major abuse of immigration law.

“One of the key problems with birth tourism is that that birth tourists are effectively taking control over U.S. immigration and citizenship policy by turning a grant of temporary admission into a permanent stay,” Feere told The WorldPost in an email. “And they’re doing it through fraud, lying to our officials.”

Federal investigations in Los Angeles found that many of the maternity hotels didn’t pay taxes on millions of dollars in income, and that employees had coached expectant mothers on how to hide their true intentions from visa and immigration officials.

Agents also discovered evidence of agencies or mothers defrauding hospitals, sometimes by relying on discounts for impoverished mothers. One family that paid just a small fraction of its $28,845 hospital bill was found to have purchases at Louis Vuitton and Rolex on its bank statement.

For the time being, the federal raids may have slowed the influx of Chinese visitors. One consultant who arranges birth tourism trips told The New York Times’ Chinese edition that business has dropped 30 percent over the past month.

But in interviews, several Chinese parents remained optimistic about their children’s bicultural futures. Zhu and Ma hope to send both of their children to a private school in Los Angeles beginning in either elementary or middle school, and the couple wants to travel between China and California until they’re too old to make the trip.

Asked if their American-born son would grow up feeling Chinese or American, Zhu told The WorldPost, “I hope he can balance both.”

from- huffingtonpost.com

Obama Could Double the Number of Green Cards

In response to Congress’ failure to fix our broken immigration system, President Obama has promised to take action regarding immigration before the end of the summer.

 

While most of the speculation concerning what the President may do centers on an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the “Parole-in-Place” system, recent meetings between the Administration and immigration advocates suggest that a major reform of the legal immigration system may also be forthcoming.

Our current immigration system limits the number of green cards which may be granted under the employment-based preference system to 140,000 per year, and under the family-based categories to 226,000 per year. The State Department has always interpreted these numerical caps to include that not only the principal beneficiary, but all the derivative beneficiaries of a petition. However, this policy is subject to change since it is not mandated by law.

In the case of an employment-based petition, the principal beneficiary is the person who is being sponsored for a green card through his employer. The derivative beneficiaries are his spouse and children.

This results in waiting times ranging from years to decades in all of the family-based categories as well as multi-year waits for some of the employment-based categories. The fact that there are no per-country quotas for H-1B and other temporary visa categories while the green card preference categories all have per-country quotas exacerbates what are already long waiting times.

Even worse, these lengthy delays for persons trying to immigrate lawfully, frequently result in their children “aging-out” and becoming separated from their parents, sometimes for the rest of their lives. Highly-skilled professionals often choose to the leave the US after receiving their advanced education here rather than having to undergo these huge waits.

In response to these concerns, President Obama is considering a policy of counting only the principal beneficiaries of visa petitions toward the numerical caps. Such a change in policy would more than double the number of green card subject to
quotas and would greatly reduce the waiting times for persons immigrating to the US.

Such a change in policy would enable persons to reunite with their family members in the US expeditiously. Employers would not have to wait years obtain green cards for their foreign-born employees. Such a change in policy would allow our country to remain the world’s leader in science, technology, engineering, and other areas critical to our economy.

Residence Permits for Foreigners in Turkey

According to the residence statement general term, which is regulated in Article 3, foreigners intending to live and/or work in Turkey are required to obtain a residence permit. If visa exemption or the term stated in their visa is adequate, foreign visitors may stay in Turkey for 90 days without residence permit (either consecutively or separately) per 180-day period.

 

Today, “Turkish Law Related to Residence and Travels of Foreign Subjects” numbered 5683 is applicable regarding the residence permits of foreign subjects in Turkey. This law will be in force until the new Code of “Law on Foreigners and International Protection” will be in force on 11 April 2014. Detailed information regarding the residence permits, which are indicated in this Code, is as follows;

General Terms of Residence Statement

According to the residence statement general term, which is regulated in Article 3, foreigners intending to live and/or work in Turkey are required to obtain a residence permit. If visa exemption or the term stated in their visa is adequate, foreign visitors may stay in Turkey for 90 days without residence permit (either consecutively or separately) per 180-day period.
After 90 days, in order to stay in Turkey, the foreign visitor should apply for residence permit for tourist purposes in order to continue to stay in Turkey. If visa exemption or the term stated in their visa is not adequate, 90 to 180 per day rule is still applicable. At the end of the visa period, to continue to stay in Turkey, foreign visitor should apply for residence permit for tourist purposes.

In all circumstances, after obtaining work permit or after their arrival to Turkey with work visa, foreign employees are required to apply for Work Registered Residence Permit to the Alien’s Branch of the Local Police Department within 30 days. This rule is also applicable to the extension applications of work permits. The foreigners who arrive in Turkey under cultural activities such as conferences, concert etc. are excluded from this condition provided that these activities should not exceed one month.

This means; the foreign subjects who arrive in Turkey under cultural activities may not obtain residence permit unless their activities last more than one month.

Requirements for Obtaining a Residence Permit

There are several types of Residence Permits, depending on the purpose of the residence decision of the foreigner. These types include; a Long- Term, Tourist, Education, Work, Internship and Companionship permit. The required documents that shall be submitted to obtain a Residence Permit are often the same, namely photos, a valid passport (both the original and a photocopy) and banking account statements showing the required amount in accordance with the sector which the foreigner is employed, additional documents may require by the Authorities.

Duration of the Residence Permit

The Residence Permit durations shall be determined in accordance with the interrelations and reciprocity principles of the
foreigner’s country and citizenship. Also, the Residence Permit type shall be effective on this decision on the duration. Nevertheless, as per Article 9, it can be submitted for a maximum duration of 5 years. However, according to the “principle of reciprocity” duration may be determined longer or shorter than five years by the Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs.
In the same Article, it is also regulated that residence permits are issued personally. However, it’s also allowed to be issued “joint residence permits”.

This type of residence permit could be issued to both spouses and to their children who did not reach eighteen years old. It could also be issued to children by inscribing them in “accompanied by” sections of the father or the mother. It is also mentioned that the ones who run business in Turkey are liable to obtain “personal residence permit”.
In the same Article it is also stated that the residence permits could be extended maximum four times right after the end of the duration.

As mentioned above, the duration of the residence permit is 5 years, however, it could be less or more in accordance with the applicant and it can be extended 4 times. Since this particular Code shall be in force until 11 April 2014, the procedure of the residence permit shall be the same. The difference between the current Code and the Law on Foreigners and International Protection shall be explained thereinafter.

Required Documents to Apply for a Residence Permit

In regards to the information we have received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
For long-term residence in Turkey, the applicant should submit the following documents to the local Police Department:
• 4 passport-size photos
• Passport
• Photocopies of the following pages of the passport: the page bearing the applicant’s photo, the page stamped at the last entry, the page indicating the validity and expiry dates of the passport
• A bank statement or a currency exchange slip testifying to an asset in the amount of USD 300 for each month
Documents required applying for a residence permit for work purposes:
• 4 passport-size photos
• Passport
• Photocopies of the following pages of the passport: the page bearing the applicant’s photo, the page stamped at the last entry, the page indicating the validity and expiry dates of the passport
• The original and a copy of the work permit issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security

The above-mentioned requirements are received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs however, in case of a requirement of an obtainment of a residence permit, we hereby would like to mention that it would be more beneficial to ask once more the required documents.

Legal Fees for Residence Permit

Legal fees for residence permit are regulated in “Turkish Legal Fees Code” numbered 492.
According to the Article 83 of this Code, residence permits are subject to the legal fees. In the following Article, it is stated that foreigner who want to have a residence permit shall pay the required amount of legal fee.

Residence Permit for Foreigners who bought a Property in Turkey

In the past, owning property in Turkey was not an element of qualification to get a Turkish residence permit. Foreign nationals were previously allowed to stay for 90 days without a residency permit. Following the recent revision in the law governing residency rules and regulations for foreigners which is published in the official gazette on 11.04.2013, property buyers from other nations are granted a year-long residency permit that could be extended indefinitely if the individual remains in the possession of the property acquired in Turkey. Among this new law, Turkish Government extended the duration of the initial residence permit from the current three months to up to one year for foreigners buying property in Turkey.

There are several kinds of residence permits in Turkey. The foreigners need to apply for a Short Term Residence Permit when they buy a real estate in Turkey. The duration of the Turkish Short Term Residency is 1 year. Regarding the reciprocity principle the Foreign Ministry of Turkish Republic have right to change the duration of the residence permit. The residence permits should be renewed 1 month prior to the expiry date and not later than 15 days after the expiry date of the existing residence permit.

If the foreigners with existing residence permit stays outside Turkey for more than 6 months in a year or more than 1 year in 5 years period than this stoppage of residence permits occurs. This means that the foreigners who residence permits are stopped they have to apply again as if they are applying for the first time. It should be noted that compulsory public services, educational and health factors are exceptional. Foreigners who reside 5 years without a stoppage can apply for the citizenship.

Required Documents for the Application of Short Term Residence Permit:

• Declarations of Residence Permit Form
• 4 pieces of passport size photo
• Original passport (the validity date of the passport shall be at least 60 days more than the validity date of the applied residence permit)
• The copy of the passport
• 2 copies of the title deed
• Turkish potential tax number
• The bank statement or foreign exchange receipt for the amount of 350 USD for every month. (3600 USD for 1 year)

Tax Implications Depending on Immigration Status

Tax implications on certain immigrants and non-immigrants.

 

ITIN’s:
Many believe that if they do not have a social security number, they are exempt from taxation. The ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) is a 9-digit tax processing number issued by the IRS. ITIN’s are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and non-resident aliens may have U.S. tax return and payment responsibilities under the Internal Revenue Code. ITIN’s do not authorize work in the U.S. or provide eligibility for social security benefits. An original passport is one of the 13 types of documents that are acceptable proof of identity and foreign status.

IRS Publication 1915 states the following question: “Can I get an ITIN if I am an undocumented alien?” And it gives the answer: “Yes, if you are required to file a U.S. federal income tax return or qualify to be listed on another individual’s tax return, you must have either a valid social security number or an ITIN. If you are an undocumented alien and cannot get a social security number, you must get an ITIN for tax purposes.”

Resident Alien:
An individual who is not a U.S. citizen is classified as a resident alien if he meets 1)the lawful permanent resident test, 2)the substantial presence test, or 3)elects to be treated as a resident. The substantial presence test uses a complicated formula under which the individual is treated as a resident alien if they are present in the U.S. a) for at least 31 days during the current year, and b) for a total of 183 adjusted days under the formula.

Non-Resident Alien:
On the other hand, income of a non-resident alien that is not effectively connected with the conduct of a U.S. trade or business is generally exempt from U.S. income tax unless it is from sources within the U.S. and falls within the definition of “fixed or determinable annual or periodical gains, profits, and income” (otherwise known as “FDAP”). FDAP includes wages and compensation, interest, dividends, rents and royalties received from U.S. sources, but does not include capital gains and other income realized from the sale of property. The tax on FDAP is applied at a flat rate of 30 percent and is usually collected by the payor of income who withholds this tax from the nonresident alien and remits the tax to the IRS. No deductions are allowed in arriving at the taxable amount.

Salaries, wages and compensation from U.S. sources are included in FDAP and these payments are subject to either (i) the 30 percent withholding tax, or (ii) wage withholding on the same basis as U.S. citizens and residents. Wages, salaries and compensation are U.S. source if such payments relate to services performed in the U.S. However, if such compensation does not exceed $3,000 for a tax year the income is treated as foreign source, and not subject to withholding, if (1) the nonresident is temporarily present in the U.S.; (2) the nonresident is not present in the U.S. for more than 90 days during the tax year; and (3) the employer is either a foreign person not engaged in business in the U.S., or is a foreign office of a U.S. employer. Most students will fail to qualify for this exemption. Still, because the performance of services in the U.S. generally gives rise to the existence of a U.S. trade or business (and because nonresident student aliens holding F, J or M visas are always considered engaged in a U.S. trade or business), payments for such services are often not subject to the withholding tax and are instead taxed under the effectively connected income rules.

Income of a nonresident alien that is effectively connected with the conduct of a U.S. trade or business (otherwise known as “effectively connected income” or “ECI”) is subject to taxation on a “net basis,” meaning that the nonresident may take into consideration certain allowable deductions when computing taxable income. Additionally, tax is payable following the close of the tax year at normal, graduated tax rates.

Items ordinarily included in FDAP are instead treated as ECI if one of two tests is satisfied. The first test is satisfied if the FDAP type income arises from assets used or held in the conduct of the U.S. business. The second test is satisfied if the activities of the U.S. trade or business were a material factor in producing such income.

The U.S. has income tax treaties in effect with many countries. If you are a resident or citizen of such a country you may qualify for certain benefits that reduce or eliminate the need to withhold income or employment taxes.

Foreign Students:
When determining the impact of U.S. income taxes on a foreign student, the analysis always begins with determining whether a student is a “resident alien” or “non-resident alien” for tax purposes.

Since most school years start in August or September, most foreign students will likely not meet the substantial presence test above during their first year. Also, there is an exemption to the substantial presence test for students. A special form needs to be filed with the IRS to verify this exemption. If a person is determined to have violated their F, J, or M visa according to the IRS, they can lose this exemption. There are several exceptions to this exemption, so please call us at 281-340-2074 with any questions.

Taxable scholarships and grants received by nonresident aliens are subject to the withholding tax if the payor of the scholarship or grant resides in the U.S.; however, the rate of tax is reduced to 14 percent. Generally, scholarships and grants are taxable to the extent not used for qualified expenses, which include tuition and fees required to enroll in school. Therefore, amounts used for living expenses are generally taxable. To the extent a scholarship or grant is provided by your educational institution, the school may actually withhold tax from that portion of the scholarship or grant payable towards expenses such as room and board. Ordinarily, nonresident students admitted to the U.S. under F, J or M visas that receive income from wages, tips, scholarships and grants are subject to tax as if such income is ECI.

Foreign students who are treated as resident aliens are taxed on their worldwide incomes in a manner identical to that of U.S. citizens. Annual income tax returns must be completed and income tax should be paid to the U.S. government.

In Summary:

Non-Citizens with U.S. source income should always consider consulting with a qualified tax professional as the tax rules affecting these groups is unfortunately very complex.