Some of you may remember my rant a month or so ago about having the US Embassy in Bangkok deny my fiancé a tourist visa, refusing to look at any of her paperwork she had meticulously prepared due to her not having MY passport with her.
I'm still mad about that. Luckily, she got approved for a 10 year tourist visa her second time round.
How'd she do it?
1) She had my passport.
2) She got a guy who didn't happen to be in the world's worst mood and/or a complete prick.
3) That's it.
Note here that we both spent hours getting all of the documents in order (again), including a nicely typed and signed cover sheet outlining said documents. However, the *only* thing the officer looked at was... my passport.
Apparently the officer glanced at my work permit and even more quickly glanced at her employment letter (we're talking a half-second here), but the only thing the officer halfway scrutinized was my passport. The deciding factor: judging by the many stamps in my passport, yep, I (the accompanying US citizen) have travelled, so I'm probably not going to try to move her to the States with me. Great logic.
Her appointment was for 7:15 a.m. on a Tuesday (I recommended she not do another Monday as hangovers are more likely on that day), and she was out by 8:00 a.m. with a note saying she'd get her passport in the mail with her 10 year tourist visa within three days. In fact, the officer tried to get her to start the ball rolling for a fiancé visa and/or a green card. She declined. Contrast this with the exact same time schedule/scenario last time she tried, yet with a rejection notice.
So, if you're in the same boat as me and want to take your significant other (or a friend) for a visit to the States, how can you get a visa? The honest answer: luck. It is 100% up to the officer, and there is no argument once you've paid the fee.
That said, I can recommend a quick list of what we included in her monstrous "packet of proof" that the officer never looked at, based on a formal cover letter (which I also prepared) from a friend of mine who also took his lovely lady to visit the States several years ago.
Will this be sufficient to get a visa? Who knows. Conceptually, though, it's a start.
Documents from the Thai citizen (starting with a formal cover letter outlining all of this):
1. Completed application form (currently DS-160 for us)
2. Copy of front page of passport
3. Copy of flight itineraries (round-trip; I already had these, but I'm dubious here... it's a Catch-22. Without tickets, you may be denied. Buy the tickets return trip before applying for the visa to prove your intentions, but you may still be denied and forfeit the dough.)
4. Letter of invitation from someone Stateside offering room and board (or you)
5. Letter of employment in Thailand
6. Copy of payroll slips
7. Copy of cover page from a primary account bankbook
8. Copy of mortgage commitment or other larger property commitments
9. Assorted pictures verifying friendship
Document from you (the US citizen)
1. Copy of and physical copies of passport front page and current Thai work permit (*in our case, it was proof that I have travelled places besides Thailand recently that was all they were looking for-passport stamps)
2. Letter confirming employment in Thailand (a contract with a clear end date)
3. Copy of payroll slips from (3 months)
4. Copy of cover page from Thai bankbooks
Again, don't take this as ‘the guide to getting a US visa.' Let me reiterate: it is completely up to the whim of the officer you get.
There are probably officers that actually look at paperwork. There are definitely those that won't. There are probably those that will scrutinize every detail of everything submitted, likely based solely on the appearance of the applicant.
My advice? Try not to have to spend 12,000+ THB on visa application fees like I did. Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.
I hope you enjoyed my blog. If you would like to get in touch or perhaps e-mail me with a question, I would love to hear from you - All the best, Sam Thompson.