Getting a visa to The States (part two)
Second time's a charm
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.
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My Thai wife was going for a K-3 as we were married, this was in 2009. The process was nightmarish, she literally got interrogated and to top it off they lost he passport. As soon as I heard what happened (no decision was made yet), I contacted the senator from my state and filed a complaint with the State Department's Inspector General. Someone from my senator's office actually inquired about what the situation was. At the time, I was in the service, so I think that helped. They called her back in a few days later and she got the visa, but they lost her passport! So she had to go back to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and get a new passport, and then go back to the US Embassy. They are a bunch of clowns at the embassy, I think that part of it is because Thailand is a cushy diplomatic post and something of a party spot so they like to lord their petty authority over everyone else.
By John, USA (6th December 2015)
"Getting these visas are notoriously difficult to get the first time. I'll bet your application succeeds the second time around."
Yes, that was me after your first application failure...
I win the 'being right. again' competition... what's my prize?
By the way - I'm all for governments making it difficult for foreigners to get access to these visas... including the Thai government.
I can understand that you would be pissed the first time this happened, but these 'reasons' just don't ring true and smack of sour grapes.
The adjudication officer in a bad mood? Should he have rolled out a carpet for you and put the kettle on? You're just a number in a long line. Get used to it.
The only reason I was annoyed about my first time refusal was because it really took the wind out of my girlfriend's sails. She put on a brace face, but she was hurt that we hadn't proven we were capable of flying to and from the country that I was born in.
Also, Thais are easily defeated and it took some serious pep talking to tell her that we'd be OK the second time around. At the time she would have been happy to just give up on the whole idea of going.
Now, with a mortgage and car payments, we get fast tracked to the bloody moon and back!
I don't know where in the USA you are going, but planning is just as much fun as the doing!
We have lots of fun shopping for winter clothes, etc.
Planning an itinerary and booking bus tickets and train tickets are also part of the joy.
Let her play a major role in the planning and ask her where she wants to go and what she wants to see.
For me this proved invaluable... she came up with places that I would never have thought to take her.
The lions in Trafalgar square was at top of her list! Who would have guessed that?
Anyway - I hope she enjoys the adventure...
By Mark Newman, Thailand (11th November 2015)