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K-1 Visas from Thailand and Issues Regarding Advance Parole

Transcript of the above video:

In this video I'm going to briefly discuss the issue of advance parole in the United States with respect to the K-1 fiancee visa. What are we talking about here?

Specifically, the K-1 visa is something of a unique visa because in so far as, first of all it's a dual intent visa. It's issued in the non-immigrant visa category but it maintains an immigrant intent because the holder of the K-1 visa will travel to the United States and within 90 days after their arrival in the United States, they need to be marry their fiancee and apply for an adjustment of status to permanent resident in the U.S.A.

The world has problems. Life is a complex thing and sometimes, what will happen is someone will go to the United States in K-1 status and let's say, a relative back in Thailand is sick or there's some kind of massive emergency or some requirement that may not even reach quite the level of emergency but simply the fiancee needs to leave the U.S.A.  The problem with leaving the U.S.A. on K-1 if someone has not adjusted to permanent residence is the fact that by leaving, that visa essentially is dead and one would need to re-apply for a new visa or the individual is already married, an entire new petition would need to be filed with respect to the applicant.

There's a way to deal with this and to forestall, for lack of better term, cancellation upon exiting the United States. And the way this is often dealt with is called advance parole and basically what happens is, the United States government, the immigration authorities, the Department of Homeland Security is petitioned and told "Hey, this individual is in K-1 status, they're in the process of adjusting to permanent residence but something has come up and we needed to leave."

If advance parole is approved and it's not necessarily always approved, but if it is approved, then the individual can leave the United States and effectively, their status in the United States is maintained. It's very similar in a lot of ways to a re-entry permit both in the United States and in Thailand and in the sense that the underlying visa status is, for lack of better term, frozen and that individual cannot return on their advance parole documents in order to sort of re-uptake the processing of their case.

Failure to get advance parole can have serious implications for a K-1 visa holder because it can result in the loss of a visa and in certain instances, the loss of that visa can be rectified somewhat quickly but in other instances, it may be impossible to rectify the situation especially if there have been material changes to the applicant's overall situation. This can have a significant impact on their personal life because again, it can take months more to re-process the case and it could have a lot of cost with respect to Thailand resources. So if an individual is in the United States on a K-1 and is may be pending or maybe not yet pending adjustment, it is imperative to do one's research before leaving the United States as doing so can have dire consequences in an immigration sense because it might not be possible to re-enter the United States for a significant period of time if further processing of an entire case is necessary.