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K-1 Visas: Laos

17th November 2010
By US Visa Lawyer in Immigration Law
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The following article is intended to act as a sort of primer for those researching the K1 visa process for the first time. This article is written specifically to enlighten those with a Lao fiance(e).

For Americans with a fiance or fiancee of any nationality the K1 visa process almost invariably begins at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). This office operates under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security and is responsible for making adjudications of United States Immigration petitions and applications. Officers with USCIS make decisions regarding immigration petitions through application of rules and regulations as set forth under American law in the form of the American Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and later statutory amendments and revisions. US immigration law is a complicated and narrow area of American jurisprudence. This area of law can, at times, be difficult to understand. Some belabor under the incorrect assumption that USCIS approval is a foregone conclusion. This is simply not the case as USCIS can deny one's petition depending upon one's circumstances. If approved, then the approved petition will be sent to the American State Department's National Visa Center (NVC) for processing.

The National Visa Center acts as a sort of clearinghouse for visa applications as this agency is responsible for routing visa applications to American Embassies and Consulates abroad. Supervising such a broad and elaborate operation is a substantial undertaking that currently results in comparatively efficient movement of evidence and documentation regarding pending visa applications.

After a visa applicant's case file arrives at the American Consulate or American Embassy abroad, the Consular Processing portion of the K1 visa process can be initiated. Under the doctrine of Consular Absolutism United States Consular Officers are granted a relatively wide degree of discretion to make factual findings regarding US visa applications. That said, American laws and regulations constrain legal findings pursuant to the language of the INA. Although, if a Consular Officer finds that a legal grounds of inadmissibility in a given case, then such a finding may only be overcome through use of an I-212 or I-601 waiver. Some individuals find that assistance of an American Immigration law firm can be highly beneficial during the K1 visa process as an American attorney can provide advice and counsel about US Immigration law and also provide services to streamline the processing of an individual's case. Legal translations can be incredibly significant during the K1 visa process as identity documentation could be necessary and sometimes difficult to get properly translated. In matters pertaining to Laos this can be of acute importance as government documentation can sometimes be difficult to retrieve.

Consular Officers adjudicating cases at any American Mission abroad make adjudications based upon the facts and the law. Those who claim any "special relationship" with Post personnel should neither be believed nor trusted as adjudications are conducted in a truly unbiased and professional manner. Those seeking professional assistance in matters pertaining to US Immigration are well advised to check the credentials of anyone claiming to provide US Immigration services as only a licensed American attorney is entitled to practice US Immigration law.


Ben Hart is an American lawyer and the Managing & International Director of Integrity Legal (Thailand) Co. Ltd. and White & Hart Ltd., respectively. Contact: 1-877-231-7533, +66 (0)2-266-3698, or On the Web: K1 Visa Laos or US Visa Lao Girlfriend.
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