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Utilizing a "Do It Yourself" Kit For Processing a Fiancee Visa

14th April 2010
By US Visa Lawyer in Immigration Law
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This article exposes some of the myths associated with the US visa process and the use of "Do It Yourself" Kits by those seeking either a fiance visa or a marriage visa for an alien fiance or spouse.

American Immigration is an extremely complex area of United States law. This is likely attributable to the fact that this field of law is primarily driven by statute which can rapidly change if new legislation is enacted. Furthermore, in order to carry-out the relevant provisions of US immigration law American governmental agencies enact internal rules and regulations.

The effectiveness of "Do it Yourself" Immigration kits is one that many prospective visa Petitioners have contemplated. There is a veritable cottage industry of internet retailers offering packages that claim to provide all of the necessary materials for one to effectively process a visa petition and application on behalf of a foreign loved one (usually these kits are "specifically tailored" to assist those with a Russian Fiancee, a Thai Fiancee, a Brazillian Fiancee, etc).

To be clear, this author has no particular problem with couples who choose not to hire an attorney to assist in filing a petition for a US visa. (Individuals who pursue visa benefits without opting to retain a lawyer are often referred to in the immigration community as "Pro Se" Filers.) This author believes that representing oneself before the US government is an inalienable right enshrined in the Constitution itself. It is unfortunate to note that some have attempted to profit from the US Citizenry's right to self-petition for visa benefits. In many cases, the information that these individuals offer is fairly shoddy. The claims made by those selling "kits" are often rather spurious and generally they are accompanied by guarantees of success. As this author has reiterated many times: no ethical individual can guarantee and outcome in a matter pending before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the National Visa Center (NVC), or a US Embassy abroad.

It ought to further be noted that many so-called "Do It Yourself" Kits simply re-package and convey information that is already available to the public at no charge. Some people feel that the "Value Added" by visa kits is minimal. In many cases, such kits are produced by individuals who are neither licensed to practice law nor certified by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

What does this mean in practical terms? For US Citizen Petitioners who are seeking guidance about the US visa process there is often a feeling that "Kits" promise more than they deliver. For many, the money spent on visa kits would likely be better spent on retaining a competent immigration attorney who can assist in streamlining the process. If one simply wishes to save money, then many feel that simply keeping the money otherwise spent on a kit is a better strategy compared to spending money for a kit that offers little practical assistance.

Oftentimes, the information provided in these "Kits" is not very up-to-date and this can prove extremely problematic for couples who detrimentally rely upon this information when processing their application. Internal rules and Departmental regulations change so quickly that even attorneys practicing US Immigration law can sometimes feel as if the whole process is in a constant state of flux. Combine this with the fact that each and every American Embassy or American Consulate overseas has its own set of local rules and protocols (that can change frequently) and one is left wondering if a "Kit" can ever provide fully comprehensive information about the US visa process as a whole.


Benjamin Hart is a licensed attorney from the US. He currently acts as the Managing Director of Integrity Legal (Thailand) Co. Ltd a firm located in Bangkok. Contact them at 1-877-231-7533, +66 (0)2-266-3698, or see them on the world wide web at: American Visa Thailand or
K1 visa
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