Visa & Immigration

IR-1 DCF Visa: Step 1 Filing I-130 petition

✤✤✤ The USCIS permanently closed its field office in Bangkok, Thailand, at the end of 2019; therefore, you can no longer file for your visa through direct consular filing in Bangkok. You will have to start your process through the NVC in the US. Use my guidelines only for document preparation. ✤✤✤

The first step of obtaining a DCF marriage visa is to file the I-130 form at the USCIS Bangkok. This step has to be done by the US citizen who must have a valid address in Thailand. He/she must also be able to show the USCIS officer that he/she has lived in Thailand for more than 6 months with a non-immigrant visa. Tourist visas are usually not eligible but if you think you have good reasons for why you think you should be eligible, explain it to the officer. 

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Required documents (all photocopies)

US citizen documents

  1. Form I-130 (download)
  2. Passport (bio page and all Thai visas)
  3. Birth certificate
  4. Divorce decree (if applicable)
  5. Room lease or any document proving that you’ve lived at this address in Thailand for more than 6 months
  6. Two 2×2″ photos (write your name and last name on the back with a pencil or felt pen)

Foreign spouse documents

  1. Form I-130A (download)
  2. Form G-1145 (download)
  3. Passport (bio page)
  4. Birth certificate + translation*
  5. Divorce decree + translation* (if applicable)
  6. Certificate of name/last name change + translation* (if applicable)
  7. House registration/house book + translation*
  8. Two 2×2″ photos (write your name and last name on the back with a pencil or felt pen)

*translation must be certified by a translation company

Bona fide documents

For this set of document, you’ll have to gather everything you have in order to prove to the USCIS officer that your relationship/marriage is legit. In other words, you did not get married just for the sake of getting a green card. I recommend you front load as much document as possible on this day so you don’t have to bring too much with you on the interview date. All your relevant documents will be forwarded to the US Embassy for you.

Example documents:

  • Marriage certificate with a certified license (if in Thai, must have a proper translation certified by a translation company)
  • Your pictures together
  • Printed records of chat, email, Skype calls, etc.
  • Receipts of money transfers
  • Plane tickets of your trips together
  • Joint bank account
  • Your child’s birth certificate (is considered strong evidence of relationship)

For the records of chat, email, Skype calls, etc., there’s no need to put them in a fancy book. It’s OK to simply clip the sheets together with paperclips. You can print the history by day or by month or choose to print only important conversations but it must show that the two of you have an ongoing relationship.

Instructions and my experience

IR-1 DCF Visa: Step 1 Filing I-130 petition

Source: SawasdeeAmerica.com
Last updated: February 13th, 2018

Required materials

  • 1. US citizen documents
  • 2. Foreign spouse documents
  • 3. Bona fide documents
  • 4. Credit card or cash in the amount of $535

Instructions

1

Give all your documents that you have sectioned into 3 sets as mentioned above to the USCIS officer. Try to get to the USCIS office early. Their working hours is 8:30 AM-12:00 PM. My husband and I arrived exactly at 8:30 and there were already 4 couples before us. By the time it was our turn, it's already 11:00 AM. The USCIS officer we met can speak Thai and was very friendly but professional. Once she took our papers, we were instructed to wait in the waiting area while she closed the window and went to review our papers.

2

Half an hour later, the officer reopened the window to let us know that our documents were good to go. She then gave us a piece of paper listing the amount of money to pay for the I-130 petition filing. But you can't pay at the USCIS office, you have to run across the street to the US Embassy to pay. At the US Embassy, only the American citizen is allowed to enter unless you're paying with the foreign spouse's credit card, then he/she can accompany you inside to sign the credit card receipt.

3

Once the payment is completed, bring the receipt back and give it to the same USCIS officer. This concludes the first step. The USCIS officer told us that we'd hear back from them within 90 days but we received their response much sooner than that.

4

Wait for the Approval Notice letter from the USCIS at home. How long it takes for the letter to get to you depends on how far your address is from Bangkok. The further you are, the longer it'll take for your letter to arrive because they use the slowest and cheapest mailing method. For your reference, we lived in the eastern part of Thailand not too far from Bangkok and it took 18 days for the letter to arrive.

Notes

Directions to USCIS Bangkok
Take the BTS and get off at Ploenchit station. Take Exit 2 and walk along the Wireless road until you see the Sinthorn Building 2 on your right (just opposite the US Embassy). The USCIS office is located on the 15th floor. You'll need to have your belongings inspected and left at the front security. The CIS office is on the right side of the hallway. It's a pretty small room but has plenty of seats to sit down.

Contact USCIS Bangkok
Address: Sinthorn Building 2, 15th floor, 130-132 Wireless road, Lumpini, Bangkok 10330
Office hours: 8:30 AM-12:00 PM (M-F); closed on Thai and US national holidays
Phone: 02-205-5352
Email: BKKCIS.inquiries@uscis.dhs.gov
Website: USCIS Bangkok

This post is also available in: thThai

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