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US Visa Laos
The Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Laos (or simply referred to as Laos or Lao) is one of the best kept secrets of Southeast Asia. Although a small landlocked country that does not accord the same beach front beauty as neighbors such as Thailand. This small nation is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world as well as some of the most affordable vacation accommodations in Asia. Many who travel to Laos never forget their adventure in this tropical paradise and some even find their true love in this secluded hideaway.
Few people outside of the Kingdom of Thailand and the surrounding countries realize that there are many Laotians living and working in Thailand. As a result of this situation, occasionally an American will meet a Laotian in Thailand and seek to obtain a US visa from the US Embassy in Bangkok. Although processing through the Embassy in Bangkok may be possible for a Laotian, appropriate jurisdiction greatly depends upon the circumstances of the case. That said, in some cases, the Laotian visa seeker must return to Laos, specifically Vientiane, the capital, in order to process their visa case.
The K1 visa is a very popular travel document for Lao-American couples as the processing time is considerably shorter compared to that of the US Marriage Visa categories, particularly the CR1 visa and the IR1 visa. The K3 Visa, once a popular travel document for foreign spouses, has fallen into increasing disuse as the National Visa Center (NVC) has made the unilateral decision to “administratively close” K3 visa applications if the underlying CR1 or IR1 application has already been received by the NVC.
The United States Embassy in Laos is located in Vientiane and processes both Immigrant and Non-Immigrant visa applications. Those seeking an immigrant visa for their Lao fiance or spouse must first receive preliminary approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) before the case will be forwarded to the NVC and ultimately the Embassy.
In cases involving Laotian Nationals two major issues are: document retrieval and translation. In many cases documentation is needed that can only be obtained in Laos. Retaining an attorney located in the region can be highly beneficial to both the American petitioner and the Laotian beneficiary since such an attorney can provide insight into the Laotian document retrieval process. As to translations: obtaining proper Lao legal translations can be critical to the ultimate outcome in a given case and having an attorney on hand in Southeast Asia to assist in obtaining certified Lao translations can be one of the key factors in an ultimately successful visa application for an individual of Laotian extraction.
For more information about Consular Processing in Laos please see: US Embassy Laos
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