Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Comprehensive Immigration Reform? - Part 4

It's been a while since my last blog entry.  It has not that nothing has happened to write about.  To the contrary, we have been quite busy.  So busy that I have not had time to write.

Yesterday, Tuesday, we went to Bangkok to pick up Duang's "Good Conduct Letter" at the Embassy of Brunei from the Brunei Royal Police.  This document was the last piece of paper that we needed to complete the Package #3 prior to sending it to the US Consulate in Bangkok relocated to Duang's application for an Immigration Visa to the United States.

We have been to Bangkok for overnight stays twice in the past two months, so we decided to fly down and back in a single day.  We could have gone down by overnight bus and taken a late morning or early afternoon bus back to Udonthani.  We have done that before - 8-1/2 hours down leaving Udonthani at 10:00 P.M. and arriving in Bangkok the following morning at 6:30 A.M.  Taking a 11:00 A.M. bus gets you back to Udonthani at 7:30 P.M.  This is not a trip to be enjoyed.  I am not very enthusiastic about overnight bus trips.  If the on board mosquitoes don't get you, the bus driver might.  There are quite a few serious bus accidents in Thailand attributable to driver fatigue or impaired drivers, excessive speed, improper maintenance, or weather conditions.  The night before we were to leave for Bangkok, Duang saw a large bus laying on its side on the wet road back from Tahsang Village - confirmation that our decision to fly, spend an additional $160 USD rather than take a bus was justified.

We arrived home last night at 6:30 P.M. with the Police Certificate from Brunei.  This morning I started to assemble the documentation package.  I ended up with a 3/4" stack of paper.  Some of the documents had to be originals and some could be copies.  Some documents had to have certified English translations accompanying them.  Some of the Forms required substantiating documents.

Anticipating confusion and wishing to eliminate any reason to delay the processing of this stage of the current process for obtaining an Immigration Visa to the United States, I decided to create a transmittal document for the package where I listed the documents in the order that they were assembled in the package as well as how they were listed in the instructions.

As part of completing Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act, I also needed to address the issue of my domicile.  I wrote a letter addressing the domicile issue and listed the 13 attached supporting documents in the letter.  Each document had the appropriate enclosure number written in the lower left hand corner to assist in reassembling the packet if it becomes disassembled in Bangkok.

Part of my time today was spent making copies and or scanning the submitted documents to ensure that I had a record on file of the complete package.

I used the Transmittal Document to assemble the package, check the package for accuracy and completeness, recheck the package, and check it once again for a final time.  My experience to date has been that the authorities are very particular in reviewing the documents for compliance, accuracy, and completeness.  All boxes on forms need to be answered and not left blank.  "None" or "N/A" are to be entered rather than leaving a section blank on the forms.  Blanks will be a cause for delay in processing the application for a visa.

Tomorrow morning we will go to the Post Office and send the package to the US Embassy.  After waiting 6 weeks for the necessary Police Certificates we are hopefully ready for the next step of the current process for legal immigration to the USA  - a medical examination and related vaccinations followed by a personal interview in Bangkok.  My understanding is that we will be notified  of Duang's scheduled interview at the Consulate.  According to my research her appointment will be 10 to 12 weeks from next week.  Her medical examination and vaccinations will be a few days before her appointment.  This looks like it will be at least two more trips to Bangkok.

The process has been a long and drawn out affair. We are now 3 months into the effort.  It is taking longer than I expected.

The process has been an expensive undertaking.  It has cost more than I expected and the costs have not been terminated yet.

I am not complaining about either the duration or the costs but in bringing up these issues I am suggesting that these might be specific areas for "comprehensive immigration reform".  I have yet to hear or read any politician retracting the need or their support for "comprehensive immigration reform".

I have yet to read or hear what the definition, intent or specific proposals are for "comprehensive immigration reform".

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