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TheBears

CR-1 Interview in Bangkok, Thailand

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Interview Date: June 8, 2010

Husby woke up around 3, with his lovely Wifey calling around 3:30 to make sure. We went over the documents, what they were for, when to use them, etc. and he was out the door. Twenty minutes into the drive, he goes "Oh... #######!" Lovely, Dear. He forgot the copies of all of the forms and documents we sent to USCIS and NVC. So he went back for them. We should have taken this as a sign.

He parked and hopped on the BTS. Getting off at Ploern Chit, he walked the rest of the way to the Embassy. He started at the wrong door and was to go around to the other side. Again, this should have been a sign.

He finally made it to the right place and promptly struck up a conversation with the others waiting. When they were let in, he passed the guard with no problems. (Remember: Leave your phone and electronics in the car.) He gave his documents to the prescreener. She took the new I-864 but ignored the new DS-230. Good enough. The wait began.

Silly man, he doesn't remember in which order he was called. He wasn't first, but he wasn't last. It was around 10 o'clock. There were two COs conducting interviews -- a man and a woman. The man was being very abrupt with the interviewees and speaking loud enough for everyone else to hear what was going on. The woman was alright. He was called to Window 6 with the woman.

Things started out straightforward enough. The oath, the fingerprints, the signature.

What is your wife's name? Mrs. Bear.

How did you meet? On Skype.

When? April 2005.

When was the first time she came to see you? March 14, 2008.

Where? Australia.

How long were you in Australia? 1 year.

What were you doing there? Working and studying.

Do you know Charles? No. (Former joint sponsor's husband. Long story.)

Did you know your wife was married before? Yes.

Do you know when she got married? April 26, 2004. No, 2005.

Is that what your wife told you? I'm sorry. I remembered incorrectly. It was 2005.

At this point, the woman walked away to consult with the man. Woo! Let the fun begin.

And when did you meet her? April 2005.

Did you know she was married at the time when you met her? Yes.

<Nothing. Just a look.> We were friends for a long time. After a while, her marriage didn't go well. They weren't living together when we started being together.

She has a child, did you know that? Yes.

Are you ready to have a child? Yes.

You've met him? No, but we talk on the phone.

Alright.

Your wife is American, right? Why aren't you interviewing in English? Because usually we speak to each other in Thai.

<Picking up a copy of one of the cards I sent to Husby.> Did your wife write this? Yes.

And you wrote this one? <Pointing to another card, this one from Husby to me.> Yes.

She understands it all? Yes.

How does she know how to speak Thai? Oh... because her ex-husband is Thai.

Huh? Her ex-husband is Thai? She only wants to date Thais or what? Ummmm. <Poor guy! And ####### at the lady! Completely uncalled for.> He's an American.

Oh? Yes.

So her ex-husband got his citizenship this way, too? No. I don't know. He may have naturalized with his parents or something.

So he went to the US only for citizenship, right? I don't think so.

But he's Thai? Yes.

So she did the same thing as with you, right? No.

How does your wife know her ex-husband? They went to high school together.

How can your wife speak Thai? Her ex-husband is Thai. When they lived together, they spoke Thai at home and English when out and about.

Oh. So where did she learn? You mean from a school? She didn't. They spoke it at home.

Mmhmm. And how long has she been speaking Thai? I don't know. Since before we met.

And why did she and her ex divorce? <Confused for a second.> Because he wasn't being a good husband. He wasn't taking care of her or the baby.

But she was married to him when you met and you knew about this? Yes.

<Writing on a piece of paper.> You can come pick up your visa on June 18 at 1 PM. <Amazed.> Thank you.

He took the piece of paper and walked back to a seat to check over all of the documents the CO returned. We had talked that he would double-check them while he was still with her, but that would have been a bad idea in this case.

We knew that we had this red flag in our case. My ex is Thai. He was born here to Thai parents, so he has citizenship since birth. Husby and I have gone over this a few times, but I can see how he could be confused. Citizenship and visas are confusing subjects. We also knew that it might be a problem that I took so long to divorce my ex. We weren't living together for several years, but neither of us wanted to bother going through the divorce. Our lives were fine. One day Husby started talking a lot more about the future than he had previously. So I started the divorce process. Husby and I started out as language partners and remained that way for quite a while before becoming an item. I don't know if the CO read my evolution of relationship letter or not, but I clearly explained our situation in that letter. I suspect she did read it and didn't think it too terribly important. Until she found out that The Ex is Thai, that is. From there, she must have suspected that my previous marriage (and by extension my current marriage) were fraudulent so that Thais could have a path to American citizenship. This isn't the case at all, and I think she was able to understand that.

In all, the interview alone took about an hour. It was in Thai because that's the language we use to communicate with each other. Husby said several cases took longer than the 5-10 minutes I had told him about. There were several trips for consultation with the male CO. Because of that, I can only thank God that we were not put in AP.

Whether this is a result of a general policy of additional scrutiny when compared to previous cases or of the merits of those individual cases presented that day is uncertain. I would say both are probably true.

Advice for Others:

Know your red flags. Pull out your Hater Vision goggles! Think of all the negative things in your life. You may not consider them to be negatives – I don't view my previous relationship as a negative – but others may. An answer of "I don't see anything that could be a problem" is always a wrong answer.

Know your partner. Make sure your partner knows you. If you have a past, be sure your partner knows just as much about it as you do. No secrets. No lies. No being stingy on the details.

Bring evidence to support it all. If you previously made a visa petition for someone else, bring the Denial Notice. Or receipt for the flight back. For me, I have a copy of The Ex's birth certificate and passport. I could have sent that to Husby. He could have pulled it out to show the CO that The Ex has jus soli citizenship. That would have been the end of it.

The trend is that Bangkok is becoming more and more strict about who they are approving. They are examining documents and details. Be prepared for this.

Review of the Embassy Staff:

Husby didn't have any problems with the staff. They were polite. The CO was firm when trying to figure out if our case was fraudulent or not and threw the questions at him rapidly. The interpreter wasn't friendly during that part, either. They were doing their job. They had to ascertain to a reasonable degree of certainty that I am not selling a ticket to citizenship and that Husby was not buying. I'm happy that she followed up on her suspicions.

Thank you to the March/April NVC group and the Thai K-1 group. You all have provided support, humor, and knowledge. Husby and I appreciate you and wish you the best throughout all of your journeys.

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Advice for Others:

Know your red flags. Pull out your Hater Vision goggles! Think of all the negative things in your life. You may not consider them to be negatives – I don't view my previous relationship as a negative – but others may. An answer of "I don't see anything that could be a problem" is always a wrong answer.

Know your partner. Make sure your partner knows you. If you have a past, be sure your partner knows just as much about it as you do. No secrets. No lies. No being stingy on the details.

I fully second this. Most people seem to be too blinded regarding their relationship. 'We love each other' *cutsey hug* is NOT good enough. Not for relatively high-fraud consulates. And then they wonder why things didn't go their way.

Once again, many congratulations, Kari. And thanks for a great, informative and detailed review! Wishing you all the best and a happy wedded life together! :)

Edited by sachinky

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Congrats!

That was some trial by fire. My wife's K-1 interview was not as rigorous as your "Husby's"

but we both were married before and I would give the same advice that you give to others

meaning don't lie and know each other's history inside and out.

The one thing they picked up on my wife's history was that she divorced her ex-husband twice.

There was a time around 17 years ago when they went through some rough times where

they were divorced for about 2 months but remarried for the sake of the son, not because

they wanted to be married to each other. When she met me she divorced him again almost

immediately. That was 7 years ago, so when we filed the petition she had been divorced

for more than a few years.

Since the first divorce, they lived as brother and sister rather than a couple and occupied

different rooms on different floors of their house. With a son in the university they could

not afford separate accommodations and she did not ask me to pay for that because

there was no problem in living there. She considered any money I spent to be her money

because she considered me to be her true husband even if we were not married yet.

If I had been spending for an apartment for her, she considered it wasting her money,

money that we both could spend in the future. I had no problem with that view.

Even after she met me, they saw no reason to change those arrangements and as I

was there too whenever I was in Thailand and there were no complaints from my side.

I always treated her ex with respect and the feeling was mutual. He had in fact moved

on as she did.

Naturally the CO asked her if she was sleeping with him, to which she replied

"Do you think I would do such a stupid thing if I divorced him twice?"

End of interview. Visa approved.

PS -

Whenever I think of her ex I don't think of him as competition but feel a little sorry for

him, because he had a Thai girlfriend for a short time who really was bad news and

since that time he has not tested the waters. I would not be surprised to see him

become a monk when he retires.

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TheBears, that's a lot of questions. Heck, I don't think both our interviews for K3 and IR1 combined totaled more than 10 minutes. I am glad things went well for you and no issues came up regarding affidavit of support.

Good things happen to good, honest people.

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