Hi Norman: my name is ***** ***** I will be the immigration attorney helping you today.
I am not sure what happened in the cases of those male friends but that is not the case. There is no ban on bringing a foreign spouse from either Thailand or the Philippines right now if you are a US citizen and have no criminal convictions for crimes against minors. There is also no ban for spouses in China.
You can petition for her to come to reside with you in the US. You will have to prove that it is a bonafide/real relationship in whichever route you choose to bring her here. There are two main options and you can decide which is better for your situation: either submit a fiance visa , if you rather bring her to the US and get married in the US, or an immigrant visa called CR-1 visa if you will marry before and then bring her to the US. They each have some pros and cons - for example the fiance visa usually takes a little less time but it costs more. In both cases, you will have to see each other in person at least once. For the fiance visa you need to prove that you have seen each other in person at least once in the last two years. You don't need to prove that per se for the CR-1 immigrant visa but since you must be married in order for her to apply for that, either way you must see each other.
I can help you with either process once you decide what you would like to do. For now, I can send you an offer for a phone consultation for an additional legal fee whenever you'd like in order to talk about all this I have mentioned in more detail and discuss the process that will follow as well. I can answer any questions or doubts that you have. You don't have to decide if you would like that now but just letting you know it's available and whenever you'd like, just ask me to send it.
For now, I hope this answer has helped you better understand and clear some doubts.
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