Integrity Legal

14th April 2009

A popular immigration decision made by Thai-American couples is the decision to pursue a K1 Visa from Thailand. Many couples opt for the fiance visa because it is a faster visa to obtain in comparison to the conventional Immediate Relative Visa. The adjudication processing time for the CR-1 and IR-1 Visa can be as much as 5 months longer than that of the K1 Visa. These time differentials coupled with the fact that many couples like to have the 90 day window of opportunity to decipher whether a marriage will work or not make the K1 Visa a very attractive option.

IMBRA and its limitations on the K1 Visa

A few years ago, Congress passed the International Marriage Brokers Regulation Act in order to clamp down on so-called “mail order bride,” outfits. One of the byproducts of this act is the fact that K1 Visa petitions have been limited. Before the promulgation of IMBRA it was possible for an American Citizen to essentially apply for and obtain infinite fiancee visas for as many beneficiaries as he wanted. Under the new regulations, a US Citizen is only allowed to petition for 2 K1 Visas without needing to obtain a waiver from USCIS. Even with this regulation comes a further caveat, if he should petition for 2 K1 Visas within a 24 month period, then he will also need to obtain a waiver.

The issue involving petitioning for two K1 visas usually comes up in context of the Thai-American couple who obtain a K1 visa and the Thai lady goes to the US. The couple finds that at the time a marriage is not logistically feasible. Therefore, she leaves the United States and returns to Thailand. Later, the couple decides to petition for another K1 Visa because their situation has changed and they feel that now a marriage is workable. Do they need to obtain a waiver in order to obtain a second K1 Visa? The answer: Probably.

Depending upon the time frame of the petitions it may be necessary to obtain a waiver in order to have a subsequent I-129f petition (the petition form for a K1) approved. If the previous petition was filed within 24 months of the subsequent petition then a waiver is likely a necessity. All is not lost by needing to file for a waiver. They are generally granted where the couple explains the situation and why 2 K1 visas were filed by the same couple within a 2 year period. It is very wise to retain a US attorney in Thailand in order to prepare a Thai loved one’s K1 Visa petition in general and particularly in any situation where a USCIS waiver is necessary.

For more information please see

US Visa Thailand

Fiance Visa Thailand

Note: Nothing in this post should be used in lieu of legal advice from a duly licensed attorney in your jurisdiction


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