Integrity Legal

26th June 2009

There are essentially three government agencies that have a hand in the US Visa process: the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the National Visa Center (NVC), and the United States Department of State (the Department with jurisdiction over the US Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Posts abroad). Of these three agencies, USCIS has the case in its possession for the longest period of time because the petition must be initially adjudicated by their officers.

Within the USCIS administrative structure there are two service centers that handle the adjudication of the K1 visa application and K3 visa application for fiancees of United States Citizens (in both cases, the actual application form is called the I-129f). The Services Centers are located in California and Vermont, respectively. They each have their own unique jurisdiction depending upon the residence of the petitioner.

Within the past few days, the USCIS service center in California issued a revised estimate regarding how long it is taking for adjudication of K-1 visa applications and K-3 visa applications. They are now estimating that it will take 5 months for the average visa petition to be adjudicated. This is compared to the previous estimate of 6 months.

As I have explained on this blog and to people in the past. This estimate tends to be quite conservative as we tend to see these petitions adjudicated by USCIS in a much more timely manner than this. That being siad, the prospective immigrant or sponsor should be aware that the petition must also pass through the National Visa Center (which generally processes I-129f petitions faster than Immigrant Visa petitions) and the US Embassy Bangkok.

K3 visas a re also different because one needs to take into account the underlying I-130 petition that acts as the foundation for the supplemental I-129f petition that garners an expedited visa.

At the back of everyone’s mind should be the idea that all time frames for visa obtainment are estimates only as many factors can be at play when a visa application is processing. The best advice is to plan for the worst, but hope for the best. It has been our experience that the US Embassy in Thailand works in a very efficient manner in an effort to get petitions adjudicated quickly. The USCIS service centers are generally the “bottleneck” where visa applications can get delayed.

(No aspect of this piece should be construed as legal advice because this post is written for educational and informational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship should be construed to exist between the author and reader of this post.)


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2 Responses to “US Visa Processing Time Update: K1 and K3 Visa Estimated Processing Time Reduced”

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