Integrity Legal

29th Mar 2009

The process of obtaining a US Visa from Thailand can be frustrating for some due to the fact that a great deal of both US and Thai government documents are necessary in order to obtain most American Visas. We will briefly discuss the time line for obtaining the US K1 Fiance Visa, K3 Marriage Visa, Conditional Resident Visa, and the Immediate Relative Visa based upon marriage. The Visa Journey can be a long process and many phases of it are “hurry up and wait,” in that there are long lulls in the process followed by burst of extreme activity where time is of the essence for meeting deadlines and getting an interview appointment.

The K1 Visa

The first step in the K1 Visa process is the filing of an I-129f fiancee visa application. This application is basically designed to confirm that the petitioner is indeed a US Citizen entitled to marry and has no criminal or immigration record that would conflict ith the provisions of the IMBRA. The USCIS will issue Notice of Action 1 which basically is an official receipt from the Immigration Service that they have obtained and will review the Petition. Should USCIS need more documentation, then they will issue an RFE (Request for Evidence), in this request they will explain what information is lacking and how the petitioner can prove up the petition.

After USCIS has adjudicated the petition, if they approve it, they will issue Notice of Action 2. This Notice informs the petitioner of the fact that the petition has been approved and it will be forwarded to the NVC (National Visa Center). The NVC will process the application and forward it to the correct Embassy for a Visa interview and adjudication by a consular officer.

At the interview the consular officer will review the petitioner’s I-134 Affidavit of Support as well as the Beneficiary’s documentation. Should the Consular officer request more information, then a 221(g) will be issued and the applicant will have 1 year to respond with the proper documentation. Upon approval the K1 Visa will be issued and the Beneficiary will need to enter the USA before the Visa expires.

Once the beneficiary enters the United States on a K1 Visa, she will have 90 days to get married and file for adjustment of status. If adjustment of status is approved then the beneficiary will be a lawful conditional permanent resident. After 2 years of lawful conditional permanent residence, the beneficiary withe the help of the US Citizen spouse will need to file for a lift of the conditionality of her visa. Once the conditions have been lifted then the beneficiary will be a lawful permanent resident of the Us without conditions.

Should the beneficiary wish to leave the USA while in K1 Status, then she would need to obtain advance parole. If she wishes to depart while in Lawful Permanent Resident Status, then it would be prudent to apply for and obtain a reentry permit.

IR-1 & CR-1 Visas based Upon Marriage

For either an IR-1 (Immediate Relative Visa) or CR-1 (Conditional Resident Visa), the same petition, the I-130, must be filed. At the time of the writing, USCIS is estimating that it takes approximately 6 months to adjudicate an I-130 petition. the process at USCIS is much the same in that both Notice of Action 1 & 2 will be issued and the file will be forwarded to the National Visa Center. Once there, it will undergo increased scrutiny than in the case of the K1 Visa and it generally takes longer for the file to be processed at NVC with an I-130 petition.

After it is processed by the NVC, it will be forwarded to the US Embassy in Bangkok, where the beneficiary must go through an interview before being granted a visa. Upon granting of the visa, the beneficiary will travel to the USA and upon entry will either be granted conditional permanent residence or lawful permanent residence without conditions. an IR-1 Visa confer permanent residence without conditions, but in order to qualify for this visa the couple must have been married for at least 2 years when the file the I-130 petition.

The K3 Marriage Visa

The K3 Visa was designed as an expedited marriage at a time when I-130 petitions were processing extermely slowly. At the time of this writing, the K3 Visa is currently processing at roughly the same rate as the I-130 petition. It is likely that filing a K3 petition will save the couple 6-8 weeks in visa processing. The major downside of the K3 is the fact that it does not confer the right to work in the USA, nor does it confer permanent residence upon entry. Adjustment of Status is necessary if a K3 holder wishes to become a permanent resident.

The K3 is a doubly filed visa petition in that one first files an I-130 petition and then an I-129f petition in order to obtain the K3 Visa. All aspects of the process are basically the same as mentioned above except for the fact that the 2 petitions are filed simultaneously and in this instance the I-129f petition is filed on behalf of a spouse rather than a fiancee.

Visas for Children of Prospective Immigrants

The Visa Journey for child immigrants is similar to that of their adult counterparts. Derivative Visas can be obtained for the children of K1 Visa seekers, K3 Visa Seekers and Immigrant Visas. In instances where a visa for a child is sought, the child will generally adjust status with their parent in order to become a permanent resident.

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