Integrity Legal

16th Dec 2009

The K1 visa was designed to provide a means and method for foreign fiancees to travel to the United States of America in order to be reunited with their US Citizen loved one. It is commonly referred to as a Fiancee visa because that is this visa’s intended use. The major upside of the K1 visa is the fact that it has the fastest processing time when compared to marriage visas such as the K3 visa and CR1 visa. However, the K1 visa does require that the applicant adjust status to lawful permanent residence after entry in the United States. Generally, this process takes approximately 6 months from application submission until final adjustment decision.

An I-601 waiver is necessary for those who have been found inadmissible to the United States based upon one of the legal grounds of inadmissibility found under the provisions of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act. In Thailand, the two most common grounds of inadmissibility are the result of factual findings that the applicant engaged in prostitution within 10 years prior to the application’s submission or a finding that the applicant overstayed in the United States while present on a prior US visa.

Many pose the question: if My Thai fiancee is approved for one of the aforementioned waivers, will she need to ever deal with the issue again? The short answer: no. Once an I-601 waiver application is approved it is binding upon later proceedings. Therefore, if the Office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in Bangkok approves a waiver application, then that holding based upon those facts will be respected by a local USCIS office adjudicating all later matters that have to do with the alien’s presence in the United States.

An example of how this can play out: a Thai fiancee is denied for a K1 visa based upon a legal grounds of inadmissibility, the case is forwarded to USCIS Bangkok pursuant to an application for an I-601 waiver, the I-601 waiver application is approved, the case is forwarded back to the Consulate at the US Embassy, the US Consulate issues the visa, the applicant travels to the USA, is lawfully admitted, marries the American Citizen fiance, and applies for adjustment of status. In this scenario, the prior waiver would be recognized during the adjustment proceedings and therefore the issue would likely not be re-visited. The major upside to a waiver being approved overseas is the fact that it provides certainty as to how the process will move forward and may also be beneficial because waiver issues will be put to rest outside of the jurisdiction in which the American Citizen resides.

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