Integrity Legal

31st Mar 2009

There is some debate as to what type of visa is the fastest to obtain for American men married to Thai women. In the past the K-3 Visa was a quicker and more efficient way of bringing a Thai wife to the USA in comparison to the Immigrant Relative Visas (CR-1 and IR-1). However, at the time of this writing the K3 is not processing as fast compared to the CR-1 to make it a good option for most couples.

There was a time when it took 3 years for USCIS to adjudicate an I-130 application submitted by a US Citizen on behalf of his Thai wife. Since USCIS has now streamlined their adjudication process the published adjudication time frame is the same for both the I-130 application as well as the I-129f application (the I-129f application was traditionally used to apply for a K-1 Visa and when an expedited marriage visa was created in the form of the K3 the I-129f application form was chosen as the application form to obtain the visa). Since the adjudication time estimate is the same the speed factor has been nullified as a reason for obtaining a K3 over an Immigrant Visa.

Dual Petitions

The K-3 filing is a supplemental visa petition with USCIS. When one files for a K3, they must first submit an I-130 petition, then after receiving Notice of Action 1 (the letter from USCIS stating that they received the application), an I-129f petition is submitted which includes a copy of the Notice of Action 1.  Clearly, the problem facing someone attempting to self file is the fact that submitting 2 petitions requires double the paperwork.

After K3 Visa obtainment Adjustment of Status still required

In order for one to obtain permanent residence in the United States on a K3 Visa, the Thai wife must file an application to adjust status. The adjustment of status process can be somewhat costly and time consuming. However with a CR-1 or IR-1 Visa adjustment of status is unnecessary due to the fact that these visas confer permanent residence upon entry into the United States.

When comparing these two visa options, it becomes apparent that a K3 Visa with its lack of permanent residence conferral and marginally faster processing time from USCIS submission to interview at the US Embassy in Thailand is probably not the best options for most Thai-American married couples. However, there may be instances where a K3 Visa would be a better option in certain circumstances.

For more information please see: US Visa Thailand

Note: Nothing in this article should be used in lieu of competent advice from a licensed attorney.

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One Response to “US Visa Thailand: The CR1 and K-3 Visas”

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