Immigrating or travelling to the United States requires a particular visa depending on the needs of the applicant. For US Citizens married to a foreigner, A US K3 Marriage Visa can be applied. This type of visa is a non-immigrant visa to the United States composed of two packet submissions to the USCIS. The main purpose of which is faster unification of the family, as this type of visa takes 7-9 months processing as compared to the immigrant visa also known as the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative which takes at least a year processing.
It is however a given fact that acquiring a K-3 visa requires patience as steps have to be followed and taken. It is advised then that the right steps must be taken from the onset of the petition process to avoid future complications as the petition process progresses.
A better overview of the process is to take note that the K-3 Visa is composed of two packet submissions, the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and the I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé/Fiancée.
Below are helpful steps to follow when applying for a K3 Visa for a Thai Spouse:
1. The sponsoring spouse who is a US Citizen must file an immigrant petition, also known as Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative for his/her Thai spouse. If the children of the Thai Spouse will also immigrate to the US, it is of best to be aware that a K-3 Visa has a derivative K-4 visa for the accompanying children of the foreign spouse. It is a must however that the names of the children are indicated in the forms to qualify for a K-4 visa.
2. The I-130 Petition for Alien Relative packet must be filed or submitted at the Chicago Lockbox. Petitions filed with the Chicago Lockbox will then be routed and adjudicated at the appropriate USCIS Service Centers depending on the petitioner/sponsoring spouse’s place of residence in the United States. It is of great importance to note that filling of the I-130 Petition packet must be filed at the correct Chicago Lockbox, otherwise petition will be rejected.
3. Upon receipt of a formal USCIS receipt or equivalent proof of filing of an immigrant petition also known as the I-130 First Notice of Action or Notice of Receipt, a K-3 Visa petition or the I-129F packet should be filed and mailed to the Service Center where the underlying I-130 petition is currently pending. The address listed on the most recent receipt notice or transfer notice must be used in mailing. A copy of that stated notice must be enclosed with the I-129F packet. It has to be noted also when filling out the form I-129F that the travelling or following children must be for them to qualify for a K-4 Visa.
4. Once the USCIS approves the K-3 Visa petition, a Second Notice of Action also known as the Approval of Notice will be sent to the applicant, which states that the I-129F petition is approved and will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing.
5. The NVC, upon completion of the processing will forward the petition to the US Embassy Bangkok. A Notice containing the BNK number will be sent to the applicant advising him/her that the petition is being forwarded to the US Embassy in Bangkok.
6. The US Embassy in Bangkok, upon receipt of the K-3 Visa petition will send the Packet 3 Instruction to the visa applicant. This instruction includes the requirements to comply in requesting for an interview appointment at the Consular Section of the US Embassy in Bangkok. The names of the accompanying children must be indicated in the forms, and together with the applicant must complete a medical examination at the designated hospital.
7. Once Packet 3 is completed, and submitted at the US Embassy, an appointment for interview will be conducted to the Thai spouse from which a series of questions will be asked. The highlight of which is to inquire on the validity of the marriage, and the sponsoring husband/wife’s ability to support his/her Thai spouse and/or child/children, if any.
8. Once the Thai spouse is granted a K-3 Visa on the same day of the interview, he/she will be given an index card advising him/her to return after 3-5 days to pick up his/her passport with stamped US Visa. A sealed envelope will also be handed which must not be opened and must be handed to the immigration officer at the point of entry.
The US K3 visa is a multiple entry non-immigrant visa that allows the Thai spouse and his/her children to live in the U.S. for a valid period of two (2) years. The visa holder and the children holding a K-4 visa must adjust their status from the non-immigrant K3/K4 Visa to an immigrant visa through adjustment of status once they arrive in the U.S.
The K3 Visa Thailand application is apparently a stringent and long process. Engaging services of an International Law Firm with offices in Thailand and in the US that speaks Both English and Thai languages would be the best approach a petitioner or applicant can do.