As one of the top tourist destinations in the world, Thailand boasts a large number of foreign visitors each year. The upshot of this situation is the fact that many Americans visit the Kingdom and fall in love not only with the culture, but some residents as well.
When a Thai-American couple decides to get married, they must also make the decision of where to live. Some decide to remain in Thailand, however, many make the decision to move back to the US with their Thai wife and obtain a visa for her to return as well. This article should help shed light upon the US Immigrant Visas for Thai Spouses
The CR1 Visa:
The CR1 Visa is the acronym for Conditional Resident 1 Visa. An I-130 Visa petition must be filed to obtain a CR-1 Visa. A Conditional Resident is one who enters the US as a Conditional Permanent Resident. This means that the visa holder has all of the benefits of a permanent resident, but they have a condition to their residence that at some point must be lifted in order to remain in the US. In the US Family Immigration context a CR-1 Visa can have the conditionality lifted after 2 years and the US Citizen Spouse must file an I-751 petition to remove conditions upon residence.
The IR-1 Visa:
The IR-1 (Immediate Relative) Visa is intended for those Thai-American couples who have been married for over 2 years and wish to immigrate to the United States. As in the case of the IR-1 Visa, an I-130 must be filed to obtain this visa. Those holding an IR-1 Visa are granted Unconditional Permanent Residence upon entry into the United States. For Thai-American couples who have been married for more than 2 years this visa is very beneficial because adjustment of status is not necessary.
The K-3 Non-Immigrant Spouse Visa:
The K3 Visa is a non-immigrant US visa designed as an expedited Visa for those already married. The impetus for creating this type of visa was based upon the fact that at the time the K3 was created it was taking as long as 3 years to adjudicate an I-130 petition. Today, it takes far less time to adjudicate an I-130 petition and the time difference between a K-3 and an Immigrant Visa is far less than it once was. Unless time is a major factor in one’s decision making about US Immigration, it would probably be best to obtain a CR1/IR1 visa because doing so eliminates the need for adjustment of status.
Nothing in this article should be used in lieu of advice from a licensed attorney with experience in US Immigration matters.