In 2009, many Thai-American couples sought K3 Marriage Visas. The category K-3 visa was designed for those couples wishing to expedite the American marriage visa process. In the year 2009 the K-3 visa obtainment process was quite similar to the K3 visa process in 2008. That being said, there may be changes in store for the K3 visa process in 2010 and this piece takes a brief look at the changes that couples could face in the future.
In 2009, most Thai American couples could expect the K3 visa process to take approximately eight months from petition submission until final visa decision at the American Embassy in Bangkok. Currently, it is this author’s opinion that this remains an accurate estimate of the processing time. At present, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is estimating that it will take roughly five months to adjudicate a K-3 petition at one of the two Service Centers with appropriate jurisdiction. Those curious about the K-3 marriage visa should keep in mind that this figure does not account for the need to file an initial I-130 application. Further, this figure does not take into account the fact that the case file will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for a security clearance before it will be forwarded to the United States Embassy abroad. Taking all of these considerations into account, 8 months is a relatively accurate estimate of the time it will take to ultimately obtain the K3 visa.
In the year 2010, there might be changes to the K-3 visa application and obtainment process due to increased fees for Consular Processing. Pursuant to newly proposed rule changes originating from the American Department of State the K-3 visa interview fee could be increased substantially in 2010. Under the proposed rule K visa interview fees at US Embassies and Consulates abroad would rise from $131 to $350. This proposed rule has not been adopted as of the time of this writing, but a fee increase of this magnitude is substantial and should be taken into consideration by those thinking of applying for this type of visa. Particularly, in the context of marriage visas it may be wise for applicants to look at the Immigrant visas such as the IR1 and CR1 as the cost is similar, but the foreign spouse enters the USA in lawful permanent resident status rather than as a non-immigrant who must adjust their status before they will be granted permanent residence (also known as a “Green Card”).
(Please note, the above article should not be viewed as a sufficient substitute for individualized legal advice from a competent licensed attorney. The aforementioned information is intended for general research purposes only and should not be viewed as individualized advice regarding a set of specific factual circumstances. For those interested in information about United States Immigration, it may be best to contact a licensed American Immigration attorney.)