There are many US Visas available for those seeking to bring a loved one from Thailand to the United States. Many people become overwhelmed by their Immigration options and the plethora of forms and paper work that go along with all the separate visa categories conferring different types of immigration benefits. Hopefully this article will clear up some of the confusion and provide some insight about the different types of Visas that are available to a US-Thai couple. The Tourist Visa
A tourist visa is sometimes mentioned when people talk about US Immigration from Thailand because Thailand is not on the United States’ list of countries that are entitled to a visa waiver. For this reason, many couples try to “kill two bird with one stone,” by both touring the USA and leaving the possibility open for a possible wedding and change of status to remain in the US. Note: When entering the country on a tourist visa, the visa holder is specifically stating that they have no intent to remain in the US as a resident, lying about this constitutes fraud and can be punishable with prison and fines. It is not advisable to use a tourist visa if one has immigrant intent
The K1 Visa
The K1 Fiancee Visa is used for those who are not yet legally married, but wish to go to the United States for the purpose of marriage. The K1 is a “crossbreed,” visa in that it is a non-immigrant visa with a specific departure date, but it leave open the possibility for adjustment of status and subsequent permanent residence.
Immigrant Spouse Visas
The CR1 and IR1 visas are immigrant spouse visas that confer permanent residence to the Thai spouse upon entry into the USA. Those who opt for immigrant spouse visas usually do so because adjustment of status is not necessary after the Thai spouse enters the United States.
The K3 Marriage Visa
The K3 was once a very fast alternative to the CR-1 and IR-1 Visa because at one time it could take as long as 3 years for a conventional spouse visa to be adjudicated. Now the wait time between the two visas is marginal and it is even possible that a CR-1 adjudication could finish before a K3. There are some strategic uses for the K3 as it can be used to “venue shop.” Meaning that one can use the K3 to pick which Embassy they wish to use, but this is highly technical and one should only attempt to use the K3 for forum shopping after consultation with a US Immigration Attorney.