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Immigrant Spouse Visa
What Type of Visas are Available for My Thai Spouse?
THE IR1, CR1, AND K3 VISAS
Depending upon your situation a combination of either the CR1, IR1, or the K3 are available for your Thai Husband or Wife to come to the United States. If you are looking to do all of the so-called “heavy lifting” of your Thai Spouse’s immigration accomplished before they enter the country, then the CR1 or IR1 Visas are the way to go. If your main goal is getting your Thai Spouse into the US as fast as possible, then see the below section dealing with the K3 Visa.
What Is a CR1 Visa?
A PERMANENT RESIDENT VISA ALLOWING THE THAI SPOUSE ENTRY TO THE US AS A CONDITIONAL PERMANENT RESIDENT
A CR1 Visa is a Conditional Resident Visa. This means that your Thai Spouse will enter the United States with Conditional Permanent Resident status. He/she will have a “Green Card” allowing the Thai resident the right to work in the US and to remain indefinitely. However, the Permanent Residence is conditional and the condition for remaining is that the marriage lasts for 2 years and the U.S. Citizen files for a lift of conditionality within 90 days of the 2 year anniversary of the Thai Spouse’s entry into the United States.
What Is an IR1 Visa?
A PERMANENT RESIDENT VISA ALLOWING THE THAI SPOUSE ENTRY TO THE US AS AN UNCONDITIONAL PERMANENT RESIDENT An IR1 Visa is basically the same thing as a CR1 Visa except for the conditionality of the Thai Spouse’s Permanent Residence. The Thai Spouse entering the United States on an IR1 Visa is not a conditional Permanent Resident and therefore can work and live indefinitely in the US from the moment he or she is allowed into the United States by an Immigration Official at his or her port of entry. To be eligible for an IR1 Visa the Thai Spouse must have been married to the US Citizen Spouse for at least 2 years.
How long does it usually take to obtain a CR1 or IR1 Visa?
THAILAND Generally it will take approximately 12 months to obtain a CR1 or an IR1 Visa. If the US Citizen Spouse is a Resident of Thailand (and can prove it by showing a long-term Thai Visa and Work Permit), then the Application for the IR1 or CR1 can be filed at the USCIS office in Bangkok. This will likely trim about 4 months off of the wait time before the visa can be obtained.
The IR1 and CR1 take more time to get than the K3 Spouse Visa, why should I consider getting one of these Visas if they take longer to obtain?
PERMANENT RESIDENCE IS “BUILT IN” TO TH IR1 AND CR1 VISAS SO THERE IS NO NEED TO OBTAIN A GREEN CARD FOR YOUR THAI SPUSE ONCE IN THE UNITED STATES
The IR1 and CR1 Visas do take more time to obtain than the K3 Visa, but the upside of this situation is the fact that the process of obtaining a Green Card (which generally occurs in the United States for the holder of a K-1 or K-3 Visa ) is frontloaded and the CR1 or IR1 Visa holder enters the US as a permanent resident rather than needing to adjust his or her status once in the United States.
What Is a K3 Visa?
A FAST VISA FOR GETTING A FOREIGN SPOUSE INTO THE US
Thai spouses of U.S. citizens, and the spouse's Thai children, can come to the United States on K-3 and K-4 visas, respectively, and wait in the United States while the immigration process is completed. Before a K-4 visa can be issued to a Thai child, the Thai parent must have obtained a K-3 visa.
What Is a Thai "Spouse"?
THE SHORT ANSWER: ANY THAI LEGALLY MARRIED TO ANOTHER
A spouse is a legally wedded husband or wife. Cohabitating partners, “common law marriage” partners, and same-sex civil union or marriage partners do NOT qualify as spouses for immigration purpose as per USCIS regulations.
Plural marriage (polygamy) is illegal under United States law. The previously married party must show that their previous marriage was terminated through death of the previous spouse or through finalized divorce by a court of competent jurisdiction. A legal separation is not sufficient for these purposes as the marriage has not been terminated.
How long is the K3 Petition valid?
4 MONTHS WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF EXTENSION
An I-129F petition will be valid for 4 months from the approval date. A consular officer (at his or her sole discretion) can revalidate the petition if it will expire before the whole process is completed.
Can my Thai Wife Work in the United States on a K3 Visa?
A Thai spouse holding a K3 Visa can file an Employment Authorization form at the USCIS office with proper jurisdiction. After approval your Thai spouse will receive a work permit authorizing her to work in the US. Integrity Legal can assist with filing the necessary documents for receiving a work permit.
How Long Does It Take?
APPROXIMATELY 8 MONTHS FROM FILING TO OBTAINMENT OF VISA
The time element is unique to each case. The process can be slowed down or quickened due to a variety of factors, including but not limited to: slow processing time at the processing center in the US, caseload at USCIS, caseload at the National Visa Center, and processing time at the Embassy in Bangkok. A good estimate for the K3 Visa is approximately 8 months from filing with USCIS to obtainment of the Visa.
What If the Applicant Is Ineligible for a Visa?
THE APPLICATION WILL BE DENIED
Examples of activities and circumstance that would render an applicant ineligible are:
- • Drug trafficking
- • Having HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, or any other highly contagious disease
- • Overstaying in the US on a previous visa
- • Practicing plural marriage (polygamy)
- • Advocating the destruction of the US government
- • Knowingly submitting fraudulent documents
In many cases a waiver of ineligibility can filed in order to obtain the K3 Visa. Please see our article on Inadmissibility and Waivers
Can Those with a K3 Visa Change to Another Non-Immigrant Visa While Staying in the United States?
Holders of K3 Visas will not be allowed to change status within the United States to another non-immigrant visa category.
Can a K3 Visa Holder Travel and Re-Enter the U.S. on a K3 Visa?
Thai spouses present in the U.S. on a K3 Visa status can travel outside of the United States and return using the K3 visa (as opposed to the K1 fiancé/ fiancée visa which is a single entry visa). If a Thai spouse holding a K3 Visa has filed for adjustment of status in the U.S., then USCIS will not presume a departure to be abandonment of the K3 visa.
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