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US Visa Services
The K1 Visa Process
The Process of obtaining a K1 visa for a Thai fiancée is time consuming and in many cases can lead to frustration for the United States Citizen who intends to marry a Thai national. There are a large number of cases which are in the queue awaiting adjudication at the various service centers of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). A result of this backlog pending of cases is that the K1 visa process can take a relatively long period of time to obtain when compared to the other non-immigrant visa categories often sought for loved ones of a United States Citizen (Tourist Visa, Student Visa, Exchange Visitor, etc).
The first phase of the K1 visa process requires that a K1 visa application be submitted to the USCIS Service Center which has jurisdiction over the American Citizen’s primary place of residence. Once it is determined where the application will be sent, the next phase of the K1 visa process requires that the actual K1 application be compiled which includes obtaining relevant translations and signatures from all of the parties in interest.
After the K1 visa application has been sent into the service center, a receipt will be generated which notes the official date of receipt. At this point in the process the couple must wait to receive approval from USCIS. If and when USCIS approves the K1 visa application, they will send an approval notice officially called Notice of Action 2.
At this point in the K1 visa process the K1 application leaves the custody of USCIS and goes into the custody of the National Visa Center (NVC) which is overseen by the United States Department of State. The NVC will process the application and forward it to the US Embassy or Consulate General with proper jurisdiction.
One of the most important aspects of the K1 visa process is the K1 visa interview at the US Embassy in Bangkok. A great deal of document preparation and work goes into making the appointment for the interview. Generally, the United States Embassy in Bangkok sends a document known as Packet 3 to the Thai applicant and the applicant must prepare all of the documentation and send it into the Embassy before an interview appointment can be set. After the appointment is set the K1 process moves into what is hopefully the final phase: the interview.
After the K1 visa interview the K1 visa application will likely either be approved, denied, or refused pending further documentation (this is known as a 221g denial). In general, most K1 applications are approved, but sometimes there are situations in which a legal ground of inadmissibility exists and an I-601 waiver must be issued before the visa will be granted. Usually, where a 221g has been issued, the applicant (or their attorney) must go to the US Embassy and present the necessary documentation before the visa will be approved. In cases involving a 221g denial the applicant has one year to respond before the application will be cancelled at which time the Thai fiancee’s K1 application will probably be destroyed.
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