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US Visa Services
The K1 Fiance Visa Journey for a Thai Fiancee
The K-1 visa was designed by the United States Congress with the intention to allow the Fiance of a US Citizen entry into the United States of America for the purpose of marrying once stateside. Although sometimes the original intention of legislation gets distorted when implemented practically, in the case of the K-1 Visa, the intention behind its creation and the practical use of the K1 visa are in real harmony because to this day many people effectively use the K1 visa to bring their Thai Fiance to America and subsequently get married and file for an adjustment of status which was the legislative intent behind the creation of this visa.
K1 Visa Timeline
As a general rule, the timeline for a K1 visa from Thailand is approximately 6-9 months from submission of the I-129f application at the USCIS Service Center in the United States, to the interview at the US Embassy. The process could take closer to six months, but it depends upon caseload and which USCIS Service Center a Thai-American couple uses.
Submission of K1 visa Application
The I-129f application for a US K-1 Visa is first submitted to the USCIS service center with jurisdiction over the petitioner's home state. Since a consolidation within USCIS there are currently two service centers handling K1 visa applications, one in Vermont and the other in California contact a US visa lawyer for more information about which service center has jurisdiction over the state in which you reside.
Notice of Action 1 & 2
After submission of the K1 visa application to USCIS, the agency will send back a receipt notice also known as
Notice of Action 1. This basically says, "we have received the k1 visa application and we will begin processing it as soon as possible."
After USCIS has finished adjudicating the case, they will send out Notice of Action 2, and this notice, if approved, basically says, "we have approved the petition and we are forwarding the K1 application on to the National Visa Center."
The National Visa Center (NVC)
The National Visa Center is an agency under the authority of the US State Department, one of their duties is to see that K1 visa applications are forwarded to the post at which they need to be adjudicated by a consular officer. For K1 visa applications, the NVC is the agency that usually holds the application for the least amount of time. In the case of petitions for Thai fiancées the NVC will either forward the K1 Visa application to the US Embassy in Bangkok or the US Consulate in Chiang Mai.
The US Embassy
After the National Visa Center forwards to the US Embassy the K1 visa applicant will receive Packet 3, this packet basically instructs the beneficiary on the requirements and documents necessary for the K1 visa interview. After the fiancee has collected the supporting documentation and had a medical exam and police clearance, she will make an appointment and go for interview.
The K1 Visa Interview
The K1 Visa interview is generally the most dreaded part of the US visa obtainment process for the Thai fiancee. However, it is usually not an inquisition, but merely a due diligence endeavor in order to ascertain if the applicant is who she says she is, the relationship is bona fide, and there are no legal grounds of inadmissibility. Retaining an American Immigration Lawyer may be helpful when preparing for the interview in order for someone to guide a Thai fiancée through the process and prepare her for the actual interview.
221 (g) Refusal
A K-1 visa can be denied due to a lack of proper documentation, this method of visa refusal is called a 221 (g). If this should happen then it simply means that the K1 is denied pending further evidence, once the requested documentation is provided the visa will generally be granted.
Port of Entry into the USA
Should the K1 application be approved, then the final step for the Thai fiancee is to go to the US port of entry and present their K1 visa and hopefully be permitted to enter the United States. The US Immigration officer has the power to refuse a US visa holder entry into the United States. However, in practice, this is a relatively rare occurrence where K1 visas are being utilized for entry.
Marriage and Adjustment of Status
Upon successful entry into the United States and subsequent to the couple's marriage, an adjustment of status application must be submitted in order to obtain permanent residence for the Thai fiancée.
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