US Fiancé (K-1 Visa)

US Visa in Thailand

TIP:It is important to use a Thai consultant who is based in Thailand and who can communicate in Thai to prevent errors and misunderstandings. A Thai consultant will handle all application forms, arrange translation of Thai documents into English, help in obtaining police clearance and scheduling medical examinations, and, most importantly, prepare your Thai partner for the visa interview.

What is a K-1 visa from Thailand?

A K-1 Visa is a US Visa that allows you as an American to take your Thai fiancé to the United States with the intention to get married after you arrive. You may attempt to take your Thai fiancé to the US on a different US Visa to get married, but this will not sit well with American immigration authorities. They may see it as you trying to evade the systems and checks in place, and this may be cause for denial should you apply for other visas or permanent residency later.

If you are already married to your Thai spouse, this visa is not for you. As a married American, you have to apply for a K-3 Visa which is a Spouse Visa. Learn more about the K-3 visa Thailand.

The K-1 Visa application process can be lengthy, but it has many benefits for you and your spouse that other visas do not offer. These include:

  • The K-1 Visa is easier to obtain than the K-3 Visa, and on average the turnaround time is shorter.
  • Your Thai fiancé can add their children to the K-1 Visa petition to get them K-2 derivative visas. Once your spouse is granted the K-1 Visa, the children would then also be granted K-2 Visas (Children must be unmarried and under the age of 21 to be eligible for the K-2 visa).
  • Once your fiancé has their K-1 Visa from Thailand’s American Embassy and is in the United States, they can apply for a work permit to engage in lawful employment by filing a Form I-765.

Basic Requirements in Applying for a K-1 Fiance Visa

Process in Applying for a K-1 Fiance Visa

Government Fees in Applying for a K-1 Fiance Visa

K-1 Visa Interview Process at the US Embassy

Steps to Obtaining a US K-1 Visa in Thailand

Step 1: A K-1 Visa Petition is filed with the USCIS

First you must submit the completed K-1 Visa Petition (I-129F) to the USCIS. The USCIS will then send a letter called a Notice of Action with your WAC number (AKA receipt number) to track the application. It will generally take around 9 months for the USCIS to process the petition, but times can vary greatly depending on their workload. At this stage, it is common for the USCIS to reject a petition because it was filed with incorrect or insufficient documentation. For this reason, it is wise to consult with an immigration lawyer as you go about the application to avoid wasting time and resources.

Step 2: The approved petition is processed at the National Visa Center (NVC)

If the Thai fiancé’s I-129F petition is approved, it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center for further processing. The NVC will do a background check to determine if the beneficiary of the K-1 Visa (your Thai fiancé) is admissible into the USA. It usually takes the NVC approximately 4 weeks to process the petition.

Step 3: The K-1 Visa petition is transferred to the US Embassy in Bangkok

After your petition has been approved by the NVC, they will get in touch with you and tell you that the petition is being forwarded to the US Embassy in Bangkok or the US Consulate in Chiang Mai. In this letter, they will also give you and your fiancé a BNK number. This number is your Thai fiancé’s application number for the US Embassy or Consulate, and they will need this reference number to make all correspondence with the US Embassy more convenient.

Step 4: The US Embassy processes the K-1 Visa Application

When the US Embassy or Consulate in Thailand receives your Thai fiancé’s K-1 petition from the NVC they will send them a letter with instructions to submit Packet 3, which includes the DS-160 application form. During this step, you will also pay the K-1 Visa fee. The embassy will also set up a visa interview for your fiancé. This is a complicated process as there are several documents required for the interview, including a police clearance certificate and a medical examination record. Professional assistance is also very useful at this step, as help in preparing the documents and training for the interview can be the difference between approval and rejection.

Step 5: Applicant has their visa interview and is issued the US K-1 Visa upon success

Your Thai fiancé will attend the visa interview with the Packet 4 application documents. Once the interview is completed, the Consular officer will likely approve the application or request more information and additional documentation. After the US authorities in Thailand have received the documentation they deem sufficient, they will issue the visa. If the application is approved, the consular officer will keep the fiancé’s passport and return it with the visa within 2 weeks.

If you have any questions about the K-1 Visa or the application process, feel free to contact us. Our experienced US Visa Team has submitted over 10,000 successful US Visa applications, and will ensure your US fiancé visa application is fast and hassle-free. We can consult by phone or in person at one of our nationwide offices in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, or Phuket.

5 Reasons to Hire Siam Legal International

  1. We have more than 20 years of experience handling US Visas. We will make a professional assessment of your application to determine your eligibility before we start the service to ensure your time and money aren’t wasted. We will then personally oversee your case and review all documents to minimize the possibility of rejection.
  2. We have processed thousands of K-1 Visas. We have an excellent record of K-1 Visa approvals in Thailand, and overall our US Visa Team has achieved approval for over 10,000 US visas. In our long history, no other law firm in Thailand has processed more K-1 Visas than our firm.
  3. We employ American immigration lawyers and knowledgeable Thai visa consultants. This means that not only do we know US immigration law inside and out, but we can also communicate in both English and Thai.
  4. We offer direct and transparent communication. Once you have engaged with us to assist with your K-1 Visa application, you will get a direct line to our consultants for phone calls, WhatsApp, or LINE communications. We pledge to respond promptly and clearly to address all your concerns and ensure you have all the necessary information.
  5. We offer payment plans. We want everyone to be able to live their dream life in the United States, so we offer payment plans and discounted service packages to cater to all budgets.

5 Reasons for K-1 Visa Refusal

It is common for USCIS to refuse visa petitions and applications, but knowing the reasons why can help you avoid this costly and frustrating outcome.

  1. Submitting the Wrong Forms or Providing Fraudulent Documents

    Submitting the wrong forms or making mistakes when filling them out often leads to the denial of the K-1 fiancé visa petition. In addition, having unverifiable or inaccurate information can lead to visa denials or delayed processing. Fraud and misrepresentation of information are also reasons for refusal and you will likely be blacklisted for ALL of your subsequent visa applications. Here are some examples of fraud and misrepresentation:

    • Providing a photoshopped or fake photos
    • Not disclosing previous marriages
    • Falsified affidavits from friends and family
    • Inconsistencies between application and evidence
    • Not disclosing medical or criminal history
    • Falsifying the income

    If you are found inadmissible due to fraud or misrepresentation, it is possible to get this penalty removed with an I-601 Waiver Application.

  2. Not Qualified for the Visa

    One of the most obvious reasons for visa refusal is not being qualified. Here are a few examples:

    • Not having met in person: You must have met face-to-face with your fiancé within the last two years before the petition is filed.
    • Insufficient income: You must show verifiable evidence that you have enough income to support yourselves at 125% of the federal poverty guidelines.
    • Not free to marry: Neither party can already be married at the time of petition. Any divorce must be finalized before the date when the petition is filed. If you get married to your fiancé during the K-1 Visa application process, this also disqualifies you from being eligible as this visa is for fiancés and not spouses.
  3. Insufficient Evidence of Genuine Relationship

    Insufficient evidence is one of the most common reasons for a K-1 fiancé visa refusal. You must provide an abundance of evidence to prove that your relationship is legitimate, genuine, and true. Some items that may raise a red flag as to your relationship’s legitimacy include:

    • Engaged to be married very short time after meeting
    • Huge age difference
    • Difference in religions
    • Severe difference in culture
    • No common spoken language
    • Very little time spent together, in person
  4. Past Criminal Issues

    Another reason for K-1 Visa refusal is when either the US citizen or Thai fiancé has past criminal issues. Any past criminal matter should be evaluated by a reputable immigration attorney or consultant prior to filing to make sure it will not cause the fiancé’s visa case to be denied. Immigration violations by your Thai fiancé, such as overstaying their previous visa in the US, can also be grounds for refusal even if no charges were filed.

  5. Failed Visa Interview

    The final stage of the application is the in-person interview where there are also many opportunities to be rejected. You and your Thai fiancé must answer a series of questions asked by a consular official. They are trying to determine if the information you provided is true, i.e. your relationship is genuine, you have sufficient income, and so on. Being unable to answer these questions, answering them unsatisfactorily, or not providing evidence at the interview are all red flags that may cause the official to deny your application.

FAQs about the K-1 Visa in Thailand

Is the K-1 visa application for married couples?

No, the K-1 Visa is for a US citizen and Thai fiancé who are free to marry. Married couples are recommended to apply for a US Spouse Visa, either the K-3, IR-1, or CR-1.

Do we need to meet face to face before we can apply for a K-1 Fiancé Visa?

Yes. You and your Thai fiancé must have met in person within the last 2 years. It is highly recommended that you keep photos together and other evidence of the relationship such as records of ongoing communication when applying for the K-1 visa.

How long is the process of applying for a K-1 Fiancé Visa?

The processing time can be up to 12-18 months, depending on their workload. This involves the processing of your petition at the USCIS, the National Visa Center approval, and the interview at the US Embassy in Thailand.

How long is the K-1 visa Thailand valid for?

The K-1 visa holder will be allowed to stay for 90 days upon arrival in the US, during which time they must marry and go through Adjustment of Status. Otherwise, they will have to leave the country.

I am divorced, can I petition for a K-1 visa from Thailand?

Yes, you can obtain a K-1 Visa if you are legally divorced and free to marry.

Where is the visa interview held for my fiancé to obtain the K-1 visa in Thailand?

Your fiancé will undergo a visa interview at the Consular Section of the US Embassy in Bangkok. The interview process may last between 20-30 minutes.

Is the K-1 visa a single-entry or multiple-entry visa?

The US K-1 Visa is a single entry visa only.

Can my fiancé bring their children on a K-1 Visa? What type of visa do they need?

Yes, they need to apply for a K-2 visa which is a derivative of the K-1 Visa. Both the K-1 Visa and K-2 visa applicants will proceed to the visa interview at the US Embassy in Bangkok. Children are eligible for the K-2 visa as long as they are unwed and not older than 21 years old.

If we did not get married in the US on a K-1 Visa, can my fiancé extend her visa so they can stay longer?

As a rule, you need to get married within 90 days of entering the US on a K-1 Visa. If you did not get married within this time frame, your fiancé needs to leave the country before the K-1 Visa expires or face overstay penalties.

Can my Thai fiancé travel to the US while waiting for her K-1 Visa?

Yes. Your Thai fiancé may apply for a US Tourist visa and travel to the US while waiting for the K-1 Visa. They must return to Thailand to attend the interview and receive the K-1 Visa. This trip will not affect their K-1 Visa application.

Can a K-1 visa holder from Thailand be allowed to work in the United States?

Yes. Your fiancé, the K-1 visa holder, may be allowed to work in the United States once they have applied for and are issued a work permit.

Meet Our US Visa Team

US Immigration Thailand

Ken Graham, Partner

Ken is a US-licensed lawyer with many years of experience advising clients both in the US and abroad. He formerly practiced family law in the US, both on the client side and as an adjudicator in matters related to custody and child support. Ken now heads the US Immigration and Property teams at Siam Legal International where he assists American citizens with bringing their Thai fiancés, spouses, and family members to the US.

Rex Baay, Senior Immigration Consultant

Rex joined Siam Legal in 2009 and throughout 15+ years of experience at the firm, he has handled more than 1000 immigration cases for citizens of Thailand and the US. He speaks English fluently and provides simple and easy-to-understand explanations of what to expect at every stage of the application process to our clients. His expertise is invaluable to those in search of immigration assistance pertaining to Thailand and the USA.

Here’s what our K-1 Fiancé Visa Clients have to say:

"We are very happy and excited we are in the final stages of getting a green card for my Thai wife. We have been working with Siam Legal for a year now. We just had our final interview with Federal Government. The interview went perfect! Our interviewer complimented our paperwork prepared by Siam Legal at least four times. The interviewer said the paperwork was perfect, very detailed and the best. He said we have to let Siam Legal know how perfect the work was and give them credit. Thank you Siam Legal!!!! Just so everyone knows the process does have moments when everything comes to a screeching halt. Be patient sometimes it is the system and sometimes maybe it's the government. Siam Legal is very trustworthy, you can count on them. Thank you again Siam Legal, we appreciate everything you do."
Ed, Illinois
K1 Visa (September 2018)
Adjustment of Status (December 2019)
"Siam Legal assisted us in several instances to facilitate US immigration visas. Thanks to their attention to detail and meticulous work, all our immigration visa request were approved the first time without problems. Our family is now together thanks to Siam Legal. They assisted with my then fiancé’s "US K-1 visa", they then also assisted with my then stepdaughter's "Green card" request. Siam Legal never failed us. We highly recommend them."
Juan, New Jersey
K1 Visa (April 2011)
Child Visa (August 2013)
US Tourist Visa for In-Laws (June 2018)
“Siam Legal, what a great resource. My wife now and I had dated for a couple of years. I lived in the USA, her in Thailand. We Skyped daily and I visited a couple times a year. Not enough for what we wanted, so we seek the help of Siam legal. Martin was our lawyer, the process is long, not due to them mostly the way things are with two countries but mostly the way USCIS takes there time with everything. However, Martin told us upfront it would take time, but shared they never had a refusal for a K1 Visa. Their firm also offered a package deal for the Adjustment of Status needed once she arrived and we were married. So have confidence and patience but if you’re looking for results they will deliver. Basically it was about a year to get her here, and then we married just shy of the 90 days allowed, filed for change of status and pretty much a year to the date of her arrival she received work papers, travel, Social Security number. Within a month from that she had her interview and within two weeks of that received her green card for two years. It is a process, and not one I recommend without a professional filing all the papers. USCIS has no time for errors and Martin from Siam Legal clearly fulfilled all our expectations.”
Tom, Connecticut
K1 Visa (July 2018)
Adjustment of Status (December 2019)
"I highly recommend Siam Legal!! Let us share our awesome experiences with you all. We are a gay couple, I am US citizen and my partner is Thai. We know that applying for K-1 visa for my fiancé to enter the US to be married could be complex so we hired Siam Legal International Bangkok branch. I have had best experiences with them, they helped and worked with us the entire application process, they know what they are doing, they gave us best advice of the visa processes, documents needed, they submitted our K-1 visa application with the supports documents as soon as we provided them the needed documents. Our K-1 visa process took little over a year but we understood because the holdup was with the United State Government (USCIS) which Siam Legal does not have control over. The entire process was so smooth, no stress, my finance is now in the US. Our marriage took place two weeks ago. Thanks Siam Legal!!"
Victor, Hawaii
K1 Visa (April 2019)

Ready to start a new chapter of your life in the USA?

Siam Legal’s US Visa Team

  • Over 20 years of experience helping people from all over the world travel to the United States
  • More than 10,000 successful US visa applications.
Call Us Today!

Speak with an expert US immigration lawyer, or submit the form below to begin the consultation process.

Ken Graham

Ken Graham
US Immigration Attorney
Partner, Siam Legal International

For English language assistance call:

Linda Pringpuangkeo

Linda Pringpuangkeo
Senior US Visa Consultant
Siam Legal International

For Thai language assistance call:

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