US K-3 Spouse 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-3 Visa?

If you are married to a Thai citizen and you are an American, you have to apply for a K-3 Marriage visa if you wish to take your spouse back to the United States. The application process for the K-3 visa requires you to file Form I-130, which is the Spousal Petition in the US.

Once the petition is filed, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Service Center will notify you that they have received the petition. When this process is completed, you will then file an I-129F petition for Alien Fiance for the K-3 Visa with the USCIS’s Chicago Center, and they in turn will send your K-3 Visa application to the Missouri Center for further processing. At the next stage, the K-3 Visa petition is sent to the US Embassy in Bangkok.

The K-3 visa is a multiple-entry visa, granting the holder the flexibility to travel into and out of the country for as long as it is valid. Should the K-3 visa expire before the holder secures legal permanent residency, they must apply for a re-entry permit.

In the event the marriage between the US citizen and the Thai spouse ends, the K-3 visa loses its validity within 30 days. The visa holder must then apply for a different type of visa or leave the country.

The same conditions also apply to the K-1 Visa where the visa holder will have to follow the procedure of applying for a different visa when a marriage terminates. K-3 Visa processing is more complicated, as it is a bit more involved than the K-1 Visa process.

Holders of a K-3 visa are not permitted to work in the United States without first obtaining work authorization from the USCIS. An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) enables K-3 visa holders to legally work in the US while their application for permanent residency status, commonly known as a green card, is being processed.

How Long Will It Take to Get My K-3 Marriage Visa?

The full duration of the K-3 Visa application process can vary and is subject to change, depending on your Thai spouse’s circumstances. As such, a K-3 visa application can take anywhere from 4 to 16 months to process.

Keep in mind that these time frames are based on how long it typically takes the USCIS to handle cases, but remember, each case is unique and your specific processing time will depend on your particular situation.

Eligibility Requirements for the K-3 Marriage Visa

  • You must be a US citizen, and the beneficiary must be your spouse.
  • There must be a pending immigration petition naming your Thai spouse as a beneficiary on file with the USCIS.
  • The marriage between you and your Thai spouse must be valid, meaning that it has met all the requirements of a valid marriage in either Thailand or the country/jurisdiction where you married. Also, your marriage must have been free of impediments (such as a non-terminated prior marriage) at the time it was carried out.

After receiving a K-3 visa, your Thai partner (and their unmarried minor children, using the K-4 visa) can travel to the United States and live with you for up to 2 years. Each K-4 visa candidate is required to submit a separate visa application.

Presumably, during that time the USCIS will approve the immigration petition filed by you and your spouse will be able to apply for an adjustment of status to become a legal permanent resident in the United States.

The K-3 visa is not a way to quickly obtain a spousal immigration visa. However, given the lengthy processing times at most USCIS service centers, it is a welcome alternative to your spouse being forced to live in Thailand for an extended period, and the K-3 Visa has already helped many families reunite. For detailed eligibility requirements for the K-3 visa, click here.

Application Fees & Documents

As you submit your application form, make sure to include these required supporting documents:

  • A passport that remains valid for at least six months beyond your planned entry date into the US
  • Medical examination and vaccination records of your spouse
  • Your birth certificate and marriage certificate
  • Any court or criminal records
  • Proof of financial ability to support yourself and your family

Within 30 days following the approval of Form I-129, your spouse will be invited for an interview. The interview is scheduled to occur at the US embassy or consulate in your home country, typically 4 to 6 weeks after receiving the invitation.

Prior to the interview, candidates must arrange and go through a medical exam. Each applicant, no matter their age, has to have a medical check-up before getting an immigrant or K- visa. This exam has to be done by a panel physician approved by the authorities.

The US Embassy or Consulate where you're applying for your visa will give you details about the medical exams, including where to find approved physicians. People applying for a K- visa are advised to get the necessary vaccinations as per US immigration laws for those seeking immigrant visas.

The application process involves several steps and associated costs:

  • Submitting Form I-485, the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
  • Additional expenses may arise for translating and photocopying documents, obtaining necessary documents for the visa application, police certificates, and birth certificates, as well as travel costs to the US Embassy or Consulate for the interview. These costs can differ based on individual circumstances.
  • Each K-Visa applicant must undergo a medical examination, with costs varying depending on location.
  • There is a processing fee for the nonimmigrant visa application, Form DS-160, applicable to each K-Visa applicant.
  • Filing the Alien Fiancé Petition, Form I-129F.
  • Filing a Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130.

Note: For up-to-date pricing, we advise you to contact us, as pricing is subject to change.

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Siam Legal’s US Visa Team

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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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