K1 Visa from Thailand
A K1 visa allows a U.S. citizen to sponsor their Thai fiance for a visa so that they can marry in the U.S. Once the visa has been awarded, the Thai fiance has six months to enter the United States. You then have 90 days from your fiance’s arrival to get married.
Only U.S. citizens can sponsor their fiance for a K1 visa. Both you and your Thai fiance must be free to marry. If either of you have ever been married, you must show that you are eligible to remarry with official documents showing divorce or the death of any previous spouse.
Unless religious tradition prohibits you and your fiance from meeting before marriage, you must be able to show that you met face to face within the last two years. Your fiance may be not be eligible for a K1 visa for a number of reasons. There may be a waiver available in some cases, but this will extend the process. In other cases, your fiance may never be allowed to enter the U.S. and you should consider living somewhere else.
If you have already applied for two K1 visas or have had a K1 visa granted in the past two years, you will need special permission to apply again, which will be denied if you have been convicted of a violent crime.
In order to ensure that your Thai spouse will not require government assistance to live in the United States, you must demonstrate that your annual household income is at least 100% of the poverty line. If you make less than required, you can make up the income difference by demonstrating assets that are at least 5 times the difference between the income required and your annual income.
Step 1: Filing an I-129F Petition
The U.S. citizen starts the K1 visa application process by filing a petition (Form I-129F) with USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) in the U.S.
The application requires you to disclose whether or not you met your fiance through a marriage broker, but it will not disqualify your fiance from receiving a K1 visa. This is merely to determine whether or not the marriage broker followed the law.
You will also have to disclose court and police records related to any convictions you may have for certain crimes, even if the records were sealed or you were told you no longer have a record. This information will be shared with your fiance at the Embassy, so make sure you don’t have any secrets!
It takes the USCIS two to three months on average to review the petition. If the petition is approved, your fiance’s visa application is forwarded to the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok. This takes about a month.
Step 2: Gathering Required Documents
When the Embassy receives the K1 visa application they will send your fiance a list of required documents and application forms. At this point in the process there is about two months to go.
The Embassy’s job is to detect fraudulent visa applications. You must submit enough proof of your relationship to convince the embassy that your marriage plans are legitimate.
Step 3: Medical Examination and Interview
After you and your fiance assemble and submit the required documents, the Embassy will schedule an interview with your fiance. Before the interview your fiance must have a medical examination at an approved location in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Your fiance may be required to undergo additional vaccinations.
At the interview, the visa officer will review your fiance’s documentation, make sure there is no reason your fiance is inadmissible to the U.S., and attempt to confirm that your relationship is sincere. If your fiance’s K1 visa is approved, it should be available about two business days after the interview.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Siam Legal is a full service law firm but it has an extensive range of immigration, corporate, and real estate experience accessible to clients both domestically and internationally. It has offices strategically located throughout the major cities in Thailand including Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Samui and Phuket along with international representative offices in Australia, London and Las Vegas.