Upon approval of the K1 visa, is my fiancé required to leave Thailand immediately?
The holder of a US K1 visa can travel to the US anytime within the validity period of the visa. In general, the K1 visa requires the holder to leave within the first six months from the visa approval. This also means that the holder can wait to make travel arrangements and set a date for the wedding until after the visa is issued. The amount of time that it takes to process a K1 visa application may vary depending on some circumstances and, therefore, it is advisable to wait until exact dates can be determined once the visa is issued.
Keep in mind that the visa is considered cancelled when the six-month validity period has lapsed before use. This does not make a good picture since your fiancé will have to apply for a new visa to travel to the US. In addition, The K1 visa is just good for single-entry. Once your fiancé enters the US, he or she will be permitted to stay for 90 days or until you are married, whichever comes first. You should also note that you need to get married within 90 days (counting from the date of your fiancé’s arrival to the US). Otherwise, he or she will be forced to leave the country and will have to start a whole new process for visa application.
After you get legally married in the US, the next thing you would want to do is to apply for Adjustment of Status for your fiance to obtain a legal permanent resident permit.
Your spouse can remain in the US while the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes his or her application for the Adjustment of Status. As a matter of fact, the application for Adjustment of Status may become invalid when your spouse leave the country, unless a travel document authorizing a trip outside the US is applied and is eventually granted. If the applicant travels outside the US before the process for Adjustment of Status is completed, he or she will have to go through the immigration process again and will require another application for a new visa.
If your fiancé has a child that will be coming to the US with him or her on a derivative K2 visa, remember that the validity of this visa actually go with the K1 – it is valid only as long as the K1 visa is still valid. Once the K2 visa is issued, the child may then be allowed to travel at the same time with your fiance or later after your fiance take a trip to the US within the 90-day validity period and before the wedding.
The K1 visa was designed primarily to allow non-American fiancés of US citizens to travel to the US to marry. The six-month validity period should be sufficient enough for your fiancé to manage any personal matters that need to be attended (or perhaps use the time to bid goodbye to friends and family) before leaving home country. Though unlike the other long-term visas, the allowed 90-day period of stay should also give you plenty of time to make travel arrangements and wedding preparations.
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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.