Why is it not advisable for my fiancée to apply for a US tourist visa?
It is not advisable for a Thai fiancée to apply for a tourist visa because the US Embassy, will, in almost all cases, refuse the application and advise your Thai fiancée to apply for a K1 (fiancée) visa instead. This is because a romantic relationship exists between you, the expected petitioner, and your fiancée, the visa beneficiary. Thus, the time and money your fiancée spends applying for a tourist visa will be wasted and she will have to start a new application for a K1 visa.
When the visa officers at the US Embassy consider a visa application, they are required to start by assuming that the visa applicant, in this case your fiancée, wants to immigrate to the US to live there permanently. The fact that your fiancée has agreed to marry you will make the visa officer even more sure that she intends to move to the US to marry and live with you. Tourist visas are only available for people who can prove to the visa officer’s satisfaction that they do not intend to immigrate to the US. This is almost impossible for someone who is engaged to a US citizen who is living in the US. It will definitely be impossible if you and your fiancée intend to get married and live together in the US!
You might think that if the visa officers aren’t aware of your relationship then there will be no problem. However, your fiancée will be asked about who she knows in the US and if she lies that will make it difficult, if not impossible, for her to get any type of US visa at all. US immigration laws are very unforgiving of any type of fraud, lies, or omissions. It is better to use the preferred route and apply for a K1 visa, even if the process seems more complicated, than to risk that your fiancée might become inadmissible to the US due to visa fraud.
In addition, even if a tourist visa is granted, your fiancée may have difficulty entering the country if the US Customs and Border Patrol agent at the airport does not believe that she is a legitimate tourist. The border agent will also ask why your fiancée is traveling to the U.S. and when she intends to leave the country.
The K1 visa is specifically designed for the fiancés of US citizens and offers benefits that a tourist visa does not. For example, if your fiancée has children who will also travel to the US, her K1 eligibility will make them eligible for the derivative K2 visa. They would have to qualify for a tourist visa on their own. She may also have problems getting a work permit and legal permanent resident status in the US. Especially if you get married in the US while she is there as a tourist. Unlike tourists, K1 visa holders are eligible to apply for a work permit immediately on entering the US and to apply for permanent residence after they get married.
However, if you and your fiance do not intend to marry and live in the US, a tourist visa may be appropriate. For example, if you an your fiancée intend to marry and live together in Thailand and only want to visit the US for a short time to visit family a tourist visa would be the most appropriate visa for her to get. The only time your Thai fiancée should apply for a tourist visa to visit the US is if:
- You don’t intend to get married in the US; and
- She doesn’t intend to live in the US permanently; but
- She does want to visit the US temporarily for business, pleasure or health reasons.
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.