What is a K3 visa?
If you are married to a Thai citizen and you are an American, you have to apply for a K3 Marriage visa to take your wife back to the United States. The application process for the K3 Marriage visa is that you file for the Spousal Petition in the US (I-130). Once the petition is filed the Service Center will notify you that they have received the petition. Once this is completed you will then file a I-129F petition for the K3 Marriage Visa with the Chicago Center and they in turn send your K3 Marriage Visa application to the Missouri Center for further processing. Once this is completed the K3 Marriage Visa petition is sent to the US Embassy in Bangkok.
The remainder of the process is the same as that for the K1 Visa. If the K3 Marriage Visa sounds complicated, then you are correct as it is a bit more involved than the K1 Visa process.
Who is eligible for a K3 marriage visa?
The K3 Marriage Visa was created for Americans who want to bring their wife back to the United States. The processing times are longer than the average K1 Visa application though. The K3 MARRIAGE VISA is a 'non-immigrant' visa which means that your wife will not be a permanent resident when she arrives in the United States but would still have to apply for an adjustment of status. The K3 Marriage Visa does however allow your wife to travel aboard unlike the K1 Visa which is a once off visa. Your wife may also bring with her any children that she might have under a "K4" visa. The I-130 petitions however need to be filed separately.
Basic Eligibility Requirements for the K3 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 wife as a beneficiary on file with the USCIS;
- The marriage between you and your Thai wife must be valid, meaning that it has met all the requirements to have a valid marriage in Thailand or the country/jurisdiction where you married, and were not subject to any impediment (such as a non-terminated prior marriage) to your ability to marry at that time.
After obtaining a K3 Marriage visa, your Thai wife (and her unmarried minor children, using the K4 visa) can travel to the United States and live with you for up to 2 years. Presumably, during that time the USCIS will approve the immigration petition filed by you and she will be able to apply for an adjustment of status to become a legal permanent resident in the United States. The K3 Marriage visa is not as ideal as being able to quickly obtain a spousal immigration visa would be. However, given the lengthy processing times at most USCIS service centers, it is a welcome alternative to your wife being forced to live in Thailand for an extended period, and the K3 Marriage Visa has already helped many families reunite.