Bringing the children of a Thai Spouse to America: K2 and K4 Visas

by admin on May 25, 2009

Many Thai-American couples that are planning to enter the United States for either marriage or residency worry about the status of dependent Thai children that wish to accompany their parents.  With correct information, however, the process does not have to be complicated.

The K2 and K4 visas are derivative visas of the K1 and K3 visas, intended for the children of foreign/American couples. Unmarried children under the age of 21 that are seeking to immigrate to the United States qualify for the K2 or K4 visa, dependent upon which visa their Thai parents hold.  These visas allow children to reside with their parents while their permanent resident/immigrant status is processed.    Both K2 and K4 visa holders are eligible to work and study in the US.  A K2 status lasts for 3 months and cannot be extended whereas a K4 visa is good for 2 years after entry into the US and extension is permitted. 

When the US citizen is filing the petition, it is recommended that all dependent children of the Thai partner are listed, whether the children plan to accompany their parents or not.  A separate petition does not need to be filed for either the K2 or K4 visa.  One of the main reasons for listing all children is primarily to reduce both fees and paperwork. If the child is not named on the petition, it will be more difficult to prove their identity as children of the applicant and the petition process may need to be started over from the beginning due to these complications.  Alternatively, if the children are named on the original paperwork it is a relatively short process to request the visa.  If not named, however, the children are still eligible for derivative visas. 

Once residing in the US, the child’s status must be adjusted before obtaining lawful permanent residence.  The US citizen must file a separate petition for adjustment of status on behalf of the K2 or K4 visa holder.  

Further, as a matter of Thailand-US immigration law practice, if the children are the biological children of a former spouse, special documentation from the Thai government is often required showing that the former spouse either consents or does not have the right to consent.  The specifics regarding visas on behalf of Thai children are best addressed by American lawyers based in Bangkok.

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