K1 or K3: Which US Visa is Better for my Thai Girlfriend?

by admin on March 8, 2010

As a US lawyer in Bangkok,  I receive numerous inquires from people seeking advice on which US visa is better for their Thai partners: K1 vs K3.  Given the various particularities surrounding each couple’s individual situation, it is best to weigh out priorities and make an informed decision. 

TIMING:  The US K1 Fiancée Visa is generally issued faster than the US K3 Marriage Visa.  The K3 visa often takes longer to obtain because proof of marriage must be established, along with other supplementary supporting documentation.  

COST:  There are many factors that influence the cost of a K1 or K3 visa.  For example, the cost of a marriage in Thailand will likely be less expensive than that in America, so in this way, getting married in Thailand and obtaining a K3 visa from Thailand can save you money. 

CONVENIENCE:  For many, dealing with immigration and marriage in Thailand poses more difficulties than dealing directly with authorities in the US.  The K1 Fiancée visa allows the American/Thai couple to engage primarily with US immigration.  Conversely, the K3 visa is a two year multiple entry visa, allowing the Thai K3 visa holder the convenience of easy travel and a longer time period to adjust his or her immigration status.

LOCATION:  While the final intention of both the K1 and K3 visa is to settle down in the US as a married couple, the K1 allows more of an adjustment period than the K3 visa.  Even though the K1 visa is only a 90 day single entry visa, these 90 days can be used to assess whether married life in American is best for you and your Thai fiancée. 

Please See  K1 Visa and K3 Visa Comparison Thailand  for a more detailed analysis.

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