On a general view, the application and eventual granting of the K1 visa is a bit confusing. There is the 6-month validity period and the 90-day period plus the K2 visa in case the fiancée already have a child whom both parties wish to bring over the US as well. However, in reality the rules are relatively easy to understand but in order to make sure that the whole process is being followed properly, an immigration lawyer who has an extensive background on US immigration services can be of great help.
Is my fiancée required to leave Thailand immediately upon approval of K1 Visa?
When to leave Thailand could be an issue for those whose K1 visa application have been recently approved and by chance, it could be your question too.
Generally speaking, after being granted with a K1 visa, your Thai fiancée does not have a fixed date on when to leave Thailand for the United States. What she actually has is a fixed time frame of 6 months because it is the K1 visa’s validity period and also, you and your fiancée will only have 90 days to get married upon her arrival in the US which is actually a viable time period for the two of you to make an extensive plan for your wedding.
Although you can already do wedding arrangements even before the approval of the K1 visa, practical reasons dictate you to be prudent as being granted with such visa is not really certain. There will always be a chance that your application will be denied so it will be best to start preparing for your wedding only after the approval.
My fiancée has a child and I want to bring him over too.
If your fiancée has a child and you and your soon-to-be bride want to bring the child over to the United States, you can do that through the derivative K2 visa. If the K1 visa of your fiancée is approved and that you have included the child’s name at your I-129F application, the child can accompany your fiancée when she travels to the US . Both of you can also opt to let the child follow your fiancée to the US but this should be within the 90-day period that the K1 visa has provided your fiancée to stay in the United States.
But, it must be emphasized that a child who is below 21 years old and unmarried is eligible for a K2 visa.
What will happen if the K1 visa’s 6-month validity period expires or if we are not able to get married within 90 days after her arrival in the United States?
Upon her arrival in the United States, the two of you must get married within 90 days as she is only allowed to stay in the country for that period only as prescribed in the granting of the K1 visa.
If you and your fiancée failed to get married within the 90-day period then she has to exit the US and go back to Thailand. If the K1 visa’s 6-month validity period expires and cancelled then you have to follow the same process all over again and reapply for another K1 visa.
However, if indeed you were able to get married within the 90-day period, you will have to apply for an Adjustment of Status so that your then fiancée and now your wife can become a legal United States permanent resident.
What if the Adjustment of Status application has yet to be granted?
Your spouse can remain in the US while the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is processing the application for the Adjustment of Status. In fact, your spouse will not be able to leave the country without abandoning the Adjustment of Status application unless she applies for and be granted with a travel document authorizing her trip outside the United States.
However, if she chooses to abandon the Adjustment of Status application, she will need to begin with the immigration process again starting with the application for a new visa.
This fact emphasizes the need for her to settle any businesses in Thailand before she entered the United States as leaving the US to attend such business in Thailand cannot be as easy as coming over.
The K1 visa is intended for foreign-born fiancée of American citizens who wish to travel to the US and get married. While the visa’s validity is not indefinite, the 6 months should be ample for your fiancée to settle her obligations, businesses or to bond with her family and friends before she will eventually leave Thailand for the United States.