Your Thai wife and her children can go to the United States on a non-immigrant visa such as the K3 visa in Thailand and the K4 visa for Thai and wait in the United States to complete the visa. Note that before a K4 visa can be issued for the children your Thai wife must have a K3 visa or be in K3 visa status. You need to speak to an immigration lawyer about the K4 visa process and how it ties to the K3 Spouse visa in Thailand.
What Is a “Spouse”?
Your spouse in Thailand would be a Thai woman who you have married and your marriage has been registered in Thailand as such. You have a marriage certificate in Thailand and this is proof of the marriage. The traditional Thai wedding is not seen as valid for immigration purposes and you cannot even obtain a Thai marriage visa with a traditional village wedding. The traditional wedding without registration is seen more as a ’common law marriage’ and not valid.
Note that US laws do not allow plural marriages. These traditional marriages in Thailand is also not legally recognized. You and your (prospective) Thai spouse must show that you have ended all marriages before your current marriage. If you are divorced then a divorce decree would be needed or a death certificate for your former spouse. These are the same documents that you need when you register a marriage in Thailand.
How Much Does It Cost?
The fees or costs differ as the following services are needed so speak to an attorney about this:
- Filing an immigrant Petition for Alien Relative
- Applying for a non-immigrant visa application processing fee
- Medical examination
- Fingerprinting fees and police clearance certificate
There may also be other costs such as translation fees and photocopying charges, there will also be fees for obtaining all the documents required and other travel expenses. Most immigration lawyers tend to charge a flat rate for everything.
Can a K-3 Visa Holder Work in the US?
If your Thai wife arrives in the US on a K3 Visa then she will need to file for an Application for Employment Authorization with the USCIS. This is a work permit for the US which would allow her to work. If this is going to be an issue then consider a CR1 visa which costs more and takes a few weeks longer but would allow your wife to work in the US as soon as she gets off the plane.
How Long Does the K3 Visa Take?
This depends on a number of factors. These include how long USCIS takes to approve the documents and if there are any errors it will add to the time line for the K3 visa. Most delays are because of incorrect documents or mis-understandings which completing the application forms. The average time line for Thailand for the K3 visa is about 8 months from application to visa approval.
If you have any further questions about US Visa’s in Thailand then search this website for more information or contact an immigration lawyer in Thailand for more details.