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K3 Marriage Visas: Consequences of

30th March 2010
By US Visa Lawyer in Immigration Law
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The following article briefly discusses recent changes to the processing procedures associated with the K3 visa and how this may impact the venue of a foreign spouse's visa interview.

In previous articles this author has written about the current status of the K3 visa process. At this time, K3 visa processing has become more unpredictable because the National Visa Center (NVC) will no longer process I-129f petitions for K3 visas if the underlying I-130 petition arrives before, or with, the I-129f. It is indicative of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service's (USCIS) overall efficiency that they are processing I-129f petitions as well as I-130 petitions in a quick and diligent manner. This being said, for those couples seeking fast marriage visa benefits this efficiency could end up creating unforeseen problems.

The United States National Visa Center has stated that their personnel will "administratively close" aforementioned I-129f petitions. This could lead to a difficult situation for those couples who specifically married in a certain jurisdiction in order to process the foreign spouse's visa application at that jurisdiction's US Embassy or Consulate-General. Pursuant to the language of the statute creating the K3 Visa, the K3 visa application must be adjudicated by the Diplomatic of Consular Post in the foreign jurisdiction where the marriage took place. This provided some couples with an opportunity to "Forum Shop" for the overseas Embassy or Consulate where they wished the process their visa application. As an example, if a bi-national couple wanted to process a visa application in Japan, then, under the rules regarding the K3 visa, the couple could virtually guarantee that the K3 visa application would be processed in Japan simply by executing a lawful marriage in Japan.

Currently, because K3 visa processing remains uncertain, there is a distinct possibility that "shopping" for a visa interview venue will become a thing of the past. Although, Immigrant visa applications for the CR1 visa and the IR1 visa could be sent to the foreign spouse's country of Citizenship as Embassies and Consulates only process so-called "third country nationals" as a courtesy and if unable to do so due to caseload, the receiving Post may forward the application to the appropriate Post in the country of the Beneficiary's Citizenship.

One can hope that these recent changes will not result in too many difficulties, but it remains to be seen if this will, in fact, be the case. Therefore, as long as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) continues to process I-130 petitions quickly, it remains probable that the United States National Visa Center will continue to administratively close K3 cases and thereby forestall the previously mentioned practice of forum shopping. For those foreign fiancees in countries such as Burma (Myanmar) or Cambodia this change in policy could cause hardships as both of these countries' bureaucracies can make it extremely difficult for a native born woman to marry an American man.


Benjamin Hart is a licensed attorney from the United States of America. He currently acts as Managing Director of Integrity Legal (Thailand) Co. Ltd. For more information contact: 1-877-231-7533, +66 (0)2-266-3698, or See Integrity Legal on the web at:
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