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K-3 Visa Vietnam

24th November 2010
By US Visa Lawyer in Immigration Law
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The forthcoming piece was written in an effort to provide insight for those researching the US K-3 visa process for Vietnamese husbands and wives of American Citizens.

Some mistakenly believe that the K-3 visa is the traditional travel document utilized by Vietnamese spouses of American Citizens to come to the USA. In reality, the classic travel document used by Vietnamese-American bi-national married couples to reunite in the USA is the Immediate Relative Visa category 1 or IR-1.

Since modifications made to relevant immigration laws those Vietnamese-American bi-national couples married less than 2 years at the time of the Vietnamese spouse's admission to the USA are now accorded Conditional Lawful Permanent Residence (CR-1 visa status); this conditionality can be lifted after two years of actual physical presence in the United States through application submitted at a local office of USCIS. At one point in time, CR-1 and IR-1 visa petitions were taking a significant amount of time to process through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

The backlog at USCIS lead to the US Congress and the American President to pass a bill creating the K-3 visa which was a non-immigrant visa designed to expedite visa issuance by creating a supplemental visa petition which was once adjudicated more quickly at USCIS. Now, USCIS adjudicates CR-1 and IR-1 visa petitions much more quickly which has slowly decreased the need for expedited processing through use of the K-3.

When a visa petition is approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) the file is sent to the American State Department's National Visa Center (NVC), this agency is responsible for ensuring that a visa application file is sent to the appropriate Consular jurisdiction. It can be argued that the point at which the Immigrant visa petitions began being adjudicated as quickly as their K-3 supplemental counterparts the utility of K-3 visa application was effectively negated. Whatever the reason for the policy, the National Visa Center began "administratively closing" K-3 visa applications where the underlying IR-1/CR-1 petition was received by NVC prior to, or simultaneously with, the supplemental K-3 petition. At the time of this posting, K3 visas are probably being issued less often because of NVC's administrative closing policy.

Meanwhile, this policy seems to have sparked some renewed interest by Vietnamese-American couples in IR-1 and CR-1 visas. It still remains to be seen whether or not the K-3 visa will continue to be a travel document in wide usage in the future.


Benjamin Hart is an American attorney. He is the Managing Director of Integrity Legal (Thailand) Co. Ltd. and International Director of White & Hart Ltd. Contact: 1-877-231-7533, +66 (0)2-266-3698, or Learn more at: US Visa Vietnamese Girlfriend or for information about attorney assistance with Consular Processing please see: US Embassy Vietnam .
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