US Marriage Visas from Vietnam

The following article is simply intended to act as sort of primer for those researching the American K-3 visa process for Vietnamese spouses of US 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 many cases, the traditional travel document used by Vietnamese-American bi-national couples to reunite in the United States 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 may be lifted after 2 years of actual physical presence in the USA through application submitted at a local USCIS office. 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 writing, K-3 visas are likely being issued less often due to NVC’s administrative closure rule.

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

Benjamin W. Hart is an attorney from the USA. He also acts as 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 info@integrity-legal.com. See them online at: US Visitor Visa or K-3 Visa Vietnam .

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