Here I sit, now waiting for the USCIS to make that fateful visa decision. After filling out loads of paperwork, several trips to the library, and a $535 fee later…my I-129F is in the mail. The I-129F is a United States citizens’ petition for an alien spouse. In our case, the petition is for Ping Ping’s K-1 visa. The K-1 Visa is also often referred to as the ‘Fiance’ visa.
“Fiance? Don’t you call her your wife already?” Yes, but that’s because we’re Buddhists. We were married in a Buddhist ceremony at Ping Ping’s parents’ house in Roi Et, Thailand. Our ‘legal’ marriage, however, is on hold. Declaring a couples love for each other in front of family and friends is enough for a Buddhist. To make it a legally recognized wedding, we would need to register the marriage in Thailand. Or, as we are doing…applying for a visa so we can legally marry in the United States. *Read about our wedding > Thai Wedding
K-1 visas are typically faster than K-3 visas. A K-3 is what we would need if we legally registered our marriage in Thailand. So by all legal means, we are still engaged and Ping Ping is my fiance. However, we are married by the way of the Buddhist. That doesn’t mean anything to the American government though. The average time is now at 6-9 months for a ‘fiance’ visa. Now the waiting begins.
Hopefully everything goes smooth and the USCIS doesn’t need to contact me for more info. That would just increase the visa processing time. I just hope and pray that the approval comes faster than the average. Unless you are in a long distance relationship, a marriage at that, then it’s just not explainable what one goes through. Try picturing it in your head though. You just got married and experienced the greatest time of your life, then suddenly you have to say goodbye at the airport and fly 26 hours back home only to not see your spouse for who knows how long. It’s torture, and yes I teared up at the airport.
On the plus side though…it makes you grateful for every second you did spend together. All of the little things are important, no matter how trivial they seem. Like just laying in bed together and singing along to songs on YouTube. Even just doing regular shopping for your everyday needs. Shopping for sunglasses together at Big C in Thailand, I couldn’t help but think that this moment in time just felt normal. A first in our relationship. You learn how not to take those small things for granted. Most people in the United States have no idea just how well they have life. Yet they complain so much and take it all for granted.
This is how our relationship is so rock solid. The trials, tribulations, sacrifices, and the patience needed for us to even exist as a couple tests us everyday. First, there’s the time spent just getting to know each other in the beginning. Then you need to make decisions about the future. Next, you actually spend time together in person after saving money for traveling. Afterwards followed by another long waiting period so you can get a visa and live together. Long distance relationships are serious business. However, if you survive then you have such a strong base for your love.
Eventually, our day will come. Ping Ping will have her visa and be able to travel to the United States and stay with me. We will legally marry here. And if not…then get ready for me Thailand. Yet until the USCIS makes that visa decision for us…we’re just here waiting. *Read how we met > Instagram and an International Love Story