Visa & Immigration

IR-1 DCF Visa: Step 3 Mailing Packet 3 to the US Embassy

While waiting for your Approval Notice from the USCIS and case number from the US Embassy (there will be 2 separate letters), it’s good to start preparing all the documents you’ll need to include in your Packet 3. There’s quite a lot of documents you’ll have to gather but be sure to separate them into 5 groups as detailed below. Try to make it easy for the consular officer by putting everything in order. The easier you make it for them, the sooner they will schedule your interview.

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For those who are filing DCF, the US citizen is usually living in Thailand and not paying taxes to the IRS. If this is the case, you will need to get a joint sponsor to help fulfill the income requirement. You’ll also need to obtain the IRS verification of non-filing letter to avoid getting the 221(g) refusal at your interview. If you can’t find a joint sponsor, you may use your savings or assets (with proof of ownership) as your source of income. The total value of the assets must equal at least 3 times the difference between your household income and the current poverty guidelines for your household size. The assets must also be something that can be readily convertible to cash within one year. Below is the 2017 Poverty Guidelines for your reference. Read more about assets and calculation here.

Joint sponsor

  • Anyone can be a joint sponsor; your family member, friend, colleague, someone you know, as long as he/she is a US citizen (born or naturalized). It’s best to ask your family member, though. (I asked my father-in-law to be my joint sponsor.)
  • Joint sponsor must meet the income requirement based on the 2017 Poverty Guidelines below. The minimum income requirements are based on the number of the joint sponsor’s household member plus one intending immigrant. For instance, if you have a household member of 2 (joint sponsor and joint sponsor’s spouse), then the total is 3 (2+1 intending immigrant) and therefore the joint sponsor must have an income of $25,525 or more.
  • Agreeing to be a joint sponsor means you are signing a legally binding contract with the US government. It is a big responsibility because you may have to support the sponsored immigrant until he/she becomes a US citizen. If the immigrant receives means-tested public benefits such as food stamps, medicaid, supplemental security income (SSI), temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), or the State child health insurance program (SCHIP), the joint sponsor is responsible for repaying the cost of those benefits to the agency that provided them. So be understanding when asking someone to be your joint sponsor. It’s a big commitment. Don’t take it personal if the person you asked decides not to help you. Not everyone wants to take risks.
2017 Poverty Guidelines

2017 Poverty Guidelines

Required documents (all photocopies unless stated “original”)

1. US citizen documents

  1. Form I-864 (original and signed on page 9) (download)
  2. 2014 tax return (Form 1040)
  3. 2015 IRS verification of non-filing letter (download) (see instructions below on how to obtain one)
  4. 2016 IRS verification of non-filing letter
  5. Passport
  6. Birth certificate
  7. US driver’s license
  8. Divorce decree (if applicable)

(My American husband was in Thailand from 2015 to 2016 and he did not file any taxes during those years. He therefore had to request 2 years of the verification of non-filing letters from the IRS.)

2. Foreign spouse documents

Once you receive your case number from the US Embassy, you can start preparing your documents as follows.

  1. Passport
  2. Birth certificate + translation*
  3. Marriage certificate
  4. Certified marriage license (if applicable)
  5. Divorce decree (if applicable)
  6. Certificate of name/last name change (if applicable)
  7. DS-2001 (original) to notify the embassy that you are ready for an interview (download)
  8. DS-260 printout (original) to notify the embassy that you have filled out the online visa application form (online application)
  9. Two 2×2″ photos (write your name and last name on the back with a pencil or felt pen)
  10. GSS printout (original) to let them know the address to send your passport to (download)
  11. Police clearance certificate (original)

*translation must be certified by a translation company

3. Joint sponsor documents

  1. I-864 (original and signed on page 9) (download)
  2. 2014, 2015, 2016 tax returns (Form 1040)
  3. 2014, 2015, 2016 W-2
  4. 2014, 2015, 2016 Social Security Benefit Statement (Form 1099) (if any)
  5. Passport
  6. US driver’s license
  7. Birth certificate
  8. Sponsorship letter (a letter signed by the joint sponsor to confirm that he/she is agreeing to sponsor the intending immigrant; there’s no official format, just type a basic letter)

(You are not required to send 3 years of tax returns. The most recent year is sufficient but you can certainly send all if you think it might help your case.)

4. Joint sponsor’s spouse documents (if joint sponsor is married)

  1. I-864A (original and signed on page 4) (download)
  2. Passport
  3. US driver’s license
  4. Birth certificate

5. Domicile documents

Domicile is a pretty complex concept. Each case is different. The fundamental purpose is to prove to the consular officer that the US citizen still has ties to the US and plans to live there in the foreseeable future. There are many types of documents you can use.

In our case, we sent:

  1. 6-month plan letter (what my  husband and I are planning to do in the US in the next 6 months)
  2. Job offer letter (original and signed by the company’s owner)
  3. Car lease pre-approved letter (a certified letter stating that we have good credit to get a car loan)
  4. Renewed US driver’s license
  5. Estimated quote for shipping our belongings to the US
  6. Apartment search results
  7. Health insurance quote

Other documents that are acceptable include a voter’s card, bank statement, bank account, US mailing address, etc.; basically anything you can think of that will prove the citizen’s ties to the US.

How to obtain the IRS verification of non-filing letter

There are several ways to obtain the IRS verification of non-filing letter but this is how we did it. We printed out Form 4506-T and filled in with a black ink pen. Then we scanned and emailed the form to our friend in the US who kindly faxed it over to the IRS for us. The IRS fax numbers are listed on the last page on the form (different numbers for different States). We chose to have the letters mailed to our friend’s house and when he received it, he mailed it to Thailand for us. It took 10 days for the letters to arrive at our friend’s.

And that’s all the documents we included in our Packet 3. For a complete checklist please visit the US Embassy’s webpage.

Instructions and my experience

IR-1 DCF Visa: Step 3 Mailing Packet 3 to the US Embassy

Cooking Time: February 14th, 2018


  • 1. US citizen documents
  • 2. Foreign spouse documents
  • 3. Joint sponsor documents
  • 4. Joint sponsor's spouse documents (if joint sponsor is married)
  • 5. Domicile documents



Organize your documents in 5 different groups as explained above. Mail everything to the US Embassy using a strong and preferably tear- and water-resistant envelope. Write "Packet 3" in the bottom corner. It's best to ship EMS so you can track your shipment online. Address to mail to:

US Embassy Bangkok
Consular Section
Immigrant Visa Unit
120-122 Wireless Road
Lumpini, Bangkok 10330


Then wait for an email from the embassy notifying you of your interview date.

This post is also available in: thThai

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