K-3 Visa: Bringing Spouses of U.S. Citizens to the United States

Overview of K-3 Visa

If you are a U.S. citizen and your spouse is not a U.S. citizen, you may want to consider the K-3 visa. The K-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows your spouse to enter the United States while their immigrant visa application is being processed.

The K-3 visa is intended for spouses of U.S. citizens who are waiting for their immigrant visa to be approved. The K-3 visa allows your spouse to enter the United States and stay for up to two years while their immigrant visa application is being processed.

If you have children who are also not U.S. citizens and who are under the age of 21, they may be eligible for a K-4 visa. The K-4 visa allows your child to enter the United States with your spouse while their immigrant visa application is being processed.

To apply for a K-3 visa, you must first file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of your spouse. Once the I-130 is approved, you can file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), on behalf of your spouse.

It is important to note that the K-3 visa is only available to spouses of U.S. citizens. If you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States, you cannot apply for a K-3 visa for your spouse.

Overall, the K-3 visa is a useful option for U.S. citizens who want to bring their foreign spouse to the United States while their immigrant visa application is being processed. If you are considering the K-3 visa, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that you meet all of the eligibility requirements and to help you navigate the application process.

Application Process

To apply for a K-3 visa, you must first file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form is used to establish a relationship between the U.S. citizen petitioner and the foreign spouse. Once the USCIS approves the petition, it will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing.

After the NVC receives the approved petition, it will send the petitioner and the foreign spouse instructions on how to apply for the K-3 visa. The foreign spouse will need to complete Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, and schedule an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

During the interview, the foreign spouse will need to provide the following documents:

  • A valid passport
  • A copy of the approved Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)
  • A copy of the NVC letter
  • A copy of the marriage certificate
  • Medical examination results
  • Police clearance certificate

If the U.S. embassy or consulate approves the K-3 visa, the foreign spouse will receive a passport with the visa stamp. They can then travel to the United States and apply for adjustment of status by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

After filing Form I-485, the foreign spouse will receive a Receipt Notice (Form I-797) from the USCIS. This notice confirms that the USCIS has received the application and provides a case number that can be used to check the status of the application.

Overall, the K-3 visa application process can be complex and time-consuming. It is important to carefully follow all instructions and provide all required documents to avoid delays or denials.

Eligibility and Requirements

To be eligible for a K-3 visa, you must be married to a U.S. citizen. You will need to provide a copy of your marriage certificate as proof of your relationship. You will also need to provide a copy of your birth certificate and passport to establish your identity.

In addition, you will need to undergo a medical examination and obtain a police certificate from your home country to demonstrate that you are not inadmissible to the United States. You will also need to provide civil documents, such as divorce or death certificates, to show that any previous marriages have been legally terminated.

To meet the eligibility requirements for a K-3 visa, you must also demonstrate that you intend to reside in the United States with your U.S. citizen spouse. You will need to provide evidence of your relationship, such as photos, emails, and letters, to show that you have a bona fide marriage.

You must also meet income requirements to qualify for a K-3 visa. Your U.S. citizen spouse will need to serve as your financial sponsor and submit an Affidavit of Support, Form I-864, to demonstrate that he or she can support you financially. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will review your application and determine whether you meet the requirements for a K-3 visa.

In summary, to be eligible for a K-3 visa, you must:

  • Be married to a U.S. citizen
  • Provide proof of your relationship, such as a marriage certificate
  • Provide proof of your identity, such as a birth certificate and passport
  • Undergo a medical examination and obtain a police certificate
  • Provide civil documents, such as divorce or death certificates, if applicable
  • Meet income requirements and have a financial sponsor who submits an Affidavit of Support, Form I-864
  • Demonstrate that you intend to reside in the United States with your U.S. citizen spouse

Overall, obtaining a K-3 visa can be a complex process, but with the right preparation and documentation, you can successfully navigate the application process and reunite with your U.S. citizen spouse in the United States.

Status and Adjustment

Once your K-3 visa is approved, you can enter the United States and stay for up to two years. During this time, you can apply to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident (LPR) by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

As a K-3 visa holder, you are eligible to apply for adjustment of status after entering the United States. Adjustment of status is the process of changing your nonimmigrant status to that of a permanent resident. Once you become a permanent resident, you will receive a green card, which serves as evidence of your permanent residence status.

To apply for adjustment of status, you must meet certain eligibility requirements, such as being lawfully admitted to the United States, having a valid K-3 visa, and not being inadmissible for any reason. You must also file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, if you want to work in the United States while your adjustment of status application is pending.

If your adjustment of status application is approved, you will become a conditional permanent resident and will receive a green card valid for two years. You must apply to remove the conditions on your permanent residence status within 90 days of the expiration of your conditional green card.

Overall, the K-3 visa allows you to enter the United States and apply for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident. This process can be complex and requires careful attention to detail. It is recommended that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney to guide you through the process and ensure that your application is complete and accurate.

Visa Options and Differences

If you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) planning to bring your foreign spouse to the United States, there are two primary visa options available: immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas.

Immigrant Visa for a Spouse

An immigrant visa is a visa that allows your spouse to enter the United States as a permanent resident. The process of obtaining an immigrant visa for your spouse involves filing a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and then waiting for your petition to be approved. Once your petition is approved, your spouse will need to go through consular processing in their home country to obtain their immigrant visa. The two types of immigrant visas available for spouses are the IR1 visa and the CR1 visa.

K-3 Nonimmigrant Visa

A K-3 nonimmigrant visa is a visa that allows your spouse to enter the United States temporarily while their immigrant visa petition is being processed. The K-3 visa is designed to shorten the time that couples are separated during the immigrant visa process. However, the K-3 visa is not always necessary or beneficial, as the processing times for immigrant visas have improved in recent years.

Nonimmigrant Visa for Spouse

A nonimmigrant visa for a spouse is a visa that allows your spouse to enter the United States temporarily for a specific purpose, such as tourism or business. The most common nonimmigrant visa for spouses is the B-2 visa, which is a visitor visa. However, if your spouse plans to work or study in the United States, they may need a different type of nonimmigrant visa, such as an H-1B visa or an F-1 visa.

It is important to note that the requirements and processing times for each visa type can vary significantly. Therefore, it is recommended that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney to determine which visa option is best for your specific situation.

Processing Time and Fees

When applying for a K-3 visa, it is important to consider the processing time and fees. The processing time for a K-3 visa can vary depending on various factors such as the workload of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the completeness of the application.

As of October 2023, the USCIS processing time for a K-3 visa is approximately 7-10 months. However, this is only an estimate and the actual processing time may be longer or shorter depending on the individual case. It is recommended to consult with an immigration attorney to get a more accurate estimate of the processing time for your specific case.

In addition to the processing time, there are also fees associated with applying for a K-3 visa. The current filing fee for Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), which is required to apply for a K-3 visa, is $535. This fee is subject to change, so it is important to check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information.

Other fees that may be associated with a K-3 visa include medical examination fees, visa application fees, and biometric fees. These fees can vary depending on the country in which the application is being processed and the specific circumstances of the case.

It is important to note that the filing fee for a K-3 visa does not guarantee approval of the visa. If the application is denied, the filing fee is not refundable. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the application is complete and accurate before submitting it to USCIS.

Overall, the processing time and fees associated with a K-3 visa can be a significant consideration for those seeking to bring their foreign spouse to the United States. It is important to be aware of the estimated processing time and all fees associated with the application to ensure a smooth and successful application process.

Potential Issues and Solutions

When applying for a K-3 visa, there are several potential issues that may arise. Here are some of the common issues and solutions to help you navigate the process:

Request for Evidence

A Request for Evidence (RFE) is a notice that the USCIS sends when they need more information to make a decision on your application. This can delay the processing of your K-3 visa application. To avoid an RFE, make sure you provide all the required documents and evidence with your application. Double-check that your application is complete before submitting it to USCIS.

Waiver

If you have a criminal record, you may need to apply for a waiver to be eligible for a K-3 visa. The waiver process can be complicated, and it may take longer to process your application. If you have a criminal record, it is important to consult with an immigration attorney to determine if you need a waiver and how to apply for it.

Same-Sex Spouses

Same-sex spouses are eligible for K-3 visas, provided that they meet the same eligibility requirements as opposite-sex spouses. However, the K-3 visa is only available to spouses of U.S. citizens. If you are in a same-sex relationship with a U.S. permanent resident, you may be eligible for a CR-1 visa instead.

Immigration Benefits

If you are already in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa, you may be eligible to adjust your status to that of a K-3 visa holder. This can save you time and money, as you will not need to leave the United States to apply for a K-3 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for processing K-3 visa applications. If you have any questions or concerns about your application, you can contact DHS for assistance. However, keep in mind that DHS may not be able to provide you with specific information about your case until your application has been processed.

Form I-539

Form I-539 is used to apply for a change of status or extension of stay in the United States. If you are already in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa, you may need to file Form I-539 to change your status to that of a K-3 visa holder. Make sure you read the instructions carefully and provide all the required information and documents when filing Form I-539.

Post-Arrival Procedures

Once you arrive in the United States on a K-3 visa, there are a few important post-arrival procedures that you need to follow. These procedures are necessary to ensure that you are legally allowed to stay in the country and to help you settle in.

First, you will need to go through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection process. This process involves presenting your passport and visa, as well as providing a passport-style photo and fingerprints. You will also need to declare any items that you are bringing into the country.

After you have gone through customs, you will need to apply for a work permit if you plan on working in the United States. This permit is known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and can be obtained through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. You will need to provide proof of your K-3 visa status and financial support, as well as a passport-style photo.

It is also important to make sure that you are up-to-date on your vaccinations. The U.S. Department of State requires that all immigrants and nonimmigrants receive certain vaccinations before being allowed to enter the country. You should check with your doctor to make sure that you have received all the necessary vaccinations.

In terms of financial support, you will need to show that you meet the federal poverty guidelines in order to be eligible for a K-3 visa. This means that you will need to provide evidence of financial support from your spouse or other sources.

Overall, the post-arrival procedures for K-3 visa holders are designed to ensure that you are legally allowed to stay in the United States and to help you settle in. By following these procedures, you can ensure that your transition to life in the U.S. is as smooth as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a K-3 visa?

A K-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States while they wait for their immigrant visa to be processed. The K-3 visa is intended to shorten the time that married couples are separated while the immigrant visa is being processed.

Who is eligible for a K3 visa?

You may be eligible for a K-3 visa if you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen and your spouse has filed an immigrant visa petition on your behalf. You must also be legally married to your U.S. citizen spouse and have a valid marriage certificate to prove it.

How long does it take for a K3 visa to be approved?

The processing time for a K-3 visa varies depending on the individual case and the workload of the U.S. embassy or consulate where the application is being processed. On average, the processing time can take anywhere from several months to a year.

How long can I stay in the U.S. with a K3 visa?

The K-3 visa is valid for two years from the date of issuance. During this time, you may enter and leave the United States as many times as you wish. After two years, you must either adjust your status to permanent resident or leave the United States.

What is the K3 visa application process?

To apply for a K-3 visa, your U.S. citizen spouse must first file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on your behalf. Once the I-130 is approved, you may apply for a K-3 visa by submitting a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), along with supporting documents to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the I-129F is approved, your application will be sent to the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country for further processing.

What is the difference between K3 visa and CR1 visa?

The main difference between a K-3 visa and a CR1 visa is the timing of the visa processing. A K-3 visa is intended to allow the spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States while their immigrant visa is being processed. A CR1 visa is an immigrant visa that allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States as a permanent resident. The processing time for a CR1 visa is generally longer than for a K-3 visa, but once approved, the CR1 visa holder is granted permanent resident status upon entry to the United States.

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