K-4 Visa: Everything You Need to Know

Understanding K-4 Visa

If you are a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident and you have a child who is under 21 years old and unmarried, you may be able to bring them to the United States on a K-4 visa. This visa allows your child to join you in the U.S. while you are waiting for their permanent residency application to be processed.

To be eligible for a K-4 visa, your child must be the beneficiary of an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. You must also file a separate Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), on behalf of your child. Once the Form I-129F is approved, your child can apply for a K-4 visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

It is important to note that the K-4 visa is only available to children of K-3 visa holders. The K-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the U.S. while their immigrant visa application is being processed. If you are a U.S. citizen and your spouse is a foreign national, you may be able to bring them to the U.S. on a K-3 visa.

Once your child arrives in the U.S. on a K-4 visa, they will be able to attend school and may be able to work in certain circumstances. However, they will not be eligible for federal financial aid for college or university.

It is important to understand that the K-4 visa is a temporary visa. Once your child’s permanent residency application is approved, they will be able to apply for a green card and become a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

Overall, the K-4 visa can be a valuable option for families who want to be together while their permanent residency applications are being processed. If you are considering applying for a K-4 visa for your child, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that you meet all of the eligibility requirements and to navigate the application process.

Eligibility Criteria

To apply for a K-4 visa, you must be the unmarried child under 21 years of age or the spouse of a U.S. citizen. The K-4 visa is only available to children of the U.S. citizen’s foreign spouse who is applying for a K-3 visa.

If you are a son or daughter of a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible for a K-4 visa. However, if you are married, you are not eligible for a K-4 visa.

To be eligible for a K-4 visa, your U.S. citizen parent must file a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), on behalf of your foreign spouse. Once the Form I-129F is approved, your foreign spouse can then file a Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, on behalf of you, the child, to obtain a K-4 visa.

It is important to note that if you turn 21 years of age before the K-4 visa is issued, you will no longer be eligible for the K-4 visa. In this case, you may be eligible for other types of visas or may have to wait for your parent to become a U.S. citizen to sponsor you for permanent residency.

Overall, the eligibility criteria for a K-4 visa is strict and specific. It is important to carefully review the requirements and seek legal advice if necessary to ensure that you meet all of the eligibility criteria before applying for a K-4 visa.

Application Process

To apply for a K-4 visa, you must follow a series of steps that involve filing petitions, completing a medical exam, and attending a visa interview. In this section, we will guide you through each step of the application process.

Filing Petitions

To begin the application process, the US citizen spouse must file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once the petition is approved, the National Visa Center (NVC) will send instructions on how to proceed with the visa application process.

If the US citizen spouse is already in the process of filing a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), for their foreign spouse, they may include their K-4 children on the same petition.

Visa Application

After receiving instructions from the NVC, the foreign spouse and their K-4 children must complete the visa application and pay the required fees. The application will include biographical information, a photograph, and a signature.

Medical Exam

All visa applicants must undergo a medical exam to ensure they are not carrying any communicable diseases that could pose a public health risk in the United States. The exam must be conducted by an approved physician and include a physical examination, blood test, and chest x-ray.

Visa Interview

The final step in the application process is attending a visa interview at the US Consulate or Embassy in the foreign spouse’s home country. During the interview, the consular officer will review the application and supporting documents and ask questions to determine whether the applicant meets the eligibility requirements for the K-4 visa.

Some of the documents that may be required during the interview include the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, and police certificates. The K-3 visa applicant may also need to provide a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

It is important to note that the foreign spouse and their K-4 children must bring their marriage certificate and the children’s birth certificates to the interview. If the application is approved, the consular officer will provide a Notice of Action and the visa will be issued.

Post-Approval Procedures

After your K-4 visa is approved, there are several post-approval procedures that you must follow. These procedures include travel to the U.S., adjustment of status, and extension of stay.

Travel to U.S.

Once your K-4 visa is approved, you may travel to the U.S. with your K-4 visa and passport. You should carry your passport and K-4 visa with you at all times during your travel to the U.S.

Adjustment of Status

If you are already in the U.S. when your K-4 visa is approved, you may be able to adjust your status to that of a permanent resident. To do so, you must file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, with USCIS. You may also need to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Extension of Stay

If you need to stay in the U.S. longer than the period of time authorized by your K-4 visa, you may be able to apply for an extension of stay. To do so, you must file Form I-539 with USCIS.

It is important to note that if you leave the U.S. while your application for an extension of stay is pending, USCIS may consider your application abandoned.

In general, the post-approval procedures for a K-4 visa involve applying for adjustment of status or extension of stay. If you have any questions about these procedures, you should consult with an immigration attorney or contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country.

Remember that as a K-4 visa holder, you are a dependent of the K-1 visa holder and your status is tied to theirs. If the K-1 visa holder’s status changes or they are no longer eligible for a Green Card, your status may also be affected.

Rights and Limitations

As the spouse of a US citizen, your K-4 visa status grants you certain rights and privileges, as well as some limitations. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

Employment Authorization

As a K-4 visa holder, you may be eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which will allow you to work in the United States. However, you must first apply for and receive your EAD before you can begin working.

Work Permit

If you are granted an EAD, you will be able to work for any employer in the United States. However, keep in mind that your work permit is tied to your K-4 visa status, so if your K-4 visa is terminated for any reason, your work permit will also be terminated.

Study

As a K-4 visa holder, you are allowed to study in the United States. However, you must obtain a student visa if you plan to study full-time in a degree program.

Limitations

There are some limitations to your K-4 visa status. For example, you are not eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) unless you have obtained an EAD and have started working in the United States. Additionally, you are not eligible to change your nonimmigrant status while you are in the United States on a K-4 visa.

Nonimmigrant Status

It’s important to remember that your K-4 visa status is a nonimmigrant status, which means that it is temporary and you are not a permanent resident of the United States. If you wish to become a permanent resident, you will need to apply for a green card.

K-3 Parents

If your K-4 visa status is based on your parent’s K-3 visa, keep in mind that your parent’s K-3 visa must be valid in order for your K-4 visa to be valid. If your parent’s K-3 visa is terminated for any reason, your K-4 visa will also be terminated.

Termination

Your K-4 visa status may be terminated for a variety of reasons, including divorce, annulment, or the termination of your parent’s K-3 visa. If your K-4 visa is terminated, you will need to leave the United States immediately.

K-4 Visa vs Other Visas

If you are a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident and you want to bring your foreign spouse and children to the United States, you have several options. One of them is the K-4 visa, which is a nonimmigrant visa that allows the children of K-3 visa holders to enter the country. Here is how the K-4 visa compares to other visas:

K-4 Visa vs K-2 Visa

The K-2 visa is also a nonimmigrant visa that allows the children of K-1 visa holders (fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens) to enter the United States. The main difference between the K-2 and K-4 visas is that the K-4 visa is for the children of K-3 visa holders (spouses of U.S. citizens), while the K-2 visa is for the children of K-1 visa holders.

K-4 Visa vs Other Nonimmigrant Visas

Nonimmigrant visas are temporary visas that allow foreigners to enter the United States for a specific purpose and period of time. The K-4 visa is one of several nonimmigrant visas that allow family members to accompany the primary visa holder. Other nonimmigrant visas that allow family members to accompany the primary visa holder include the H-4 visa (for dependents of H-1B visa holders), the L-2 visa (for dependents of L-1 visa holders), and the E-2 visa (for dependents of E-2 treaty investors).

K-4 Visa vs Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) Status

LPR status, also known as green card status, allows foreigners to live and work in the United States permanently. If you are a U.S. citizen or an LPR, you can petition for your foreign spouse and children to become LPRs as well. The main advantage of LPR status over the K-4 visa is that it allows your family members to stay in the United States permanently and work without restrictions.

K-4 Visa vs Family-Based Immigration

Family-based immigration is the process of sponsoring your foreign family members for LPR status. The process involves filing a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), waiting for the petition to be approved, and then waiting for a visa to become available. The main advantage of family-based immigration over the K-4 visa is that it allows your family members to stay in the United States permanently and work without restrictions. However, the process can take several years and there are quotas for certain categories of family members.

In summary, the K-4 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows the children of K-3 visa holders to enter the United States. It is one of several options for bringing your foreign family members to the United States, and the best option for you depends on your specific circumstances.

Potential Challenges

Obtaining a K-4 visa can be a complicated and time-consuming process. There are several potential challenges that you may encounter during the application process.

Processing Time

One of the most significant challenges you may encounter is the processing time. The processing time for a K-4 visa can vary depending on the circumstances of your case and the workload of the USCIS. It is important to plan ahead and apply for the visa as early as possible to avoid any delays.

Fees

Another potential challenge is the cost of the K-4 visa application. The fees associated with the application can be quite expensive, and you may need to pay additional fees for other services, such as biometric collection and medical exams. It is important to budget accordingly and be prepared to pay the required fees.

Waiver

If you have been denied a visa in the past or have a criminal record, you may need to apply for a waiver to be eligible for a K-4 visa. The waiver process can be complex and time-consuming, and there is no guarantee that your waiver will be approved. It is important to consult with an immigration attorney to determine your eligibility for a waiver.

Unlawful Presence

If you have been in the United States unlawfully, you may be subject to a bar on re-entry. This can make it difficult or impossible to obtain a K-4 visa. It is important to consult with an immigration attorney to determine your eligibility for a waiver of the unlawful presence bar.

Minor

As a minor, you may face additional challenges in obtaining a K-4 visa. You may need to provide additional documentation, such as a birth certificate or passport, to prove your identity and relationship to the K-3 visa holder. It is important to ensure that all required documentation is submitted with your application to avoid any delays or denials.

Under 21 Years of Age

If you are under 21 years of age, you may be eligible for a K-4 visa as a dependent of a K-3 visa holder. However, you may face additional challenges if you are close to turning 21 or if you will turn 21 before your visa is approved. It is important to consult with an immigration attorney to determine your eligibility and to ensure that your application is submitted in a timely manner.

Role of Different Entities

When applying for a K-4 visa, several entities play a crucial role in the process. Here’s a breakdown of their roles:

Department of State

The Department of State is responsible for processing K-4 visa applications. They review the application and supporting documents to ensure that the applicant meets the eligibility criteria. If the application is approved, the Department of State issues a K-4 visa to the applicant.

DHS

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for conducting background checks on K-4 visa applicants. They review the applicant’s criminal history, immigration history, and other relevant information to ensure that the applicant does not pose a threat to national security.

Application for Employment Authorization

The Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) allows K-4 visa holders to work in the United States. The K-4 visa holder must submit this application along with their K-4 visa application.

Immigrant Visa Petition

The Immigrant Visa Petition (Form I-130) is filed by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident on behalf of their qualifying family member. This form is necessary for the K-4 visa applicant to be eligible for a K-4 visa.

Parents

The biological or adoptive parents of a U.S. citizen child are eligible to apply for a K-4 visa for their child. They must provide evidence of their relationship with the child and proof of the child’s U.S. citizenship.

Spouse of a U.S. Citizen

The spouse of a U.S. citizen is eligible to apply for a K-4 visa for their child. They must provide evidence of their marriage to the U.S. citizen and proof of the child’s relationship to the U.S. citizen.

Lawful Permanent Residents

Lawful permanent residents are eligible to apply for a K-4 visa for their child. They must provide evidence of their relationship with the child and proof of their lawful permanent resident status.

Step-Parent

A step-parent may be eligible to apply for a K-4 visa for their step-child if they can provide evidence of their relationship with the child and proof of their marriage to the child’s biological or adoptive parent.

Step-Child

A step-child may be eligible to apply for a K-4 visa if they can provide evidence of their relationship to the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident step-parent.

Foreign Spouse

A foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident may be eligible to apply for a K-4 visa for their child. They must provide evidence of their marriage to the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and proof of the child’s relationship to the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.

Overall, the role of these entities is to ensure that the K-4 visa applicant meets the eligibility criteria and is not a threat to national security. By providing the necessary evidence and documentation, the applicant can increase their chances of obtaining a K-4 visa.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for obtaining a K-4 visa?

To obtain a K-4 visa, you must be the unmarried child under the age of 21 of a K-3 visa holder. You must also be named on the K-3 visa holder’s I-129F petition and must be able to demonstrate that you are admissible to the United States.

What is the processing time for a K-4 visa?

The processing time for a K-4 visa varies depending on the embassy or consulate where you apply. On average, it takes between 4 to 6 months to process a K-4 visa application. However, processing times can be longer or shorter depending on the individual case.

How much is the fee for a K-4 visa application?

The fee for a K-4 visa application is $265. This fee is subject to change, so it is important to check the current fee schedule before submitting your application.

What is the validity period of a K-4 visa?

The validity period of a K-4 visa is the same as the validity period of the K-3 visa held by the child’s parent. Typically, K-3 and K-4 visas are valid for 2 years, and can be extended in 2-year increments as long as the K-3 visa holder’s status is maintained.

Can a K-4 visa holder work in the United States?

No, a K-4 visa holder is not authorized to work in the United States. If the K-4 visa holder wishes to work, they must first obtain employment authorization by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

Who is eligible for a K-3 visa?

A K-3 visa is available to the spouse of a U.S. citizen who has filed a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on their behalf. The K-3 visa allows the spouse to enter the United States while their immigrant visa is being processed.

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