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K-3 Visa Application for
U.S. Citizen's Spouse and Do It Yourself Package


The K-3 Visa for Spouse of a United States Citizen and K-4 Visa for Children

K-3 visa offers an opportunity for a spouse of a United States citizen to travel to the United States, so that the family can be together in the United States during the commonly lengthy waiting for the USCIS to process the "immediate relative" immigrant visa petition. Once issued, the spouse would be able to travel to the United States to be with the United States citizen petitioner, while awaiting approval of the immigrant visa petition through which the non-citizen spouse will apply for permanent residency.

U.S. citizen spouse's children can come to the United States on nonimmigrant visas (K-4 visas), and wait in the United States to complete the immigration process. Before a K-4 visa can be issued to a child, the parent must have a K-3 visa. The K visas are issued to two groups of people: 1) U.S. citizens' fiancé(e) who are outside the U.S. (for K-1 visas), and 2) U.S. citizens' spouses who are outside the U.S. (for K-3 visas).

A K-1 visa is for the purpose of admitting an alien fiancé(e) of a U.S. Citizen, while a K-3 visa is for the purpose of admitting the alien spouse of a U.S. citizen for whom a family-based immigrant petition is pending. The K-1 visa for alien fiancé(e) of U.S. citizens has been available for many years, but the K-3 visa has only been available since December 21, 2000. Since that time, the USCIS has not created a new form for “Petition for Alien Spouse”, but has just used the “Petition for Alien Fiancé” Form (I-130 Form) to adjudicate these requests.

The K-3 Visa is for Spouse of a United States Citizen. The purpose of the K-3 visa is to promote family reunion and serves as a temporary remedy for the long delayed family based immigration petition process. It allows the alien spouse to stay in the U.S. while waiting for the result of the pending immigration petition. The alien spouse may obtain work authorization during the waiting period.

K-3 visa offers an opportunity for a spouse of a United States citizen to travel to the United States, so that the family can be together in the United States during the commonly lengthy wait for the USCIS to process the "immediate relative" immigrant visa petition. Once issued, the spouse would be able to travel to the United States to be with the United States citizen petitioner, while awaiting approval of the immigrant visa petition through which the non-citizen spouse will apply for permanent residency.
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The Requirements of Applying for a K-3 Visa, and Applying for Work Authorization

The K-3 visa is specifically intended for use by U.S. citizens who are sponsoring their foreign national spouse for immigration application. It was created to address the long processing time for immigration visa at the USCIS. The K-3 visa is therefore actually a "non-immigration" visa, meaning that receipt of a K-3 visa does not result in the spouse becoming a legal U.S. permanent resident immediately upon their arrival in the U.S.

K-3 visas are issued to U.S. citizens' spouses who are outside the U.S. The minor children of such spouses who will accompany them to enter into the U.S. may apply for a K-4 visa. The requirements of the K-3 visa include: 1) The alien spouse of U.S. citizen must be outside the U.S.; 2) An immigrant petition (Form I-130) for the benefit of the spouse must have been filed when the I-129F (K visa petition) is filed; 3) The U.S. citizen spouse must file an I-129F petition (K visa petition) with the USCIS and have it approved; 4) If the marriage occurred outside the U.S., the K visa must be issued by the U.S. consulate in the country where the marriage occurred. 5) The child must be outside the U.S. and will accompany K-3 visa applicant or holder to come to the U.S., and the child must be unmarried and under 21 years old.

The K-3 process requires that the petitioner file Form I-130 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative), as well as Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé/Fiancée). The Form I-129F should be filed after Form I-130 has been received by USCIS. The Immigrant Visa Unit at U.S. embassy or consulate will process the application for the K visa. Regarding the appointment date of the visa interview, the alien spouse should prepare for that appointment, and obtain the documents required for the visa application.

The minor children of spouses who will accompany them to enter into the U.S. may apply for a K-4 visa, and wait in the United States to complete the immigration process. Before a K-4 visa can be issued to a child, the parent must have a K-3 visa. A K-4 visa is a version of the K-3 visa for unmarried children under the age of 21. Before a K-4 visa can be issued to a child, the parent must have a K-3 visa or be in K-3 status.
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The Benefits and Limitations of K-3 Visa, and Children Who Are about to Reach 21 Years Old

Backlogs on adjudicating immigrant visa applications filed by United States citizens for their immediate relatives can exceed a year and half at the USCIS Service Centers. The K-3 visa, intended to improve the speed with which a family can be united in the United States, can substantially shorten that lengthy waiting period for U.S. citizen spouses to enter the U.S.

Once admitted to the United States, the spouse issued K-3 visa will be eligible to adjust status to permanent residency. This is a significant benefit because of enhanced procedural safeguards available to persons who adjust to permanent resident status, in contrast to persons who must apply for immigrant visas abroad.

Additionally, upon entry, the K-3 visa holder will be eligible to work in the United States. If the United States citizen petitioner is low-income and unable to meet the minimal income level necessary to submit the I-864 Affidavit of Support form that is required before a non-citizen can be approved for residency, then the K visa holder's ability to work is a great advantage, because when calculating income, the United States petitioner can include the non-citizen beneficiary's income if the petitioner and the beneficiary have lived together for six months.

The USCIS only admits K-3 spouses for a two-year period. The USCIS may grant extensions of K-3 visas in two-year increments if the marriage-based I-130 visa petition, the adjustment of status application, or the immigrant visa petition is still awaiting adjudication.

Also, the law does not allow non-immigrant aliens to change to "K-3/K-4" status while they are in the U.S. It is solely available to those outside the U.S. for the purpose of family reunification with the U.S. citizens. Further more, K-3/K-4 visa holders may not change to any other non-immigrant status while they are in the U.S. If a person is temporarily barred from entering into the U.S. for previous violation of U.S. immigration law, she or he cannot use K-3 visa to enter into the U.S.
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The Procedure at the National Visa Center to Process the K-3 Cases, and Concerns of K-3 Visa Application

The purpose of the K-3 visa category was used to provide a faster avenue for the immigration of spouses of U.S. citizens, if the foreign national resided abroad. The K-3 visa application requires both Form I-130 and Form I-129F filing. The K-3 nonimmigrant petition for the spouse of a U.S. citizen must be preceded by the filing of the I-130 immediate relative petition. There is no need to wait for a decision on the I-130 to file Form I-129F, it must simply be filed. The K-3 case is filed using Form I-129F, as is the K-1 for fiancé/fiancée.

Prior to the creation of the K-3 category, the only option was the I-130 petition for immediate relative. The processing times for I-130s, combined with the waiting times for interviews at the consulates, often left couples separated for more than a year. The K-3 processing with Form I-129F was supposed to be much faster than the I-130 approval, and thus, was an attractive option for many couples in this situation, and the U.S. citizen's spouse can wait for the Form I-130 result inside the United States.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has issued a notice regarding a change in processing procedures for K-3 visa cases. K-3 cases are filed for spouses of U.S. citizens. Now if both the K-3 visa petition approval (Form I-129F) and required immigrant visa petition approval (Form I-130) are transmitted from USCIS to the National Visa Center (NVC), then the K-3 process will be discontinued by NVC. The NVC will process the I-130 immediate relative petition only, so that the foreign national spouse will be able to enter the United States on an immigrant visa (Green Card status), instead of the K-3 nonimmigrant visa. The stated reason is that the availability and need for the K-3 nonimmigrant visa ends if the I-130 petition has been approved.

The K-3 case will end at the NVC if the required I-130 approval by USCIS has reached the NVC. That is, if the USCIS approves and transmits the Form I-130 to the NVC in advance of or at the same time of the I-129F K-3 petition approval, then the NVC will terminate the processing of the K-3 case. The NVC will proceed with the I-130 immediate relative case.

After processing at the NVC, the case will be forwarded to the appropriate consulate for an interview. If the interview goes well, the spouse will be approved as an immediate relative after obtaining the immigrant visa stamp at the U.S. consulate abroad. The spouse then may enter the United States using the immigrant visa, and be admitted as a lawful permanent resident to the U.S. This change in procedure makes the K-3 a less attractive in some cases. Of course, this depends upon the speed at which I-130 petitions are processed in this type of case at the USCIS.  
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Frequently Asked Questions of K-3 Visa and K-4 Visa Application and Other Related Issues

Understand the K-3 visa and K-4 visa application requirements and necessary evidence from the Frequent Asked Questions, U.S. Citizen's spouse K-3 visa application processes, immigrant visa procedures, K-3 visa process and processing criteria, the supporting documents form U.S. Citizen and alien spouse, and our Complete Do-It-Yourself K-3 Visa Package. => .......... 

Our Help Desk's Answers for Questions of K-3/K-4 Visa Application and Related Issues

Answers for questions of K-3/K-4 visa application and related issues by our Help Desk, including K-1/K-2 Visa application, K-1 requirements and supporting documents, and Green Card application for K-1 visa spouse. => .......... 

Complete Do-It-Yourself Package of K-3/ K-4 Visa Application for U.S. Citizen's Spouse

To help a U.S. citizen's spouse (husband or wife) to immigrate to United States, we provide a high quality and case-proven "Complete Do-It-Yourself Package of K-3/ K-4 Visa Application for U.S. Citizen's Spouse." This package includes instructions of both Form I-130 and Form I-129F for an alien spouse's immigration petition and K-3/ K-4 visa application.

We let you know the required application documents, evidence, procedures, samples of petition cover letter, and samples of required forms. We also provide detailed explanation of visa application and interview process.
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