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

1. About the K-3 Visa

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. 

2. How to Bringing a U.S. Citizen's Spouse to the United States

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.

If you are an American citizen, you have two ways to bring your foreign spouse (husband or wife) to the United States to live. One way is through an immigrant visa for a spouse of a U.S. citizen: 

Step 1: File Form I-130 Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative at a USCIS Service Center;

Step 2: Alien Spouse waiting for Form I-130 petition approval outside U.S.;

Step 3: Once the I-130 petition is approved, the alien spouse should go for consular processing at a U.S. consulate in the spouse's home country, and get the immigrant visa.

Step 4: Coming to U.S. with the immigrant visa (Green Card).

Another way is through the non-immigrant visa for spouse. The K-3 Visa is a non-immigrant (temporary visiting) visa for a spouse of a U.S. citizen to come to the U.S., while his or her permanent immigrant visa application is still pending. The K-3 visa must be filed and the visa must be issued in the country where the marriage took place. After the visa process has been completed and the visa is issued, the spouse can travel to the United States to wait for the processing of the immigrant visa case.

Step 1: File Form I-130 Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative at a USCIS Service Center;

Step 2: File Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé/Fiancée) at a USCIS Service Center after I-130 filing;

Step 3: File for K-3 visa application at the alien spouse's nearest U.S. consulate ( unmarried children of spouse under 21 can get K4 visa), after Form I-129F approval.

Step 4: File for EAD (Employment Authorization Card), and waiting for Form I-130 petition approval inside U.S.;

Step 5: File for Form I-485 Adjustment of status after Form I-130 petition approval.

3. The K-3 Visa 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. 

The Legal Immigration Family Equity Act and its amendments (LIFE Act) established the K-3 nonimmigrant category within the immigration law that allows the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen to be admitted to the United States in a non-immigrant category. The K-3 visa allows the spouse or child to complete processing for permanent residence while in the United States. It also allows those admitted in the category to have permission for employment while they await processing of their case to U.S. permanent resident status. The K-3 spouse files for adjustment of status after entering the U.S., however the spouse has 2 years in which to do so. The K-3 visa is a 2-year multiple re-entry visa.

The K-3 process requires that the U.S. citizen files Form I-130 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative), as well as Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé/Fiancée). The I-129F filing must await the issuance of the Form I-130 receipt notice by the USCIS.

 As a U.S. citizen, to obtain an immigrant visa for your spouse, you must meet the following requirements:

1) You must be legally married. Merely living together does not qualify a marriage for immigration. Unmarried partners are ineligible to sponsor immigrant visas to the United Stated;

2) In most cases, you must have a residence in the U.S. to apply;

3) You must be 18 years old before you can sign the Affidavit of Support, which is a form that will be required later in the process.

4. The K-3 Visa Application Requires Form I-130 Filing 

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

Prior to the creation of the K-3 category, the only option was the Form 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 was supposed to be much faster than the I-130, and, thus, was an attractive option for many couples in this situation.

 

 

 

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