Spouse of US Citizen K-3 Visa
The K-3 nonimmigrant visa is for the foreign-citizen spouse of a United States (U.S.) citizen. This visa category is intended to shorten the physical separation between the foreign-citizen and U.S. citizen spouses by having the option to obtain a nonimmigrant K-3 visa overseas and enter the United States to await approval of the immigrant visa petition.
K-3 visa recipients subsequently apply to adjust status to a permanent resident (LPR) with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) upon approval of the petition.
Because the spouse of a U.S. citizen applying for a nonimmigrant K-3 visa must have an immigrant visa petition filed on his or her behalf by his or her U.S. citizen spouse and pending approval, a K-3 applicant must meet some of the requirements of an immigrant visa.
It should be noted that under U.S. immigration law, a foreign citizen who marries a U.S. citizen outside the U.S. must apply for the K-3 visa in the country where the marriage took place.
Eligible children of K-3 visa applicants receive K-4 visas. Both K-3 and the K-4 visas allow their recipients to stay in the U.S. while immigrant visa petitions are pending approval by USCIS.
What is a spouse?
- A spouse is a legally wedded husband or wife.
- Merely living together does not qualify a marriage for immigration.
- Common-law spouses may qualify as spouses for immigration purposes depending on the laws of the country where the common-law marriage occurs.
- In cases of polygamy, only the first spouse may qualify as a spouse for immigration.
- Same-sex marriages are now recognized by immigration law for the purpose of immigrating to the U.S.
- The U.S. citizen sponsor must first file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that serves the area where the U.S. Citizen lives.
- The U.S. Citizen spouse must then file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance, for your foreign-citizen spouse and stepchildren.
After USCIS approves the petitions, they will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing.
- If the NVC receives the approved I-129F petition before it receives the I-130 petition, the NVC will process the I-129F petition. NVC will then send the I-129F petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where the marriage took place.
- If the marriage took place in the United States, the NVC will send the petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that issues visas in the foreign-citizen spouses country of nationality.
- If the marriage took place in a country that does not have a U.S. Embassy, or the Embassy or Consulate does not issue visas, the NVC will send the petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that normally processes visas for citizens of that country.
The U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the foreign-citizen spouse will apply will provide him/her with specific instructions, including, where to go for the required medical examination. The foreign citizen spouse will then be called for an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to determine if he/she is eligible to receive the K-3 visa.
Receiving a Social Security Number
In order to receive your social security number, K3/K4 visa holders have to obtain employment authorization documents (EADs) prior. To receive this authorization complete Form I-765 along with an I-485 Adjustment of Status petition.
When you’re ready to do so, take your marriage certificate to the social security office in order to receive your card with the correct last name. A K3 visa lawyer can walk you through the process step-by-step.
Benefits of K3 Visa
There are three distinct advantages of securing a K3 visa over other visa petitions. The first benefit is that waiting period is typically shorter in relation to other marriage petitions. The second benefit is you are able to file for a work permit which is a significant factor for many immigrants. Also, you can bring children under the age of 21 along with you to the United States of a K4 dependent visa.
K3 Visa Frequently Asked Questions
Take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions our K3 visa lawyer receives.
Q. What are the main requirements for a K3 visa?
The main requirements to be eligible for a K3 visa are that you be legally married to a citizen, have the I-130 petition filed by your spouse (U.S. citizen) on your behalf, and seeking to enter the country in await of a green card petition. If you believe you meet these three criteria, contact a qualified K3 visa lawyer or attorney.
Q. What is the K3 visa processing time?
K3 visa processing time varies from case to case although on average USCIS takes 3-5 months to process plus an additional 2-3 months at the Consulate.
Q. What is the maximum duration you can stay on a K3 visa?
K3 spouses can stay up to 2 years initially or until I-130 has been approved and they can apply for green cards. If for whatever reason USCIS has not approved the I-130 yet, then you are permitted to file extensions.
Q. Can you study or work on a K3 visa?
You are permitted to study and work on a K3 visa by applying for an employment authorization document (EAD) visa Form I-765.
K1 vs K3 Visa
Debating between a K1 or K3 visa? Check out this post to learn the differences.
How A K3 Visa Lawyer Can Help
The K3 visa attorneys at SGM Law Group will be happy to assist you with navigating the process of obtaining a K-3 visa for your foreign citizen fiance. We will prepare and file all the necessary forms with supporting documentation and guide you every step of the way. For additional information on the K3 visa timeline or to learn about our comprehensive immigration consultations, contact us by email at [email protected] or call us at 877-811-3541.