The K-3 visa is for the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen. It was designed to shorten the physical separation between the foreign national and his or her U.S. citizen spouse. Specifically, it allows foreign nationals to 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 (green card holder) so that he or she may live permanently in the U.S. with their spouse.
However, for most applicants, the K-3 visa isn’t worth it. In 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued only five K-3 visas. Since the K-3 visa processing can take a while, it sometimes takes just as long as it would to directly get your marriage green card.
Suppose you and your spouse are already married with a pending Form I-130. In that case, you should probably directly apply for a green card via consular processing, which takes the same time. Once you arrive in the United States with an approved green card, you can work immediately as a permanent resident without having to file additional applications.
Other Types of US Spouse visas
Depending on the couple’s situation, there are different types of spousal visas for the US. Which one fits your family better depends on the requirements and whether you can fulfill them. The visas below are the US spouse visas:
⦁ K3 Visa – Spouse of a US Citizen awaiting approval of an I-130 immigrant petition
⦁ Conditional Resident (CR-1) Visa (Green Card) – means that you have been married for less than 2 years, so you must maintain conditional status for 2 years. This prevents marriages from happening only for obtaining permanent residence in the US.
⦁ Immediate Relative (IR-1) Visa (Green Card) – after you have been married for 2 years, you will gain permanent status without the conditions of the CR-1 visa.
Who is eligible for a K3 Spouse Visa?
If you are a foreign national married to a US citizen, you might be eligible for a K3 Spouse Visa if you meet the following requirements:
⦁ You and your US partner are officially married
⦁ You meet the requirements outlined by the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005
⦁ Your US spouse is able to support you financially after you join them in the US
⦁ Your US spouse filed a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative for you
⦁ You intend to enter the US to await the approval of Form I-130.
Both heterosexual and homosexual couples can apply for the K3 Spouse Visa. In addition to these requirements, you also need to meet the general entry requirements. These include not having an extensive criminal record and not having previously violated the conditions of your US visa.
How to apply for the K3 Visa?
If you want to apply for the K3 Visa, you have to complete the following steps:
⦁ Your spouse, who is a US citizen, has to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on your behalf. To do so, they will need to submit proof of their US citizenship and a marriage certificate or another document proving that your marriage is authentic. As a foreign citizen, you will also need to include a birth certificate and a copy of a valid passport.
⦁ Then, after receiving a receipt notice for the first form, your US spouse also has to file Form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). Again they will need to provide evidence of their US citizenship and a legal marriage certificate. If the foreign spouse has previously been to the US, you will also need to include Form I-94.
⦁ After receiving the approval of Form I-129F, you have to submit Form DS-160 electronically. To do so, you must create a user account on the US Department of State website. Once you have submitted it, retain the barcode shown on the confirmation page.
⦁ After successfully submitting all the Forms, you have to pay the visa processing fee. You can do it online or during the interview at a US Embassy or Consulate.
⦁ Then you have to schedule an interview at a US Embassy or Consulate in your home country, prepare for it and attend it. While waiting for your interview appointment, you must undergo a medical examination and get all the required vaccinations. These differ depending on where you are coming from, so make sure to check country-specific information.
What is the processing time of the K3 Spouse Visa?
Obtaining a K3 Spouse Visa can be a lengthy process. After you submit Form I-129F, USCIS will issue the receipt notice for it. The receipt indicates that your petition has been received, and your visa application has been processed. The processing of the K3 Spouse Visa can take 6 to 9 months at minimum. As for the interview, it usually takes 4 to 6 weeks, at minimum, to receive the date for the interview.
How to prepare for the K3 Spouse Visa interview?
When preparing for your K3 Spouse Visa interview, make sure to gather the following documentation:
⦁ An original birth certificate
⦁ The confirmation page shows that you have submitted the DS-160 Form
⦁ Your valid foreign passport
⦁ The confirmation proving that you have attended the medical examination
⦁ Two colored passport size photographs
⦁ Evidence showing that any prior marriages have been officially terminated (if applicable).
Your spouse doesn’t need to accompany you during the interview. The goal of the appointment is to ensure that the visa is granted to you for legitimate reasons and that your marriage is authentic. There is no specific list of K3 Spouse Visa interview questions, but you are likely to be asked questions about your background and relationship with the US citizen. You might also have to answer questions about how you see the future in the US with your partner.
After the interview, you can expect to receive the decision on the same day or within a few days. Once you receive the formal approval of your K3 Spouse Visa, you can start preparing for your journey to the US.
How long is the K3 Spouse Visa valid for?
If the K3 Spousal Visa is granted, you will be allowed to enter the US and stay there for two years. During this period, you will be able to leave and re-enter the US as many times as you want. Nevertheless, during these two years, you will not be eligible for any other non-immigrant visa.
It is possible to receive a K3 Spouse Visa extension. If you want to apply for one, you must submit Form I-539 to USCIS. If your extension application is successful, you will get the chance to stay in the US for an additional two years. Nevertheless, if you get divorced during this time, your K3 Visa will be revoked.
Getting a K-3 visa can be complicated, but working with a good immigration attorney like myself can make it easier. If you are opting to apply for a green card directly and don’t want to handle your case alone, my team and I may be able to help.
I hope you found this video helpful. Subscribe if this content or information helps you in any way, schedule a consultation if you have specific questions, comment below if you want me to talk about something in specific, and share this resource because you never know who needs answers to these questions. I’ll see you in the next video.