Purpose of K-3 Visas for Spouses of U.S. Citizens
The K-3 visa allows the foreign-born spouse of a United States citizen who has a Form I-130, Petition for Alien, filed on his or her behalf to travel to the United States prior to approval of the Form I-130. According to United States immigration laws, a spouse is defined as a legally wedded husband or wife. A cohabiting partner does not qualify for a K-3 visa.
To qualify for a K-3 visa, a person must:
- Have a valid marriage to a United States citizen;
- Have a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative filed on his or her behalf; and
- Meet the other requirements to be admitted as an immigrant to the United States.
In addition to residing in the United States while awaiting approval of their immigrant visa petitions, K-3 visa holders may study and work in the United States and travel outside the United States for short trips and return.
K-3 visas are issued for two years. An extension of stay for an additional two years will be granted if the Form I-130 or adjustment of status application is pending.
K-3 visa holders are not allowed to change their status to another nonimmigrant classification.
Applying for a K-3 visa for Spouse of U.S. Citizen
First, the United States citizen spouse must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once USCIS receives the petition, it will send the United States citizen spouse a receipt notice on Form I-797, Notice of Action. The receipt notice serves as proof that USCIS has received the petition.
Next, the United States citizen spouse must file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé with USCIS. A copy of the receipt notice for the already filed Form I-130 should be included with the Form I-129F.
After USCIS approves the Form I-129F, the petition is forwarded to the National Visa Center. The National Visa Center sends the petition to the United States embassy or consulate in the country where the marriage took place. If the marriage took place in the United States, the petition will be forwarded to the United States embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over the foreign-born spouse.
The United States embassy or consulate will send the foreign-born spouse an appointment packet for the K-3 visa. The packet will include the date and time for the fiancé must appear for an interview, what documents to bring to the interview, and explain the procedure for the medical exam, which is required for all K-3 visa applicants.
Children of K-3 Visa Holders
Unmarried children under twenty-one years of age of K-3s are eligible to apply for a K-4 visa, which will allow them to accompany their parents to the United States. When completing the Form I-129F, the United States citizen spouse should make sure to list all children. Failing to list the children of the K-3 could make it difficult for them to prove their relationship to the K-3, and thus, difficult for them to obtain their K-4 visas.
Although a separate Form I-130 need not be filed for children of K-3s in order for them to obtain their K-4 visas to travel to the United States, once in the United States, separate Form I-130s will need to be filed for each child for the child to qualify for adjustment of status to permanent residency.
Termination of K-3 Visa Status
K-3 and K-4 visa holders will have their status automatically terminated 30 days after the following of:
- Denial or revocation of Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative;
- Denial or revocation of Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
- The K-3’s divorce from the United States citizen;
- The K-4’s marriage; or
- Expiration of the visa without requesting an extension of stay.