What is the K-3 visa?
The K-3 nonimmigrant visa allows foreign spouses of United States citizens to travel to the U.S. while the Form I-130 immigrant visa petition is pending. It is intended to shorten the waiting time for spouses to be with each other.
Will my spouse have a green card immediately after arriving in the United States on the K-3 visa?
It depends. If the Form I-130 is processed before the Form I-129F, then the petition will turn into a CR-1 immigrant visa petition, and your foreign spouse will obtain an immigrant visa from a U.S. Embassy/Consulate abroad. Once s/he arrives in the U.S., s/he will be considered a Lawful Permanent Resident (“LPR”) (green card holder).
If, on the other hand, USCIS processes the I-129F before the Form I-130, then your foreign spouse will go to a U.S. Embassy/Consulate abroad to obtain the K-3 nonimmigrant visa. Once s/he arrives in the U.S., s/he must apply for Adjustment of Status (“AOS”) to LPR. As you can see, the processing of the forms is the key difference here.
Can my foreign spouse’s child(ren) come to the United States, too?
Yes. Children of a foreign spouse come to the U.S. on a “K-4 visa.”
What is the process for obtaining a K-3 visa?
The U.S. citizen petitioner first files Form I-130 with USCIS. This form is intended to prove that a bona fide marriage exists. Once the Notice of Receipt arrives indicating that USCIS has received the Form I-130, the U.S. citizen petitioner can file Form I-129F with USCIS along with the required supporting documentation and filing fee. This Form, although normally used for foreign fiancé(e)s, can also be used for spouses who wish to obtain a K-3 visa to come to the U.S. while the Form I-130 is still pending. Upon approval of the Form I-129F, your spouse can apply for the visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate abroad.
How long does the K-3 visa process take?
The wait times are constantly changing. To check the current estimated processing times, see the USCIS web site.
Will my spouse be able to work in the United States?
S/he can only begin working when her work authorization permit arrives. When this document arrives depends on if s/he came on a K-3 nonimmigrant visa or a CR-1 immigrant visa (see above).
Will my spouse be able to travel outside the U.S.?
Like the work authorization permit, the advance parole travel document’s arrival depends on whether s/he came to the U.S. as a K-3 nonimmigrant visa holder or as a CR-1 immigrant visa.
My spouse was found ineligible and was told to apply for a waiver—what do I do?
If your spouse was denied a visa but received a letter from the U.S. Department of State indicating that s/he is eligible for a hardship waiver, you should speak to an immigration attorney. There may be steps that can be taken to communicate with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate before undergoing the complicated and expensive process of applying for a hardship waiver.
How can I get more information regarding the K-3 visa?
Contact us by telephone at (206) 535-2900 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.