Applying For The K-3 Spouse Visa
To obtain a K-3 nonimmigrant visa for his or her foreign national spouse, the U.S. citizen must file two petitions on behalf of their foreign national spouse with USCIS, first Form I-130, and second Form I-129F.
STEP 1: File The I-130 Petition
The U.S. citizen spouse must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of his or her foreign national spouse. The petition is filed with the USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction over his or her place of residence. The U.S. citizen will then receive a Form I-797, Notice of Action, indicating that USCIS has received the Form I-130.
A. Supporting Documents And Forms To Be Submitted Along With The I-130 Petition
The U.S. citizen filing the petition must include the following items with the petition submitted to the USCIS:
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
- Evidence of U.S. citizenship, including, but not limited to, a copy of the U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization, or Certificate of Citizenship
- Two Form G-325A, Biographic Data Sheets, one each for the U.S. citizen and the foreign national spouse
- Copy of the biographic page(s) of the international Passport of the foreign national spouse. If an immigrating child is included in the parent’s passport include a photocopy of the biographic page of the passport as well as the page with information about the immigrating child
- Marriage certificate
- Copy of the foreign national spouse’s birth certificate
- One color passport-size photo of the U.S. citizen and one of the foreign national spouse taken within 30 days of filing
NOTE: Photos must meet passport photo requirements.
- Documents confirming the relationship: photos of U.S. citizen petitioner and foreign national beneficiary together as well as with family/friends, letters to each other, phone bills, airplane tickets, emails, statement of how, when and where U.S. citizen and foreign national spouse met, etc.
- A copy of any divorce decree(s), death certificate(s), or annulment decree(s) if either the U.S. citizen or foreign national spouse have been previously married
B. Validity of The Petition
Unless terminated or revoked, an approved immediate relative petition remains valid for the duration of the marriage between the U.S. citizen and foreign national spouses.
C. Revocation of The Petition
We thoroughly review your circumstances, select appropriate visa and submit an accurate application to the necessary Government Agencies.
1. Automatic Revocation: An approved I-130 immediate relative petition is considered automatically revoked as of the date of approval if:
a. Filing fees are not paid within 14 days of notice of a returned check
b. The U.S. citizen spouse (Petitioner) provides written notice of withdrawal of the I-130 petition to USCIS before the foreign national spouse (beneficiary) enters the U.S. with an immigrant visa or USCIS approves the beneficiary’s Adjustment of Status application
c. The beneficiary dies before entering the U.S. with an immigrant visa or USCIS approves the beneficiary’s Adjustment of Status application
d. There is a legal termination of the marriage between the petitioner and beneficiary before entering the U.S. with an immigrant visa or USCIS approves the beneficiary’s Adjustment of Status application
2. Revocation by Notice: USCIS may revoke the approval of an I-130 petition upon notice to the Petitioner based on any ground other than those specified above provided there is “good and sufficient cause” for the revocation.
D. Processing Time
The K-3 visa processing time varies with each individual’s circumstances. Once processing is completed by the USCIS, the approved petition is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will then send the petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where the marriage took place, which will process the K-3 visa. Under normal circumstances, it takes around 3 to 5 months at the USCIS plus 2 to 3 months at the consulates to process the K-3 visa.
STEP 2: File The I-129F Petition
After receiving the Form I-797, Receipt Notice, for the Form I-130, the U.S. citizen spouse must file I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) and include a copy of the I-797, on behalf of the foreign national spouse and any minor unmarried children of the foreign national spouse. The Form I-129F is submitted to the USCIS Service Center where the underlying Form I-130 petition is pending. There is no fee when filing a Form I-129F for a non-citizen spouse (K-3).
NOTE: Form I-129F and Form I-130 have to be filed with the USCIS. They cannot be filed at an embassy, consulate or U.S. immigration office abroad.
Click here to read the list of documents and forms to be submitted along with the I-129F petition.
STEP 3: Follow Instructions From National Visa Center (NVC)
If approved, USCIS will forward the Form I-129F to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC sends the petition to the embassy or consulate in the country where the marriage took place.
NOTE: If the marriage took place in a country that does not have an American embassy, or the embassy does not issue visas, the NVC sends the petition to the embassy or consulate that normally processes visas for citizens of that country.
STEP 4: Interview At US Consulate Abroad
The embassy or consulate where the spouse of a U.S. citizen will apply for a K-3 spouse visa must be in the country where the marriage took place. The embassy or consulate will inform the foreign national spouse whether any additional documents or information is needed, and will advise the foreign national spouse where to go for the required medical examination. During the interview process, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be taken. Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer.
A. Checklist – List of Documents For K-3 Interview
- Biographical Form DS-230 filled out in English (part 1 and part 2). A separate form must be filled out for immigrating child over 16 years of age
- Two completed Nonimmigrant Visa Application Forms DS-156. A separate Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-156 must be filled out for each immigrating child
- Completed Supplement Form DS-156K
- International Passport. If an immigrating child(ren) is included in the parent’s passport include a photocopy of the first page and the page with information about immigrating child
- Original birth certificate
- Evidence of termination of prior marriage(s) (if applicable), original, photocopy and translation into English)
- Police clearance certificates
- Documents confirming relationship: photos of Petitioner and Beneficiary together, letters to each other, phone bills, airplane tickets, emails, statement of how, when and where U.S. citizen and foreign national spouse met, etc.
- Results of Medical Examination in a sealed envelope
- Two color non-glossy full-face photos 50×50 mm for visa. These should be passport style photos with the eye level between 28mm and 35mm from the bottom. Another two photos will be required for the medical examination. Photos should be cut apart and signed on the back with the full name
- Visa application fee of $350 for each applicant
- Form I-134, Affidavit of Support.NOTE # 1: The consular officer may ask for additional information according to the circumstances of the case. Documents in foreign languages should be translated.
NOTE # 2: Take clear, legible photocopies of civil documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, to the interview. Original documents will be returned to the applicant.
B. Affidavit of Support
In order to petition the foreign national for K-3 spouse visa, the U.S. citizen spouse has to have sufficient income to be a financial sponsor for the foreign national spouse. This is to assure that the foreign national spouse does not become a “public charge.” The U.S. citizen spouse has to file form I-134, Affidavit of Support, for his or her foreign national spouse.
NOTE: If the petitioner (U.S. citizen spouse) is not able to meet the requirements, a co-sponsor or joint-sponsor is permitted.
C. Duration of Stay on K-3 Visa
The K-3 visa allows the spouse of U.S. citizen to stay in the U.S. for a period of 2 years.
NOTE: The K-3 visa essentially allows the spouse of U.S. citizen to stay in the U.S. while he or she waits for the approval of the Form I-130 and is able to apply for lawful permanent residence status (adjustment of status), or for a green card, instead of having to wait outside the U.S. as the law previously required.
D. Extension of Stay on K-3 Visa
Unlike K-1 visa holders, K-3 visa holders are allowed to apply for an extension of stay to extend their K-3 status. If the spouse of U.S. citizen entered the U.S. on K-3 visa and wishes to extend the period of stay in the U.S., then he or she should apply for extension of stay, on Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. To be approvable, the extension of stay request must show that the Form I-130 has not been approved, or that the foreign national spouse has filed an application for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status.
NOTE: Application to extend K-3 visa must be filed 120 days prior to the expiration of the authorized stay.
E. Change of Status From K-3 Visa
The spouse of U.S. citizen is not be permitted to change status from K-3 or K-4 to any other nonimmigrant visa category.
F. Working on K-3 Visa
To be able to accept employment in the U.S., the spouse of the U.S. citizen must first obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The spouse of the U.S. citizen should file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the USCIS that serves the area where he or she lives.
NOTE: If the spouse of a U.S. citizen has filed an application for adjustment of status, he or she may apply for an employment authorization on the basis of that pending AOS application even if the K-3 status expires.
G. Travel Authorization
A K-3 visa holder can travel in and out of the U.S. freely! He or she may travel outside the United States and return using his or her K-3 nonimmigrant visa. The only time advance parole is necessary is if the K-3 nonimmigrant status has expired and the applicant has an adjustment of status application that remains pending.
H. Termination of Status
The K-3 status of a foreign national spouse will be terminated 30 days after any of the following:
1. The denial or revocation of the Form I-130 filed for the foreign national spouse
2. The denial or revocation of the immigrant visa application filed by the foreign national spouse
3. The denial or revocation of the application for adjustment of status filed by the foreign national spouse
4. The divorce from the U.S. citizen becomes final or
5. In the case of a K-4 child, the child marries
NOTE: For purposes of this section, there is no denial or revocation of a petition or application until the administrative appeal process applicable to that application or petition has been exhausted.
I. Adjustment of Status
The spouse of U.S. citizen may apply for adjustment of status to permanent residence at any time after his or her entry. The K-4 child(ren) of a foreign national spouse may also apply for adjustment of status, but the U.S. citizen step-parent must file a Form I-130 before or concurrently with the filing of the child(ren)’s Form I-485.
NOTE: If the marriage is less than two-years old, the spouse of U.S. citizen would first be granted a two-year conditional Green Card and at the end of two years, he or she would have to file additional paperwork for the conditions to be removed.
K-4 Visa For Dependents
The minor unmarried child(ren) of the foreign national spouse of U.S. citizen may receive a derivative K-4 visa. The U.S. citizen spouse does not need to file a separate immigrant petition (Form I-130) on the children’s behalf for them to obtain the K-4 nonimmigrant visa. A separate Form I-130, however, must be filed on the children’s behalf once they have entered the U.S. concurrently with the application to adjust child(ren)’s status to legal permanent resident.
The child of the K-3 applicant may apply for a K-4 visa if:
- He or she is the unmarried child under 21 years of age of a qualified K-3 visa applicant
- He or she is free to travel with the K-3 visa holder (i.e., there are no unresolved child custody issues and/or the other parent has given permission for the child to travel and reside abroad)
- He or she has completed a medical examination as per the instructions of the U.S. Consulate or Embassy
K-3 Marriage Visa Possible Problems
The following are some examples of situations that could lead to possible problems for both the foreign national spouse and the U.S. citizen during the K-3 marriage visa process:
A. The Foreign National Spouse and the U.S. Citizen Spouse Met Each Other through an International Marriage Broker
If the foreign national spouse and the U.S. citizen spouse met each other through the services of an international marriage broker, then the U.S. citizen must notify USCIS of that fact while completing the Form I-129F petition. The term “international marriage broker” means a corporation, partnership, business, individual, or other legal entity, whether or not organized under any law of the United States, that charges fees for providing dating, matrimonial, matchmaking services, or social referrals between United States citizens or nationals or aliens lawfully admitted to the United States as lawful permanent residents and foreign national clients by providing personal contact information or otherwise facilitating communication between individuals.
B. The U.S. Citizen Has Filed Multiple Petitions in the Past 2 Years
If the U.S. citizen who is filing the petition has had two spousal petitions approved, and if the subsequent petition is filed in less than 10 years after the date the first petition was filed, USCIS shall notify both the U.S. citizen petitioner and the foreign national beneficiary of any subsequent petition about the number of previously approved fiancée or spousal petitions.
C. The U.S. Citizen Has a Criminal Conviction
A U.S. citizen who has been convicted of a specified offense against any minor cannot petition for his or her foreign national spouse under the K-3 visa category, unless the Secretary of DHS, in her “unreviewable discretion” determines that the U.S. citizen poses no risk to the beneficiary of the petition. The rule defines a “specified offense against a minor” as an offense that involves any of the following:
1. an offense (unless committed by a parent or guardian) involving kidnapping
2. an offense (unless committed by a parent or guardian) involving false imprisonment
3. solicitation to engage in sexual conduct
4. use in a sexual performance
5. solicitation to practice prostitution
6. video voyeurism as described in 18 U.S.C. §1801
7. possession, production or distribution of child pornography
8. criminal sexual conduct involving a minor, or the use of the internet to facilitate or attempt such conduct or
9. any conduct that by its nature is a sex offense against a minor
D. If the Child Turns 21 Before Obtaining Immigrant Status
K-4 visa holders will be admitted to the United States for a period of 2 years or until the day before their 21st birthday, whichever is shorter. The K-4 nonimmigrant visa holder’s status will expire when he or she turns 21. If the K-4 nonimmigrant visa holder has a pending application for adjustment of status, he or she may continue to be eligible for adjustment of status under the Child Status Protection Act.
E. If the Child Marries Before Being Issued an Immigrant Visa
The K-4 nonimmigrant visa holder’s status automatically expires 30 days after he or she enters into a valid marriage, regardless of age.
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