What is the Difference Between a K1 and K3 Visa?

newly weds finding out what is the difference between a k1 and k3 visaOf the “Fiancé Visas”, those visas specific to foreign nationals who are marrying a United States citizen, the K1 Visa allows a foreign national to live in the United States in order to marry a specific United States citizen. The United States citizen fiancé will sponsor the foreign national fiancé on this visa however, both the foreign national citizen fiancé and the United States citizen fiancé have requirements to meet in order to successfully obtain the K1 Visa.

Applying For The K1 Visa

Part of the process in applying for the K1 Visa is being able to establish the validity of the relationship. The couple must be able to demonstrate that they have known each other for a minimum of two years prior to the engagement. In countries where the culture does not allow for intended spouses to meet until the marriage ceremony, other considerations may have to be made. There will also have to be demonstrated, evidence that once married they will reside together as a married couple.

The United States citizen fiancé, who will be making application, will have to demonstrate the ability to financially support the foreign national fiancé and any children that may be part of that relationship.

K1 Visa Application Requirements

The foreign national fiancé must meet certain criteria prior to being given entry into the United States. Some of these requirements will include having passed a physical medical exam to determine a clean bill of health and ensure that any prior health issues have been resolved. There must be no prior criminal history or any record of having previously violated any immigration laws.

Both fiancés must be legally able to marry. They must be legally single or divorced as recognized by the United States and the originating country.

All of this information, in addition to being part of the application, will also be reviewed in the required interview. The U.S. citizen spouse is not required to attend this interview, and in some instances, may not be allowed to attend. A majority of the interview will be confirming the information provided on the application and determining that the intended marriage is legitimate.

After The K1 Visa Is Granted

woman happy after finding out the difference between a k1 and k3 visaThe K1 Visa is a single entry visa and is awarded for a temporary basis. Once the approval is given, the foreign national fiancé has six months in which to enter the United States, then he/she has 90 days, upon entering the country, to marry the fiancé who has made the application. Should the foreign national citizen decide to marry another United States citizen instead, a new application must be made by the intended United States citizen fiancé, the original no longer being valid.

The K3 Visa Application

The K3 Visa is applied for after the legally recognized marriage has taken place; it must be applied for in the country where the marriage occurred. Like the K1 Visa, this application is also made by the United States citizen and will be made on the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. For questions on whether your marriage is legally recognized, please consult with an immigration attorney at Johnson and Masumi.

The K3 Visa is also temporary but is granted for a period of two years. During these two years, the holder will be able to live in the United States as if he or she is a citizen. They may apply for a social security card, for a green card, or citizenship.

Unique Benefits Of The K3 Visa

One of the unique benefits of the K3 Visa is that it allows for multiple entries into the United States. Therefore, the holder may travel out of the country and back to the United States on the same visa multiple times. It is extremely important to be aware of the expiration date of the visa; if the expiration date will occur close to or during travel outside the United States, prior approval will be required.

Another benefit of the K3 Visa is that the holder is automatically eligible for employment and can apply for the Employment Authorization Document to begin working in the United States. While the K1 Visa holder may also apply for an Employment Authorization Document, it would only be valid for 90 days, commiserate with the K1 Visa.

The K3 Visa holder may also choose or pursue studies in the United States. With the K3 Visa, the holder may attend any accredited U.S. learning institution, approved by the USCIS.

Contact An Experienced Immigration Attorney

immigrant calling attorney after reading the difference between a k1 and k3 visaCoordinating with embassies and navigating government paperwork can seem daunting. If you have already made initial application and have concerns about the interview process, or if you are ready to begin your application process, consulting with an experienced immigration attorney at Johnson and Masumi can help avoid costly and time sensitive mistakes.

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