What Is A K3 Visa?

The K3 visa allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States with temporary legal status while waiting to obtain permanent residence with a green card. This enables foreign nationals who are already legally married to U.S. citizens to reside with their spouse while waiting for approval of their immigrant visa petition (green card). Like any visa, there are many requirements for the K3 visa, including fees, documents and guidelines for filing. Read more about the K3 visa eligibility requirements and processing below and learn how you can be a professional Johnson & Masumi immigration lawyer can assist you.

K3 Visa Eligibility

immigrant reviewing their k3 eligibility requirementsThe K3 visa is designed for couples who were married outside the United States, and is available to foreign spouses who are a) legally married, b)who’s U.S. citizen spouse currently resides in the United States, and who also meets certain income requirements. More specifically, their citizen spouse must be at least 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (so they can qualify as a financial sponsor for their spouse) based on their most recent tax returns. If the applicant has biological or adopted children who will travel alongside them to the United States via a separate K-4 Visa, they must also be unmarried and under the age of 21.

K3 Visa Processing

K3 visa processing is a three-phase process that takes, on average, about 6–9 months. Read about each phase below:

Phase One: Form I-130

The first phase begins when the U.S. citizen spouse files the Form I-130 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative) which services as a family-based immigration request to begin the K3 process. The Form I-130 costs $535 and requires specific eligibility requirements, mainly to provide evidence that proves the authenticity of the relationship.

Phase Two: Form I-129F

After the Form I-130 is processed, the U.S. citizen spouse will also have to file a Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé) to petition their foreign spouse’s right to become a permanent resident in the United States. Form I-129 costs $460 and requires several attached documents including the U.S. citizen spouse’s passport, birth certificate (or certificate of naturalization), proof of citizenship (in their respective country), spouse’s passport, and legal marriage certificate, among other documents.

Phase Three: Form DS-160 & Visa Interview

immigrant spouse attending her visa interview30 days after the USCIS approves the Form I-129F, the foreign national spouse will receive communication from their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate with regard to the day and time of their scheduled visa interview. They will then need to file a green card application (for permanent residence in the U.S.) with the State Department using the Form DS-160 online, pay the visa filing fee ($265) and provide other necessary documents at their interview.

After passing their visa interview and application has been approved, the new visa holder (foreign spouse) can then legally travel to and permanently reside in the United States to meet with their U.S. citizen spouse.

Additional Information

Here is some additional and helpful information regarding K3 visas:

expat couple embracing after the immigrant spouse receives her k-3 visa

  • Residence Requirement: The foreign spouse must enter the U.S. with the intention of filing for permanent residence via green card and residing there with their United States citizen spouse.
  • Processing Timeline: K3 visa applications can take approximately 3-5 months after the USCIS has received the paperwork. In addition, the consulate may require 2-3 months to process the paperwork and make sure it is in compliance.
  • Time Allowed Under K3 Visa: If the visa holder does not apply for a green card (Form I-160) immediately following their visa interview, they will be granted up to two years of legal residence in the United States. If the visa holder does not acquire a green card by their visa cut off date, they can be at risk of acquiring unlawful presence, which can lead to potential ‘bars’ on their ability to lawfully reside in the United States in the future.
  • Additional Work or Study Form: Foreign spouses who wish to work or study in the United States while on a K3 Visa may also complete the EAD Form I-765. If approved, this application allows the K3 visa holder the ability to work at any office in the U.S. or study at any accredited U.S. institution approved by the USCIS.

Work With A Professional Johnson & Masumi Immigration Lawyer

At Johnson & Masumi, we are proud to offer our clients comprehensive assistance with all of their visa application needs. Our experienced immigration lawyers will meet with you individually to discuss document requirement and filing guidelines, as well as answer all of your questions or concerns. Moreover, they will carefully review all of your application materials and ensure that you are 100% on track to receive your visa. Contact our professional immigration lawyers today for more information or to get started on securing your K3 visa!

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