The K-3 non-immigrant visa is available for foreign-citizen spouses of United States citizens. The K-3 visa allows for the applicant to have a travel visa granted in their home country. While waiting for approval of an immigrant visa, the K-3 holder may enter the United States to unify with their spouse. This means that foreign citizens who are legally married to U.S. citizens may reside with their spouse while waiting for the paperwork for their immigrant visa petition to be approved.
K-3 holders will need to apply for permanent resident status during the time that their visa is approved for. The Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulate this application process.
K-3 Visa Requirements
K-3 non-immigrant visas require the partner who is the U.S. citizen to file an immigrant visa application for their foreign spouse. This requires that the foreign applicant meets the requirements of an immigrant visa. Likewise, U.S. immigration laws state that K-3 visas must be applied for in the country where the couple was married. Just like the K-1 Visas and K-2 visas, K-3 has a separate visa for children of the parent applying for the K-3 visa. They are given the K-4 visa. The K-4 visa allows the holder to reside in the U.S. while their immigrant visa petition is processed.
Spouses, who are legally defined as a wedded husband or wife, must be legally married and not just cohabitate in order to qualify for a K-3 visa. Common-law spouses may be granted the same status as legal spouses. This means that they may live anywhere in the country where the common-law marriage was established. In polygamous marriages, or arrangements where an individual has multiple spouses, only the first spouse of the U.S. citizen is eligible for immigration. Same sex marriage laws also allows for couples of the same sex to be eligible for the K-3 visa program.
Non-immigrant visa holders must secure employment authorization documents (EADs) before they can receive an SSN. Form I-765 is the form that is required to begin the process. Full completion of the form, along with the I-485 Adjustment of Status petition, are needed for the EADs to be granted. The K-3 visa holder will take their marriage certificate to the social security office when the two forms are in compliance.
The K-3 visa holder will then obtain a card with their married name and their brand new SSN. It is helpful to consult with immigration attorneys during this process.
K-3 Visa Benefits
The K-3 visa takes considerably less longer to obtains than most other visas. Most couples benefit from shorter waiting periods, and the K-3 visa was designed to keep couples in unity during the immigrant visa application process. K-3 visa applicants may also obtain work permits so they can legally work in the U.S. In addition, the K-4 visa option is available for any dependents of the K-3 holder who are under 21 and not legally married.
Additional K-3 Visa Information
Here is some additional and helpful information regarding K-3 visas:
- Applicant Requirements: The K-3 applicant must be legally married to a citizen of the United States. Their citizen spouse must file an I-130 form on behalf of the foreign spouse. The foreign spouse must enter the U.S. with the intention of filing for permanent residence.
- Process Timeline: K-3 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 K-3 Visa: The K-3 visa holder is granted up to two years of legal residence in the United States. The allotted time may be longer if it takes more than 2 years for the I-130 to be approved. When approved, the green card application process may take place.
- Additional Work or Study Form: The EAD form I-765 allows the K-3 visa holder the ability to work at any office in the U.S. or study at any accredited U.S. institution when approved by the USCIS.
Contact an Immigration Attorney For a Consultation Today
If you intend to pursue a K-3 and/or K-4 visa, the immigration attorneys at Johnson & Masumi are glad to help assist you throughout the entire visa application process. Our attorneys will help file forms for U.S. citizens and their foreign-citizen spouses. We can even assist you during your immigrant visa petition while your are in possession of a K-3 or K-4 visa. Call or contact Johnson & Masumi right away.