The K3 visa is a special non-immigrant visa available for foreign-citizen spouses of United States citizens. The K3 visa allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States with temporary legal status to unify with their spouse and wait to obtain permanent residence via a green card. This allows foreign citizens who are already legally married to U.S. citizens to reside with their spouse while awaiting their immigrant visa petition to be approved. As with any visa, the K3 visa has many requirements, including fees, documents, filing guidelines, and a lengthy processing timeline. Read more about the specific k3 visa requirements below and learn how a professional immigration attorney can assist you in this complex process.
K3 Spouse Visa Process (Updated for 2019)
The K3 Visa starts with the U.S. citizen spouse filing Form I-130 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative), which serves as a family-based immigration request and costs $535. If your petition is approved (usually within 30 days), a receipt notice will be sent to the U.S. citizen spouse indicating that the package has been received by the USCIS and is being processed.
After the Form I-130 is processed (3-5 months based on 2019 standards) the U.S. citizen spouse must then file an I-129F & Petition for Alien Fiancé to petition their foreign fiancé spouse’s right to remain a permanent resident in the United States after receiving the receipt of the I-130 petition. This costs an additional $460.
Generally within 30 days after the USCIS approves Form I-129 the foreign national spouse will receive communication regarding the day and time of their visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate (usually scheduled within 4 to 6 weeks). At this stage they must also file a green card application with the State Department using the DS-160 Form (online) and pay a visa filing fee of $265 (usually paid at the interview).
Once approved (usually immediately after the interview or shortly thereafter), the visa holder can then travel legally to the U.S. under which permanent residency status is granted.
K3 Visa Requirements: A Comprehensive Checklist
In addition to fees and filing procedures, the K3 visa application requires the following documents and prerequisites:
K3 Eligibility & Form I-130 Requirements
To begin the K3 application process, couples must meet the following K3 eligibility requirements to file the Form I-130:
- The applicant must be the legal spouse of a U.S. citizen. (The K3 visa is not available to spouses of U.S. green card holders.)
- The applicant must currently reside in a country outside of the United States.
- The U.S. citizen spouse must have already filed a family sponsorship form (Form I-130) that is currently pending with USCIS.
- The adjusted gross income on the U.S. citizen spouse’s most recent tax return must be at least 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines in order to qualify as a financial sponsor. If they are unable to meet this requirement, a joint sponsor must file an “affidavit of support.”
- If the applicant has biological or adopted children who will also travel to the United States on a K-4 visa, the children must be unmarried and under the age of 21.
Form I-129F “Petition for Alien Fiancé” K3 Visa Requirements
Once the Form I-129F has been completed and signed, copies of all required documents should be attached to it, including:
- The U.S. citizen spouse’s passport, certificate of naturalization, or birth certificate, as proof of citizenship.
- The applicant spouse’s passport.
- Legal marriage certificate with certified English translation.
- Proof of termination of any prior marriages (divorce decree, annulment document, or death certificate).
- I-94 arrival/departure record, if the applicant spouse has ever received one from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
- One passport-style photograph of the U.S. citizen spouse and one passport-style photograph of the applicant spouse.
- Receipt notice for the Form I-130 (itself technically called the Form I-797).
DS-160 Form & Visa Interview Requirements
As mentioned above, the sponsored fiancé must complete the State Department’s online DS-160 form (the “Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application). The form must be filed electronically and the confirmation page must be printed and brought to the visa interview.
The State Department also requires the following documents be brought to the visa interview:
- Legal marriage certificate
- Valid, unexpired passport for the applicant spouse
- Birth certificate for the applicant spouse
- Police clearance for the applicant spouse, obtained from all countries of residence of more than six months since the age of 16
- Sealed medical exam for the applicant spouse (obtained through a physician abroad, authorized by the Department of State)
- Sponsor’s affidavit of support (Form I-134)
- Sponsoring spouse’s most recent tax returns
- Proof of relationship (for example, a copy of the pending Form I-130 package, along with wedding photographs or any other proof that the marriage is valid).
- Two passport-style photographs of the applicant spouse.
Other K3 Visa Requirements
Upon receiving approval from the interviewing officer at the visa interview (usually immediately following the interview), the foreign-spouse will receive a K3 visa and may then legally travel to the United States. Keep in mind, however, that the K3 visa holder is granted up to two years of legal residence in the United States, after which they will need to obtain permanent residence via green card or risk accruing unlawful presence.
Contact Johnson & Masumi Today
At Johnson & Masumi, we pride ourselves on providing our clients with comprehensive and expedient service with all of our client’s visa application needs. Our experienced immigration attorneys will meet with you individually, review all of your marriage-based green card application materials, and answer any questions you may have. For more information on K3 visa requirements or assistance with applying for your K3 visa, contact the professional immigration attorneys at Johnson & Masumi today!