K-3 Spouse Visa
K-3 Spouse Visa
The K-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa designed for the spouse of a U.S. citizen. It was created to reduce the amount of time couples are separated during the immigration process. The K-3 visa allows the foreign spouse to enter the United States to wait the approval of their immigrant visa petition and subsequently apply for lawful permanent resident status.
Here are some key points about the K-3 spouse visa:
- Purpose: The K-3 visa allows the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States while their immigrant visa petition is being processed. It is intended to shorten the separation period between the couple.
- Eligibility: To be eligible for a K-3 visa, the following criteria must be met:
- The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen.
- The petitioner must have filed a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of their foreign spouse.
- The marriage between the petitioner and the foreign spouse must be legally valid.
- Application Process: The application process for a K-3 visa involves two main steps:
- The U.S. citizen petitioner files a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to establish the eligibility of the foreign spouse for a K-3 visa.
- Once the I-129F petition is approved, it is forwarded to the U.S. Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC), which notifies the petitioner and the foreign spouse to begin the visa application process.
- Immigrant Visa Process: After entering the United States on a K-3 visa, the foreign spouse must apply for an immigrant visa to obtain permanent resident status. The application is typically filed with USCIS and requires the submission of additional forms, supporting documents, and payment of fees.
- Rights and Limitations: K-3 visa holders have the right to reside in the United States while their immigrant visa application is pending. They may also apply for employment authorization by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. However, it’s important to note that the K-3 visa does not guarantee automatic approval of permanent resident status.
It’s crucial to consult official government sources, such as the USCIS and the U.S. Department of State, for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding the application process, eligibility requirements, and any recent changes or updates to the K-3 spouse visa program.
How Does U.S. Immigration Law Define a Spouse?
Under U.S. immigration law, a spouse is defined as a legally recognized husband or wife. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and the regulations of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provide guidelines for determining spousal relationships for immigration purposes. Here are some key points:
- Valid Marriage: To be considered a spouse under U.S. immigration law, the marriage must be legally valid. This means it must have been performed in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction where the marriage took place, and any necessary requirements, such as obtaining a marriage license, must have been fulfilled.
- Gender-Neutral Definition: U.S. immigration law recognizes both opposite-sex and same-sex marriages. The definition of spouse is not limited to heterosexual relationships and includes marriages between individuals of the same sex.
- Marital Relationship: The couple must demonstrate that they have a bona fide marital relationship, meaning they have entered the marriage for genuine reasons and not solely for immigration benefits. USCIS examines various factors, such as shared financial responsibilities, joint assets, cohabitation, and the intention to build a life together.
- Marriage Recognition: U.S. immigration law recognizes marriages that are legally valid in the jurisdiction where they were performed, even if the marriage would not be recognized in certain states or jurisdictions within the United States. For immigration purposes, the focus is on the legality of the marriage where it took place.
It’s important to note that immigration laws and policies can evolve, and specific requirements may vary depending on the immigration category or visa being sought. It’s advisable to consult the USCIS website or seek guidance from an experienced immigration attorney for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding spousal relationships in the context of U.S. immigration law.
K-3 Visa Eligibility Requirements
The K-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa category that allows the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States while they wait for their immigrant visa to be processed. Here are the general eligibility requirements for a K-3 visa:
- Marriage to a U.S. Citizen: The applicant must be legally married to a U.S. citizen. The marriage must be valid and recognized under the laws of the jurisdiction where it took place.
- Petition Filed by the U.S. Citizen: The U.S. citizen spouse must file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of their foreign spouse.
- Pending Immigrant Visa Application: The foreign spouse must have an immigrant visa petition (Form I-130) filed by the U.S. citizen spouse on their behalf, and it must be pending with the USCIS or the National Visa Center (NVC). The K-3 visa is designed to bridge the gap between the filing of the immigrant visa petition and its approval.
- Residence Outside the U.S.: The foreign spouse must reside outside the United States when applying for the K-3 visa. However, if they are already in the U.S. on a valid nonimmigrant visa, they may be eligible to file for a change of status instead of applying for a K-3 visa.
- Intent to Enter the U.S. Temporarily: The foreign spouse must demonstrate their intent to enter the U.S. on a temporary basis. They must plan to depart the U.S. once they have obtained the immigrant visa or if the marriage with the U.S. citizen spouse ends.
It’s important to note that the K-3 visa is intended to facilitate the reunion of married couples and provide the foreign spouse with an opportunity to be with their U.S. citizen spouse during the immigration process. Once in the U.S., the foreign spouse can apply for employment authorization and may be eligible to adjust their status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
As immigration laws and requirements can be complex and subject to change, it’s advisable to consult the official USCIS website or seek guidance from an experienced immigration attorney to ensure eligibility and for the most up-to-date information regarding the K-3 visa process.
How to Process the K-3 Visa
The process to obtain a K-3 visa involves several steps. Here’s an overview of the general process:
- File the Petition: The U.S. citizen spouse must file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of their foreign spouse. This petition establishes the qualifying relationship between the U.S. citizen and the foreign spouse.
- Receipt of Notice: After the I-130 petition is filed, the USCIS will send a receipt notice to the U.S. citizen petitioner confirming the acceptance of the petition.
- File the Form I-129F: Once the I-130 petition is pending with the USCIS, the U.S. citizen spouse must file a separate Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), for their foreign spouse. This form is used to request the K-3 visa.
- Supporting Documentation: Along with the Form I-129F, the U.S. citizen spouse must submit supporting documents, such as proof of the bona fide marital relationship, evidence of the petitioner’s U.S. citizenship, and any required supporting documents specific to the foreign spouse.
- USCIS Processing: The USCIS will review the I-129F petition and supporting documents. They may request additional evidence or schedule an interview if necessary. Once approved, the USCIS will forward the approved petition to the National Visa Center (NVC).
- NVC Processing: The NVC will notify the U.S. citizen spouse and the foreign spouse when they receive the approved I-129F petition. They will provide instructions for submitting additional documentation and fees, including the DS-160 online nonimmigrant visa application.
- Consular Processing: The foreign spouse will attend an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. They will need to provide necessary documentation, including medical examination results, police certificates, and proof of the ongoing immigrant visa application (Form I-130). If approved, the foreign spouse will receive the K-3 visa.
- Travel to the U.S.: After obtaining the K-3 visa, the foreign spouse can travel to the United States. They will need to present their visa at the port of entry and undergo inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials.
- Adjustment of Status: Once in the U.S., the foreign spouse can apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). They will need to file the necessary forms, including Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
It’s important to note that the K-3 visa process can vary based on individual circumstances, changes in immigration policies, and the specific requirements of the U.S. embassy or consulate where the interview takes place. Consulting the official USCIS website and seeking guidance from an experienced immigration attorney can provide the most accurate and up-to-date information for your specific situation.
The U.S. citizen sponsor must first file the I-130 form, also known as the Petition for Alien Relative, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that serves the area where the U.S. citizen resides. The purpose of the I-130 form is to establish a valid marriage between the U.S. citizen and the foreign spouse for the permanent immigrant visa application. Due to the prevalence of fraudulent marriage-based green card sponsorship, the USCIS requires the petitioner to provide substantial evidence that their marriage is genuine and not entered solely for the purpose of obtaining a green card. The application form includes personal questions that must be answered, and strong supporting documents must be provided as proof of a bona fide marriage. After submitting the I-130, the USCIS will issue a receipt number to confirm receipt of the application. However, since immigrant visas can take a long time to process, and it may not be practical to remain separated from family during this period, the K-3 nonimmigrant visa allows applicants to reside in the U.S. while their application is pending.
Upon completion of the above requirements, the U.S. citizen spouse must file an I-129F form, which is known as the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) but is also used for K-3 spousal visas. While the I-129F is part of the nonimmigrant visa application process, it shares similarities with the I-130 form in that both are used to establish the authenticity of the marital relationship. Therefore, the U.S. citizen must submit the I-129F form along with supporting documents, like those submitted with the I-130 form. These supporting documents include, but not limited to the following:
- Proof of the U.S. citizen’s citizenship (e.g., passport, birth certificate, naturalization certificate).
- Proof of termination of any previous marriages for either the foreign spouse or the U.S. citizen, such as a copy of the divorce decree, marriage annulment, or death certificate.
- The foreign spouse’s passport.
- Marriage certificate, which must be submitted in a certified English translation if it was issued in a language other than English.
- I-797 Form, Receipt of Notice for I-130 petition.
- Passport-size photographs of both the U.S. citizen and the foreign spouse.
- Departure/Arrival Record (I-94 form) if the foreign spouse has previously been to the U.S.
The average processing time to receive the receipt of notice is approximately 30 days. The I-129F form processing time at the USCIS service center responsible for the petition typically ranges from six to nine months, depending on their workload. Once the USCIS approves the petitions, they will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing. The beneficiary (foreign spouse) will also receive correspondence confirming the approval of the I-129F form. After being notified, the next step is to proceed with consular processing, as explained below.
How Consular Processing Works for K-3 Visa
Consular processing is the final step in obtaining a K-3 visa after the initial forms have been filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Here’s an overview of how consular processing works for a K-3 visa:
- Notification from the National Visa Center (NVC): Once the USCIS approves the I-129F petition, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will send a notification to both the U.S. citizen petitioner and the foreign spouse beneficiary, providing instructions on how to proceed with the consular processing.
- DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application: The foreign spouse must complete the DS-160 online nonimmigrant visa application form. This form collects biographical information and details about the purpose of the trip to the United States.
- Document Submission: The NVC will require certain documents to be submitted, including the following:
- Passport: The foreign spouse’s valid passport.
- Police Certificates: Certificates from the foreign spouse’s country of residence, demonstrating that they do not have a criminal record.
- Medical Examination: The foreign spouse must undergo a medical examination by an authorized physician, following the specific guidelines provided by the U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Financial Support: The U.S. citizen petitioner may need to provide evidence of financial support to demonstrate the ability to financially sponsor the foreign spouse.
- Visa Interview: The foreign spouse will be scheduled for a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. During the interview, a consular officer will assess the eligibility of the foreign spouse for the K-3 visa. They may ask questions about the relationship, marriage, and intentions to reside in the U.S. The foreign spouse should bring all required documents and evidence to support their eligibility.
- Visa Issuance: If the consular officer approves the visa application, the foreign spouse will receive the K-3 visa in their passport. The visa will allow them to travel to the United States.
- Travel to the U.S.: Once the K-3 visa is issued, the foreign spouse can travel to the United States. Upon arrival, they will be inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the port of entry.
- Adjustment of Status: After entering the U.S. on a K-3 visa, the foreign spouse can file for adjustment of status to obtain lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, also known as a green card. This process typically involves filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and attending a biometrics appointment and an interview.
It’s important to note that consular processing procedures may vary slightly depending on the specific embassy or consulate where the interview takes place. It’s recommended to consult the embassy or consulate’s website for detailed instructions and requirements specific to that location.
Consular Processing Steps
Step 1: Submit the DS-160 Application
The foreign spouse should begin by creating a user account on the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate handling the visa processing. Once registered, they can download the DS-160 application form, complete it accurately, and submit it electronically to the Department of State. After submitting the form, a confirmation page with a barcode will be generated. It is essential to print this page as it will be required for scheduling and attending the visa interview at the embassy.
Step 2: Pay Visa Processing Fee and Schedule Appointments
The foreign spouse must pay the K-3 visa processing fee using one of the acceptable payment options available on the website. Additionally, the DS-160 application necessitates scheduling a prearranged, one-on-one interview at the embassy or consulate in their home country. It is important to note that an immigration medical examination is also required. The medical exam should be conducted by an approved civil physician affiliated with the embassy or consulate, and it must be completed prior to the scheduled visa interview.
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K-3 Consular Processing Documents
To initiate the K-3 consular processing, you will need to gather and submit various supporting documents. While the specific requirements may vary depending on the embassy or consulate, the following are common documents typically required
- Original Birth Certificate: Provide the original birth certificate of the visa applicant.
- DS-160 Form Submission Confirmation: Print the confirmation page generated after submitting the DS-160 form online. This confirmation page contains a barcode and is essential for the visa interview.
- Foreign Passport: Submit the foreign spouse’s valid passport.
- Immigration Medical Certificates: Include the results of the immigration medical examination conducted by an approved physician. Ensure you have the necessary sealed envelope containing the medical examination report.
- Passport-Sized Photographs: Provide two (2) recent, colored, passport-sized photographs of the visa applicant that meet the specified requirements.
- Affidavit of Support (I-134 form): If required, submit the completed Affidavit of Support form to demonstrate the U.S. citizen petitioner’s financial ability to support the foreign spouse.
- Evidence of Termination of Previous Marriage(s): If applicable, include documents such as divorce decrees or death certificates to establish the termination of any previous marriages.
- Completed Nonimmigrant Visa Application Forms: Submit the completed DS-156 and DS-156k forms, which are the Nonimmigrant Visa Application and Supplement forms, respectively.
- Filled Biographical DS-230 Form: Include the filled DS-230 form, providing the required biographical information.
- Background Check Clearance: Provide any required background check clearances from the foreign spouse’s country of residence or other relevant countries.
Attend the Visa Interview
Once the above steps have been completed, the embassy will notify the beneficiary spouse of the interview appointment. The notification will include the date, location, time of the interview, and a list of required documents to bring along. If the interview goes well and the foreign spouse receives K-3 visa approval, they may then travel to the United States.
Green Card Application
Upon arriving in the United States, the beneficiary spouse can proceed with the final step of the application by filing an I-485 form (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status). Additionally, the I-765 form can be submitted to request an employment authorization document (EAD), and the I-131 form can be filed for a travel permit. These forms allow the spouse to work lawfully and travel while the green card petition is pending.
Receiving a Social Security Number
To obtain a social security number, K-3/K-4 visa holders must first obtain employment authorization documents (EADs). Complete the Form I-765 along with the I-485 Adjustment of Status petition to apply for employment authorization. Once received, take your marriage certificate to the social security office to obtain a card with the correct last name.
If you require further assistance, please contact Mesadieu Law Firm at 844-3-RIGHT-BY-YOU.
Benefits of K-3 Visa
The K-3 visa offers several benefits to eligible individuals who are married to U.S. citizens and wish to join their spouse in the United States. Some of the key benefits of the K-3 visa include, but not limited to the following:
- Spouse Reunification: The primary purpose of the K-3 visa is to facilitate the reunion of married couples who are temporarily separated due to immigration processing. It allows the foreign spouse to join their U.S. citizen spouse in the United States while the immigrant visa petition is being processed.
- Expedited Entry to the U.S.: Once the K-3 visa is granted, the foreign spouse can enter the United States and reside with their U.S. citizen spouse while awaiting the approval of their immigrant visa petition. This allows couples to be together and not endure long periods of separation.
- Work Authorization: K-3 visa holders are eligible to apply for employment authorization in the United States by submitting Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization). Upon approval, they can legally work and contribute to the household income if desired.
- Travel Permission: K-3 visa holders can freely travel in and out of the United States using the K-3 visa or the associated K-4 visa for accompanying children. This flexibility allows the foreign spouse to visit their home country or travel for personal reasons without jeopardizing their status.
- Eligibility for Adjustment of Status: Once in the United States on a K-3 visa, the foreign spouse can apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). This allows them to remain in the U.S. permanently and enjoy the benefits of permanent residency, such as working, studying, and traveling without restrictions.
It is important to note that the K-3 visa is designed to speed up bringing spouses together, but it does not guarantee permanent residency. The foreign spouse must still go through the necessary steps and meet the requirements for obtaining a green card.
Everyone’s circumstances may vary, so it is recommended to consult with an immigration attorney or qualified professional to fully understand the benefits and implications of the K-3 visa based on your specific situation.
K-3 Visa Frequently Asked Questions
Certainly! Here are some frequently asked questions about the K-3 visa:
Q1: What is a K-3 visa?
A1: The K-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa category that allows the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States temporarily while awaiting the approval of their immigrant visa petition.
Q2: Who is eligible for a K-3 visa?
A2: To be eligible for a K-3 visa, you must be legally married to a U.S. citizen and have a pending Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) filed by your U.S. citizen spouse on your behalf.
Q3: Can I work in the United States on a K-3 visa?
A3: Yes, K-3 visa holders are eligible to apply for employment authorization by filing Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization). Once approved, they can work legally in the United States.
Q4: Can I travel outside the United States on a K-3 visa?
A4: Yes, K-3 visa holders can travel in and out of the United States using the K-3 visa or the associated K-4 visa for accompanying children. However, it is important to maintain the intent to reside in the U.S. with the U.S. citizen spouse to avoid any issues with re-entry.
Q5: How long does it take to process a K-3 visa?
A5: The processing time for a K-3 visa can vary depending on various factors, including the workload of the U.S. embassy or consulate where the application is being processed. Generally, it can take several months to a year or more.
Q6: Can I bring my children with me on a K-3 visa?
A6: Yes, eligible children of the foreign spouse can apply for a K-4 visa to accompany the parent. The U.S. citizen petitioner must include them in the Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)) and they can travel to the United States with the K-3 visa holder.
Q7: Can I apply for a green card while on a K-3 visa?
A7: Yes, once in the United States on a K-3 visa, the foreign spouse can apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) by filing Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
Q8: What happens if my K-3 visa expires before I receive a green card?
A8: If your K-3 visa expires before you receive a green card, you may be out of status. It is important to consult with an immigration attorney or qualified professional to understand your options and maintain lawful status.
Please note that while these FAQs provide general information, it is always recommended to seek advice from an immigration attorney or qualified professional who can provide guidance specific to your situation. Immigration laws and procedures can be complex and subject to change.