The K4 Visa
The K4 Visa is part of the family category of US visas. This visa will allow holders of the K3 spouse visa to bring their children with them from the UK into the US by filing a K4 application. In order to be eligible for this visa, the K4 applicants must be;
- Under the age of 21 years old
- Be unmarried and dependent upon the K3 Visa holder
- Wish to enter the US
What is a K4 Visa?
The K4 Visa classifies as a non-immigrant visa, and is held by the child of a K3 Spouse Visa holder. K3 and K4 Visas allow spouses of US citizens and their dependents to enter and reside in the US from the UK whilst they wait to obtain an immigrant visa. Both K3 and K4 Visa holders are able to apply for Green Cards to reside permanently within the US.
All biological or adopted dependent children of a K3 Visa holder can apply for a K4 Visa. However, the child must be under the age of 21, be unmarried and not live an independent life. The K4 status can also be extended to stepchildren if they meet these requirements.
K4 Visa holders, once in the US, will be allowed to attend public school and seek Employment Authorization. A K4 Visa is valid for 2 years, or until the holder’s 21st birthday, whichever is first. In some circumstances, both K3 and K4 Visas may be extended.
What are the requirements to hold a K4 Visa?
In order to enter the US with you from the UK, a child applying for a K4 Visa must:
- Be under the age of 21 years old
- Be unmarried
- Not be living an independent life
- In the case of stepchildren, must have formed a relation with you before they reached the age of 18 years old
The parents of children applying for K4 status must be married. If you are engaged to your US partner, your children will need to follow the K2 visa process in order to enter the US with you.
How can I apply for a K4 visa?
When putting in an application for a K4 Visa, it must be done at the same time as you submit your K3 Visa application. It must also be filed by a US citizen. The US citizen spouse will have to file two petitions for their spouse to join them in the US- a I-130 and a Form I-129F.
To obtain a K4 Visa, the details of the child dependent must be included within the Form I-129F which was filed for the foreign spouse. There is no need to file a separate Form I-129F for dependent children.
Once in the US, K4 holders can apply to adjust their status to a Green Card at the same time or anytime after the Form I-130 has been filed on their behalf by their US sponsor.
However, in regards to step-children, obtaining a Green Card is dependent on the relationship created between the US citizen and their overseas spouse. An eligible relationship would be one in which you were married before the step-child reached the age of 18 years old. Furthermore, when applying for a Green Card, you must file a separate Form I-130 for your step-children before they can obtain one.
What documentation is needed for a K4 Visa application?
It is important you have these documents prepared for your K4 Visa application to make processing easier and quicker for you. You should have:
- Two copies of the DS-156 application form, which is a form that is necessary for all non-immigrant visas
- Two passport sized photos of the K3 and K4 applicant(s), which fit with the USCIS guidelines
- Local police certificates of the K3 and K4 applicant(s)
- Birth certificates of the K3 and K4 applicant(s)
- The local marriage certificate of the K3 applicant
- Any divorce or death certificates of the K3 applicant, if they had previously been married
- Your medical reports
- The separate valid passports of the K3 and K4 applicant(s)
What is the processing time of a K4 Visa application?
Your child dependent will receive the K4 Visa decision at the same time as you receive your K3 Spouse Visa decision. The processing time is based on several steps you must take;
- Firstly, you need to file the names of your eligible K4 Visa children in your Form I-129F
- Then, when the USCIS has received your application and confirmed they have, you can fill out an I-130
- Every child that is over the age of 14 years old will also be asked to attend an interview at a US Embassy with their mother. If a child is under the age of 14 they usually do not have to do this.
In total, it can be expected that it could take 6 to 9 months to receive a decision for a K4 visa. However, this is dependent on you submitting accurate documentation in your application process which will not cause delay.
How can Total Law help you with a K4 Visa application?
The immigration system of the United States can be difficult to understand, hard to navigate and cause much stress or anxiety. Our trained professionals at Total Law are specialists in US immigration law, and are fully prepared to guide you step by step through your K4 application to ensure that it is completed to the highest standard possible.
Our lawyers can:
- Help you file a petition and choose the right one for K3 and K4 visas
- Assist the US sponsor in completing and filing the necessary petitions
- Help you gather the needed documentation for your application
- Assist with your application to a more permanent form of residence in the US
To access this support or for more information, our team is here for you always at 0333 305 9375.
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Once obtaining a K4 Visa, every child will be allowed to study in the US in any form. In regards to employment, your child would need to apply for employment authorization by filling out and filing a Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization.
Currently, there are no travel restrictions attached to a K4 Visa. However, your dependent child cannot enter the US for the first time before you do as a K3 holder.
The benefits of the visa will expire when your child turns 21 years old, or 30 days after they get married. Also, if the parents file divorce, the benefits of the K4 visa for the child will terminate after 30 days.
When holding a K4 visa, your permission to stay within the US will be terminated 30 days after any of the following events:
- Your parent’s K3 status has ended
- USCIS has denied or revoked the Form I-130 that was filed for you
- USCIS has denied your Form I-485
- Your immigrant visa application based on you Form I-130 is denied by the Department of State
- The K4 holder turns 21 years old
- The K4 holder gets married before becoming a lawful permanent resident
The K4 visa usually grants a stay of two years in the US, or until the K4 visa holder turns 21 years old, whichever comes first.
Any extension of a K4 visa must be filed at the same time as an application for an extension on your K3 visa. Both of these will only be granted in two year intervals.
Whilst in the US, a K4 holder cannot switch to any other non-immigrant visa type. However they can apply for permanent residency or request to change to a different immigrant permit.