What is the K3 Visa?
The K3 Visa, also known as the Spouse visa or US marriage visa is a permit that allows foreign nationals who are married to a U.S citizen to join their spouse in the United States.
The K3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa type, this means that it only grants temporary entry into the United States. The K3 visa is granted for an initial period of 2 years and it can be extended in increments of 2 years.
Foreign spouses of U.S citizens can be eligible for an immigrant visa (a Marriage Green Card) to live with their partner permanently in the United States. However, the U.S citizen spouse must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, in order for the spouse to be eligible to apply for a Green Card. The processing time for a Form I-130 petition can be lengthy, ranging from anywhere between 7 and 32 months. Because of this lengthy approval time the K3 visa was created to shorten the physical separation between a U.S citizen and their overseas spouse whilst they await approval of the immigrant visa petition.
So, whilst the K3 visa is classed as a nonimmigrant visa, applications for this visa are submitted with the intention of immigrating to the USA permanently. Once the applicant is in the U.S and Form I-130 has been approved, they can apply to adjust their status to become a Lawful Permanent Resident.
Who is eligible for a K3 Visa?
To qualify for the K3 Visa there are several requirements that the applicant must fulfill, they include:
- Being the spouse of a U.S citizen – a spouse refers to a legally wedded husband or wife. Living together does not qualify a marriage for immigration, however common-law spouses may qualify as spouses for immigration purposes depending on the laws of the country where the common-law marriage occurs. Same-sex spouses of U.S citizens are also eligible for the same immigration benefits under the K3 visa.
- Undergoing a medical examination – this is required of anyone who wants to immigrate to the US.
- The U.S citizen spouse must have filed Form I-130 for their foreign spouse, without this form being filed the foreign spouse does not qualify for a K3 visa that would allow them to join their spouse in the U.S whilst awaiting approval for a Green Card.
The K3 visa allows foreign spouses to join their partners in the U.S whilst they await approval for a Green Card, it is worth noting that there are other eligibility requirements that must be met in order to receive a Marriage Green Card, such as the minimum income requirement. A U.S citizen sponsoring their foreign spouse for a Green Card by filing petition I-130 must meet an annual income of at least $21,775, assuming they are not in active military duty.
K3 Visa application process
The K3 visa application is complex and there are several steps to the application process. This first part of the application process must be completed by the U.S citizen spouse who will act as the U.S sponsor for their foreign spouse. The first part of the application process is to file the petitions for the foreign spouse to be granted entry into the U.S, the petition process is as follows:
- The U.S citizen sponsor must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the Department of Homeland Security at their local U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS will send a Notice of Action (Form I-797) to inform you that they have received the petition.
- Once the USCIS has received the petition the U.S citizen spouse must then file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé
- After USCIS approves the petitions, they will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing.
The next step of the application process is the visa application itself, the foreign spouse will need to apply for the K3 Visa at U.S Embassy or Consulate in their home country. Once the USCIS has approved form I-129F and sent it to the NVC will then send a package to the K3 visa applicant containing information and instructions about how to apply for the K3 visa and the required documents.
The K-3 visa process that the foreign spouse must follow includes:
- Filing Form DS-160, this is the Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application that all nonimmigrant visa applicants must complete. The form must be completed online and the K3 visa applicant must get the confirmation page to use later.
- Getting a medical examination and any necessary vaccines. Immigrants entering the US must comply with certain medical and vaccination requirements. K3 visa applicants must undergo a medical examination as part of the K3 visa application process. Depending on which country the foreign spouse is from, they may also be required to get certain vaccines, details on this will be included in the information package sent by the NVC.
- Submit all the relevant supporting documents, alongside the application form you will need to submit several documents to prove that you can meet the K3 visa requirements
- Attend an interview, once you have submitted all the supporting documents the NVC will schedule an interview at your local U.S Embassy or Consulate. At the interview you will be asked about your background and reasons for going to the U.S. You may also be asked for some additional documents
Your supporting documents are an incredibly important part of the K-3 Visa process, without the proper documents your application could be denied. The documents that you are required to submit include:
- A completed Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, you will need to print the confirmation page and bring it with you to your interview.
- A valid passport that has at least six months validity beyond your intended period of stay in the United States.
- Your Birth certificate
- Your marriage certificate for the marriage to the U.S. citizen spouse
- Divorce or death certificates of any previous spouses
- Police certificates from your present country of residence and all countries where you have lived for 6 months or more since age 16.
- Medical examination
- Evidence of financial support
- Two passport-sized photographs
- Evidence of relationship with your U.S. citizen spouse
- Receipts to prove you have paid the application fees
Any documents that are not written in English will need to be professionally translated before you submit them.
How can Total Law help?
The K-3 visa process can be complex and time consuming due to the way that the application process is split between the U.S citizen sponsor and the foreign spouse, both of which must go through several complicated steps. This complex process means that it can be easy to make a mistake when applying for a K3 visa, but doing so could result in your application being rejected. If this happens you will lose your application fees and will have to through the whole process again.
Here at Total Law we can save you time, stress and money by helping you through the K3 Visa application process. Our expert immigration lawyers will work with you and your spouse to ensure that your application is completed to the highest standard, giving you the best chance of success.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
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During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
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On average, it takes around 6-9 months for the USCIS to process a K3 Visa application.
The length of time that it takes varies from cases to case. Some applications are delayed if the applicant makes a mistake in the application process or fails to submit all of the required documents.
There are a number of fees involved in the overall costs of applying for a K3 visa, they include:
- Filing a Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130 – $535
- Filing an Alien Fiancé(e) Petition, Form I-129F – $535
- Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee, Form DS-160 – $190
- Medical examination – costs vary
- Other costs may include translation and photocopying charges, fees for getting the documents required for the visa application (such as passport, police certificates, birth certificates, etc.), and travel expenses to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an interview. Costs vary from country to country and case to case.
- Filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status – $1,140
In total it costs at least $1,260 to obtain a K3 Visa and a further $1,140 to make the US your permanent home after obtaining the K3 visa.
To become a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States after obtaining a K3 Visa you will need a Marriage Green Card, the application process for this will have already begun as part of the K3 Visa process. Once your Form I-130 petition has been approved you can apply to adjust your status to a Lawful Permanent Resident by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Once this is approved you will officially be classes as a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States.