K-3 Spouse Visa USA guide


Everything About K3 spouse visa

Are you a US citizen legally married to a foreign national residing outside the United States? Now willing to invite your foreign national spouse to join you in the United States? Then this can be done by applying for the K3 spouse visa.

Instead of waiting for your permanent resident application processing time, by applying for a K3 visa, you can visit the US as a non-immigrant and stay with your spouse in the United States without revoking your permanent resident application.

This article has covered everything from eligibility criteria to the K3 visa application process. However, if you wish to move to the United States to marry your US citizen spouse, then you can get it done by applying for K-1 Fiancé Visa.

What is a K3 Visa?

The K3 visa is one of the non-immigrant visas that grant the US citizen’s foreign country spouse to immigrate to the United States on a temporary visa until their permanent residence application is pending. Only the spouses of United States citizens are allowed to apply for these visas that are legally married.

Who is Eligible for a K3 Visa?

Only those people are liable to apply for the K3 visa legally married to a US citizen spouse and residing in a foreign country. In order to apply for the K3 visa, the applicant must meet the below-given eligibility criteria:

  • The applying candidate should be legally married to a United States citizen.
  • The applicant applying for the K3 visa must live in a foreign country and have a valid foreign passport.
  • In order to get eligible for applying for a K3 visa, the citizen’s spouse will require filing the family sponsorship form I-130
  • The application form I-130 is to be processed by USCIS, and applying candidates have already received the receipt notice from USCIS.
  • The application form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé, has been approved and transferred to the foreign country U.S. consulate or embassy from where the spouse of the US citizen is applying for the K3 visa.
  • The US citizen spouse should be financially stable to support their foreign spouse their most recent tax return states that their gross income is a minimum of 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  • In case the US citizen spouse’s gross income is less than 100% of federal poverty guidelines, then a joint sponsor is required to file an affidavit of support form.

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How to Apply for a K3 Visa? Step By Step

Once you are eligible to apply for the K3 Visa but do not getting the right process to apply? Don’t stress, mentioned below is the step-by-step guide of the K3 visa application process.

Step-1: File Form I-130 Petition

The United States citizen spouse is required to file the application form with USCIS on behalf of his/her foreign spouse. The first form needs to be filed by the US citizen spouse‘s form I-130 and then form I-129F.

Form I-130 is the petition for the alien relative form. The US citizen spouse required or duly filled and submit this form to one of the USCIS service centers along with the following set of required documents:

  • The US citizen spouse will be required to include the evidence of U.S. citizenship by presenting the documents like:
  • A photocopy of US birth certificate
  • Photocopy of certificate of naturalization or citizenship
  • Photocopy of valid US passport
  • The US citizen and foreign spouse both required to present a biographic datasheet and form G-325A
  • The photocopy of the valid foreign spouse passport
  • The valid birth certificate of the foreign spouse.
  • You will also be required to present the marriage certificate and several other documents that confirm your relationship with the foreign spouse.
  • You need to attach the colored passport size photograph of you (US citizen spouse) and your spouse (foreign spouse).
  • A valid photocopy of the death certificate, divorce decree or married annulment only if the foreign spouse or US citizen spouse were previously married. This is to confirm that your previous marriage was terminated.
  • Once your petition form I-130 was received, USCIS will send you Form I-797 (Notice of Action), which shows that your petition has been processed.

Step-2: File Form I-129F Petition

Once you have received the received notice from I-797 from USCIS for your petition form I-130, the next step is to duly submit the Petition for Alien Fiancé (e), Form I-129F. Along with this application form, you will require to submit the given list of documents:

  • Submit the proof that you are US citizenship by submitting a copy of the following documents:
  • Photocopy of US passport (should be valid)
  • Photocopy of certificate of naturalization or citizenship
  • A copy of the US birth certificate
  • You will be required to submit a photocopy of your foreign spouse’s passport.
  • You need to submit a photocopy of the legal marriage certificate that confirms that you both are legally married. In case the documents are in a foreign language, it’s better to hire a certified translator USCIS for document translation service in the USA.
  • If any of the spouses got married previously, they would require presenting the documents like a death certificate, marriage annulment, or divorce decree to prove that their previous marriage has been terminated.
  • If the foreign spouse any time in the past visited the United States to meet his/her spouse or for any reason, you will require to submit the Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.
  • Passport size photographs of both the spouses.
  • You must submit the receipt notice (Form I-797) of the application form I-130 you received from USCIS once your application form I-130 was received for processing.

After you have submitted the application form I-129F, it will take up to 30 days for USCIS to provide you the received notice for form hi-129F, which confirms that your petition has been received by USCIS and now ready to get processed. The processing time of your application depends on the USCIS service center processing your application, and it also depends on the workload of the application. On average, it will take up to 6 to 9 months to get approval.

After the applicant’s spouse obtains the correspondence of approval, the next step in applying for a free visa is to electronically file the visa application form DS-160 by visiting the US Department of State website.

Step-3: Submit Form DS-160

In order to electronically submit the application form DS-160, the applicant will first require creating a user account by visiting the official website of the US Department of State. After creating the account, the applicant will need to download the application form DS-160, then duly fill it out and submit it electronically. Once you submit the DS-160 form on the web portal, you will get a confirmation page along with the barcode, which you need to keep with yourself as you will be required to bring this confirmation page while going for the interview.

Step-4: Make the Payment and Schedule the Interview

After submitting the application form DS-160, you will require to pay the application processing fee. You can either pay the fees online or during the time of your Visa interview. As of now, the K-3 visa fee is $265.

The National Visa Centre will first check all the documents that you have submitted, and if everything seems fine, they will schedule your interview at the US embassy or consulate the foreign spouse’s country of residence from where he/she applied for the visa. It will take up to 4 to 6 weeks to schedule the interview after the foreign spouse applicant has received the notification. Until then, the applicant can complete the medical examination.

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A.) Complete medical examination and vaccination

The US government asks their immigrant and citizen to meet the medical and vaccination requirements. Therefore, before going for the Visa interview, the Immigrant is required to undergo a medical checkup and take the required vaccines.

After your application was approved, the NVC package that you received will mention the medical process you need to complete and the vaccination you need. A licensed doctor appointed by the US government will complete the checkups and documents. After your medical examination, the documents that you receive need to be attached with your supporting documents file while sending to NVC.

B.) Attend interview

At the interview Centre, the officer will ask some general questions related to your application and why you want to visit the United States. They might also ask for some additional documents if required. Below given are the lists of documents that will require bringing while going for the Visa interview:

  • You will require carrying the original birth certificate.
  • Must bring the confirmation page of the DS-160 visa application form.
  • Foreign passport of the applicant
  • You are also required to bring duly filled Nonimmigrant Visa Application Forms DS-156 and Supplement Form DS-156K.
  • Completed biological form DS-230
  • You must bring the document as evidence that your previous marriage has been terminated, if applicable
  • The document of the medical examination that you have received from the doctor after your medical checkup.
  • Must carry the Affidavit of Support form, if applicable
  • You must bring the police clearance certificate specifying that you are not involved in any criminal activities.

The candidate might receive the decision of their application immediately after the interview. All the officials might take some working days to tell the decision that if you are eligible for obtaining a visa or not. Once your K3 visa has been approved, you will be granted to travel to the United States.

Note: While applying for the green card do not forget to fill up the DS-260 and DS-261 Form US visa properly.

Final Step -Receive NVC packet and travel to the US

Once your K3 visa is approved, the United States embassy or consulate from where you applied the application will provide you the immigration packet from the National Visa Center. You are not allowed to open the packet, no matter what is the situation. However, you will need to bring the packet while traveling to the United States for the first time when traveling with a K3 visa and giving the packet to the immigration officer present at the US entry port. The officer at the US entry port will open the packet and decide if you are eligible to enter the US or not.

K3 Visa Validity

Your K3 visa will only be valid for two years. Don’t stress; you can extend the validity of your K3 visa for another two years. But always remember your K3 visa will be eliminated if the US Department of State denies your petition form I-130, application for lawful permanent residence, or if couples get separated (divorced).

What is the K3 visa Cost/fees?

The entire fees that will be involved in your K3 visa application process that both US citizen spouse and the foreign spouse have to incur are mentioned below:

  • The cost of the application Form I-130
  • The processing fees of Form DS-160
  • Medical examination and vaccination fees
  • And several other costs that are involved in translating, shipping, and obtaining documents.

How long is the K3 Visa Processing Time?

Since the processing time of K3 visa differs from case to case. The estimated time taken to process your K3 visa application is 5-8 months.

The estimated time taken by USCIS to process the application is 3 to 5 months, and on the other hand, the US embassy situated in your home country takes up to 2 to 3 months to process the application. However, the US embassy of different countries has a different time to process the application. Therefore, there might be a delay or speed up in the processing time of the K3 visa application.

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How to become a Lawful Permanent Resident after getting a K3 visa?

Once you have obtained the K3 visa, the other step is to become the US Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) by applying for the marriage green card. In order to adjust your status from non-immigrant visa to lawful permanent resident, your petition must be approved by USCIS to apply for LPR.

After that, you will need to file the application form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with the USCIS. If your adjustment of status to the green card application form gets approved, you will become a lawful permanent resident in the United States. However, in case your application form for lawful permanent resident gets rejected, then your K3 visa also gets revoked and will not be renewed further.

If you become lawful permanent residents in the United States, you will also be getting similar healthcare benefits as received by US citizens. In addition, being a green card holder, you can obtain a health insurance policy from private companies.

Can my spouse bring their children to the US with a K3 visa?

Once your spouse’s K3 visa application gets approved, they have the option to bring their children along with them to the United States. However, only those children will be allowed to immigrate to the United States; those who are unmarried should not be more than 21 years of age.

The children will get immigrated to the United States as K-4 visa holders, but in case the K3 visa holder gets the CR-1 visa, the dependent children will also need to adjust their status to some other relevant derivative visa. The children who move to the United States as K-4 visa holders can reside in the United States, attend school, and obtain higher education. Later on, if they qualify, they can also apply for US citizenship through naturalization.

K3 Visa Frequently Asked Questions

People used to ask frequent questions about K3 visas and they consist of:

Can K3 Visa Holders Get Social Security Numbers?

Since a K3 visa is a non-immigrant visa and not a work permit, the applicant holding a K3 visa does not get liable to automatically obtain a Social Security number. However, if you apply for employment authorization and adjust your visa status, you might get a social security number.

Can K3 Visa Holders Work in the U.S.?

The applicants holding K3 visa can obtain employment in the United States after applying, and if gets approved for employment authorization or work permit. Once you arrived in the United States as a K3 visa holder, you can immediately apply for the employment authorization document (EAD) to start working in the United States.

Can K3 Visa Holders Travel Outside the U.S.?

As a K-3 visa holder, you are free to travel in and out of the United States freely multiple times.

Can a K3 visa be denied?

If a K3 visa holder is prohibited from staying in the United States, then this rejection will also apply to the children who entered in the United States on K-4 visas. The K-3 visa can be denied if not proper documentation is provided and if you are not eligible and still apply for the K-3 visa. Every sponsor should understand the complexity of applying for a K-3 visa application.

What is the difference between K3 and CR1 visas?

With the K3 visa, you can exit and enter the United States multiple times till your K3 visa is valid. On the other side, the CR-1 visa is one of the immigrant visas. So those applicants who have applied for a CR1 visa need to wait in their home country until USCIS processes their US permanent residence.

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The K3 visa is for the applicant who wants to join their US citizen spouse in the United States, but their permanent resident application is under approval. We hope the above-given information was enough to help you understand the K3 visa.

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To get complete details about marriage green cards you can check our complete Marriage Green Card USA Guide.

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