If you don’t want to be separated from your U.S. citizen spouse for too long while your immigrant petition is pending, you may apply for a K-3 visa.
Why Apply For a K-3 Visa
As a U.S. citizen, being separated from your foreign spouse is by no means a merry situation. What comes to mind first would be to bring them into the U.S. and enjoy a wonderful life together. But the structure of U.S immigration law is not exactly making things easy.
Not only is it difficult to help your spouse immigrate to the U.S., but the process also takes a lot of time. Hence, separating you for a while longer, and partially defeating the whole point of helping them immigrate in the first place.
However, within the complex and cumbersome structure of U.S. immigration, there is a potential solution. A solution that will allow you to achieve two of your goals: to help your foreign spouse immigrate to the U.S. and it may significantly shorten your time apart from each other. And your one-stop solution is the K-3 visa.
The K-3 visa is a visa filed by your foreign spouse. It was intended to shorten the physical separation between you and your foreign spouse. To be specific, it allows your foreign spouse to enter the U.S. while they wait for USCIS ‘decision on their immigrant visa petition.
After filing an immigrant visa petition for your foreign spouse, he/she would normally have to wait for a decision in their home country. However, the K-3 visa will allow your spouse to wait for a decision in the United States. Hence, reuniting you with your spouse(and children, if any) much earlier than usual.
The K-3 Visa is the first step to help your spouse immigrate to the U.S. Once they obtain this visa and enter the U.S., he/she may then file Form I-485 to obtain a green card.
As a rule, the K-3 Visa applies only to legally married U.S. citizens and their foreign spouse. Living together does not count as being married. And neither does it apply with a fiancé – that’s the K-1 visa and is a similar process but meant for a completely different situation. Do not confuse the two! It is strictly for “married” couples who fulfill the following criteria:
Here is a simple, yet effective guide to the K-3 visa application process.
To proceed to the next step, Form I-129F must be approved. And this usually takes 6-9 months.
After completing all of the steps above, only the interview remains. The U.S. embassy or consulate in the foreign spouse’s country will schedule the interview. Since the interview is usually conducted within 4 – 6 weeks after notifying the applicant, you are required to undergo a medical examination while you wait.
After the interview, you will receive a decision on the same day or some time after. If your K-3 visa is approved, you may travel to the U.S.
Your Form I-130 may be approved before Form I-129F. If this happens, then you( the foreign spouse) will not be eligible to use the K-3 visa and you must go back to the National Visa Center and file Form DS-260 for an immigrant visa. This is the downside to the K-3 visa – if the I-130 is approved more quickly, or if the K-3 visa takes longer than expected, even by a couple of months, you will lose the ability to use it. However, sometimes it can help shorten the period of separation.
Under normal circumstances, the K-3 visa is a great help to married couples. But there are times when you do not need a K-3 Visa. Although it’s easy to understand it theoretically, practically determining these times is a different case. And much of the information you read online maybe was valid when it was written, but processing times and procedures change. Only by talking to someone who actually files these cases for a living can you get an idea of whether this process is for you.
What better way to figure it out than hearing it right from the mouths of professionals?
Contact The HMA Law Firm today! If you’re unsure, we will put you on the right path. And if you need help getting a K-3 visa, we will help you follow through from start to finish.