One of the common visas for an immediate member of the family is the spouse visa.


If a US citizen marries someone from a foreign country, the spouse needs to apply for a travel visa so he or she can come to the US along with his or her partner for a stay. There is an option for applying for a non-immigrant visa if only for staying in the country for a short time, but if planning to live in the US as a couple, then the spouse coming from another foreign country must have one of the visas for spouses.


Such a status of the couple will depend on what spouse visa they can get. They can have a visa that better fits them if they can fulfill the requirements. Below is the list of the spouse visas with each condition:


  • K3 Visa– The visa that will be granted to the spouse of a US citizen and is just waiting for I-130 immigrant petition to be approved
  • Conditional Resident (CR-1) Visa- A visa that can be issued to a couple that just has been married and for two years will maintain conditional status. This is to avoid set-up marriages just to obtain a permanent stay in the US.
  • Immediate Relative (IR-1) Visa – The couple that has been married after two years will gain this visa without conditions of the CR-1 visa.


This article will have an overview of the K3 visa, its requirements, the process of application, and other relevant information.


What is the K-3 Visa?


The K3 visa is a non-immigrant US visa that will be granted for a US citizen spouse to be allowed for a stay in the country with the US Citizen partner as a couple by a permanent US visa.


It would take much time the process if the couple filed for Form I-130 to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) since, at this time, they will be apart. This is why the US government generated the K3 visa instead to lessen the time that the couple will be away from each other. The K3 visa will be more convenient for both of them since the spouse from another country will be allowed to join his or her partner in the US while they are waiting for an approved petition.


Is it allowed to work in the US with a K3 visa?


Good news! This type of visa will allow spouses coming from other countries to work in the US after applying for an Employment Authorization Document. This will somehow help a couple to have income while staying in the country.


Is K3 Visa Expires?


As being considered to be a non-immigrant visa, the K3 visa is only valid for two years. Renewal of it is in two-year increments, however, the visa will be void if the US Department of State rejects the couple’s filed Form I-130 for Lawful Permanent Residence due to being divorced.


In accordance with the above restrictions, it is an advantage for the couple to continue obtaining a CR-1 after the Form I-130 is approved and upgrade the status to an IR-1 visa after two years. Even though the CR-1 does not expire, it sets a condition on the marriage of the couple, unlike the IR-1.


What Are the Requirements for the K-3 Visa?


An applicant must be able to pass or acquire the below requirements to be qualified for a K3 visa:


  • Being married to a US citizen – legal documents will be presented as proof of marriage;
  • The US citizen should file for Form I-130 as a request for the spouse to be allowed to come to the US.


Every couple should have passed the requirements, otherwise, they will not be granted a K3 visa at all.


How to Apply for the K-3 Visa?


The process of application in getting a K3 visa is in two steps:


  1. The US citizen spouse must file Form I-130 and next is Form I-29F which will be approved by USCIS.
  2. The spouse coming from a foreign country must apply for a K3 visa at the US embassy in the country of residence.


Filing Petitions


If the K3 visa has been granted already to the spouse from another foreign country and wants to change the status to CRR-1 or IR-1 visa, the US citizen should already be done filing the Form I-130 to USCIS as this will serve as the petition to be used without obtaining a new one. After the file has been filed, the spouse of the US citizen needs to get Form I-797 (Notice of Action from USCIS) as proof to confirm that Form I-130 is already in processing status.


Moving forward, the US citizen will file Form I-129F, the Petition for Alien Fiance in which there is attached Form I-797, and other legal documents supporting the proof of marriage.


Any dependents of the spouse from a foreign country should be included in Form I-129F such as children or others. Take note that there will be no fees to be paid for this form since it is for K3 visa purposes. This form will be processed and reviewed by the USCIS and once approved, the form will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). They are the ones who will issue a case number and an invoice ID as well for the applicant and will send a package to the applicant for a K3 visa. The package includes all the information and instructions about ways of applying for a K3 visa and a list of legal documents required.


The K3 visa is intended only for those applicants whose Form I-130 is still in processing status and has not been approved yet. Hence, if the USCIS processes both Form I-130 and Form I-129F, forwarding them to the NVC, then the applicant will not be granted with K3 visa but should apply for a CR-1 visa instead.


In Applying for a K-3 Visa


It is the spouse from the foreign country who will be responsible for the application process in obtaining a K3 visa. As an applicant, this spouse should apply at a US Embassy or Consulate in their country following all the instructions sent by NVC as part of the package.


Generally, the application process of a K3 visa are :


Filing Form DS-160


Form DS-160 is a Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application form that will be filled out by the applicant with the relevant information needed and will be submitted online. The form will be accessed using the NVC case number. The questions included in the form are primarily concerning an applicant’s background and the reasons why they want to board in the US. Applicants will get a confirmation page that will be needed later after completing the DS-160 form.


Completing Medical Examination and Vaccination


The United States is very strict with regards to medical and vaccination requirements which its citizens and immigrants must fulfill to be allowed to enter the country. anyone who decides to immigrate to the US must pass and get the necessary check-ups and vaccines. The list of specified medical procedures and vaccines is already included in the NVC package which the applicant received after the approval of the petition. It must be a licensed doctor who will handle the documents and check-ups and will complete them and sign them with the applicant, After which, these medical documents will be attached as one of the supporting files an applicant should have to be sent again to NVC.


Compiling Documents File:


Other than the application form, it is a must also for the applicants to attach other supporting documents as below:


  • Valid Passport for more than 6 months after a planned entry to the US
  • Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Medical examination and vaccination documents
  • Two photographs per individual according to the Photo Requirements
  • Birth certificate and Marriage certificate
  • Court and criminal records and/or police certificate
  • Evidence that they are financially supported for the initial period in the U.S (U.S citizen spouse must provide you with the Form I-134, Affidavit of Support)
  • Receipts for the payment of fees


Attending Interview


The NVC will ensure to submit all the necessary documents and will also schedule the interview at the U.S Embassy where an applicant has applied. The interview is mainly on the applicant’s background and reasons for coming to the U.S., as well as asking for any additional documents.


Receiving the NVC packet and Traveling to the US


If an applicant’s K-3 visa has been approved already, U.S. Embassy officials, where an applicant applied, will give them a packet from the NVC.  It is being advised not to open this packet under any circumstances. Instead, an applicant will bring it along with their travel to the U.S. for the first time with their K-3 visa. They will give this to an immigration official at any U.S. port of entry. That would be the time to open the packet and determine whether they can get into the U.S. or not.


What is the K-3 Visa Fees?


The U.S citizen and his or her spouse from another country will be incurred with K3 visa fees as follows:


  • Form I-130 filing fee
  • Form DS-160 processing fee
  • Medical examination and vaccination fees
  • Other administrative costs for obtaining, translating, and shipping documents


How Long Is the K-3 Visa Processing Time?


The K-3 processing time varies case by case. The U.S. Embassies in different countries typically have different working times, which then meant to might speed up or delay the processing of an applicant’s K-3 visa. In addition to that, the workloads of USCIS and other US institutions responsible for processing the documents might affect the completion time of the visa.


The possible earliest time, until the visa will be received is for three months, but can be delayed to a year or more.


How to Become a Lawful Permanent Resident After Getting a K-3 Visa?


Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the U.S. is the next step after an immigrant has gotten their K-3 visa. This is as well known as getting the Green Card. To change their status from their immigrant visa to an LPR, that person must first have an approved petition from USCIS and the visa, as well as living in the U.S.


Later on, they must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to USCIS. Once this form is processed and approved, the person will be a legal resident already in the U.S. However, if this form is rejected, then sad to say that their K-3 visa will be revoked or not renewed for the following term.


Can a Spouse Bring Their Children to the U.S. with a K-3 Visa?


After the spouse from a foreign country gets an approved K-3 visa, they are allowed also to bring their children to the U.S. to live with them. The children must be unmarried and under 21 years old to qualify.


The children will somehow get a K-4 visa, but if the K-3 visa holder gets their CR-1 visa, the child will also have to switch to the appropriate derivative visa.


What Are the Conditions?


The child is allowed to live in the U.S., attend school and higher education, and apply for naturalization after they qualify and get their U.S. citizenship.


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