The K3 Visa, also known as a Spouse Visa or U.S. Marriage Visa is designed to grant authorized entry to foreign nationals who are lawfully married to a U.S. citizen to join their spouse in the United States.
A K3 visa is a non-immigrant visa type, this means that it only allows for a temporary stay in the U.S. Initially a K3 visa provides for beneficiaries to stay two years in the U.S. and also extend their stay for two years at a time.
Foreign spouses of U.S. citizens can become eligible for an immigrant visa (a Marriage Green Card) to reside permanently in the U.S. with the U.S. citizen spouse. However, the U.S. citizen spouse is required to file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative in order for the foreign spouse to qualify to apply for a U.S. Green Card. The processing time for an I-130 immigrant visa application can be lengthy and it could take from seven to 32 months for the procedure to be completed. Check with an immigration lawyer about the whole process.
Though a K3 visa is classified as an non-immigrant visa, it is designed with intentions for the immigrant to live with his or her spouse permanently. Once an applicant is living in the U.S and their Form I-130 has been approved, such beneficiary then has temporary legal status and can then apply to adjust their status to obtain a lawful permanent resident status.
Who Qualifies for a K3 Visa?
To be eligible for a K3 visa there are many requirements that an applicant must fulfill:
- Being the spouse of a U.S. citizen - this refers to being a legally wedded husband or wife. Cohabitating 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 within the K3 visa
- Undertaking a medical examination - this is required of everyone who desires to immigrate to the U.S.
- The U.S. citizen spouse must have submitted a 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 accompany their spouse in the U.S. while waiting for a green card approval
It is worth taking note that there are other eligibility requirements to be met for a legal spouse to obtain 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. An annual income can be discussed with an immigration law representative.
Going Through the K3 Visa Application Process
Filing the K3 visa application can be a very complicated process and there are several steps to take. The first step of the application process is for the U.S. citizen spouse to file the petitions on behalf of the foreign spouse this way authorization to enter the U.S. can be granted. A few steps to take are:
- The U.S. citizen spouse files a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the Department of Homeland Security at their local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- After the USCIS has received the petition the U.S. citizen spouse must then file a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance
- After USCIS approves the petitions those are then sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) who then takes care of the processing
While there are other steps for the U.S. citizen spouse to follow there are also other steps for the foreign spouse to adhere to. Ask an immigration attorney to help you to ensure that everything is done properly.
How Can an Immigration Law Expert Help You
Applying for a K3 Visa can be time consuming and a bit stressful as the application process requires both the U.S. citizen and foreign spouse to do their part in filing the K3 visa. Gambacorta Law Office and team will be able to help you, guide you and complete the steps and required forms. Give us a call at 847 443 9303.