Immigration is a perplexing process full of complicated classifications of non-citizens. Below are some common concerns over K-3 spousal visas.
1) What Is a K-3 Spousal Visa?
A K-3 spousal visa, or "spouse visa," allows the nonresident spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter into the country under a nonimmigrant status. They will be able to apply for permanent residency and a green card after a period of time. This is an alternate route to filing for entry under an immigrant visa.
K-3 visa can usually be obtained rather easily and the process may be faster than other immigrant visa routes. However, the requirements may also be stricter in order to prevent instances of marriage immigration fraud. The K-3 process begins when the U.S. citizen files a Form I-130 to petition the spouse. The spouse must then file for their K-3 visa.
2) What Are Some Requirements for a Spousal Visa?
The main requirement for a spousal visa is that the person being petitioned must be legally married to the U.S. citizen. Consequently, common law marriages typically do not meet this requirement. Moreover, if the applicant was previously married, they should be able to furnish proof of divorce or termination of the previous marriage. A valid marriage certificate or other marriage document may be needed to prove that they are married to the citizen.
Other standard marriage immigration visa requirements apply, including:
- Valid travel documents
- Identification papers
- Proof of medical examinations and vaccinations
- Various fees
Once the applicant receives their K-3 spouse visa, they can then file for an adjustment of status if they wish to pursue a more permanent status.
3) Can a Person Work in the U.S. If They Enter with a Spousal Visa?
Once the applicant is granted their K-3 visa, and they have entered the U.S., they can usually apply to work in the U.S. However, they must also have a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This document is obtained by filing form I-765. Alternatively, particularly if the applicant is seeking more permanent residence, they can wait until they are ready to file for an adjustment of status, and then file both forms together at once.
4) What about Children of the Spouse?
It depends on the age and marital status of the children. If children are unmarried and under the age of 21 years old, they may apply for a K-4 visa, which allows them to travel to the U.S. and receive temporary nonimmigrant status. Once in the country, the child can then file for an adjustment of status, much in the same way that their parent would. In many cases, the child can accompany the spouse when they travel from their home country to the U.S.
However, both the parental spouse and the child need to ensure that status remains valid and that they file for adjustment of status early. If their visa expires, and they have not yet filed for an adjustment of status, they may be required to leave the U.S.
5) Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a K-3 Spousal Visa?
K-3 and K-4 visas can be complicated and require great attention to detail. The process of petitioning a loved one can take a long time and may require the assistance of an immigration lawyer. If you or a loved one of yours needs legal assistance with immigration matters, it would be wise to contact an immigration attorney. A lawyer will be able to help you with the various forms, documents, and requirements needed for the immigration process.