Nonimmigrant visas are temporary visas that are issued to foreign nationals seeking to visit the United States for a limited amount of time. An individual applying for nonimmigrant status must demonstrate that they do not intend to stay or live permanently in the United States.
In addition, certain factors may preclude an applicant from receiving a nonimmigrant visa. This includes a criminal felony record.
The number of nonimmigrant visas issued each year may change. The availability of nonimmigrant visas may also depend on the applicant’s country of origin. The number of nonimmigrant visas that are issued from certain countries may be more or less depending on the amount that were issued in the previous year.
What is a K-3 Visa?
K visas are for individuals who are going to be married to a United States citizen or for individuals who are already married to a United States citizen. The K-3 visa is also known as the spousal visa.
The K-3 visa permits the spouse of a United States citizen to come to the U.S. as a nonimmigrant and then complete the immigration process and obtain a green card. This type of visa is typically used when a U.S. citizen has married a foreign national while overseas.
A K-3 visa is intended to lessen the amount of time a foreign national must be separated from their spouse. This is accomplished by permitting the spouse to obtain the K-3 visa while overseas and entering the United States while they wait for the approval to become a permanent resident.
How Do I Obtain a K-3 Visa?
In order to obtain a K-3 visa, an foreign national’s United States citizen spouse must file an immigrant visa petition on their behalf, called Form I-130. The spouse must then file for their own K-3 visa. The foreign national must meet the requirements for the immigrant visa.
Once the petition for a K-3 visa is approved, the foreign national spouse must work with the National Visa Center to receive their visa. Part of this process involves an interview and a medical exam. If the foreign national is ineligible for a K-3 visa due to certain activities, they may still be able to obtain a K-3 visa if they can obtain a waiver.
Can the Spouse Work in the United States on a K-3 Visa?
While an individual is in the United States on a K-3 visa, they may apply for employment authorization while waiting for their immigration status to change. The applicant must have a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This document can be obtained by filing Form I-765.
They may also leave and re-enter the U.S. while waiting for their immigration status to change, so long as their visa has not expired. In addition, once an individual is in the United States, they cannot change to any other non-immigrant status. If the applicant is seeking a more permanent status in the U.S., they can wait until they are ready to file their adjustment of status, and then file both forms together at once.
What are the Requirements for a K-3 Visa?
The most important requirement for a K-3 spousal visa is that the individual being petitioned must be legally married to the United States Citizen. Because of this, most common law marriages do not meet this requirement.
In addition, if the applicant was previously married, they must be able to provide proof of divorce or termination of their previous marriage. A valid marriage certificate or other marriage document may be required in order to prove that they are married to the U.S. citizen.
Additional standard marriage immigration visa requirements apply, including:
- Valid travel documents;
- Identification papers;
- Proof of medical examinations and vaccinations; and
- Various fees.
Once the applicant obtains their K-3 spouse visa, they can then file for an adjustment of status if they wish to pursue a more permanent status in the United States.
Can the Children of the K-3 Visa Spouse Enter the United States?
The answer to this question depends on the age and marital status of the children. If the children are under 21 years of age and unmarried, they may apply for a K-4 visa. This type of visa allows them to travel to the United States and receive temporary immigration status.
Once the dependents are in the United States, they may file for an adjustment of status, similar to the manner in which their parents would. In many cases, the child or children may accompany the spouse then traveling from their home country to the U.S.
It is important to ensure that the parental spouse and any children’s immigration statuses remain valid and that they file for their adjustments of status as soon as possible. If their visas expire and they have not filed for their adjustment of status, they may be required to leave the United States.
How Long Does it Take to Obtain the K-3 Visa?
The simple answer is, it varies. For the K-3 visa process, it may take anywhere from 7 to 32 months to get the Form I-130 approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Following this time period, it may take another 6 to 10 months, or even longer, to get an immigrant visa to go to the United States.
What is a K-1 Fiancé Visa?
A K-1 fiancé visa allows a foreign national to enter the United States for 90 days for the purpose of marrying a United States citizen. The applicant has 6 months to enter the United States. This type of visa permits entry only once, so the alien cannot enter the U.S. then leave and return on their K-1 visa.
The United States citizen must petition using Form I-129, called the fiancé visa petition. This form is available on the USCIS website. Although the form is free, there is a fee for submission.
Once married, the alien is required to apply for a marriage visa. The next step is to file an Application to Register Permanent Residence, or Form I-485. The U.S. citizen must file an Affidavit of Support, or Form I-864.
Once the petition is approved, the alien spouse will be granted a conditional green card. After 2 years, the spouse may apply to remove the conditional status using Form I-751. They must have been married for 2 years or divorced from a good-faith marriage. They must demonstrate that their marriage was not entered into in order to evade immigration laws.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Apply for a K-3 Visa?
It is essential to have the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney for any K-3 visa issues you may have. If you or a loved one needs assistance with any type of visa application, an attorney can ensure your application is complete and correct, which will speed up the processing of the application.
The requirements for a K-3 visa may be complex. Having an attorney assisting you with the process will ensure your loved one gets to the United States as soon as possible.
An immigration lawyer can also review your circumstances to see if there are other visas that may be available for your situation. For example, a lawyer can assist you with obtaining a K-4 visa if you are entering the country on a K-3 visa and wish to bring along your unmarried dependent children.