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K-3 Nonimmigrant Visa for Spouses of United States Citizens

A K-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa designed to allow the spouse of a US citizen to enter the United States while awaiting approval of an immigrant visa petition. Historically, K-3 visas allowed spouses to enter the United States faster than waiting for the approval of an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad, as the wait time for K-3 visas was generally less than that for immigrant visas. This made K-3 visas an attractive option for spouses who wanted to be reunited in the United States as quickly as possible. However, the current wait time for K-3 visas to be issued at U.S. Embassies or consulates is around the same as the wait time for an immigrant visa to be issued, so it’s less common for US citizens and their foreign spouses to apply for these visas.

After entering the United States on a K-3 visa, the US citizen’s spouse will still need to adjust their status in the United States in order to obtain a green card. This means another set of applications, further documentation, and another interview, this time at a local United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office. For this reason, it may be simpler to pursue an immigrant visa at the consulate abroad and complete the process abroad, as this allows the immigrant spouse to obtain their green card status immediately upon arrival, inspection and admission in the United States. Applying for an immigrant visa abroad, rather than applying for a K-3, is also cheaper, as a K-3 applicant will pay fees for not only the K-3 visa, but also for the applications that would be needed for an immigrant visa anyway, including the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, the I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status, and a work permit and/or travel document if these are desired.

After the K-3 visa is issued, the immigrant spouse may then travel to the United States. Once the Petition for Alien Relative has been approved, or when the K-3 visa has been issued and travel has been completed, whichever event occurs later, they will be able to apply for their green card.

If you are interested in the K-3 visa process, please contact Tanner Law Offices at (717) 731-8114 to request a consultation.