The K-3 Spouse visa is issued for individuals who are spouses of U.S. citizens and who wish to live in the U.S. with their U.S. citizen spouse. In order to initiate the K-3 visa process, the U.S. citizen will need to file a Petition for Alien Relative in the U.S. Next the U.S. citizen will need to file a Petition for Alien Fiancé in the U.S. This petition will be forwarded to the National Visa Center upon approval, and then to the U.S. consulate abroad located in the country the marriage took place. If the marriage occurred in the U.S., the petition will be forwarded to the U.S. consulate abroad located in the home country of the K-3 applicant spouse. The approximate processing time for a K-3 visa application is 5-8 months, however the need for further administrative processing can lead to processing delays.
In order to be eligible to apply for a K-3 visa, the following conditions must be present:
- The individual sponsoring their spouse for the K-3 visa must be a U.S. citizen.
- The K-3 applicant spouse must reside outside of the U.S.
- The K-3 applicant spouse must desire to come to the U.S. for purposes of waiting for an immigrant visa.
- The Petition for Alien Relative filed by the individual sponsoring their spouse for the K-3 visa must be pending.
The Petition for Alien Fiancé filed in the U.S. will be valid for four months after it has been approved. If however, the spouse is unable to have their K-3 visa stamped within that time period, the U.S. consular officials can extend the validity period. After the spouse has entered the U.S. and the Petition for Alien Relative has been approved, he / she can apply for Adjustment of Status to Permanent Resident.
The K-3 Spouse visa is valid for 2 years and provides the individual with multiple re-entry privileges. Additionally, the K-3 visa can also be extended in intervals of 2 years.
Under the K-3 visa category, the spouse is eligible to apply for separate work authorization through USCIS. Please note that no separate application is required for the spouse to have authorization to engage in studies.
If the K-3 spouse has children under the age of 21 which will accompany them to the U.S., the U.S. petitioner will need to include them on the initial Petition for Alien Fiancé which is filed in the U.S. The children of the spouse can then apply for a separate K-4 visa, which will allow them to accompany the spouse to the U.S.
Please note that K-3 spouses and their children in K-4 status are not eligible for changing their status in the U.S.