The K-3 visa permits the spouse the a U.S. Citizen to enter the United claims with temporary legal standing while wait to acquire permanent residence (a “green card”). Virtually speaking, however, the K-3 visa is virtually always unnecessary contrasted with better alternatives. Learn more below.

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K3 Visa processing Time

K-3 visa processing, top top average, takes around 6–9 months. This is just about as lengthy as that takes USCIS to approve the marriage eco-friendly card application. Because of this an extensive processing time, most civilization find that it’s no worth it to use for a K-3 visa. Uneven the processing times change, the K-3 visa should most likely be avoided, together it entails an unnecessary action and added expense (including an extra $265 filing fee). USCIS only issued a full of five K-3 visas in 2019, portraying how rarely it is because that couples to pick this option.

Keep reading for more information around the U.S. K-3 Spousal Visa.


K-3 Visa Eligibility


The K-3 visa is designed for couples who were legit married exterior of the united States, and is easily accessible to pair who meet the following eligibility requirements:

The applicant should be the legit spouse the a U.S. Citizen. (The K-3 visa is not available to pair of U.S. Eco-friendly card holders.)The applicant must right now reside in a nation outside the the unified States.If the applicant has organic or embraced children that will also travel to the United says (on a K-4 visa), the kids must it is in unmarried and under the period of 21.

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step One: type I-129F


If all of the above requirements have been met, the U.S. Citizen spouse must fill out type I-129F and file it through USCIS. The surname of this kind can it is in confusing due to the fact that it is technically called “Petition for alien Fiancé(e),” also though it can additionally be provided by spouses of U.S. Citizens.

Once the type has been completed and signed, copies of every required papers should it is in attached to it, including:

The U.S. Citizens spouse’s passport, certificate of naturalization, or bear certificate, together proof the citizenship.The applicant spouse’s passport.Legal marriage certificate through certified English translation.Proof of discontinuation of any prior marriages (divorce decree, annulment document, or fatality certificate).One passport-style photo of the U.S. Citizen spouse and also one passport-style photograph of the applicant spouse.Receipt an alert for the form I-130 (itself technically referred to as the kind I-797).

Unlike the I-129F petition when offered by fiancé(e)s, over there is no submit fee because that I-129F petitions designated for spouses.

After signing the kind I-129F and also attaching all supporting documents, it’s always a an excellent idea to make an archival copy of the packet prior to filing.

Typically within around 30 work from the moment the type I-129F is filed, the U.S. Citizens spouse must receive a receipt notice. This indicates that the package has been got by USCIS and is being processed. Handling times will certainly vary depending on which USCIS service center is managing the case, yet the median is around 6–9 months. Throughout that time, a request for proof (RFE) may be issued, should USCIS require any more information. As soon as the petition is approved, the U.S. Citizen spouse will get an approval notice.


step Two: type DS-160 and also Interview


Approximately 30 days after USCIS authorize the form I-129F, the applicant spouse will obtain correspondence, normally via email, indigenous the U.S. Embassy in their house country. This correspondence will encompass the date and time the the applicant spouse’s interview in ~ the U.S. Embassy or consulate in their residence country. That will additionally include a perform of records required because that the interview.

The following step is to electronically file the DS-160 visa applications on the room of State’s website, which consists of uploading a passport-style photograph. Once the DS-160 has actually been filed electronically, the confirmation page should be printed and also taken to the interview, together with the adhering to documents:

Legal marriage certificateValid, unexpired passport for the applicant spouseBirth certificate because that the applicant spousePolice clearance because that the applicant spouse, acquired from all countries of residence of much more than six months because the period of 16Sponsoring spouse’s many recent taxation returnsTwo passport-style photographs that the applicant spouse.

The State Department’s visa submit fee is right now $265, typically paid at the interview. It’s necessary to review details instructions concerning time and place the payment, had in the embassy’s correspondence, which may vary escape the applicant’s residence country.

The interview is typically scheduled about 4–6 weeks indigenous the day of the post from the embassy. The applicant must receive a decision the exact same day or soon thereafter. If the consular officer needs extr evidence, they will request because that it to be submitted straight to the U.S. Consulate. ~ above approval the the K-3 visa, the spouse may then travel to the joined States.


action Three: green Card Application


The last step the this process is to take trip to the United claims on the approved K-3 visa. Back K-3 visa holders may apply for employment authorization upon come to the unified States, they space not standard to occupational until they receive approval that the work permit application, which typically takes about four months.

For this reason, it’s generally much better to simply record for employment authorization and also a travel permit in addition to the green card application, which deserve to be submitted upon arrival to the joined States. This application, Form I-485 (technically dubbed an “Adjustment the Status” application) is filed with USCIS based upon a pending or approved kind I-130.

Final Warning

Although the K-3 visa is easily accessible to pair of U.S. Citizens living abroad, that is normally not the best option and should normally be avoided. Because of the an extensive processing times, using for a K-3 visa normally ends up gift an unnecessary step with extr expense (including the extra $265 filing fee).

If a pair is already married with a pending kind I-130, lock are nearly always far better off going straight through the environment-friendly card procedure through “consular processing,” i m sorry will end up taking around the very same amount of time as the K-3 visa process.

Once the applicant spouse arrives in the United states with one approved green card, castle will have the ability to work automatically as a long-term resident, there is no needing to document any added applications. For an ext information ~ above marriage-based green cards, click here.

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Related Information

Marriage green Cards

How Is a Fiancé Visa different from a Marriage-Based green Card?

Other green Cards

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The K-1 Visa, Explained

U.S. Immigrant Forms


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