There are different ways and visa applications through which a non-U.S. citizen can enter the United States. One of them is the K3 spouse visa, which was designed to shorten the distance between a U.S. citizen and their foreign citizen spouse.

Theoretically, the k 3 visa category is the perfect solution for couples who don’t live together in the US but want to. It helps to eliminate or at least shorten the extended separation between spouses which is associated with the immigration process.

However, practically, the U.S. government agency seldom issues this visa, which means couples have a hard time getting it. If your foreign spouse is still far off from completing their immigration process, this visa would help indeed.

But, since the U.S. government rarely issues it, you’ll need the help of an experienced immigration attorney to help you. By developing a strong attorney-client relationship with your immigration lawyer at a standard law firm, you have better chances.

Which Is Better: K1 or K 3 Visa?

The K1 and K3 visas are fiancé visas, although the immigration benefits they both offer differs significantly. A K1 visa allows the U.S. citizen’s alien fiancé to enter the country if they intend to get married within 90 days.

The K1 visa is better than the K 3 visa as the choice visa for engaged international couples; it is easier, quicker, and cheaper. It takes between five to seven months from the time one files the I-129F petition to obtain the K3 visa.

Meanwhile, the K 3 visa also allows a foreign spouse to enter the U.S. for their citizen spouse, but they are rarely issued. To obtain the K1 visa, you’ll first file Form I-129F at a USCIS service center after which it is sent for consular processing.

Who Qualifies for a K3 Visa?

Citizen and alien couples who were legally married outside the United States are the main beneficiaries of the K 3 visa. The applicant and U.S. citizen (not green card holders) must be legally married, and the former must currently reside outside the U.S. Also, the U.S. citizen must have filed Form I-130, a family sponsorship form, which is currently a pending form with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The tax return of the U.S. citizen must be at least 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines to offer financial support to an alien spouse. If there are biological or adopted children involved, they should be under the age of 21 and unmarried.

How Long Does a K3 Visa Last?

The K 3 visa lasts for two years after which the beneficiary can either renew it in two-year increments at the designated U.S. embassy or consulate nearest to you. However, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or the Department of Homeland Security will revoke it if the US Department of State rejects Form I-130.

That is, the renewal of immigration forms in two-year increments will be rejected if their application for lawful permanent residence is rejected. Also, the foreign spouse cannot renew their K 3 visa if they and their citizen spouse divorce.

What Type of Visa is the K3 Visa?

The K 3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa designed for foreign citizen spouses of United States citizens. It was designed to allow U.S. citizens’ foreign spouses to enter the U.S. and remain while they await approval. This visa helps to shorten the physical separation of spouses; it gives immigrant spouses temporary legal status while waiting.

Thanks to the K3 spouse visa, alien spouses can enter the United States even before they obtain their immigrant visa. Nevertheless, the processing time is as long as the immigrant visa application, which means many don’t need to apply for it.

How Long Does It Take to Get the K3 Spouse Visa?

The K 3 visa processing time takes three to thirteen months on average, about as long as it takes to approve a marriage-based green card. Due to the lengthy processing time of the K3 spouse visa, many decide that it isn’t worth applying for.

You probably want to avoid applying for the K 3 visa – at least until the processing time shortens. Besides, the K3 immigrant visa process requires you to go through an unnecessary step and pay additional fees.

Additionally, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services rarely issues the K3 spouse visa; in 2019, for instance, it only issued five k3 visas. That illustrates how incredibly rare it is for couples to choose this visa application option.

What Is the Required Documentation for the K-3 Visa Interview?

require documentation

The U.S. citizen spouse, foreign spouse, and eligible children for the K4 visa will be required to bring:

  • Completed online nonimmigrant visa application Form DS-160 completed by the U.S. citizen spouse and children. Fir it to be valid, it must come as separate visa applications,
  • A passport to travel to the U.S., with a validity date of at least six months beyond your intended period of stay,
  • Originals and photocopies of civil documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, police certificates, and a death certificate where necessary,
  • Medical examination, two 2×2 photographs, and evidence of relationship with the U.S. citizen spouse. In the case of a medical examination, it must come from a certified medical doctor.
  • U.S. citizen spouse payment and proof of payment of legal fees, along with any other additional information the consular officer may request.
  • Any pending or approved form for the applicant, their legal spouse or eligible children.

What Forms Do You Need to File to Obtain the K3 Visa?

The first step is that the U.S. citizen must file two immigrant visa petitions, Form I-130 and I-129F, with the USCIS. Form I-130 is Petition for Alien Relative, sent to the correct USCIS address; the USCIS will send a Notice of Action, Form I-797. The Form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancée sent to the correct USCIS office.

You can file these forms [ Petition for Alien Relative and Alien Fiancé] together or file the I-130 first and the I-129F after when applying for a renewed K 3 visa process or a green card.

If you file the I-130 first, you’ll need to include Form I-797 and an employment authorization, indicating that the USCIS received it. It might be difficult to proceed with your application until the USCIS approves this step. There are no associated k 3 visa application fees for filing Form I-129F for a K 3 visa for a foreign spouse provided they are married lawful permanent residents.

What Are the Steps for Applying for a K 3 Visa?

First, the U.S. citizen will file Form I-130 for you; they need to bring proof of their US citizenship. They also need to go with proof that your marriage is authentic, the foreign spouse’s birth certificate, and a passport valid for travel.

The USCIS will send a receipt notice, after which the US spouse will file Form I-129F, with required documentation evidence. Once the I-129F is approved, you’ll electronically submit Form DS-160; store the barcode you see on the confirmation page once submitted.

Once you’ve submitted all the necessary forms, you’ll pay legal fees online or during your visa interview. Then, you’ll schedule, prepare for, and attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy or consulate in your home country. The U.S. embassy or consulate you apply to will schedule a date you are expected to visit them alongside your legally wedded husband.

When Does an Authorized Stay for K3/K4 Visa Terminate?

The authorized stay for a K 3 visa holder automatically terminates thirty days after:

  • The USCIS revokes the Form I-130,
  • The USCIS revokes the Form I-485,
  • The U.S. Department of State denies your immigrant visa petition filed based on the Form I-130, or
  • Your marriage ended through annulment or divorce before you adjust status and become a lawful permanent resident. This is not always the case when common law marriage occurs because of how rigid certain common laws can be.

For a K4 visa holder, the authorized stay in the U.S. terminates automatically thirty days after:

  • The end of your parent’s k3 status,
  • The US Citizenship and Immigration Services revokes or denies the Form I-130 filed on your behalf or her behalf, or denies your Form I-485
  • The DOS denies your Form I-130-based immigrant visa application because the spouse fails to consent to it,
  • You turn twenty-one or get legally married to only the first spouse before becoming a lawful permanent resident or a green card holder.

How Can You Prepare for the K3 Visa Interview?

First, have all the required supporting documents with you, including an original birth certificate, a legal marriage certificate and the confirmation page you saw when you submitted Form DS-160. Your US spouse doesn’t have to accompany you to the interview; you’ll be okay if you’re seeking the visa for legitimate reasons.

The immigration officer can ask any question but mostly related to your background and relationship with the U.S. citizen. They may also ask if and how you see the future with your spouse in the United States.

How Long Will It Take To Get a Decision After the Interview?

You can expect to receive the government’s decision on the same interview day or a few days after. However, that you attended the interview doesn’t necessarily constitute acceptance or approval. If the immigration officers assigned to your immigration case have reasons to believe you entered the marriage to commit immigration fraud.

Or, if they suspect that you’re in a forced marriage or committed marriage fraud, they will reject your K3 visa application. The K3 visa application will also be at risk of being denied if the USCIS discovers you lied during the interview.

Is the K1 Visa Better than CR-1 and IR-1 Marriage Visas?

The CR-1 and IR-1 marriage visas let foreign spouses enter the United States for immigration purposes. The processing time for these visas is better than the K 3 visa, but the K1 is still better for unmarried international couples. The CR-1 and IR-1 visas take between five to seven months to be issued from the date the I-130 petition was filed.

The National Visa Center will contact the immigrant visa petitioner for further processing requirements where necessary. If satisfied, the NVC will send the petition to the embassy or consulate in the foreign spouse’s home country for final processing. Then, you will be informed on the K visa application fee to be paid, how to fill the form I-129F petition for alien fiancé, and any other step to take in the green card application process.

Contact Richard Herman Today!

Applying for a K3 spouse visa or green card is not a walk in the park as many things must be done for the spouse or her children pending approval. You must have to understand the requirements of a K 3 visa process and how to fill Form I-129F. To save your time and resources, it is best to work with an experienced immigration lawyer.

With many years of experience working with many spouses on their K 3 visa process, Richard Herman is celebrated as the best in this field in the United States. To get started, you can schedule a consultation with him by calling +1-216-696-6170 or booking online to take your consultation in-person or via Zoom, Skype, Facetime, or Google Meet.


There are advantages and disadvantages to obtaining the K3 spouse visa; one of its advantages is you can apply for employment authorization. So, if the USCIS approves the visa, they cannot work until they register permanent residence according to immigration law.

Meanwhile, the K1 and K3 visas offer the same immigration benefits in that they grant the foreign spouse entry into the U.S. However, the K1 visa is better because it takes less processing time and is less expensive than the K3. To ensure the process is smooth and timely, it is best you work with an experienced immigration law firm with focus on the visa category.

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