Immigration Services / U.S. Citizen Spouse's Nonimmigrant Visa (K-3)
K-3 Spouse of US Citizen
K-3 status is available for an individual who has a valid marriage to a U.S. citizen, and who seeks to enter the United States to await the approval of an I-130 immigrant visa petition filed on his or her behalf by the U.S. citizen spouse. If the K-3 applicant married abroad, he or she must apply for the visa in the country where the marriage took place or, if there is no consular post in that country, at a post designated by the U.S. Department of State.
A K-3 entrant is not eligible to change status to any other nonimmigrant status, nor may he or she adjust status to permanent residence by any means other than through marriage to the intended spouse. Likewise, other nonimmigrants cannot apply to change status to K-3.
The K-3 entrant is eligible for work authorization and must obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) through a U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) Service Center before beginning work.
K-3 Application Procedures
To obtain a K-3 visa for a foreign spouse, the U.S. citizen must file an I-129F petition with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States. The petition must include proof that the I-130 petition has been filed. If the I-130 petition is approved before the K-3 notifies the U.S. embassy or consulate that he or she is ready to be interviewed, the K-3 visa will not be issued and the post will process the applicant for an immigrant visa.
The K-3 petition will be approved for four months, and may be revalidated by the U.S. embassy or consulate. After the K-3 petition is approved, USCIS will transfer the petition to the U.S. embassy or consulate having jurisdiction over the foreign spouse's place of residence. The foreign spouse must then apply for a K-3 visa and, generally, must meet the requirements for issuance of an immigrant visa. These requirements usually include a valid passport, birth certificate, divorce or death certificate for any previous spouse, police certificates from all places lived since age 16, a medical examination, evidence of support, evidence of valid relationship with the petitioner, and photographs.
The K-3 visa will generally be approved by the U.S. embassy or consulate for two years with multiple entries, and the K-3 will generally be admitted for a two-year period. Extensions of stay will be granted for additional two-year intervals but only if the U.S. citizen spouse has filed and has not yet received an approval of an I-130 petition or the K-3 has filed for immigrant visa processing abroad or adjustment of status in the United States and has not yet received an approval.
After the K-3 spouse enters the United States, and the I-130 petition is approved, he or she may file an I-485 application for adjustment of status to obtain permanent residency, but only through the spouse that sponsored the K-3. K-3 spouses and their K-4 dependents do not require advance parole to travel outside the United States.
Unmarried children under 21 years of age of K-3 nonimmigrants are entitled to K-4 status, and may also apply for work authorization in the United States. After the dependent enters in K-4 status, the U.S. citizen parent should file an I-130 petition on the child's behalf that will serve as the basis for permanent residency.