A K-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows a legally-wedded, foreign-national spouse of U.S. citizen to enter the United States while awaiting determination of eligibility for permanent residence. In other words, it is a technique that often, but not always, can get your spouse to the U.S. a bit quicker. (Children of the noncitizen spouse may also be eligible to enter on a K-4 visa.) The process begins when the U.S. citizen files two petitions on behalf of the noncitizen spouse:
Once the noncitizen spouse gains admission to the U.S., he or she may apply to adjust status to legal permanent resident (LPR) or obtain employment authorization by filing Forms I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Statusand I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
The Department of Homeland Security (which oversees USCIS) only admits K-3 nonimmigrant visa holders for two years. However, a K-3 visa holder may apply for an extension during any adjudication about the marriage. Once the Form I-130 reaches the U.S. Department of State, the noncitizen spouse is issued an immigrant visa and must immigrate on the I-130, unless s/he is already in the U.S., in which case they may file to adjust their status.
Although there are certain exceptions, it’s important to remember that a K-3 visa holder only has temporary authorization to remain in the U.S. Permission to stay in the country terminates 30 days after any of these actions:
When a K-3 visa holder is denied permission to stay, that denial extends to any children who have entered on K-4 visas. K-3 applicants and their sponsors should understand how complex the process is, and how easily a mistake can cause delay, additional expense and denial. That’s why it’s important to consult an experienced and successful immigration attorney.
Bretz & Coven, LLP is ready to answer your questions and guide you through the process so you can be united with your loved one. Call us at 212-267-2555 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.