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K3 Visa Guide for Foreign Spouses of U.S Citizens

The K3 visa permits a US citizen’s spouse to enter the country with temporary legal status while they wait for permanent residency (a “green card”).

However, the K-3 visa is nearly always unneeded when better options are available. We will be looking into this in detail. The K3 visa also allows a foreign spouse to go to the United States and live there while their immigrant visa petition is processed. This rule applies to married couples when one spouse is a US citizen, and the other is from another nation.

What is K3 Visa?

The K3 nonimmigrant visa is for the spouse of a US citizen who is not a US citizen. By having the option of obtaining a nonimmigrant K3 visa overseas and entering the United States to await acceptance of the immigrant visa petition, this visa category is designed to lessen the physical separation between a foreign citizen and US citizen spouses.

Following the approval of the petition, K3 visa holders seek to alter their status to permanent resident (LPR) with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), US Citizenship, and Immigration Services (USCIS).

A K3 applicant must fulfill some of the conditions of an immigrant visa since the spouse of a US citizen seeking a nonimmigrant K-3 visa must have an immigrant visa petition submitted on his or her behalf by his or her US citizen spouse and pending approval.

A foreign citizen who marries a US citizen outside the US must apply for a K-3 visa in the nation where the marriage took place, according to US immigration rules.

K4 visas are issued to eligible offspring of K3 visa applicants. The K-3 and K-4 visas allow grantees to remain in the United States while USCIS is processing their immigrant visa applications.

Eligibility Requirements for the K3 Visa

The K3 visa is for spouses who were lawfully married outside of the United States, and it is offered to those who meet the following criteria:

  • The applicant must be the lawful spouse of a citizen of the United States. (Spouses of US green card holders are not eligible for the K-3 visa.)
  • The applicant must be a resident of a nation other than the United States at the time of application.
  • The US citizen spouse must have already submitted a family sponsorship application (Form I-130) to USCIS, which is now pending. This Form I-130 must have yet to be authorized, and a receipt notification from USCIS must have been received.
  • The spouse who is a US citizen must fulfill specific income standards. The adjusted gross income on their most recent tax return must be at least 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines to qualify as a financial sponsor. A dual sponsor must file an “affidavit of support” if they are unable to achieve this criterion.
  • If the applicant has biological or adopted children who will also be traveling to the US (on a K-4 visa), they must be unmarried and under the age of 21.

Documents required for the K3 Visa

The following paperwork and documentation must be brought to the visa interview by you, your foreign-citizen spouse (and any eligible children seeking K-4 visas):

  • Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160, completed. To bring to your interview, you (and any eligible children seeking K-4 visas) must:
  1. complete Form DS-160 and
  2. Print the DS-160 confirmation page.
  • A passport is valid for travel to the United States, that is, for at least six months beyond your expected stay in the country (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions).
  • Originals (or certified copies) and photocopies of the following civil documents:
  • (i)Certificate of Birth
  • (ii)Marriage certificate for the spouse who is a US citizen.
  • (iii)Any former spouse’s divorce or death certificate(s) (s)
  • Police certificates from your current residence and all other countries where you have resided for six months or more since the age of 16 are required. (Police certifications are also necessary for children aged 16 and above who are accompanied by an adult.)
  • Examination by a physician (vaccinations are optional, see below)
  • Proof of financial assistance (Form I-134, Affidavit of Support may be requested)
  • Two (2) 2×2 passports are included. Photograph Requirements explain the needed photo format.
  • Evidence of your marriage to a US citizen spouse
  • All fees must be paid.

Note: The consular officer may request additional information, such as wedding pictures and other verification that your marriage to your US citizen spouse is legitimate.

Documents written in languages other than the official language of the nation in which the application is being submitted should be translated.

All original civil papers, such as birth and marriage certificates, as well as readable photocopies and translations, should be brought to the visa interview. Documents and translations will be returned in their original form.

How to Apply for the K3 Visa

The foreign spouse must apply for a K3 visa. The candidate must submit an application to a US Embassy or Consulate in their native country, following the NVC’s procedures.

The following are the procedures for applying for a K3 visa:

#Step 1. File Form DS-160

Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160, is an online form that you, as the applicant, must complete and submit with all required information. Using your NVC case number, you may gain access to it.

The questions will revolve around your history and motivations for visiting the United States. After completing the form, submit it and print the confirmation page, which you’ll need later.

#Step 2. Medical examination and vaccination

Citizens and immigrants in the United States must meet various medical and immunization criteria. Anyone who wishes to come to the United States must undergo the proper medical examinations and vaccinations.

The medical procedures you must complete and the immunizations you must obtain are detailed in the NVC packet you got after your petition was approved.

A registered doctor must complete the documentation and check-ups. These papers should be included in your supporting file, which you will email to the NVC.

#Step 3. Compile documents file

Complete the file with the documentation required by the US Embassy/Consulate to apply for a K3 visa. Aside from the application form, you must also provide the following documents:

  • Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your scheduled entrance into the United States.
  • Page 2 of the DS-260 confirmation form
  • Medical records and immunization certificates
  • According to the Photo Requirements, each individual must submit two US visa photographs.
  • Marriage certificate and birth certificate
  • judicial and criminal records, as well as a police certificate
  • Evidence of financial assistance for your initial stay in the United States (US citizen spouse must
  • provide you with the Form I-134, Affidavit of Support)
  • Receipts for fees that have been paid

#Step 4. Attend the interview

The NVC will verify that you have provided all required documentation before scheduling your interview at the US Embassy where you applied. The interview will focus on your background, motivations for visiting the United States, and any extra documentation you may have.

#Step 5. Receive the NVC packet and travel to the US

If your K3 visa application is accepted, you will get a package from the NVC from the US Embassy where you applied. Under no circumstances should you open this package.

Instead, please bring it with you when you go to the United States on your K3 visa for the first time and hand it over to an immigration official at any US port of entry.

They have the authority to open it and decide whether you are allowed to enter the nation.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

How long is a K3 Visa valid?

The K3 visa is only valid for two years. It can be renewed every two years, but it will be canceled if the US Department of State rejects Form I-130, the Lawful Permanent Residence application, or if the couple divorces.

What are the costs of a K3 visa?

The following are the K3 visa fees that you and your US citizen spouse will have to pay:

  • Fee for submitting Form I-130
  • Fee for completing Form DS-160
  • Fees for medical examinations and vaccinations
  • Obtaining, interpreting, and delivering papers incurs additional administrative expenditures.

How long does it take to get a K3 visa?

The processing period for a K3 visa varies depending on the case; however, it usually takes 5-8 months.

USCIS takes 3-5 months to process, and the US Embassy in your native country might take another 2-3 months. Furthermore, various US embassies in different countries have varied working hours, which might affect how quickly or slowly your K3 visa is processed.

Can my spouse bring their children to the US with a K3 visa?

When a foreign spouse obtains a K3 visa, they can bring their children to the United States. Children must be unmarried and under the age of 21 to be eligible.

The children will be issued a K-4 visa, but if the K3 visa holder is granted a CR-1 visa, the kid will be required to change to the appropriate derivative visa.

The kid can reside in the United States, attend school and further education, apply for naturalization and get US citizenship if they meet the requirements.


You can also submit Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé, if you are a US citizen and have filed a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for your foreign spouse overseas.

While you wait for USCIS to decide on Form I-130, this is the first step in getting your spouse and their children a visa to travel to the United States.

In the past, you and your family may have been separated for some time as you awaited a decision on your Form I-130. Congress attempted to address this issue by introducing K-3 and K-4 nonimmigrant visas to reduce the amount of time your family would be apart.

With the help of the information in this article, we hope you now have answers to all your unanswered questions about the K3 Visa for Foreign Spouses of US Citizens.

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