K-3 visa process – How long does the application take?

Are you planning to apply for a K-3 Visa? Or maybe you already have one and are wondering when you should renew it. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the K-3 visa process and what you need to know before applying.

A K-3 visa allows you to bring your spouse and children into the U.S. on a temporary basis.

The process involves filing paperwork, paying fees, and waiting for approval.

What Is A K-3 Visa?

A K3 visa allows you to bring your spouse and children into the U.S. on a temporary basis. This visa is typically issued after the I-130 has been approved, but it can be applied for separately if necessary.

The K-3 Visa lasts for two years and is renewable for another two years, but the exact duration of the K3 visa depends on your situation.

What Is a Non-Immigrant K-4 Visa?

A K-4 visa is a nonimmigrant classification for a spouse or child of a K3 visa holder. They are given the same temporary residency in the U.S. as their K-3 spouse or parent, which can be renewed for up to 3 years.

A K-4 visa holder may not work without obtaining an employment authorization card from USCIS and may not enroll in elementary or secondary school.

A K-4 visa is valid for up to 3 years from the date of issuance unless it is canceled by either party, revoked by USCIS, or terminated by divorce proceedings.

K-3 or K-4 Visa?

The K-3 visa is different than the K-4 visa. The K-3 visa is for spouses of U.S. citizens who live abroad, and the K-4 visa is for children under 21 years old of U.S. citizens living abroad.

Both the K-3/K-4 Nonimmigrant Visas allow your spouse and children to come to the U.S., but there are some important differences between these two visas:

  • The youngest child eligible to be part of a K-4 Visa is under 21 years old, whereas the youngest child eligible to be part of a K-3 Visa must be under age 16.
  • A spouse on a K-3 Visa can work in the United States, while a spouse on a K-4 Visa cannot work in the United States.
  • Once you have filed your I-130 petition with USCIS, it will take about six months until you receive approval for your case to start processing for both types of visas, but once your case starts processing for a K-3 Visa it will take about three months before you can apply for your green card (and vice versa).

Spouses of U.S. Citizens

Spouses of U.S. citizens can apply for a K-3 nonimmigrant visa at the U.S. consulate in their home country, but they must meet certain eligibility requirements, such as:

  • Proof of citizenship in their home country permanent resident.
  • Proof that the marriage is legal and not in name only.
  • Pending or approved application for adjustment of status in the U.S.

The process takes about 2 to 4 months and applicants need to pay a fee of $265 per person. 

The approval process includes a visa interview with the spouse, which checks for any potential issues such as whether or not your marriage is legitimate or if either party has been previously married multiple times (in some countries this is illegal).


Eligibility Criteria For The K-3 Visa Applicants – How to Qualify for A Green Card Application.

There are a few basic eligibility requirements for the K-3 visa recipients. You must be legally married to a U.S. citizen, which means you must have been married for at least two years.

You also must have filed an I-130 form with the Department of Homeland Security that is pending or approved, and your spouse must have legal residency in the United States.

The time it takes to get a green card will depend on how long it takes to process the I-130 form with DHS, but some people can wait up to three years after applying for their green card to arrive in the mail.

How to Apply for a K-3 Visa in 2022 and Become Green Card Holder

  • The process is to file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for your spouse and children. This is done by submitting form I-130, which includes biographical information about yourself, as well as your children and spouse. 
  • You must also provide evidence of the relationship, such as marriage or birth certificates.
  • Next, you wait for USCIS to approve the petition before you can apply for temporary status on behalf of your spouse and children with the Department of State’s National Visa Center.
  • This will come in the form of a stamp called an APV-3 visa that allows them to enter the country and wait for the National Visa Center to schedule their visa interview at a consulate abroad.
  • It will take anywhere from six months to two years before your spouse and children are approved for legal entry into the United States.

Immigrant Visa Petition

In the process is filing an immigrant visa petition.

This is the first step that needs to be taken before applying for a K-3 visa, and it can take up to 10 months or longer. If you’re already married, then your spouse should file this form with USCIS on behalf of your spouse.

If you’re not yet married but want to get married abroad and then apply for a K-3 Visa, then your U.S. citizen fiancée should file Form I-129F on behalf of your spouse. The form must be filed within 90 days before the marriage takes place, and processing times vary depending on where you live.

File Form I Petition for Alien Relative

The first step in the application process is to file form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. You can do this by mail or electronically. For those applying for a K3 visa, you will need to attach a copy of your U.S. citizen spouse’s certificate of naturalization and a copy of your marriage certificate.

If the applicant is already in the U.S., they will need to provide their residency card and any other documentation that proves they reside in the country on a lawful basis.

Read Also: H-1B to Green Card: Guide and FAQ

File Form IF Petition And K-3 Visa Holder

The first step is to file Form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancée. This form will require you and your spouse to submit a number of documents, including evidence that you are legally married and copies of your birth certificates or other documentation showing the duration of your relationship.

The second step is to fill out Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. Form I-130 requires additional supporting documentation to establish eligibility based on family ties or humanitarian concerns.

The final step is to submit Form I-129F and I-130 simultaneously.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will review both petitions and approve one or the other, but not both petitions together. Once approved, the K3 visa will be issued and sent directly to your spouse abroad within two weeks. 

Your spouse then needs to apply for K-4 status at a U.S. consulate in their home country with the approved paperwork from DHS.

It’s important to note that processing times vary depending on where you are in the world when submitting your application, so it may take up to 6 months before you receive an answer on whether or not your K3 visa was granted.

Submit Form DS-160 Visa Application Form

First, you’ll need to submit Form DS-160, online nonimmigrant visa application processing.

After submitting the form, you’ll be given a confirmation number and told when to come back online to provide your biographic information for your K3 visa application.

K-3 Visa Process Time: What Is The K-3 Visa Processing Time?

The K3 processing time is around six months.

If you are eligible to apply for a non-immigrant K3 visa, the entire process will typically take about six months. This includes the amount of time it takes to submit paperwork and wait for the approval. 

So if you are applying for the first time, the whole process may take up to 13 months. The key is knowing if you are eligible for this visa type before starting the application process.

You must be legally married to a U.S. citizen to be eligible for the K3 visa.

If you’re not sure if your marriage qualifies, speak with an immigration lawyer before submitting any paperwork or paying fees.

What Is The K-3 Visa Application Fee?

The visa application processing fee for the K-3 spouse visa is $265.

K-3 Visa Extension Process

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the organization that approves nonimmigrant K 3 visa. If you’re applying for a K-3 visa, you must submit a petition to DHS in order to be eligible. You can do this by filling out Form I-129F and submitting it with the appropriate fees.

If you have a K-3 visa and want to extend it, you can file an application for an extension by sending a letter requesting an extension along with the fee – $420 USD or its equivalent in local currency – to DHS. You can also extend your visa by paying the fee when you reenter the U.S. on your new K-3 visa extension.

K-3 Visa Process – What Happens Next?

The K-3 visa process takes around 3 months to complete. This includes the application itself, interviews, and processing times.

Afterward, you may receive an invitation letter from the US embassy. This letter contains information about the next steps.

It’s important to note that the K-3 visa process is different for each country. So if you live outside the USA, check with your local consulate to see what happens next.


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