K3 Visa Process

This post was most recently updated on December 16th, 2017

The importance of family cannot be overemphasized. However, most people do not realize or admit it until they are stuck on the other part of the world and have to pay the much-needed price of the K3 visa process in order to see their ‘other-half’

But this article is hardly about the melancholic realization that you under-value your family; it will  provide you with valuable insights to waddle through the K3 visa process.

What is a K3 Visa?

A K3 visa is a US spouse visa that allows visa applicants to enter and reside in the U.S. as non-immigrants until they obtain their immigrant visa. Rather than waiting abroad for the immigrant processing, and entering the U.S as an immigrant, the K3 visa entitles spouses of U.S citizen or immigrants to enter as a non-immigrant.

The purpose of this visa is to lessen likely-hood of an elongated separation between a US citizen/ or permanent resident and their foreign based spouse.

What Kind of ‘Spouse’ is Eligible for the K3?

Only spouses recognized by American law are considered eligible for a K3 visa. According to US immigration laws, same-sex spouses of U.S citizens and lawful permanent residents are now eligible for the immigration benefits that the K3 visa entitles.

While common law spouses may be considered recognized, merely living together does not qualify a marriage for immigration, and in the case of polygamy, only the first spouse is considered eligible.

Quite simply, the K3 visa is for the foreign based spouse of a United States citizen, or a green card holding resident and immigrant. To be granted this visa, the foreign citizen who marries a U.S citizen outside the U.S. must apply for the K3 visa in the country where the marriage took place.

Requirements to Commence the K3 Visa Process

For the most part, the significant part of the K3 visa process is documentation. So besides having a one-half of your ‘couple’ a US citizen or legal permanent resident, you need a few documents and forms with which to begin the K3 visa process. They include –

  • Civil documents, including – Birth certificate, Marriage certificate (to your current spouse), divorce or death certificate, and police certificates.
  • Valid passport
  • Medical examination report.
  • A completed nonimmigrant visa application – otherwise called a Form DS-160.
  • Evidence of relationship with the U.S. citizen spouse
  • Two 2×2 photographs
  • Proof of financial solvency
  • Evidence of payment of visa fees.

The K3 Visa Process

In order to proceed, take some time to study the international marriage broker regulation act of 2005 (IMBRA) and learn its requirements,

Step one:

The K3 visa process often begins with filing the petitions required. To begin with, the U.S citizen spouse must file a Form 1-130 on behalf of their non-citizen spouse. Submit the form with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Step two:

In exchange for the Form 1-130, the petitioning spouse would receive a form I-797, which indicates that the USCIS (U.S. citizenship and Immigration Services)  has received the petition.

Step three:

Next, proceed to file a Form I-129F , known as the petition for Alien fiancé(e) for the foreign spouse and children (where applies).

After reviewing the petitions, they will be sent to the National Visa Processing Center (NVC) by the USCIS.

If both petitions are approved by the USCIS and sent to the NVC, or if the I-I30 is approved before being sent to the NVC, then the petitioning couple automatically has no need for a K3 visa. On the other hand, if the NVC receives the approved I-I29F (which is often the case) then step four commences

Step four:

The NVC sends your I-129F form to the U.S embassy or consulate in the country where the marriage was held, or to a consulate that normally processes visas for that country – in countries where there are no US embassies.

Step Five

Some embassies will provide additional instructions on medical examinations, and requirements for the visa interview. This may include where to go for the required medical examination and whether or not your application requires additional administrative processing after your scheduled visa interview with the consular officer.

K3 Visa Process Timing

While the time taken to complete the K3 visa process varies, the I-I29F is valid for four months, in which time, the processing may either be completed or the validity of the petition extended by the consular officer.

Ultimately, the length of time varies from case to case, according to circumstances.

Wading Through the K3 Visa Process Stress-Free

The major challenge experienced by k3 visa applicants is delayed, often because of not obeying instructions, or supplying incomplete information – or even lying to the consulate officer, in the hopes that it would improve your chances at obtaining a visa. All of these are quite contrary to the reality.

Serious about getting that K3? Well, here are a few foolproof tips –

  • Gather Necessary Documentation

This should include copies of filed documents and other original documents requested in your interview appointment letter.

  1. Official Documents

  • An Affidavit of support form is required an accompanying documentation to obtain a US visa – this is otherwise known as the US visa sponsor form and can be downloaded on the US immigration website.
  • A Letter of Invitation  to the family member(s); this should include the length of the visit as well as its purpose
  • A Letter to US Consulate is also required and this should request that visa be granted to the family member.
  1. Financial Documents ( Which are meant to demonstrate your financial ability to host said family member)
  • Bank statements: At least your latest two bank statements.
  • Bank account verification letter:  This would prove the state of your bank account and bank balance.
  • A copy of a few recent income tax returns


  • Evidence of Your Residency Status In USA
  • A Copy of passport.
  • Your letter of employment (if the sponsor is an employee in USA).
  • If you are a Visa holder; Copies of your – Visa and approval Form. (If visa has expired but has a renewed petition, a photocopy of the renewed petition would be necessary as well)
  • If you are a Green Card Holder; A Copy of Green Card front and back.
  • If you are a USA citizen; A Copy of certificate of citizenship.


Review your questions with your partner if necessary. There may be no need to memorize your answers, but you certainly need to be familiar with them.

  • Be Honest

Nothing ruins your chances at getting your K3 visa like providing untruthful information. False information may even go further and ruin any future chances . Not to mention, the throng of legal actions that often follows will be quite frustrating to handle.

Benefits of the K3 Visa

There are many benefits of a K3 visa. For instance, after admission into the United States, K-3 non-immigrants may choose to apply to adjust their status to a permanent resident at any time. They may also choose to obtain employment authorization. To obtain evidence of eligibility to work legally in the United States they only need to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. After filing an application for adjustment of status, K-3 nonimmigrant visa holders may also apply for employment authorization based on that pending application even if the K-3 nonimmigrant status expires.

 Limitations of the K3 Visa

When the K-3’s I-130 reaches the Department of State; an immigrant visa is immediately available to him or her such that he or she and his or her children are no longer eligible for K-3/K-4 nonimmigrant status; but rather must immigrate as lawful permanent residents.  If the K-4 does not have an approved I-130 at the Department of State at that time; he or she will be ineligible to immigrate with the spouse of the USC.

The Department of Homeland Security only admits K-3 nonimmigrant visas holders for a 2-year period.  Afterwards, K-3 nonimmigrant visa holders may apply to USCIS for an extension of status in 2-year increments; as long as the marriage-based petition or a corresponding application  is still pending.


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