Complete Process: How To Get Your Spouse On K3 Visa

K3 visa is a non-immigrant visa and is intended for the spouse of a US citizen to enter the United States and fulfil the paperwork for permanent residency. K3 visa is specifically applicable to legally married couples between a US citizen and a foreigner.
HomeUS Visa & ImmigrationComplete Process: How To Get Your Spouse On K3 Visa

What Is A K3 Visa?

According to the US Department of State, ‘The K-3 nonimmigrant visa is for the foreign-citizen spouse of a United States (U.S.) citizen.’ This visa category intends to allow the U.S. citizen spouse to obtain a nonimmigrant K-3 visa overseas and enter the United States to await approval of the immigrant visa petition. On the other hand, a foreign citizen who marries a U.S. citizen outside the U.S. must apply for the K-3 visa in the country where the marriage took place.

What Is Better – K1 Or K3 Visa?

One of the primary questions is whether it is better to apply for a K1 fiancé visa or a K3 visa to get the foreign spouse over to the US. While the K1 visa could be slightly faster in processing, the spouse visa has the advantage of having your married spouse over with you. The K1 visa requires the fiancé to come and marry within 90 days. Pre-covid, K1 processing time was approximately 6 months. 

K3 visa processing times take much longer. The majority of the delays happen just waiting for the approval of the primary Forms, I-130 and I-129F. This is followed by the submission of Form DS-160 and the following visa interview. Pre-covid, all of this process would take close to a year. Today’s visa appointment wait times are worse.

Calculate your K3 visa appointment wait time here.

K3 Visa Eligibility

K3 visa is meant for the spouse of a US citizen – who is a foreigner but legally married to a US citizen in a foreign country. The following eligibility criteria applies to them – 

  • The US spouse should submit the Form I-130, family sponsorship.
  • There should be an approved I-130 receipt with the US citizen spouse after the I-130 is pending with USCIS.
  • The foreign citizen spouse must be legally married to a US citizen.
  • The applicant must reside in a foreign country and hold a valid foreign passport.
  • Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé should be approved and forwarded to the U.S. consulate abroad where the spouse of the U.S. citizen wishes to apply for the K3 visa.
  • Financial status: The US spouse should meet required income requirements, i.e. the gross income is at least 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  • If not, then a joint sponsor must file an affidavit of support

Process To Apply For K3 Spouse Visa

File Form I-130 Petition
The US citizen spouse has to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. This has to be submitted along with –

  • Proof of US citizenship 
  • Form G-325A
  • Copy of the foreign spouse’s Passport 
  • Copy of the foreign spouse’s birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate and relevant documents confirming the relationship.
  • Passport size photographs of the couple.
  • Receipt – Notice of Action
  • Notice of Action is a receipt that USCIS issues when they receive all the above documents. This is issued in the form of Form I-797

File Form I-129F Petition

Once you receive Form I-797, you file for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Fiancé (e). This has to be submitted along with –

  • Proof of US citizenship 
  • Copy of the foreign spouse’s Passport 
  • Marriage certificate and relevant documents confirming the relationship
  • Foreign spouse’s I-94, if applicable
  • Passport size photographs of the couple.
  • Receipt I-797

File Form DS-160

DS -160 can be filed online through a user account on the official website of the US Department of State. This generates a confirmation page with a barcode that is an important piece of documentation that needs to be retained.

Pay Fees Payment & Attend Interview
K3 visa filing fees of $265. This can be either paid online or during the interview. Once paid, the foreign spouse has to undergo a medical examination. And schedule an interview with the nearest US embassy.

Documents Required For K3 Visa Interview

The following documents are to be carried for the interview by the foreign spouse:

  • DS-160 submission confirmation 
  • Report from medical exam
  • Forms DS-156 and Supplement Form DS-156K 
  • Form DS-230
  • Police verification certificate
  • Original birth certificate
  • 2 passport size photographs

Once approved the foreign spouse would be notified if the K3 visa was granted or not. Should the consular officer require further documentation or need additional time to investigate the case further, he will send the application for administrative processing. This can delay the overall processing time.



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