K-3 Visa Guide – Texas Immigration Attorneys
K-3 Visa Guide
If you’re a foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible for a K-3 visa. A K-3 visa allows you to shorten the time you’re apart from your spouse by allowing you to enter the U.S. while you wait for approval of your immigrant visa petition. If you receive a K-3 visa, you’ll later apply to adjust your status and become a lawful permanent resident, or LPR.
Your spouse must file for your K-3 visa for you – you can’t apply for it yourself. Additionally, you must still meet certain requirements.
What is a K-3 Visa?
A K-3 visa is an immigration document that allows you to enter the country while you wait for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, to make a decision on your immigrant petition.
You do not have to file for a K-3 visa unless you want to; you are allowed to wait abroad in your home country (or in any other country where you’re lawfully present) while USCIS makes its decision in your case.
This is a voluntary petition, and its purpose is to shorten the time you and your U.S. citizen spouse must remain apart.
Who Qualifies for a K-3 Visa?
You must be a legally wedded husband or wife of a U.S. citizen to qualify for a K-3 visa. Same-sex spouses count – under U.S. immigration law, you are eligible for the same benefits that opposite-sex spouses are entitled to receive. It’s important to note that:
- Only the first spouse in a polygamous relationship may qualify as a spouse for immigration purposes.
- Common-law spouses may qualify, depending on the laws of the country where the common-law marriage occurred.
- You cannot petition as a spouse if you simply live together and are not lawfully wedded. You will have to provide documentation that proves your marriage with your application.
Can Your Children Get K-3 Visas?
Children can get K-4 visas – not K-3 visas. That means if your kids are eligible and you receive a K-3 visa, you can apply for them to come to the United States with you. If they’re approved, your children will receive K-4 visas that allow them to enter the country and wait.
What Paperwork Do You Need to File to Get a K-3 Visa?
To apply for a K-3 visa, your U.S. citizen spouse will need proof that he or she has filed a Form I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative, on your behalf. You and your spouse will be required to submit additional documentation, as well, including:
- Form I-129F, Petition for an Alien Fiancé(e)
- A completed Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application
- A passport that’s valid for travel to the United States that’s valid at least six months after your intended period of stay in the U.S. (although there are some exceptions to this rule, such as when there are country-specific agreements in place)
- Your birth certificate
- Your marriage certificate
- Divorce or death certificates for previous spouses
- Police certificates from the foreign spouse’s current country of residence, as well as for all countries where he or she has lived for 6 months or more since age 16
- A valid medical examination
- Evidence of financial support
- Two 2-inch-by-2-inch photographs in the appropriate format
- Evidence of the relationship between the foreign spouse and the U.S. citizen spouse
You’ll also be required to pay the fees for the petition at the time of filing.
Proof of the Relationship for a K-3 Visa
USCIS will require you to prove that you have a valid relationship with your spouse. That’s because it’s illegal to marry someone with the sole purpose of gaining an immigration benefit from the United States. You may have to furnish proof such as:
- Joint bank account statements that show both of your names
- Titles or deeds to property that you both own jointly (such as real estate or vehicles)
- A lease agreement or mortgage documents that show both of your names and show that you’re both responsible for making payments
- Joint credit card statements that show you as joint account holders or authorized users
- Joint insurance policies, such as for auto, health or home insurance
- Life insurance policies that list you and your spouse as the primary beneficiary
- Documents that show a shared address, such as driver’s licenses and bills
- Children’s birth certificates
- Adoption certificates
- School or medical records listing you or your spouse as the emergency contact for any stepchildren
- Travel itineraries for vacations you took together
- Phone or chat records that show you talk to each other regularly
- Wedding photos, invitations and other wedding-related items
- Letters, emails and cards you’ve sent to each other
You may also provide other types of evidence, such as photographs of you together at family events; letters from family members, friends and employees; receipts for gifts you’ve purchased for each other; or other documentation that shows you’re in a bona fide (true and valid) relationship.
Some types of evidence are stronger than others are. For example, joint bank accounts, wills and joint life insurance policies are the strongest types of evidence, while cards, letters from friends and family, and tickets to events are the weakest.
What is the Period of Stay on a K-3 Visa?
If the U.S. government grants you a K-3 visa, you can stay for two years. If your children receive K-4 visas, they can stay as long as you do – unless they reach their 21st birthday during the two-year period for which you received your visa. The K-4 visa expires the day before a child reaches his or her 21st birthday.
Does a K-3 Visa Automatically Terminate?
The K-3 visa automatically terminates after two years. You can, however, petition the U.S. government to extend your visa before it expires. Your Houston or Dallas immigration attorney can help you do so.
Do You Need Employment and Travel Authorization if You’re in the U.S. on a K Visa?
A K-3 visa comes with work authorization. You don’t have to file any separate paperwork.
K-3 Visa FAQ
Some of the most common questions we answer about K-3 visas include the following. If you don’t see your question listed here, please feel free to call our office and ask – we’ll be happy to provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation.
Can I extend a K-3 visa petition if it has expired?
You can extend your K-3 visa if you do so before it expires. Learn more below!
Does my spouse need to file separate K visa petitions for my kids?
Your children can apply for K-4 visas based on the approval of the K-3 visa your spouse petitioned for on your behalf. Your spouse should have listed your children on that petition.
Do my children have to travel with me?
Your children can travel with you or travel after you do. They must always travel within the validity of their K-4 visas.
Do You Need to Talk to a Houston or Dallas Immigration Lawyer About a K-3 Visa?
If you’re interested in petitioning the U.S. government for a K-3 visa on behalf of your foreign spouse, or if you’re the foreign spouse and you’d like to get help for your spouse, we may be able to help. Call our office today for a free consultation with an experienced professional.