K-3 and K-4 Visas
A long-distance relationship isn’t easy. Fortunately, you and your spouse might not need to remain apart for too long. Thanks to the availability of K-3 and K-4 visas, you and your spouse can limit the time of your separation.
Although this type of visa can be very useful, it’s not common. And when people do apply for a K-3 visa, they are usually denied. By working with a family visa attorney in Florida, you can improve your chances of success. The Florida Immigration Law Counsel has the resources to handle your application.
What Are K-3 and K-4 Visas?
A K-3 visa is a temporary visa, and it’s only for foreign citizens who are married to U.S. citizens. Once the foreign spouse obtains the visa, they can legally enter the U.S. This is only until their immigrant visa petition is approved or denied. Most individuals on this type of visa opt to adjust their status to permanent residency soon after entering the country.
If a K-3 visa applicant has children, they receive K-4 visas for each child. Like the parent, the child can remain in the country while their immigration visas are undergoing the approval process. In this way, it is similar to K-1 visas and K-2 visas.
Who Uses K-3 Visas?
K-3 visas are often used by couples who meet overseas. For instance, a U.S. citizen could meet someone in China and get married. The citizen may need to return to the U.S., but it could take over a year for their spouse’s immigration visa to be approved.
In this situation, the foreign spouse would not be allowed in the U.S. without an approved visa. But a K-3 visa can get them into the country quicker. The couple would not need to remain apart for months at a time.
This visa is good for two years. While the visa is valid, the individual can leave and return to the U.S. many times. Unlike some other visa types, you have few limitations on re-entry.
The Application Process
Before you can apply for this type of visa, you should make sure you and your spouse meet the requirements. The applicant needs to be married to a U.S. citizen. They also need to have a pending Petition for Alien Relative.
If the non-citizen spouse meets the requirements, the citizen needs to file the Petition for Alien Relative. Once they file, the process begins. Typically, the petitioner will receive a notice two or three weeks after filing the paperwork. After receiving the letter, they can file a Form I-129F. This is the form that requests the K-3 visa.
If the foreign spouse has children, the citizen does not need to file separate petitions. Instead, they should include them on the one form.
The Visa Interview
One of the most important parts of the process is your visa interview. When the National Visa Center receives your form, they will send it to the U.S. embassy or the consulate in the country where you were married. Then, they schedule your interview.
Before your interview, you will need to show the proper documentation. This includes your passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, and medical exam report. If you had a previous marriage, you need to bring the divorce or death certificate of the former spouse. You also need a police certificate for yourself as well as children over the age of 16. Finally, you need evidence of your relationship.
You will also receive information on how to finalize your K-3 visa. Typically, this involves having the foreign spouse do a medical exam and participating in an interview. If the U.S. embassy or consulate approves the visa, they will give the individual a sealed packet. In it, there will be the visa and other documents used for the application process. That packet should only be opened by a Customs and Border Protection officer after the immigrant enters the U.S.
Changing Your Status
Once the foreign spouse is in the U.S., they can work on adjusting their immigration status. They do not need to wait for their Petition for Alien Resident application to be approved.
The spouse can also seek an employment authorization. By doing so, they can legally work while waiting for a change in their status.
The Challenges of K-3 Visas
In 2017, 20.9% of Florida’s population was foreign-born. For many reasons, the state continues to draw immigrants from all over the world. Some of those immigrants are married before they enter the country.
Unfortunately, life can be difficult for those individuals. While their loved ones are in the U.S., they may be stuck in their home country. The time and distance can damage their relationship. To prevent this, they can apply for a K-3 visa.
However, the Department of State does not issue K-3 visas as frequently as you might imagine. In fact, they are reluctant to issue them. In 2016, the Department only issued 102 K-3 visas. Yet, they issued 133,465 immigrant visas to spouses of citizens.
There’s no real explanation for the lack of K-3 visas. But it can’t hurt to apply for one. If you don’t receive it, you still have your immigrant visa. If that application is successful, you and your loved one can be together once more.
Working with an Immigration Attorney
If you’re worried about seeing your loved one, you should contact an immigration attorney. They can explain more about the K-3 visa process. Furthermore, they can discuss other options for bringing your family back together.
Unless you have in-depth knowledge of immigration law, you can’t be equipped to handle the challenges that come with immigrating to the U.S. You might be overwhelmed by the process or make a mistake that jeopardizes the visa process.
When you work with an immigration attorney, you can simplify the process. You also decrease your chance at mistakes and increase your chance at a good outcome. Here at the Florida Immigration Law Counsel, we’re ready to give you the guidance you need. Contact us today for more information.