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K Visa - Spouses of U.S. Citizens

Law Offices of Yu & Associates

What are the K-3 and K-4 Visa Categories?

Spouses of U.S. citizens can come to the U.S. under the nonimmigrant K-3 visa category and wait in the U.S. to complete the immigration process. The K-4 visa is for the dependent children of a K-3 spouse.

What are the Requirements for a K-3/K4 Visa Application?

  1. The person is already married to a U.S. citizen
  2. The alien spouse is outside the United States
  3. The alien spouse must be seeking to enter the U.S. to await the completion of green card processing
  4. A K-4 visa applicant must be an unmarried child of the K3 visa holder under 21 years of age.

How Do I Apply for a K-3 Visa?

There are two steps/petitions for applying for a K-3 visa:

  1. The U.S. citizen must first file an immigrant Petition form I-130 for alien spouse with the USCIS Office that serves the area where you live. Children of the alien spouse do not need a separate I-130. USCIS will send you a Notice of Action (Form I-797) receipt notice.
  2. The U.S. citizen shall subsequently file an I-129F Petition for Alien FiancĘŽe for the alien spouse and children along with supporting documents and a copy of the Form I-797 receipt notice. The childrení»s names must be listed on the I-129F.

How Do I Obtain a K-3/K-4 Visa at a U.S. Consulate?

After USCIS approves the I-129F, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC sends the petition electronically to the embassy or consulate in the country where the marriage took place. If your marriage took place in the United States, the NVC sends the petition to the embassy or consulate that issues visas in the country of your spouse's nationality. Then, the spouse of the U.S. citizen can apply for the visa at that consulate by bringing the following materials:

  1. Two copies of form DS-156, Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  2. One DS-156K, Nonimmigrant FiancĘŽ(e) Visa Application form
  3. Police certificates from all places lived in since the age of 16
  4. Birth certificates
  5. Marriage certificate for spouse
  6. Death or divorce certificates for any previous spouses
  7. Medical examination (except vaccinations)
  8. A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the United States
  9. Two nonimmigrant visa photos (two inches/50 X 50 mm square)
  10. Proof of financial support (Form I-134 Affidavit of Support)
  11. Payment of fees
  12. Marriage photos and other supporting documents

Can the Approval of the K-3 Visa be Extended?

The I-129F petition is valid for four months from the date of approval. A consular officer can extend the validity of the petition if it expires before you finish visa processing.

How Long Can a K-3/K-4 Visa Holder Stay in the U.S.?

K-3 visa holders can usually be admitted to stay in the U.S. for a period of 2 years. The K-4 children will also be admitted for a period of 2 years or until the day before their 21st birthday, whichever is shorter.

How Can a K-3 Holder Adjust Status in the U.S.?

The K-3 spouse needs to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS immediately after arrival in the U.S. or when the I-130 is approved.

How does a K-4 Child Adjust Status in the United States?

The U.S. citizen parent must file a separate I-130 immigrant visa petition and adjustment of status petition for the K-4 children after their arrival in the US. The children must be unmarried and under 21 years of age. The K-4 child will not be able to file for adjustment of status in the United States until the U.S. citizen parent files the I-130 on behalf of the child. The immigrant parent, upon adjusting status will no longer be in K-3 status. Thus, the child will no longer be in lawful K-4 derivative status.

Can Those with K-3/K-4 Visas Change to Another Non-immigrant Visa While in the U.S.?

K-3/K-4 visa holders cannot change status in the United States to another non-immigrant visa category.

Can a K-3/K-4 Visa Holder Work in the United States?

Yes, you can file an Application for Employment Authorization with USCIS to obtain lawful status to work in the U.S.

Can I Travel and Re-enter the U.S. on my K-3 or K-4 Visa?

K-3 or K-4 visa holders can travel outside of the United States and return using an unexpired K-3/K-4 visa. If they have filed for adjustment of status in the U.S. prior to departure from the U.S., USCIS will not presume that the departure constitutes abandonment of an adjustment of status application.

How Can K-3/K-4 Status be Extended?

A K-3/K-4 alien may apply for extension of stay 120 days prior to the expiration of his or her authorized stay. Extensions for K-4 status must be filed concurrently with the alien's parent's K-3 status extension application. Extension will be granted in 2-year intervals. In addition, the citizen parent of a K-4 alien filing for extension of K status should file Form I-130 on their behalf.

K-3/K4 visa holders wishing to extend their period of stay must show that one of the following has been filed with the USCIS or the State Department:

  1. The Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, filed by the K-3's U.S. citizen spouse who filed the Form I-129F;
  2. An application for an immigrant visa based on a Form I-130;
  3. Form I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status to that of Permanent Residence, based on a Form I-130.

Aliens may file for an extension of stay as a K-3/K-4 nonimmigrant after a Form I-130 filed on their behalf has been approved, without filing either an application for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa upon a showing of "good cause." A showing of "good cause" may include an illness, a job loss, or some other catastrophic event that has prevented the filing of an adjustment of status application by the K-3/K-4 alien.

Is It Possible that my K-3/K-4 Status May be Terminated?

An alien's K-3/K-4 status will be automatically terminated 30 days following the occurrence of any of the following:

  1. The denial or revocation of the Form I-130 filed on behalf of that alien;
  2. The denial or revocation of the immigrant visa application filed by that alien;
  3. The denial or revocation of the alien's application for adjustment of status to that of lawful permanent residence;
  4. The K-3 spouse's divorce from the U.S. citizen becomes final;
  5. The marriage of an alien in K-4 status.

The denial of any of these petitions or applications to a K-3 also results in termination of a dependent K-4's status. However, the denial or revocation of a petition or application is not final until the administrative appeal applicable to that application or petition has been exhausted.


The above is intended as a general introduction and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion for your particular case. Please contact the Law Offices of Yu & Associates with any specific questions. Tel: (301) 838-8986, Email:, Address: 110 N Washington St., Suite 328E, Rockville, MD 20850.

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