If you need help with a K-3 spouse visa this article covers how the visa works in its requirements. If you are in Montana, North Dakota or Wyoming and you would like help with the K-3 spouse visa, please contact us.
K-3 spouse visas are new. USCIS designed them to solve a particular problem. Not so long ago, applications for immigrant visas for spouses not in the U.S. used to take over eighteen months to process. This processing compared very unfavorably with the processing of fiancée visas. A U.S. citizen who was not married and applied for his or her fiancée could expect that fiancée to receive a fiancée visa before a U.S. citizen who filed for his or her spouse. Complaints to Congress resulted in the spouse or spousal visa.
K-3 Spouse Visa Process
Instead of waiting for the USCIS to approve the immigrant visa petition, the U.S. citizen petitioner uses the immigrant visa receipt notice to file for the K-3 spouse visa. The US petitioner completes a fiancé visa application, but includes the receipt notice. Once the USCIS approves the visa, the spouse could apply for the spouse visa at the U.S. consulate in his or her home country. With the K-3 spouse visa in hand, the spouse could use it to come to the United States. When the spouse arrived in the United States, the US petitioner and spouse waited until the USCIS approved the I-130 immigrant visa petition. With an approved immigrant visa petition the spouse and children could file for adjustment of status, receiving their green cards in the United States. While this process worked well in the past, allowing the US petitioners and their spouses to be together while waiting for USCIS approval, it is no longer a viable option.
USCIS Processing Times and K-3 Spouse Visa
As discussed above, USCIS designed the K-3 spouse visa to address USCIS long processing times. As USCIS caught up, processing times for I-130 immigrant visa petitions dropped from 18 months to 30 days. If an immigrant visa petition is approved in 30 days, the USCIS and Department of State (DOS) see no need for the K-3 spouse visa. Instead of spouse processing to come to the United States using the K-3 spouse visa, the spouse must use the approved immigrant visa instead.
NVC Policy on K-3 Spouse Visas
If we file a K-3 spouse visa application with the USCIS now, USCIS approves the immigrant visa petition and the K-3 spouse visa at the same time. USCIS sends both approvals to the National Visa Center (NVC) for review and forwarding on to the U.S. consulate where your spouse is located. As a matter of policy, the NVC retains the K-3 spouse visa and forwards the approved immigrant visa petition. Your spouse then has no choice, and neither do you, you both must work on consular processing for the immigrant visa. Thankfully, this is a relatively quick process now, especially if you have planned ahead and gathered the necessary documents for this next step.
How We Can Help
If you married your spouse outside of the United States, we can help you file the I-130 immigrant visa petition. As you can see, it is pointless to file for the K-3 spouse visa now. We can also help your spouse with consular processing for the immigrant visa. If you would like help filing the immigrant visa petition or the consular processing step, please contact us.