K-3 and K-4 visas: Visas for spouses and children of US citizens
What is the K-3 visa?
The K-3 visa is also a non-immigrant visa for foreign nationals residing outside the United States who
want to reside in the United States to join their spouse who is a US citizen. This visa allows spouses of US
citizens and their children to enter and reside in the United States while their petition for alien relative is
still pending. The children of the US citizen can enter the US on a K-4 visa.
What is required of US citizens who sponsor their foreign national spouse for a K-3 visa?
US citizens sponsoring the K-3 visa for their spouse must prove:
- They are natural-born or naturalized citizens of the United States.
- At the time that they married their spouse, they were free to marry under the laws of the
United States (This means that they were of marrying age; they were not married to another
person at the time they married their spouse; or if they had been previously married, they had
obtained a valid divorce).
- They must present a valid and authenticated marriage certificate. If it is in a language other
than English, then it should be accompanied with a translation.
- That they can support their spouse and children while in the US.
- That they undertake that their spouse and children will not become public charge.
What else must US citizens do for their spouse and children?
US citizens sponsoring the K-3 visa for their spouse must file Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative). US
citizens may also file the same Form I-130 for their step children. As soon as the Form-130 is filed, the
US Citizenship and Immigration Service will send the US citizen a Form I-797 or a Notice of Action which
means that the USCIS has received the petition. Upon arrival in the United States, the US citizen can
then file for adjustment of status for the K-3 and K-4 visa holder.
What if the spouse of the US citizen already has children?
The children of the spouse (who are stepchildren of the US citizen) may enter the US on a K-4 visa
provided they are not married and they have not yet reached the age of eighteen. If the children were
born of the marriage between the foreign national spouse and the US citizen, they can enter the US if
they are unmarried and have not reached the age of twenty-one.
How long is a K-3 visa valid for?
A K-3 visa is valid until
- The USCIS denies or revokes the Form I-130 visa petition;
- The USCIS denies the Form 1-485 (this is the Change of Status form);
- The marriage of the US citizen to the K-3 visa holder ends in divorce or annulment.
How long is a K-4 visa valid for?
A K-4 visa is valid until
- The child or stepchild of the US citizen turns 21 before approval of the Form I-130 visa petition,
their visa will expire. Thus, a separate Form I-130 visa petition must be filed for them.
- The K-4 visa holder marries before the visa petition is approved, the K-4 visa will expire.
- The USCIS denies or revokes the Form I-130 visa petition of the K-3 holder (parent of the K-4 visa
- The USCIS denies the Form I-485 or Change of Status application of the K-3 or K-4 visa holder
- The marriage between the US citizen and the K-3 visa holder ends in divorce or annulment.
Can the K-3 or K-4 visa be renewed?
Yes, while the I-130 visa application is still pending, the K-3 and K-4 visa may be renewed for two years.
What benefits do K-3 or K-4 visas have?
The K-3 or K-4 visa holder can travel to and from the US on their visas while their Form I-130 and/or
Form I-485 is pending. They can obtain employment authorization even while still holding a K-3 or K-4
visa. If they file a Form I-765 or an application for employment authorization, this is evidence of
eligibility to work legally in the US.
Need help bringing your foreign spouse and children into the US to immigrate? Contact us at Lluis Law.
We are ready and willing to help you.