K3 VISA: USA Spouse Visa – The Best Guide

This visa is for married couples that are trying to reunite through a US immigrant visa.

When talking about Immediate Relative Visas, We also talk about the Spouse Visa (k3 Visa) as it is one of the most popular in this category.

What is the K3 Visa?

The K3 Visa is the visa that is given to the spouse of a US citizen which enables them to move to the US and live with their spouse while the wait for approval of their immigrant visa petition. This Visa type is can only be given to people who are married and one of the sposes happens to be a US citizen and the other isn’t.

The Different Types Of Spouse Visas.

Depending on the couple’s situation, there a variety of US spouse visas. The best one for you and your family will depend on the different requirements and whether or not you can be able to fulfill all the criteria. Below are the different US spouse visas:

K-3 visa: This visa type is for the spouse of a US citizen who is currently waiting for the approval of an I-130 immigrant petition which was filed by the US citizen.

Conditional Resident (CR-1) visa: This implies that you’ve just been married and will maintain a conditional status for two years. This is to prevent people from getting married with the sole objective being to obtain permanent residence in the US.

Immediate relative (IR-1) visa: This visa is given to the spouse of US citizens who stay married for over 2 years and they end up getting a permanent status without all the conditions of the CR-1 Visa.

Criteria For Obtaining A K3 Visa

The spouse from a foreign country must meet certain criteria to qualify for the K-3 visa. Below are the criteria a K3 visa applicant must fulfill:

  • Be married to a US citizen: it is important to note that living together doesn’t count as being married in the US. The couple should be able to prove through authentic documents their marriage is actually legal.
  • The citizen of the United States should file the Form I-130 for the spouse who is in the foreign country and wants to bring them the US.

If these conditions are not met, the spouse who is from the foreign country won’t be able to obtain the USA spouse Visa.

K3 Visa Application Process?

The USA spouse visa application process is divided into two steps;

  • The US citizen has to file Form I-130 and then form I-129F for their spouse in the foreign country and get them approved by USCIS.
  • The spouse who is from the foreign country needs to then submit an application for the K3 visa at the US Consulate in the country where he or she resides.


To be able to complete the application for the US Spouse visa, the citizen of the United States needs to file the form I-130 to the USCIS for their spouse who is to come and join them in the US. The same petition can be used for them if after getting the K3 visa, the spouse from a foreign country wishes to change the status to a CR-1 or IR-1 visa. After filing the form, the spouse of the US citizen will receive the Form I-797. This form is a Notice of Action from USCIS, which they will use as proof that their Form I-130 is still processing.

After form I-130 is filed, the US citizen spouse must then file form I-129F, petition for an alien fiancé(e). Form I-797 must also be attached to this form alongside other supporting documents proving marriage. Dependents of the spouse from the foreign country such as children must also be included in the form I-129F. For purposes of K3 visas, there isn’t a fee for this form.

The form I-129f will be processed by USCIS and upon approval, they will send it to the national visa center (NVC). Finally, the NVC issues an invoice ID number and a case number for the spouse. A package is then sent to the applicant of the K-3 visa. This package contains all the information and instructions that will be needed for the K3 visa application and all other necessary documents.

If both forms I-130 and I-129F are processed by USCIS and are approved and sent to the NVC, then the applicant cannot get a USA spouse visa but must apply for a CR-1 visa. Reasons being that, K-3 visas are only meant for applicants whose form I-130 are still being processed and have not been approved yet.


The spouse who wants to move to the US from the foreign country has to apply for the K3 visa. Also, the spouse who is the foreign country has to apply at a US embassy or consulate in the country of residence using the instructions provided by the National Visa Center(NVC).

The procedure for the K3 visa application is as follows:


Form DS-160 is an online application form, which the applicant must not only fill but also submit with the relevant information. You can have access to it by using your NVC case number. The questions on this form is mostly about you and your background information. It also asks for reasons for wanting to go to the US. When the form is complete, you must submit and get the confirmation page, which you will need, later in the process.

[READ ALSO]: Step-By-Step Guide on How to Fill The Form DS-160


The Government of the United States has some compulsory medical check-ups and vaccination requirements that both its citizens and immigrants must go through. The necessary medical check-ups and vaccines should be gotten by anyone who intends to immigrate to the US. The NVC package that is sent to you after the approval of the petition will entail what medical procedures you need to complete and the vaccines you need to get. All documents and check-ups should be confirmed by a licensed medical doctor. All the documents should be attached to your supporting file which you have to send to the National Visa Center (NVC).


Complete the file with the documents required by the US embassy or consulate for a K3 visa application. Besides the application form, various supporting documents must also be attached. Some of which includes:

  • Your valid passport for more than 6 months after your planned entry into the US.
  • Form DS-160 confirmation page and confirmation number.
  • Medical check-ups and vaccination documents which must be approved by an approved licensed medical doctor.
  • Two passport-sized photographs per individual which is in accordance with the US Embassy photo requirements.
  • Birth certificate and marriage certificate
  • Court and criminal records and/or police certificate
  • Evidence that you have financial support for the initial period in the US (US citizen spouse must provide you with form I0134, Affidavit of support)
  • Receipts of payment of fees


The NVC makes sure all necessary documents have been submitted and then you proceed to schedule an interview at the US Embassy in the country you applied from. The interview will mainly be about your background and reasons for going to the US, as well as demanding additional documents.


In case your K3 is approved, the officials at the embassy where you applied shall give you a package. This package is from the NVC. Under no circumstance should the packet be opened. Instead, bring it along when you travel for the first time with your K3 visa and hand it over to any immigration official at any US port of entry. They are the only ones who have to open it and determine whether you enter the US or not.

K3 Validity

The K3 visa only lasts two years. It can be renewed in two years but will be revoked if the US Department Of State rejects form I-130, the application for lawful permanent residence. It could also be revoked if the couple gets divorced.

K3 Visa fees

The K3 visa fees that will be incurred by you and your US citizen spouse are as follows:

  • Form I-130 filing fee
  • Form DS-160 processing fee
  • Medical examination and vaccination fees
  • Other administrative costs for obtaining, translating and shipping documents

K3 Visa processing Time

The processing time for the K3 visa varies from case to case and it usually takes about 5-8 months to process.

USCIS averagely takes 3-5 months while the US embassy in your country of residence may take 2-3 months. Also, the US embassy in different countries has different working times, which might either speed up or delay the processing of your K3 visa.

How To Be A lawful Permanent Residence In The US As A K3 Visa Holder

After getting your K-3 visa, the next step is to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the US by getting a marriage green card. To be able to change your status from your immigrant visa to LPR, you are required to have an approved petition for USCIS and the visa, and you must also live in the states.

When this is done, you must file form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to USCIS. This form is going to be processed and if it is approved, you will become a lawful permanent resident of the US. On the other hand, if it is rejected, your K3 visa will be revoked or not renewed for the next term.

Can The Holder Of the K-3 Visa Bring Their Children To The US?

If the spouse who is from the foreign country is granted a K-3 Visa by the US embassy, they can take their children along with them to the US. The children must be unmarried and below 21 years old to qualify.

The children of the spouse will need to apply for a K4 visa to enter the United States. If the K-3 visa holder obtains their CR-1 visa, then the children will equally need to switch to the appropriate visa derivative. The child is allowed to live in the US, attend school and higher education, then apply for naturalization when they qualify and get their US citizenship.

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