Two Types of Spouse Visas
There are two types of Spouse Visas. The K3 spouse visa and the CR1/IR1 spouse visa.
- K3 spouse visa
- CR1/IR1 spouse visa
They both require the couple to be married and the foreign spouse to be living abroad. This causes a lot of confusion and many people don't know which one to apply for.
IMMIGRATION UPDATE: CR1 vs K3 SPOUSE VISA
Due to recent U.S. Immigration (USCIS) changes in the K3 visa processing, the K3 visa is no longer significantly faster than the CR1 visa. The K3 visa may be obtained 1 to 2 months quicker than the CR1 visa.
Consider applying for the CR1 Spouse visa over the K3 visa. The length of time for the CR1 Visa 9-11 months for processing and your foreign spouse gets their Green card upon entry into the U.S.
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K3 / CR1 SPOUSE VISA OVERVIEW
K-3 / CR1 Spouse Visa allows a U.S. citizen’s spouse, who is living abroad, to enter the United States, obtain their Green card and live with their American spouse.
The K-3 Spouse visa enables the couple's children to obtain their Green card.
Marriage Visa Expert
A Spouse visa is one of your primary options if you are a U.S. citizen with your spouse overseas and you wish for them to come live with you in the U.S.
K3 Spouse Visa - Important Guidelines
These are important guidelines you must be aware of for the K-3 Spouse visa so as not to violate the terms and be forced to have your spouse leave the United States.
They are as follows:
- K-3 Spouse Petition must be filed by the U.S. citizen with USCIS (US Immigration) on behalf of his/her spouse.
- After the petition is approved, the foreign spouse must obtain a visa issued at a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad.
- Your unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible to accompany you on your K-3 Spouse visa. They will apply for the K-4 Visa.
- After using the K-3 Spouse visa to come to the United States you can apply for a U.S. Green Card by starting the Adjustment of Status Process.
- Both parties must be free to marry and be able to demonstrate this fact during the entire process.
- During the visa interview, applicants will be required to present evidence to the Consular Officer that they will not become a public charge (welfare dependents) in the United States. You may present evidence that you are able to financially support yourself or that your U.S. citizen spouse is able to provide support.
K3 Spouse Visa - Eligibility
The main eligibility criteria for getting a K-3 Spouse visa are:
- One person is a U.S. citizen (not a permanent resident or green card holder)
- Both members of the couple are legally married to each other (of legal age)
This visa is not for use by couples who are engaged.
Marriage Visa Expert
Merely living together does not qualify a marriage for immigration. Common-law spouses may qualify as spouses for immigration purposes depending on the laws of the country where the common-law marriage occurs. In cases of polygamy, only the first spouse may qualify as a spouse for immigration. Same-sex marriages are not recognized by immigration law for the purpose of immigrating to the U.S.
K3 Spouse Visa - Get Married in the USA
When you marry outside the U.S. your immigration process to bring your foreign spouse will be slightly different. You will also want to ensure you document the marriage with pictures and get an official marriage certificate.
K3 Visa category is intended to shorten the physical separation between the foreign-citizen and U.S. citizen spouses by having the option to obtain a nonimmigrant K-3 visa overseas and enter the United States to await approval of the immigrant visa petition. After arriving in the U.S. and approval of your petition, K-3 visa recipients will file an Adjustment of Status.
Because the spouse of a U.S. citizen applying for a nonimmigrant K-3 visa must have a immigrant visa petition filed on his or her behalf by his or her U.S. citizen spouse and pending approval, a K-3 applicant must meet some of the requirements of an immigrant visa. It should be noted that under U.S. immigration law, a foreign citizen who marries a U.S. citizen outside the U.S. must apply for the K-3 visa in the country where the marriage took place.
Though the paperwork is initiated by the U.S. citizen spouse, the final K-3 visa will be issued in the foreign citizen's country.
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K3 Spouse Visa - Application Documents
There are various USCIS forms that need to be completed as well as supporting documents that will make up the complete K-3 Spouse Application. Before you begin filling in the various forms required by USCIS, it will be helpful to first assemble the documents and materials that must accompany the forms when you turn them in.
Obtaining a K-3 nonimmigrant visa involves at a minimum these documents:
- Petition for alien
- Biographic information
- Supporting documents
- Passport picture
- Certified translations
- USCIS fees
K3 Spouse Visa - Application Process
Getting the K-3 Spouse visa is a well defined process and the final step is for you to apply and get your Green Card:
- Mail the visa petition to a USCIS service center.
- USCIS will inform you they have received your K3 visa petition.
- Complete additional forms for foreign spouse and children.
- Case is forward to the U.S. Embassy in foreign spouse’s country.
- U.S. Embassy sends forms and checklist to foreign spouse.
- Complete and send forms to U.S. Embassy.
- Foreign spouse interviews at embassy and receives K3 visa.
- Enter the U.S. and apply for Adjustment of Status for Green Card.
The K-3 Spouse Visa processing time is about 8 months for the foreign spouse to be able to live in the U.S.
K3 Spouse Visa - Fees
The total USCIS filing fees can vary. Here is a basic guideline of what you can expect to pay.
- Filing Form I-130F – $535
- Filing Form I-129F – $0 (Normally $535, but waived for K3 Visa applicants)
- Medical examination (required for each K visa applicant; costs vary from post to post)
- Other costs may include translation and photocopying charges, fees for getting the documents required for the visa application (such as passport, police certificates, birth certificates, etc.), and travel expenses to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an interview. Costs vary from country to country and case to case.
USCIS has increased these marriage visa application fees as of December 23, 2016. Please ensure you take this into account when mailing your application to avoid delays.
These fees can change so check the USCIS website for confirmation.
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