K-3 Visas for Spouses of U.S. Citizens
The Legal Immigration Family Equity Act and its amendments (LIFE Act) established a new nonimmigrant category within the immigration law that allows the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen to be admitted to the United States in a nonimmigrant category. The admission allows the spouse or child to complete processing for permanent residence while in the United States. It also allows those admitted in the new category to have permission for employment while they await processing of their case to permanent resident status.
A person is eligible for a K-3 visa if that person:
- has concluded a valid marriage with a citizen of the United States;
- has a relative petition filed by the U.S. citizen spouse for the person;
- seeks to enter the United States to await the approval of the petition and subsequent lawful permanent resident status, and,
- has an approved Petition for Alien Fiancé, forwarded to the American consulate abroad where the alien wishes to apply for the K-3/K-4 visa. The consulate must be in the country in which the marriage to the U.S. citizen took place. If the marriage took place in the United States, the designated consulate is the one with jurisdiction over the current residence of the foreign national spouse.
A person is eligible for a K-4 visa, if that person is under 21 years of age and is the unmarried child of an alien eligible to be a K-3.
People in K-3 or K-4 status, and applicants for adjustment to permanent resident status from K-3 or K-4 are eligible to apply for a work permit while their cases are pending.
K-1 Visas for Fiancés of U.S. Citizens
U.S. citizens who will be getting married to a foreign national in the United States may petition for a fiancé classification (K-1) for their fiancé. You and your fiancé must be free to marry. This means that both of you are unmarried, and/or that any previous marriages have ended through divorce, annulment, or death. You must also have met with your fiancé in person within the last two years before filing for the fiancé visa. You and your fiancé must marry within 90 days of your fiancé entering the United States. You may also apply to bring your fiancé’s unmarried children, who are under age 21, to the United States.
After arriving in the United States, your fiancé(e) will be eligible to apply for a work permit.
Please note that your fiancé may enter the United States only one time with a fiancé visa. If your fiancé leaves the country before you are married, he or she may not be allowed back into the United States without a new visa