What is a K3 Visa?
The K-3 visa was created in 2000 and allows spouses of U.S. citizens to come to the United States to await approval of the I-130 visa petition. Once in the United States, the K-3 spouse can apply for adjustment of status with USCIS. K-3 visa petitions, like K-1 fiancee petitions, are filed on Form I-129F. Before filing Form I-129F, the U.S. citizen petitioner must first file the I-130 Petition with USCIS, and should include a copy of the I-130 receipt with the I-129F packet. There is no USCIS fee to file the I-129F for a K-3 petition. An applicant who marries a U.S. citizen outside the US must apply for the K-3 visa in the country where the marriage takes place.
Background of the K3 Visa
The K-3 visa was introduced at a time when there were severe backlogs in the processing of I-130 visa petitions. Over the years, the K-3 visa has become largely useless and irrelevant because of how USCIS has been processing I-129F petition. More often than not, the I-129F for the K-3 and I-130 petitions are approved at the same time and forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). Since February 1, 2010, when USCIS concurrently approves the I-130 and I-129F petitions, or when the I-130 petition is approved before the I-129F, the NVC will not permit the applicant to apply for the K-3 visa. As a result, issuance of a K-3 visa is now rare. For example, while there were 13,623 K-3 visas issued by consulates worldwide in 2004, in 2015, that number reduced to 182, then 15 in 2017, and only 2 in 2021.
Why should you file a K3?
So why even consider filing an I-129F petition? Sometimes (but not routinely), USCIS will approve an I-130 petition faster in cases where an I-129F is also filed. While this is hard to verify, and every case is different, it may be worthwhile filing the I-129F immediately after the I-130 is filed and receipted in an effort to shorten the processing time for the I-130 Petition. This strategy is especially a good idea when there are severe delays in I-130 processing.
Free Initial Consultation
To discuss whether a K-3 visa petition is a good strategy in your case, please contact our office at 972-445-4114 to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced immigration attorneys.