K-3 and K-4 Visas
The new K visas are open to spouses of U.S. citizens who are the beneficiaries of an immigrant visa petition (I-130). The spouses' unmarried children under the age of 21 are also eligible. Unlike the V category, there are no laws enabling visa issuance for grandchildren of the spouse or the petitioner.
Spouses who qualify for this status will be classified as K3. In order to obtain K3 classification, the nonimmigrant visa petition must have been filed in the U.S. by the U.S. citizen spouse. Applicants must demonstrate that their marriage to a U.S. citizen is valid, that they are the beneficiaries of an I-130 immigrant visa petition filed with the INS, and that they wish to enter the U.S. to await approval of the I-130 petition or the availability of an immigrant visa.
If the petition has been approved, beneficiaries may wish to process their immigrant visas rather than the K3 visa. When the beneficiary applies for the nonimmigrant K3 visa the consular officer will ask whether they wish to find out if the approved petition has been received from INS. If so, the applicant may then have the petition forwarded to the processing consular so that the applicant may file an immigrant visa application. The application should be filed at the consular post designated by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Services to process immigrant visa applications for nationals of the country in which the K3 processing post is located.
Children of spouses who qualify for this status will be classified as K4. In order to obtain K4 classification, the candidate must establish that he/she is the child of an alien entitled to K3 classification.
If the marriage of the beneficiary to the U.S. citizen took place abroad, the visa must be issued in the country where the marriage took place. If the country does not have a consular post, the beneficiary must apply at the consular post designated by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Services to accept immigrant visa applications from nationals of that country. If the marriage took place in the U.S. the applications must be filed in the country of residence of the alien spouse.
Because the K3 and K4 Visas function as substitutes for immigrant visas, much of the process is similar to that of obtaining an immigrant visa. Applicants may be asked to provide local documents establishing family relations and, in some cases, testimonials to establish the truth of these relationships. Applicants may also be asked to present evidence to establish that their health and criminal backgrounds meet standards sufficient to protect the American public.
Download Immigration Forms at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.