A US citizen may apply for a foreign national fiancé that he/she has met at least once in person. A K-1 visa, also known as the “fiancé visa,” will result in permanent resident status as long as the marriage takes place within 90 days of arriving in the US. K-1 visa holders are eligible to receive employment authorization. Dependent children of K-1 visa holders may accompany the visa holders under K-2 status. It is important to note that lawful permanent resident status will be granted if and only if the K-1 visa holder marries the sponsoring US citizen fiancé. A marriage to any US citizen other than the sponsor will not result in lawful permanent resident status.
K-3 and K-4 Visas
Under the Legal Immigration Family Equality Act (LIFE Act) and its amendments, a K Visa allows the spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years old) of a US citizen to enter, live, and work in the United States as nonimmigrants until they receive lawful permanent resident status. The spouse receives a K-3 Visa and children receive K-4 visas. This visa is rarely used now because the processing time for the nonimmigrant K-3 visa is often the same or even longer than the processing time for the immigrant I-130 immediate relative petition.
Eligibility for a K-3 (Spouse) Visa:
- You are married to a US citizen.
- Your US citizen spouse has completed and filed Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with USCIS.
- You want to enter the US to wait for the approval of the petition and become a lawful permanent resident.
- The US citizen petitioner files an Form I-129F petition with USCIS with proof that the Form I-130 petition has been filed. Once approved, USCIS will send the file to the US State Department National Visa Center (NVC). After being cleared, the NVC will then forward the Form. You have to forward the approved Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé) to the US Consulate (which issues immigrant visas) in the country you were married. If you were married in the US, the approved petition must be forwarded to a consulate which has jurisdiction over the area in which you live.
Eligibility for a K-4 (Child) Visa:
- You are unmarried and under 21 years old.
- You are the child of a foreign national who is eligible for a K-3 Visa.
The advantage of having a K-3 or K-4 nonimmigrant visas is you’re allowed to work in the United States while waiting to adjust your status to lawful permanent resident. You still must have employment authorization. Note: You will not have to apply for a work permit after you become a lawful permanent US resident. You will receive a permanent resident card which allows you to live and work in the US. Even if you are still waiting for permanent resident status, your valid K-3 or K-4 nonimmigrant visa allows you to travel in and out of the US. For more information on K Visas, contact us today!