New Orleans Divorce Attorneys

New Orleans K-3 Visa Lawyers

Helping New Orleans and Slidell citizens unite with their families

James Gramham Law Offices Rule

K-3 visas are a bit like K-1 visas. While K-1 visas are used for a US citizen and their fiancé(e), a K-3 visa is used for a US citizen and  his/her spouse. Both involve people who want to spend the rest of their lives together as a married couple. The first difference is that you can’t already be married to use a K-1 nonimmigrant visa to bring your loved one to America. If you’re already married, you need to apply for a K-3 nonimmigrant visa instead. If you and your fiancé(e) want to wed outside of America, you also use a K-3 nonimmigrant visa.

There are other similarities and differences that our New Orleans immigration lawyers will explain. At the Law Office of James A. Graham, we handle the full range of immigration issues including obtaining visas for temporary stays, green cards for lawful permanent residency status, and naturalization to become an American citizen. We help fiancé(e)s, spouses, and children unite in America. We also help parents and other relatives immigrate through the family immigration process.

How are K-1 and K-3 visas similar?

James Gramham Law Offices Rule

US citizens use both types of visas to bring a family member to America. Other common features are:

  • Both visas are non-immigrant visas
  • Both types of visa holders can apply to become permanent residents when they are admitted to the US if they meet other requirements
  • Both types of visa holders can apply to bring their children to America
  • Both types of applications involve using Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e).
  • The holders of either type of visa should be able to work and travel in the US with other government documentation

How are K-1 and K-3 visas different?

Some of the differences between the two types of visas are:

  • The K-3 visa requires an immigrant petition (Form I-130).
  • K-1 visa holders need to marry within 90 days of admission to the US. K-3 visa holders are already married.
  • K-3 visas can be used for repeat entry. K-1 visas are only good for one entry – with the condition that a marriage occurs in 90 days.
  • K-3 visa holders, after their I-130 petition is granted, can choose between consular processing and adjustment of status to obtain their green card. K-1 visa holders must adjust their status to receive a green card.
  • There are different form requirements for the children of K-1 visa holders and K-3 visa holders.

Generally, K-3 visas are advisable if your loved one wants to become a permanent resident as soon as he or she is admitted to the United States. It usually takes longer to process a K-3 visa than a K-1 visa. There may be other types of visas that can help you achieve your family goals. Our New Orleans immigration lawyers will explain all your options.

One further note. The K-3 visa is for spouses of US citizens or spouses of lawful permanent residents. A K-4 visa is for the children (under 21 and unmarried) of a US citizen or LPR. Generally, the K-4 visa applicant must be the child of the K-3 visa applicant. Generally, (we’ll explain any exceptions that may apply) the answers to your K-3 questions apply to the same K-4 questions.

What are the eligibility requirements for a K-3 visa?


Per US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), eligibility requirements for a K-3 visa are as follows:

  • You are a US citizen
  • Your foreign spouse is married to you
  • You must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • The spouse who is a US citizen must meet certain income standards
  • To bring children to the US, the children must be under 21 and unmarried

At the Law Office of James A. Graham, we’ll help you file the proper petitions/forms. This includes helping you complete the forms, file the forms with the correct USCIS office, and respond to any requests from USCIS. For a K-3 visa, these documents include:

“To obtain a K-4 visa for your spouse’s children, you do not need to file a separate Form I-129F or Form I-130. You must list your spouse’s children on the Form I-129F you filed for your spouse.”

We’ll address any other issues that may apply.

At this point, the application process gets complicated. We’ll help guide your through these complications. The USCIS states that:

  • If USCIS Approves Form I-130 First or at the Same Time as Form I-129F, “Your spouse and his or her children will no longer need a K-3 or K-4 visa. This occurs in the vast majority of cases. When your spouse’s approved Form I-130 reaches the Department of State, an immigrant visa is immediately available to him or her. Your spouse and his or her children then must apply for immigrant visas and seek admission to the United States as lawful permanent residents.

Because K-3 and K-4 nonimmigrant visas are no longer available to your spouse and his or her children at this point, the K-4 child will not be able to immigrate with your spouse unless the child has an approved Form I-130 at the Department of State at that time.”

  • If USCIS Approves Form I-129F First, the USCIS will send your petition to the Department of State. To receive a K-3 or K-4 visa, your spouse must submit a nonimmigrant visa application with the Department of State. Your spouse does not need to submit Form I-864, Affidavit of Support when applying for the K-3 or K-4 visa but will need to provide evidence showing that he or she will not become a public charge while in the United States. For more information on the visa application process, please see the Department of State’s Nonimmigrant Visa for a Spouse (K-3)

How long can the K-3 visa be used?

You should be able to stay in the US for two years if you are granted a K-3 visa. You may be able to extend your stay if certain conditions are met. The USCIS states that you can’t change your US status to another nonimmigrant visa category. You should apply for your green card within that two-year time frame if you haven’t already done so.

Can a K-3 visa holder work and travel while in the US?

While your spouse has a K-3 visa, your spouse is automatically qualified to work in the United States.  He/she will need to obtain evidence of employment authorization by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization any time after admittance. Per the USCIS, “Alternatively, you may file an application for a Green Card and then apply for employment authorization based on that pending application even if your K-3 or K-4 nonimmigrant status expires.”

Generally, K-3 visa holders may travel outside the US and use their K-3 visa to apply for admission to the US.

Can a K-3 visa holder apply for a green card?

The USCIS states that you need an approved Form I-130 to be able to apply for a green card. You can apply for the green card while your Form I-130 is pending by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. If you have a K-3 visa, “you may only apply for a Green Card based on your marriage to the U.S. citizen spouse who petitioned for your K-3 status.”

Depending on the length of the marriage between the US spouse and the K-3 visa holder and the timing of your Form I-485 approval, the length of the green card status may differ. According to USCIS:

Your permanent resident status is conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than two years old on the day you became a permanent resident. We give you conditional permanent resident status when you are either admitted to the United States on an immigrant visa or adjust your status to that of a permanent resident.

Your status is conditional until you prove, after a specified period of time, that you did not enter the marriage to circumvent the immigration laws of the United States. To remove conditions, you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.

Our New Orleans K-3 visa lawyers will explain when your visa expires.

Do you have a K-3 visa lawyer near me?

The Law Office of James A. Graham has two offices  located in South Louisiana:

For clients who are unable to travel, we can schedule phone or video conferences when needed.

Speak with our experienced New Orleans K-3 visas now

At the Law Office of James A. Graham, we help families become FAMILIES. We understand the challenges involved with bringing a spouse and children to America. Most immigrants are family members. We’ll guide you through the paperwork and all the other requirements. To discuss obtaining a K-3 visa, call us or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation with a respected New Orleans or Slidell immigration lawyer.