The K3 visa for spouse of a US citizen and K4 visa for the spouse’s children were created to reduce the separation between a US citizen and his or her foreign spouse while waiting abroad for an immigrant visa. The K3 and K4 visas allow the foreign spouse and his or her children to enter the United States as nonimmigrants, re-unite with their family here, and then apply for permanent resident status (Green Card) while in the United States.
To establish K3 visa classification for a foreign spouse, an US citizen must file a K3 petition with the USCIS and show that an immigrant petition is pending. The approved K3 petition will be forwarded by the USCIS to the American consular office where the foreign spouse will apply for his or her visa. A petition is valid for a period of four months from the date of USCIS action, and may be revalidated by the consular officer.
Applicants who (1) have committed serious criminal acts; (2) are likely to become a public charge; (3) have used illegal means to enter the United States; (4) have a communicable disease or a dangerous mental disorder; (5) are drug addicts; or (6) are subject to the J1 two-year foreign residency requirement, do not qualify for a K3 visa, unless a waiver of inadmissibility is granted. The waiver must be approved by the USCIS before the consular officer will issue a K3 visa.
After entry into the US, the alien spouse must apply for work authorization with the USCIS in order to accept employment in the United States. The alien spouse must apply to the USCIS for permanent residency (Green Card). For marriages less than two years old, the applicant is initially granted conditional resident status. After two years, the applicant may apply to the USCIS for removal of the conditional status.