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Step-by-Step Guide on How to File for a K-3 Visa for your Foreign Spouse
These are the basic steps required by the US Citizen. These steps should be followed as a guideline and not as specific requirements for any given case. Every case is unique and this does not address that uniqueness.



What is a K-3 Visa?

A K-3 Visa is issued to a non US Citizen who is married to a US Citizen. This is technically a non-immigrant multi-entry Visa with a validity of typically two years. During the two years that the K-3 visa is valid the holder may either file for Adjustment of Status (to become a Legal Permanent Resident of the US) or await their I-130 to be approved in which case they can return to their country to be issued an Immigrant Visa (upon entering the US on the immigrant visa they will become a Legal Permanent Resident). If the K-3 Visa Holder files for Adjustment of Status they may reside in the US while their Adjustment of Status application is processed. Children under 21 of a K-3 Visa holder may also be eligible to receive a K-4 Visa allowing them to enter the United States with their non US Citizen parent and ultimately as well apply for Adjustment of Status.

Who is Eligible to File?

U.S. citizens legally married to a foreign national may petition for a K-3 visa. Please see the Marriage Visa Comparison to see the difference between a K-3 and IR-1 / CR-1 Visa. A large percentage of applicants choose the IR-1 / CR-1 Visa over the K-3 Visa Option.

Forms Needed to File for a K-3 Visa:

1. I-130
2. G-1145 (optional)
3. I-129F
4. G-325a


The above forms can be filled out on your computer and printed. Make sure you sign and date them as required. Anything you cannot fit by typing, you can handwrite (very neatly) in black ink in the blank instead. You should always verify the current forms at www.uscis.gov.

Assembling the I-130 Package: Checklist
  frequent questions
Forms and Documents (follow these assembly instructions. All supporting documents must be in English or be translated as noted here.)
:
1. Payment as required by USCIS. Use a personal check so you can track the payment. Money Orders are also accepted. Read the Guide to Paying USCIS Immigration Fees.
2. Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative (see example form)
3. Copy of the Birth certificate for the US Citizen (front and back) or a copy of ALL pages of the US Citizen's passport. This is used to establish citizenship. You may use a copy of your naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship issued by USCIS.
4. A copy of your marriage certificate (If not in English then again get a translation)
5. If either you or your spouse were previously married, submit copies of documents showing that all prior marriages were legally terminated.
6. A copy of a prior spouse's death certificate. (If one or both were married before, and the prior spouse died)
7. G-325A filled out by the US Citizen signed and dated.
8. One passport-type photo (see specification) of the US Citizen. Write the full name of the US citizen on the back. Place in a plastic bag and label the bag "Photo of ". Attach the bag to a sheet of paper and place behind the corresponding G-325A.
9. G-325A filled out by the foreign spouse signed and dated.
10. One passport-type photo (see specification) of the foreign spouse. Write the full name of the foreign Spouse on the back. Place in a plastic bag and label the bag "Photo of ". Attach the bag to a sheet of paper and place behind the corresponding G-325A.
11. Evidence of a bonafide marriage (see note below for what to include)

Note: Evidence of a Bonifide Marriage
The USCIS now requires that when filing an I-130 for a spouse that you include evidence of a bonifide marriage. They list examples of acceptable evidence as:
1. Documentation showing joint ownership or property; or
2. A lease showing joint tenancy of a common residence; or
3. Documentation showing co-mingling of financialresources; or
4. Birth certificate(s) of child(ren) born to you, thepetitioner, and your spouse together; or
5. Affidavits sworn to or affirmed by third parties havingpersonal knowledge of the bona fides of the maritalrelationship (Each affidavit must contain the full nameand address, date and place of birth of the person makingthe affidavit, his or her relationship to the petitioner ofbeneficiary, if any, and complete information and detailsexplaining how the person acquired his or herknowledge of your marriage); or
6. Any other relevant documentation to establish that thereis an ongoing marital union.

Attach "E-Notification" Form (Optional)

Clip a completed G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, to the first page of your application (on top of the cover page). By completing this form and attaching it, USCIS will send you an email and/or text message to alert you when your application was received.

Mail the I-130 Package to the USCIS

You should mail the completed form(s) to the proper USCIS Lockbox (Note the location & PO Box address for your filing type: stand alone). Mail the package with return receipt requested / delivery confirmation. Send via USPS.

IMPORTANT!
Make TWO copies of the entire package before you send it in. This includes the money orders too. You want to have a perfect replica of the package you are sending in. All Forms that you submit must be originals with original signatures. Supporting Evidence that you submit may be photocopies. Retain ALL original supporting Evidence since the USCIS has the right to check them by issuing an RFE (Request For Evidence). If you receive an RFE, follow the direction exactly, and make two copies of what you sent back. During any future interviews the USCIS may also want to examine the original supporting evidence.



Create a VJ Timeline
Estimate processing time and approval date: Creating a VJ Timeline will allow you to track your case and will generate an estimated approval date for your petition. You can always gain access to many other tools to help you plan how long your Visa Journey will take!


Once you receive the NOA1 for the I-130:


Assembling the I-129F Package: Checklist
  frequent questions
Forms and Documents (follow these assembly instructions.
All supporting documents must be in English or be translated as noted here.)
1. Payment as required by USCIS (I-129F petitions for K-3 status filed on/after July 30th 2007 have no fee since the I-130 cost was increased). Use a check so you can track the payment.
2. Cover Letter. Should include a description of what your are petitioning for (K-3 Visa), a table of contents (list everything in the packet). If you need additional room to explain your case, attach a separate sheet (list the attachment on the cover sheet). Make sure to sign and date the cover sheet.
3. Copy of I-130 Transfer Notice (indicating where your underlying I-130 petition was routed to after it was filed at the appropriate Chicago Lockbox).
4. Form I-129F: Petition for Alien Fiance(e). This form may be used to obtain a K-3/K-4 visa for your alien spouse and her or his child. Fill out the form as directed, except assume that "fiance" or "fiance(e)" means "spouse." answer Questions B.17 and B.18 by stating "N/A." Note that filing this form is only necessary to facilitate the entry of your spouse and her or his child as a non-immigrant.
5. G-325A filled out by the US Citizen signed and dated.
6. One passport-type photo (see specification) of the US Citizen. Write the full name of the US citizen on the back. Place in a plastic bag and label the bag "Photo of <US Citizens Name>". Attach the bag to a sheet of paper and place behind the corresponding G-325a.
7. G-325A filled out by the foreign fiance(e) signed and dated.
8. One passport-type photo (see specification) of the foreign Spouse. Write the full name of the foreign Spouse on the back. Place in a plastic bag and label the bag "Photo of <Foreign Spouses Name>". Attach the bag to a sheet of paper and place behind the corresponding G-325a.
9. Copy of the Birth certificate for the US Citizen (front and back) or a copy of ALL pages of the US Citizen's passport or a copy of the US Citizen's naturalization certificate (front and back). This is used to establish citizenship.
10. Copy of the NOA1 from the I-130
11. A copy of your marriage certificate (If not in English then again get a translation)
12. In regards to Section C Question 2, if applicable provide certified copies of all court and police records showing the charges and dispositions for any specified conviction(s) (in accordance with the IMBRA). See section 9 of the I-129f instructions for more information.

Attach "E-Notification" Form (Optional)

Clip a completed G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, to the first page of your application (on top of the cover page). By completing this form and attaching it, USCIS will send you an email and/or text message to alert you when your application was received.

Mail the I-129F Package to the USCIS

You should mail the completed form(s) to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox. Mail the package with return receipt requested / delivery confirmation. Send via USPS.

IMPORTANT!
Make TWO copies of the entire package before you send it in. This includes checks too. You want to have a perfect replica of the package you are sending in. Retain ALL originals. The USCIS has the right to check them by issuing an RFE (Request For Evidence). If you receive an RFE, follow the directions exactly, and make two copies of what you sent back.


Once you receive the NOA1 for the I-129F:
Note: Begin assembling information for the interview - vaccination records, I-134/I-864 supporting documents, and other items listed below that will be necessary to send to your spouse for their interview.

Once you receive the NOA2 for the I-129F:
Note: The approved I-129F package will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) and then to the embassy presiding over the country and region your spouse lives in. Follow the instructions below regarding information needed by your spouse for their interview.

What to send to your Spouse once the I-129F is approved (NOA2):

1. A copy of the entire I-129f and I-130 package (that you made when you sent the petition in) and a copy of information that you sent back due to an RFE (if you received one).
2. I-134 / I-864 Affidavit of Support form. Ensure it is signed, with all required supporting evidence. Some consulates may require one or the other forms. You will need to verify with the consulate which they require. You can call or email the consulate to check ahead of time. Additionally, the consulate will notify your fiance(e) via mail correspondence which they prefer. Attempt to start collecting the required information ahead of time, as it can often take several weeks to collect it all.
3. You will need at a minimum (for the above form) two to three of your most recent pay stubs and a signed letter from your employer listing you job title, start date, your salary, and the status (full-time) of your position. Begin collecting these asap after your NOA2 arrives. You will also probably want to include other evidence such as your banking information and other assets as required by the I-134/I-864.
4. A copy of the NOA2 that you received in the mail.

NOTE: Tip Regarding Vaccination Records


The K-3/4 beneficiary will be required by the embassy to have a "medical" done prior to the visa interview. Part of this interview will require that previous vaccinations are documented and potentially additional required vaccinations performed. Once this is complete the doctor will note this on a DS-3025 form that will be sent to the embassy. During the medical appointment request an official copy of the vaccination records from the physician (or a copy of the completed DS-3025 if they will give it to you) as this will be helpful to have on hand in the future (specifically it can be helpful when filing for Adjustment of Status if your DS-3025 form is not available).