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  • K3 Process Flowchart - General Overview

    Disclaimer: The flowchart below is designed to illustrate a typical K-3 Visa application process and should be used for reference only. This flowchart can not take in to consideration a great number of variables and/or events that may alter this flowchart for a particular case such as a Request for Evidence (RFE). Please read the Terms and Conditions for more information.



    Please begin by reading the Step-by-Step Guide to the K-3 process (for the US Citizen). You should also refer to the K-FAQ's for more information. The timeline below will help you visualize the entire process. Please note that the details of the process are not included below, they can be found in the links mentioned previously.


    Timeline (approx) Step Information Notes
    Varies 1.
    U.S. Petitioner gathers various documents
    U.S. Petitioner gathers various documents (birth certificate etc) to send with I-130
    * Start ASAP
    N/A 2.
    I-130 Package sent
    U.S. Petitioner sends compiled I-130 package to the Chicago Lockbox.
    * Triple check everything. Double check all forms with examples available online. Send postage with an return receipt requiring signature when it arrives at the Chicago Lockbox (not necessary but highly advisable for peace of mind). Make a complete copy of the entire package.
    2-3 Weeks 3.
    1st Notice of Action (NOA)
    U.S. Petitioner Receives first Notice of Action (NOA) acknowledging I-130 petition has been received
    *Typical wait time is 2-3 weeks after the I-130 petition is received.
    N/A 4.
    I-129F Package sent
    U.S. Petitioner sends compiled I-129F (along with copy of the I-130 NOA and transfer notice from the Chiago Lockbox) to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox who will forward the package for processing.
    * Triple check everything. Double check all forms with examples available online. Send postage with an return receipt requiring signature when it is delivered (not necessary but highly advisable for peace of mind). Make a complete copy of the entire package.
    2-3 Weeks 5.
    1st Notice of Action (NOA)
    U.S. Petitioner Receives first Notice of Action (NOA) acknowledging I-129F petition has been received
    *Typical wait time is 2-3 weeks after the I-129F is received to get a notice letter in the mail.
    See Processing Times 6.
    2nd Notice of Action (NOA)
    U.S. Petitioner Receives second Notice of Action (NOA) acknowledging I-129F petition has been approved.
    * Start gathering documents needed by beneficiary (spouse) - See K-3 Guide.

    *Beneficiary can research and prepare forms required by embassy.


    2 Weeks 7.
    Case Forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC)
    Case Forwarded by your Service Center to the National Visa Center
    *Two weeks after you receive the NOA2 you can contact the NVC to see if they have received your approved I-129F. You can contact them at 603 334-0700. Their homepage is here. Welcome to the US Department of State! Things move much faster now :).
    1-4 Weeks 8.
    Case Forwarded by NVC to U.S. Embassy in your spouse's country
    Case Forwarded to U.S. Embassy as specified in the I-129F.
    *NVC uses DHL to send the package, which typically delivers a package worldwide within 3-5 business days.
    1 week 9.
    Case received by Embassy from NVC
    Embassy receives package and processes it. They will then prepare a letter to be sent to the foreign spouse.
    *5-7 business days after the NVC sends the package to the embassy, you can begin contacting the embassy to see if they have received it.
    1 week 10.
    Forms and Checklist sent to Beneficiary
    Forms and Checklist sent to foreign Beneficiary (Spouse).
    *This will be sent out within a week (typically less) from when the embassy processes the received petition. This package will include a checklist of items and paperwork that must be collected. Some will be sent back asap, and others will be sent back later or brought to the interview.
    Varies 11.
    Foreign Beneficiary compiles required forms
    Beneficiary fills in Forms and assembles various documents
    *The downloads section for K-3 Visa's has a list of some forms the foreign spouse will need. You can practice with these forms.
    N/A 12.
    Completed Forms sent to Consulate
    Beneficiary sends completed Forms to U.S. Embassy
    N/A 13.
    Foreign spouse must attend medical interview prior to interview
    Attend medical appointment.
    *Some embassies require the medical the same day as the interview. Most require the medical to be done ahead of time and have the results sent to the embassy directly from the doctor.
    *This may occur after an interview date is given.
    1 week to issue date 14.
    U.S. Embassy issues Beneficiary with Interview date
    U.S. Embassy issues Beneficiary with Interview date
    *This may occur before your have your medical. You will need to get the medical done before the interview as instructed by the embassy.
    1 Month to interview 15.
    Beneficiary has Interview at U.S. Embassy
    Beneficiary has interview at U.S. Embassy for K-3 visa. All being well case is approved.
    *K-3 visa will be issued either the same day or within the next week depending on the embassy. The K-3 Visa is a multiple entry visa good for 2 years.

    NOTE: In some cases your I-130 may be approved prior to some of the above steps. In that case the foreign spouse may chose to interview at the foreign embassy and get an IR-1 or CR-1 Visa (See IR-1/CR-1 Guide). These visas allow the foreign spouse to enter the US and immediately be granted permanent residency (no need to file for Adjustment of Status). This choice may often take longer than simply entering on a K-3 and keep families apart for greater periods of time.
    N/A 16.
    Beneficiary travels to and enters the U.S.
    Beneficiary travels from their country to be with the U.S. Petitioner (Spouse) in the US.
     
    5-20 minutes 17.
    Point of Entry (POE) in U.S.
    Beneficiary arrives at Point of Entry (POE) in U.S. and shows K-3 to the immigration officer.
    *K-3 Visa is a multiple entry visa good for 2 years.

    Varies! 18.
    Complete I-693
    Complete I-693 per the K1/K3 AOS Guide. This is required so that your vaccinations can be documented properly on the I-693 as part of your completed AOS package.
    You can complete this step at any time after entering the US.
    N/A
    (File as soon as possible once you marry)
    19.
    Apply for Adjustment of Status (AOS), EAD, AP
    Apply for Adjustment of Status (AOS). You should file before the K-3 Visa expires. If you have not filed for AOS and your K-3 expires, you will be considered out-of-status until you file. Make all attempts to file before you become out-of-status. You may also file for your EAD and AP (if K-3 visa expired) at this time.
    *EAD allows your to work (will need to reapply every year until your AOS application is approved). AP allows you to leave the country on a vacation / trip while your AOS application is being processed if your K-3 visa has expired. Please read this regarding when to file for AOS and not becoming out-of-status.

    NOTE: In some cases your I-130 may be approved prior to some of the above steps. In that case the foreign spouse may chose to interview at the foreign embassy and get an IR-1 or CR-1 Visa (See IR-1/CR-1 Guide). These visas allow the foreign spouse to enter the US and immediately be granted permanent residency (no need to file for Adjustment of Status). This choice may often take longer than simply entering on a K-3 and keep families apart for greater periods of time.


    See Processing Times 20.
    Receive EAD / AP
    Receive (get printed and issued) your EAD -- appointment at local office. Receive AP via US Mail.
    *If you file for your EAD online you will have a bio appointment and receive your EAD via mail. If you file locally you typically get an appointment for fingerprinting and are issued the EAD the same day.
    1 hour (early morning) 21.
    Apply for Social Security Number
    Apply for Social Security Number (SSN). You will need to show them your EAD when applying.
    *See the SSN step-by-step guide for more info. This will allow you to open a bank account and do other things (many states require this for a drivers licence, etc).
    See Processing Times 22.
    Interview for AOS (I-485 approval)
    Interview appointment for AOS. When approved you may or may not receive an I-551 stamp in your passport indicating you have been approved for AOS. Either way you will receive your green card in the mail later.
    *If your interview (and specifically the approval) occurs within 2 years of your marriage you will be granted a conditional permanent residency (2 year validity). If this happens you will have to apply to lift conditions 90 days prior to your 2 year green card expiring. If you are 'adjusted' greater than 2 years after you were married you should receive a normal 10 year green card.




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