Applying for a K3 Spouse visa for immigration to the USA is one of two routes for migrating to America open to a person with US citizen status to bring their spouse to live and work in the US.
Both US immigration services provide a route to a Permanent Resident Card for lawful permanent residence in the USA, or a US Green Card as it is commonly known, and are specifically designed for the married partners of US citizens. For information on the K1 visa for fiance immigration to the USA, please see the relevant section of the website.
Navigating the wide range of USA immigration services and visas for those wishing to relocate to the US can be a time-consuming and complex exercise. Migrating to the USA by applying for a USA Green Card for permanent residency may be achieved through several routes, based upon family ties, employment, or the annual “Green Card Lottery“. In addition, those wishing to visit the USA for a short-term duration or to spend a defined period of time living and working in the USA must determine the most appropriate route from the broad spectrum of non-immigrant visas for the USA.
Applying for an American Green Card, whether employment or family based carries the key benefit of bestowing lawful permanent resident status upon the applicant. A successful candidate may live and work in the USA without time restrictions being placed upon them as would be the case on a short-term B1 business visitor visa or B2 tourist visa. Another major benefit lies in the fact that applicants under this American visa service do not need an offer of employment to be in place before an application can be submitted. In America, visas for both temporary and permanent immigration though economic routes demand the offer of a permanent full-time job to be in place. Non-immigration visas such as the US H1-B visa and the L1 visa, both of which function like UK work permits require an employment offer to be obtained, as do the permanent EB-3 and EB-4 visa classes. Only the EB-1 visa for priority workers, the EB-2 visa, and the EB-5, all of which have very specific and demanding requirements omit this necessity, allowing candidates, much like the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme or HSMP in the UK to migrate to the US on the strength of their skills and experience. Family immigration routes to US Green Cards are based entirely on relationships and do not require applicants to secure employment before beginning the process.
The first American immigration service open to those in possession of US citizenship wishing to bring their spouse to join them in the United States lies in sponsorship. When immigrating to America through this route, the foreign spouse must complete the entire procedure of immigration to the US outside the country before arriving in America and obtaining permanent residency status. In America, immigration through this USA visa service involves a grant of either a US IR-1 visa, or Immediate Relative visa, or a US CR1 visa, for Conditional Residency. IR-1 visas are granted where a marriage is two years old or more and allow the applicant to immigrate to the USA. CR1 visas are awarded in circumstances where a marriage is less than two years old and will be conditional for a period of two years.
USA K-3 visas
The second method for spouse immigration to the US is to apply for a K-3 visa or US spouse visa, designed specifically for the purpose of bringing a spouse to the United States. The process of applying for a US visa for immigration of this kind is begun outside the United States but completed within the country. Applications must be made in the country where the marriage took place and in addition, must fulfill the following requirements:
Parties must be legally married. Unmarried cohabitation is not included in this category and unmarried partners may not sponsor USA visas.
The sponsoring party must be over 18 years of age in order to sign an affidavit or support.
In addition, a selection of documentation will be required including the applicant’s passport, medical examinations and police clearances, proof of the petitioner’s (sponsor’s) citizenship, marriage certificate and where applicable documentary evidence of the termination of any previous marriages.
As with the IR1 visa and CR-1 visa, marriages which have existed for less than two years will be open to an initial conditional arrangement. USA green cards will be granted in these circumstances for a period of two years. If the marriage is still intact, both parties should apply no later than 90 days before the expiry of the two-year period to have this condition removed.
The K-3 class is designed as a means to permanent settled status in the USA, allowing existing US citizens to be united with their spouses in America. As the K-3 is a route to permanent residency, it also makes provision for dependent immigration, to encompass the immigration needs of any of the foreign spouses’ children. Dependent children of the sponsored applicant may migrate to the USA on a K-4 visa, a non-immigrant route designed to allow the holder to wait in the USA until the immigration process is completed. In order for US K-4 visas to be granted applicants must be the children of valid holders of K-3 American visas.