Overview of the Timelines for K3 Visa Processing
The primary purpose of creating a K3 Visa is to shorten the physical separation between United States citizens’ spouses and their foreign spouses. A K3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows you to join your spouse in the United States temporarily and wait until your immigrant visa petition is approved.
Once you get into the U.S. on a K3 visa, you can file for permanent residence which will allow you to work in the U.S. A K3 immigrant visa application process has different steps involved which include scheduling and attending your visa interview.
The United States citizen spouse will have to file the Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) on your behalf as a foreign citizen spouse and it will include the marriage certificate to prove that both of you are legally married. This will kick start your application process to come into the U.S. if approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Overview of the Timelines for K3 Visa Processing
- Understanding Timing at Each Stage
- How Long Does it Take to Process a K3 Visa?
- Chances of Obtaining a K3 Visa
- How to Prevent Delays with Your K3 Visa Application
- Can a K3 Visa Be Denied?
- Duration of Stay on a K3 Visa
- How Can IAS Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Stage One: File Form I-129F
Once you have met the requirements for a K3 visa, your U.S. citizen spouse must complete the I-129F petition and submit it to the USCIS. The following required documents should be attached to the form once it has been completed and signed:
- A US citizen spouse’s proof of citizenship such as passport, birth certificate or certificate of naturalisation.
- Your legal marriage certificate translated into English if it’s in another language.
- The I-94 arrival/departure record, if your spouse has ever gotten it from the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
- Your divorce decree, annulment documents, or death certificate to prove the termination of any prior marriages.
- One passport style photograph of a US citizen spouse and one passport style photograph of yours.
- The Form I-130 receipt notice.
It should be noted that having a copy of the packet before filing is a good idea. You should have a copy of it after signing the form I-129F petition for alien spouse and attaching all your supporting documents.
Your U.S. citizen spouse should receive a receipt notice within 30 days from the time the Form I-129F is filed after the USCIS has received and processed the package.
On average, the processing time at this stage is about 10 to 13 months. However, this depends on the USCIS service centre that is handling your case.
If the USCIS needs more information during this time, they may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE). Once they approve the petition, your U.S. citizen spouse will receive a notice of approval.
Stage Two: Form DS-160 and Interview
You will receive a message from the U.S. embassy or consulate in Nigeria typically through email, about 30 days after the USCIS approves the Form I-129F. Your interview time and date at the U.S. embassy or consulate will also be included in this email along with the list of documents you’d need for the interview.
The following stage is to file the DS-160 visa application on the Department of State’s website electronically, including uploading your passport style photograph. After filing the DS-160 electronically, take the following documents to the interview along with the confirmation page after printing it. Bring your:
- Valid passport
- Legal marriage certificate
- Police clearance from Nigeria of more than 6 months since you were 16 years old
- Birth certificate
- Two passport style photographs
- Proof of relationship with your U.S. sponsoring spouse such as wedding photographs or any other evidence to show that the marriage is valid
- U.S. sponsor spouse’s affidavit of support (Form I-134)
- U.S. sponsor spouse’s most recent tax returns
- Medical examination that is sealed, gotten from an overseas physician that is authorised by the Department of State (DOS)
The filing fee for the State Department visa that is usually paid at the interview is currently $265. However, you need to review the details regarding where and when to make this payment.
Typically, the interview is scheduled about 4 to 6 weeks from the date you got the message from the U.S. embassy. After the interview, you should receive a decision regarding your visa application.
But if the consular officer needs more evidence, you will be required to submit them directly to the U.S. consulate. You may then be allowed to travel to the U.S. once your K3 visa is approved.
Stage Three: Green Card Application
The last stage of this process is to get into the U.S. with your approved K3 visa. Beware that you won’t be allowed to work until you get an approval of your work permit application.
Therefore, you need to apply for employment authorisation once you get to the U.S. The approval of the work permit normally takes about 4 months.
Because of this, it’s preferable to just submit an application for a travel permit and employment authorisation with the green card application, which you can submit after arriving in the U.S.
You can file this application with Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status application) to the USCIS based on an approved or pending Form I-130.
How Long Does it Take to Process a K3 Visa?
Different working times exist across U.S. embassies in different countries. This could make the visa processing time to be quick or delayed.
Additionally, Forms I-130 and I-129F approval waiting time contributes to the delay in the processing time of your K3 visa.
Besides that, submitting your Form DS-160 and setting up an interview could take a couple of months. It could take about 6 to 9 months for the entire processing time of your K3 visa.
Chances of Obtaining a K3 Visa
The K3 visa is not as easy to get as its alternatives, such as the Conditional Resident (CR1) and Immediate Relative visas, therefore, most couples may not get it. An example is that in 2019 and 2020, only 5 and 2 visas were issued by the USCIS respectively.
Also, in 2020, the USCIS granted 55,044 visas for IR1 and CR1 immigrant visas for alien spouses or alien relatives.
It should be noted that the average processing period for a K3 visa is comparable to that of a green card application. Because of this, if you apply for a K3 visa, you might have to wait as long as a green card applicant for the K3 visa processing.
Additionally, in order to submit a green card and later become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) in the United States, obtaining a K3 visa is necessary.
How to Prevent Delays with Your K3 Visa Application
There are some tips you could take to prevent delays with your K3 visa. They include:
It is best practice to attentively organise all pertinent records, documents, and information as early as possible to ensure that the visa application process is as seamless and effective as possible.
Complete Your Application
Ensure your application is complete because an incomplete application may delay your K3 visa. Unfortunately, USCIS might not immediately let you know if important information is missing. Because of this, the entire process can come to a standstill.
Seek Expert Help
You are not alone if you need assistance with a step in the visa application process, as it is challenging. Do not be reluctant to seek the advice and assistance of a qualified immigration lawyer. A little assistance now could end up saving you a lot of money and time during the visa application process.
Can a K3 Visa Be Denied?
A K3 visa application can be revoked or denied by the USCIS in some instances. If the U.S. citizen spouse doesn’t have enough funds to sponsor a foreign national spouse, the K3 visa may be denied.
Additionally, if the USCIS suspects that you’re ineligible to marry or that your relationship with the U.S. citizen spouse is fake, the K3 visa can also be denied. Having specific medical issues, having a criminal record, or having insufficient proof of a genuine relationship are other factors that could make the K3 visa to be denied.
Duration of Stay on a K3 Visa
The duration of stay on a K3 visa is only 2 years and you can apply for a stay extension when you’ve exhausted your duration of stay.
You can fill out and submit Form I-539 (Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status) to apply for an extension of stay.
You need to submit the Form I-539 120 days (4 months) before the current authorised stay you’re on expires. It should be noted that the USCIS grants an extension of stay every two years.
You have to file for permanent residence once you get into the United States with the K3 visa. The K3 visa application process requires you to get all supporting documents ready to fasten your visa processing time.
You may need to seek expert guidance from an immigration lawyer to ensure you meet K3 visa requirements, have all the supporting documents, and apply for a K3 visa appropriately. This is because immigration lawyers or advisers have professional experience in dealing with all immigration-related matters.
We recommend you seek professional guidance at IAS to help you submit your visa application in a manner that conforms to the standard of the USCIS. Also, we will guide you through all the necessary payments like the K3 visa fee you need to make so that you won’t make unnecessary payments during your visa application process.
We will help you ensure that your visa application is well organised with all your supporting documents intact to avoid unwarranted delays in your visa application processing time.
For more information about K3 visa processing time in Nigeria, timing at each stage and all other immigration-related questions reach out to one of our immigration lawyers at IAS. Call us today on +23413438882 or on +44 (0) 3316300929 or contact us online.
Last modified on October 24th, 2023 at 2:14 pm
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A K3 visa processing fees include the USCIS filing fee of $535 and application fee of $325.
File Form I-130 and send it to the USCIS. Once it’s approved, you’ll need to send your visa application to the National Visa Center (NVC).
The key distinction between the two is that while the CR1 visa does not permit admission into the U.S. until after your spouse has already been granted U.S. citizenship, the K-3 visa permits you to petition to enter the U.S.