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K3 Visa for Nigerians

A K3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign nationals married to US citizens to enter the US. This visa aims to shorten the couple’s physical separation while awaiting the processing and approval of the foreign national spouse’s immigrant visa petitions.

For more information about the different types of US spouse visa, including their respective eligibility criteria, required documentation and application processes, and to receive expert advice from a team of professional immigration lawyers, reach out to us today. We have an office in Nigeria as well as a team in the US to help you guide through the process. Call us on +23413438882 or  on +44 (0) 3316300929.

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    We have successfully helped numerous Nigerians get reunited with their spouses in the US. If you need assistance with your K3 Visa application, we can guide you through the eligibility requirements and support you along the way. Let us handle everything and make your application process as stress-free as possible.

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    What is a K3 Visa?

    A K3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa category of spouse visa. It allows foreign nationals married to US citizens to enter and remain in the US. This visa aims to shorten the couple’s physical separation while the foreign national spouse waits for the processing and approval of their immigrant spouse visa (i.e. CR1 or IR1) petition.

    Application for a K3 visa must be made, and visa obtained, in the country where the marriage took place. After entering the US, a K3 visa holder must apply to adjust their status to a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), also known as a Green Card holder.

    Please note that the K3 visa processing time may sometimes be equal to or even higher than that of the CR1 or IR1 visa, which are immigrant spouse visas. Given that, many couples do not actually opt for a K3 visa.

    You may consider seeking legal advice whether the K3 visa option is suitable given your particular immigration situation. We have an office in Nigeria as well as a team of immigration lawyers in the US. If you would like to speak to our experts, call us on +23413438882 or on +44 (0) 3316300929.

    Eligibility Criteria for K3 Visa

    Overview

    To be eligible for a K3 visa, you need to meet the following criteria:

    • You are a foreign national legally married to a US citizen (not an LPR)
    • You currently reside outside the US
    • You are applying for K3 visa in the country (outside the US) where your marriage took place
    • Your US citizen spouse has already filed a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for you, which is pending approval from USCIS
    • You intend to enter the US to wait for the approval of Form I-130
    • You or your US citizen spouse is able to support you financially in the US
    • Your US citizen spouse meets the requirements outlined by the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005

    We have discussed what is meant by being legally wed as well as the financial requirement in detail in the following sections.

    Legal Status of Your Marriage

    To be eligible for a K3 visa, you need to be a legally married husband or wife to a US citizen. A valid marriage certificate will be required during the visa application process.

    From the immigration law perspective, merely living together without being legally married will not qualify for a marriage-based Green Card.

    The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is particularly watchful for immigration fraud. So, you may need to prove the authenticity of your marriage with further evidence such as photos or flight itineraries.

    Common-law marriages, i.e. where a man and woman agree to enter into marriage without a civil or a religious ceremony, may or may not be recognised as legal marriages for immigration purposes. This actually depends on the laws of the country where the common-law marriage takes place.

    Finally, please note that in case of a polygamous marriage, only the first spouse may qualify as a spouse for immigration to the US.

    Financial Requirement

    In case of a K3 visa, the US citizen spouse is not required to submit a Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. However, the foreign national spouse will be required to prove to the consular officer during the visa interview that they will not become a public charge while in the US.

    So, the foreign national spouse must either provide evidence that they are able to financially support themselves while in the US, or that their US citizen spouse is able to provide financial support. The consular officer may ask the US citizen spouse to submit a Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support, in the latter case.

    Please note that applicants filing Form I-134 will need to show that their household income is equal to or higher than 100% of the US poverty level for their respective household size. Typically, your household size includes you, your dependents, any relatives living with you, and the immigrants you are sponsoring. If they cannot meet this income criterion, there must be a joint sponsor filing a Form I-864.

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      K3 Visa Application Process

      Filing the Petition

      The US citizen spouse will need to first file Form I-130, and then Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), for their foreign national spouse. Post USCIS approval, the petitions will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing.

      Please note that if NVC receives both the approved I-130 and I-129F petitions at the same time, or the I-130 before the I-129F, the application process for K3 visa will be administratively closed.

      Instead, NVC will instruct the US citizen spouse to start applying for an IR1 or CR 1 immigrant visa for their spouse, depending on the length of their marriage. As per data available with USCIS, this happens in the majority of cases, where the foreign national spouse is asked to apply for an immigrant visa and seek admission to the US as an LPR.

      See our Spouse Visa USA for Nigerians page for more information on how to apply for a CR1 or IR1 immigrant spouse visa. Call our team of immigration experts in Nigeria on +23413438882 or contact us on +44 (0) 3316300929 if you would need professional advice with this.

      If the approved I-129F petition reaches NVC before the I-130 petition, NVC will process the I-129F petition and send it to the US embassy or consulate in the country where the marriage took place.

      For example, if your marriage took place in Nigeria, NVC will send the processed I-129F petition to either the US Embassy at Abuja or the US Consulate General Lagos Office, depending on the Nigerian national spouse’s location.

      Pay the Visa Fees

      As of June 2023, the fee for filing Form I-130 is $535. For Form I-129F, there is no filing fee for a K3 spouse.

      Additionally, the non-refundable, online nonimmigrant visa application (Form DS-160) processing fee is $265 for K3 category. This is usually paid during the visa interview.

      Medical Examination and Vaccination Requirement

      The immigrant visa applicant needs to undergo a medical examination before appearing for the visa interview. US embassies and consulates have their authorised panel physicians who will conduct the medical examination.

      The visa applicant will need to bear the costs of medical examination which will vary from country to country.

      Vaccination is optional for a K3 visa. However, given such vaccinations will be required when adjusting their status to that of LPR, visa authorities encourage the K3 visa applicants to get the vaccinations required for immigrant visa applicants during their medical examination.

      Arrange Required Documentation

      Please carry the necessary documents with you while going for the visa interview. You may need to show or submit them to the consular officer. A list of the required documents is provided later in this article.

      Please consider seeking advice from an immigration specialist before attending your visa interview to ensure your paperwork is in order.

      Arranging for required documents can be made easier if an immigration specialist is there to guide you through the process. IAS has an application checking service where we check every detail of your application, ensuring all the required documentation and evidence is present. Call us today on +23413438882 or +44 (0) 3316300929 to find out more.

      Visa Interview

      After receiving the required documents, NVC will schedule the visa interview of the foreign national spouse at their concerned US embassy or consulate. During the interview, a consular officer may check the interviewee’s background thoroughly and ask about their reasons for going to the US. They may also ask for any additional documents.

      Timeline

      As of June 2023, the total wait time for a K3 visa averages about 19 months as per data available with USCIS.

      However, no one can predict how long it will take for your K3 visa to be processed and approved. The timeline varies on a case-to-case basis and, at times, from country to country.

      To avoid any unnecessary delay caused by incomplete or incorrect paperwork on your part, it is very important to read through and follow instructions carefully.

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        Required Documents for K3 Visa

        Documents required during your visa interview include:

        • Printout of Form DS-160 (online nonimmigrant visa application) completion confirmation page
        • Passport(s) valid for six months beyond your intended period of stay in the US
        • Civil documents such as birth and marriage certificates, divorce or death certificate(s) of any previous spouse(s), criminal records or conviction records (if any), police certificate and so on (both originals and photocopies)
        • Completed medical examination forms provided by the panel physician
        • Evidence of financial support
        • Two 2×2 photographs in prescribed format
        • Certified translations of all civil documents if they are not in English

        The above list is not exhaustive, and more information and supporting documents may be asked for during your visa interview. For example, the consular officer may ask for wedding photos and other proof that your marriage to the US citizen spouse is genuine.

        Validity and Extension of K3 Visa

        A K3 visa is valid for two years. To extend their stay, the foreign national spouse will need to submit Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, to USCIS within 120 days before the date of expiration of your authorised stay in the country.

        Please note that you can apply for an extension of stay on a K3 visa only if you can prove that a Form I-130, or a Form I-485, or an immigrant visa application is still pending with the visa authorities. If your Form I-130 petition is already approved, you need to satisfy USCIS regarding why you did not file a Form I-485 or immigrant visa application post the approval.

        Extensions of stay for K3 visa holders can be granted in two-year increments. However, if you do not meet the conditions stated in the above paragraph, your extension application will not be granted.

        Employment and Travel Authorization

        K3 visa holders are authorised to work in the US. You need to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, any time after entering the country. Approval of this application may take up to four months or more. You may also first file an application for a Green Card and seek employment authorization based on that pending application.

        You can travel temporarily outside the US on your K3 visa. If your K3 visa is scheduled to expire before you return to the US and you have a pending Form I-485, you need to have your advance parole application approved before you leave the US to enter the country upon your return.

        K3 Visa Denial or Refusal

        USCIS may deny or revoke a K3 visa for various reasons. The common reasons are fraudulent applications, insufficient proof of funds to sponsor the foreign national spouse, certain medical conditions, or a criminal record.

        Moreover, USCIS is particularly watchful for immigration fraud, so if they suspect your marriage is not genuine, the K3 visa can also be denied.

        A K3 visa will be revoked if you get divorced during the two-year visa validity.

        Green Card Application

        Form I-430 petition needs to be approved by USCIS before a K3 visa holder becomes eligible for a Green Card. Application for a Green Card starts with filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

        If USCIS approves your Form I-485, you will receive a Green Card. If you have been married to your US citizen spouse for less than two years, you will receive a Conditional Green Card (i.e. CR1 visa). If you are married for two or more years, your Green Card (i.e. IR1 visa) will be valid for 10 years.

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          How Can IAS Help?

          The K3 visa application is a time-consuming but fairly simple process. However, it is of utmost importance to get the application filing process and required documentation in order. A visa denial or refusal may have long-lasting consequences and act as a warning sign for any future visa applications to enter the US.

          IAS can help. We have an office in Nigeria as well as a team of lawyers in the US. Several Nigerian nationals have benefited so far from our expert assistance with their different types of US visa applications and immigration advice.

          Our team of sympathetic immigration lawyers have the required expertise to assist you, regardless of your personal circumstances or the complexity of your case.

          Whether you’re looking for assistance with the K3 visa, unsure of how to go through the application process, need more advice on how to arrange for the necessary documents to support your visa application, seeking professional help with regard to Adjustment of Status through Marriage, or simply need overall advice regarding your immigration case, we are ready to help you.

          We can also help if you would rather apply for immigrant spouse visa i.e. CR1 or IR1 visa based on your circumstances, if you need to apply for a K4 visa for your children, or any other US visa on the basis of your personal or family life.

          To know more about the services we provide and how our team of experienced immigration lawyers can help you with your immigration case, please reach out to us today. Call our Nigeria team on +23413438882 or +44 (0) 3316300929.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    No, they cannot. There is a provision in the US immigration law for nonimmigrant (V) visas for spouses and children of Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). However, US embassies and consulates have not issued any V visas for several years since applicants with priority dates on or before 21 December 2000 were eligible to apply for immigrant visas.

                    Applying for an IR1 or CR1 visa to bring your foreign national spouse to the US is recommended instead if you are an LPR in the US.

                    The I-129F petition is valid for four months from the date of USCIS approval. However, if the validity of your petition expires before the visa processing is completed, a consular officer can extend the same.

                    No. Eligible children of K3 visa applicants need to apply for K4 visas.

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