K-3 (Visa for Spouse of a U.S. Citizen)

The K-3 visa is a non-immigrant visa for spouses of U.S. citizens. This visa was introduced as the backlogs for immigrant visas for spouses of U.S. citizens increased to one year or longer. The purpose of the K-3 was to shorten the time that a married couple must remain apart while an immigrant visa petition is pending. Specifically, the K-3 allows the spouse who is a beneficiary of a pending immigrant petition to enter the U.S. and adjust their status later, when the immigrant petition is approved.

However, processing times of immigrant visas have decreased so extensively in many parts of the country, that this visa is no longer recommended in many cases.

To obtain a K-3 visa, two petitions must be filed with the USCIS:


  • First, a petition for an immigrant visa for an immediate relative must be filed (Form I-130).
  • Then, the petition for the K-3 non-immigrant visa must be filed with proof that the first petition (Form I-130) was filed.


Once the petition for the K-3 is approved, it is forwarded to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad where the spouse can then apply for the K-3 visa.

Children of a K-3 visa holder can obtain a K-4 visa to enter the U.S. with their parent.