The K3 Visa is a Waste of Time and Money

The K3 visa and the K-4 visa are completely useless, particularly for Massachusetts residents.  I say this with confidence as an immigration lawyer in Boston with extensive experience in marriage-based immigration.  I’ve prepared countless green card cases at consular posts around the world.  To explain why I believe filing a K-3 or a K-4 visa is a waste of time and money, let me first provide some background information on the K-3 and K-4 visas.

The K-3 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the U.S. while an immigration petition (Form I-130) is pending with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS; the immigration agency formerly known as the INS).  The I-130 is a petition that U.S. citizens with foreign spouses must have approved in order for their foreign spouse to be eligible for an immigrant visa in the United States. The K-4 visa is available for the children (unmarried and under 21) of a K-3 visa holder. Ideally, a U.S. citizen would submit the I-130, get the receipt notice shortly thereafter, and then apply for a K-3 and/or K-4 visa so the non-American citizen spouse and/or children could reside in the U.S. while the I-130 is pending.

However, the process does not work so smoothly. If you live in Massachusetts, you can file for a K-3 or K-4 visa by filing Form I-129F with the USCIS Vermont Service Center. In order to do so, you need to have a receipt notice of your I-130 application (a document from USCIS that confirms they have received your I-130 application), which takes a minimum of 3 weeks from the date you submit your I-130. But, if you look at the current processing times for the I-130, the K-3 and the K-4 visas on the USCIS website, it currently shows it takes about 5 months to process each of those applications. In other words, it is likely that an I-130 would be approved before the K-3, or K-4 visas approved!

Let me rephrase this because I know that what I’m saying may sound a little crazy.  But accordingly to USCIS’s own website, the I-130, K-3 and K-4 visa are all processed in exactly the same estimated time frame.  Since you would have to wait about three weeks after filing an I-130 receipt to file for the K-3 or K-4 visa, and all three applications take about the same amount of time to be processed, your I-130 application will almost certainly be approved before your K-3 and K-4 visa. What this means is that if you file an I-130 immigrant petition for your husband or wife and then apply for a K-3 non-immigrant visa, it is almost certain that your I-130 will be approved before your K-3 visa.  Given these estimated processing times, why would anyone apply for a K-3 or K-4 visa?

I hope my insight saves you from needless frustration.  And if you have any further questions about consular processing, immigration through marriage or anything else.  And if you are seeking an immigration attorney, I can always be reached in my Boston office at (617) 722-0005.