K-3 / K-4 Status

How Do I Become a K-Nonimmigrant as the Spouse or Child of a U.S. Citizen? (K-3 and K-4 Visa Classifications)

Background

The Legal Immigration Family Equity Act and its amendments (LIFE Act) established a new nonimmigrant category within the immigration law that allows the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen to be admitted to the United States in a nonimmigrant category. The admission allows the spouse or child to complete processing for permanent residence while in the United States. It also allows those admitted in the new category to have permission for employment while they await processing of their case to permanent resident status.

What Does the Law Say?

The Immigration and Nationality Act is a law that governs immigration to the United States. For the part of the law concerning K-3/4 nonimmigrants and their process of applying for permanent residence status, please see INA § 214 (nonimmigrant status); and, § 204 and § 245 (immigration petition and adjustment of status). The specific eligibility requirements and procedures for qualifying as a K-3/4, obtaining that status and applying for permanent residence are included in the Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] at 8 CFR § 214, 204, and 245.

Who is Eligible?

A person may receive a K-3 visa if that person:

– has concluded a valid marriage with a citizen of the United States;
– has a relative petition (Form I-130) filed by the U.S. citizen spouse for the person;
– seeks to enter the United States to await the approval of the petition and subsequent lawful permanent resident status; and
– has an approved Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance, forwarded to the American consulate abroad where the alien wishes to apply for the K-3/K-4 visa. The consulate must be in the country in which the marriage to the U.S. citizen took place if the United States has a consulate which issues immigrant visas in that country. If the marriage took place in the United States, the designated consulate is the one with jurisdiction over the current residence of the alien spouse.

A person may receive a K-4 visa, if that person is under 21 years of age and is the unmarried child of an alien eligible to be a K-3.

Will I Get a Work Permit?

Persons in K-3 or K-4 status and applicants for adjustment to permanent resident status from K-3 or K-4 are eligible to apply for a work permit while their cases are pending. You should file an Application for Employment Authorization to apply for a work permit.

Can I Travel Outside the United States?

If you are in K-3 or K-4 status, you may travel using your unexpired K-3/K-4 nonimmigrant visa to travel outside of the United States and return, even if you are applying for adjustment of status simultaneously.

How Can I Check the Status of My Application?

Click on the menu button to the left, labeled “Check Case Status” and enter your file number.

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