How Do I Become a K-Nonimmigrant as the
Spouse or Child of a U.S. Citizen? (K-3 and K-4 Visa Classifications)
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.
Where Can I Find the Law?
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;
A relative petition (Form I-130) filed by the U.S. citizen spouse for the
Seeks to enter the United States to await the approval of the petition and
subsequent lawful permanent resident status; and,
An approved Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance,
forwarded to the American consulate abroad where the non-citizen wishes to
apply for the K-3/K-4 visa. NOTE: 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 non-citizen 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.
How Do I Apply?
So that the non-citizen spouse and child may apply for a K-3 nonimmigrant
visa for a spouse and a K-4 nonimmigrant visa for a child, the citizen must
file Form I-130 on behalf of the non-citizen spouse with the applicable Service Center having jurisdiction over the
citizen’s place of residence. The citizen petitioner will then receive a Form
I-797, Notice of Action, indicating that the I-130 has been received by the
USCIS. The citizen should then file a copy of this I-797, along with a Form
I-129F on behalf of the non-citizen spouse and any children, to the Service Center where the underlying I-130
petition is pending. Use the address listed on the
most recent receipt notice or transfer notice and include a copy of that
notice with your Form I-129F.
Petitioners should be careful to follow all instructions on each form and
provide the Service with all necessary documentation. Following adjudication of
the Form I-129F, the petition will be forwarded to the applicable consulate so
that the alien beneficiary or beneficiaries may apply to the Department of
State for nonimmigrant K-3/K-4 visas.
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 (Form I-130 or Form I-485) are pending. You should use
USCIS Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) to apply for a work
permit. If you are in K-3/K-4 status, you must submit the application by
mailing a Form I-765 along with the $100 application fee to:
Citizenship and Immigration Services
P.O. Box 7218
Chicago, IL 60680-7218
You do not need to apply for a work permit once you adjust to permanent
resident status. As a lawful permanent resident, you should receive a permanent
resident card that will prove that you have a right to live and work in the United States
permanently. Please see "How Do I Get a Work Permit?" for more
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
Please contact the USCIS office that received your application. You should be
prepared to provide the USCIS staff with specific information about your