Family-Sponsored Temporary Visas
K-1 Visa: Fiancée/Fiancé of U.S. Citizen
A fiancée/fiancé of a U.S. Citizen may enter the U.S. with a K-1 visa for the purpose of marrying the U.S. Citizen petitioner within 90 days of entering. Minor children of the K-1 can accompany the principal beneficiary in K-2 status. The process entails the U.S. Citizen filing an I-129F petition on behalf of the foreign national fiancée/fiancé with USCIS. Once the petition is approved, the consulate interviews the foreign national and determines whether s/he is eligible for an immigrant visa.
The foreign national must marry the U.S. Citizen within 90 days of entering or else depart the U.S. at the end of the 90-day period. After marrying the U.S. Citizen, the K-1 may apply for conditional permanent residence. In the 90 days prior to the second anniversary of obtaining such status, the U.S. Citizen and foreign national spouses must jointly petition to remove the conditions on the permanent residence status by filing an I-751 petition. If approved, the foreign national would obtain Lawful Permanent Residence.
A K-1 cannot change to another nonimmigrant status or adjust status based on grounds other than marriage to the U.S. Citizen petitioner. K-1s and K-2s are authorized to work in the United States after obtaining proof of employment authorization from USCIS.
K-3 Visa: Spouse of U.S. Citizen
The spouse of a U.S. Citizen who is abroad may obtain a K-3 visa to enter the U.S. while the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative filed on his/her behalf is pending. Minor children of the K-3 may obtain a K-4 visa. The purpose of this visa is to allow for family reunification during the sometimes lengthy delays in USCIS processing. The U.S. Citizen spouse must file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and then an I-129F petition with USCIS. Once approved, USCIS will notify the National Visa Center, which will run background checks on the foreign national and then forward the case to the consular post. The consulate will then request additional information from the beneficiary and schedule an interview.
After entering in K-3/K-4 status, the foreign national should apply to adjust status to permanent residence within two years by filing an I-485 application with USCIS.
K-3s/K-4s are admitted into the U.S. for two years and may request an extension of this stay if the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and/or the I-485 Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Residence have been filed but are still pending. A K-3/K-4 may not change to another nonimmigrant status or adjust status on grounds other than marriage to the U.S. Citizen petitioner.
K-3s/K-4s may work after obtaining employment authorization from USCIS and may travel abroad without the need for Advance Parole.