Marriage Based – K-1/K-2/K-3

What is the Best visa Option for a Foreign Spouse/Fiancé? Choosing Between the K-1, K-2, and K-3 visas When Marrying a Foreign National

Getting married is one of the most important milestones you can experience in your life. No matter where you choose to get married, whether it is in the United States, or a foreign country, you have the option of helping your spouse get permanent status in the United States. Two specific Visas are generally issued during the marriage-based immigration process. The K-1, and K-3 visas. Additionally, there is the option of a B-2 visa as well.

The time it takes for these Visas to process will vary significantly for each specific case and factors such as the country of origin for the foreign spouse, and the state you reside in can influence the application timeline.

K-1 visa- Fiancé, getting married in the United States

The K-1 visa is ideal for you if you wish to get married to your fiancé in the United States. When you opt for the K-1 visa, you can bring your fiancé to the United States and you have 90 days to get married to them. This is ideal if you want to spend some time with them to get to know them better before going for a lifelong commitment.

Your fiancé will also benefit greatly as they will get to see the United States and get familiar with the customs over there. It is important to note that the United States immigration officer will look to see if your fiancé is actually in love with you and intends to get into a real marriage with you once they are granted access to the United States.

Another major advantage of the K-1 visa is that you will mostly only deal with the United States immigration system, and you don’t have to deal with foreign procedures of marriage in a language that is difficult for you to understand.

The only reason you might want to refrain from this visa in San Antonia, Texas is if you want your fiancés foreign friends and family members to attend the wedding. The only way they could attend the wedding is if they obtain a tourist visa or come to the United States through another legal avenue.

K-3 visa- Spousal visa, getting married outside the United States

The spousal visa is ideal for anyone who intends to get married outside the United States and they want to be with their spouse in the least amount of time as possible. With the K-3 visa, you have the option of being together as soon as possible.

However, this visa does come with its downfalls. The U.S. Citizen will require a lot of supporting documentation to prove they got married in a foreign country. The process will also require more steps, as first, you will submit an I-130 application, and then a I-129F application.

It does not help that all the documents must be translated by a certified professional into the language of the foreign country you intend on getting married in.

The entire K-3 visa process is extremely sensitive, and every document and form should be sent exactly as requested, otherwise the entire process can become unnecessarily delayed.

K-2 visa- When your spouse or fiancé has a child who requires entry in the United States

If your loved one has a minor child that also requires entry into the United States, you will need a separate K-2 visa for the child. Unmarried children under the age of 21 years can immigrate to the United states with their parents. The K-2 visa is a non-immigrant derivative visa that gives minors a chance to come to the United States and reside there until their proper immigration visa is granted to them.

To be eligible for this visa, the following factors must apply:

  • The child must be under 21 years old
  • The child must be unmarried
  • They must be a child of the K-1 Visa holder
  • One of the parents must be a U.S citizen

It is especially important to note that this Visa does not give the child a status of an immigrant. After the marriage, the child should apply for permanent residence through Form I-485. Also, the applicant may be restricted from entering the United States if it is found they had any previous immigration violations.

The K-2 visa allows a child to apply for Permanent Resident status and after the parents are married, the child is allowed to study and also apply for a work permit after applying for Employment Authorization (EAD) through Form I-765. However, the visa does expire after 90 days, and then the visa holder has another 30 days to leave the United States, so the visa is valid for a total of 120 days.

After you apply for a K-2 visa, it can take anywhere from 4-6 months for the entire process to complete and the visa to be issued. This timeframe can vary depending on your specific case and the current workload of the Visa Officers.

It can be difficult to decide what visa is best for you and your spouse. An immigration lawyer can guide you based on your case and they can inform you on what forms you must fill out and what pieces of evidence are required to prove your commitment and love for your spouse/fiancé.

Get in touch with an immigration lawyer at the Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen Today for help on the marriage-based visa application process.


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San Antonio, TX

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San Antonio, TX 78205

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Call Today: (210) 503-2800