Integrity Legal

14th September 2009

In a previous blog posting we discussed the K2 child visa which is a derivative visa of the K1 fiance visa. The K2 visa is intended for the unmarried minor children of K1 visa applicants. Both visas have an initial validity of 90 days, but if the K1 visa holder adjusts status, then the K2 visa holder can “piggyback” their application for adjustment onto that of their parent and obtain permanent residence as both a derivative and a step-child.

K3 visas operate in a similar manner as the K1 visa. K3 visas are non-immigrant visas that allow for dual intent. This means that the entrant can have non-immigrant as well immigrant intent at the time of entry in the United States of America. For those with children, the K4 visa is one way of bringing a K3 visa holder’s unmarried minor children to the United States. Like the K2 visa, the K4 visa mirrors the benefits of its parent category. Therefore, if a K3 visa is issued with a validity of 2 years (which has become the common practice), then the K4 will likely be issued with the same validity period. The K4 visa is also a multiple entry visa just like the K3.

The K3 visa category was created at a time when it was taking nearly three years to process regular I-130 visa applications for foreign spouses. It was created with the idea of providing an expedited non-immigrant visa alternative so that bi-national families could be reunited quickly. As the processing time for the I-130 has decreased, so too has the need for the K3.

For those who travel to the United States on a K3 or K4 visa, eventually the issue of adjustment of status will arise. As the K3 and K4 are non-immigrant visas, the holders must apply for a “green card” before being allowed to remain in the USA. K4 beneficiaries can “piggyback” their application for adjustment on their K3 parent’s application.

As stated previously, for most people the K3 visa, and therefore its K4 counterpart, is generally not the most optimum visa because it takes longer to process when compared to the K1 and it does not confer Permanent Residence as the CR1 or IR1 visa does. However, the K3 has its strategic benefits because it can allow the couple the opportunity to have more control over their case’s adjudication, because the statute specifies that the interview forum is based upon the location of the underlying marriage.


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