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Posts Tagged ‘K3 Visa administratively closed’

25th February 2010

The K3 Visa was designed as an expedited alternative to Immigrant Marriage visas such as the IR1 Visa and the CR1 Visa. At one time, it could take as long as 3 years to process a marriage visa petition, which is why Congress created the K-3 visa category. However, in recent years the need for the K-3 visa has been less acute when compared to the past as the current processing times for the aforementioned Immigrant marriage visas is about 11-12 months. When comparing this to the K3 visa processing time one can see that the K-3 visa is becoming less of a necessity.

With that in mind, the United States Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) recently made an important announcement with regard to K-3 visas, the following quote is from a State Department publication promulgated by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):

“Important Notice: Effective February 1st, 2010, when both the I-129F petition for a nonimmigrant K visa and the I-130 petition for an IR-1 (or CR-1) spouse of a U.S. citizen visa have been approved by USCIS and sent to the National Visa Center (NVC), the availability as well as the need for a nonimmigrant K-3 visa ends. If the NVC receives both petitions:

The nonimmigrant K visa will be administratively closed.
The application process explained below will not be applicable and cannot be used.

The NVC will contact the petitioner and you with instructions for processing your IR-1 (or CR-1) immigrant visa. For more information on the immigrant visa process review the Immigrant Visa for a Spouse webpage. If the NVC does not receive your I-130 petition and I-129F at the same time, the NVC will process your I-129F petition. Then NVC will send the petition to the embassy or consulate in the country where the marriage took place. If your marriage took place in the U.S., the NVC will send the petition to the embassy or consulate that issues visas in your country of nationality. If your marriage took place in a country that does not have an American embassy, or the embassy does not issue visas, the NVC will send your petition to the embassy or consulate that normally processes visas for citizens of that country. For example, if your marriage took place in Iran where the U.S. does not have an embassy your petition would be sent to Turkey.”

There are some who are likely asking themselves: What does this all mean? USCIS adjudicates all visa petitions and, upon approval, forwards them to the National Visa Center (NVC). NVC processes all K3 visa applications before they go to the Consulate or Embassy abroad (for those applications which are to be processed in Thailand, the NVC handles the application prior to receipt by the US Embassy Bangkok).

In essence, the NVC will no longer process K-3 visa applications if an Immigrant visa application is received by the NVC prior to, or at the same time as, a K3 application. As a practical matter, all K-3 petitions have an Immigrant visa counterpart. It is believed that, most of the time, the NVC receives these applications either in tandem or nearly simultaneously. There may be a few instances where a K-3 application will make it to NVC prior to the Immigrant visa application, but for the most part this is not the case. As a result, it is highly likely that the K-3 visa will no longer be available to those seeking marriage visa benefits because the Immigrant visa application will reach the NVC prior to, or at the same time as, the K-3 application.

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