This category is for spouses and children of U.S. citizens for whom an I-130 petition has been filed but for whom an immigrant visa has not yet been issued. The K-3 visa is valid during the pendency of the I-130 petition and during the waiting period for the issuance of an immigrant visa. There is no requirement that an I-130 petition have been filed for a K-4 child, as the child derives status from the K-3 petition filed on behalf of the parent. However, once the K-3 nonimmigrant adjusts status, the K-4 child loses his lawful nonimmigrant status. As a result, it is advisable to file an I-130 petition for the children concurrently with the I-130 petition filed for the spouse.
The K-3 petition must be filed with the INS in the United States and then the approved petition must be forwarded to a U.S. consulate abroad for visa issuance. A noncitizen admitted to the United States in another nonimmigrant category may not change status to K-3 or K-4. The visa must be obtained from a U.S. consulate in the country where the marriage was solemnized.
K-3 and K-4 applicants generally receive ten-year, multiple entry visas. Admission of a K-3 nonimmigrant is for two (2) years; a K-4 nonimmigrant for two (2) years or until their 21st birthday. Both K-3 and K-4 nonimmigrants may apply for extension of stay 120 days before the expiration of their authorized period of stay. They are also eligible to apply for employment authorization. However, employment authorization may be renewed only upon a showing that the noncitizen has either an application for immigrant classification or an adjustment of status pending. Individuals in K-3 or K-4 status may travel outside the United States without advance parole, even if they have a pending adjustment of status application.