A spouse visa, also known as a K-3 visa, allows a person who has married a U.S. citizen to enter the United States while awaiting immigration approval. If you are a U.S. citizen married someone in another country who is not an American citizen, he or she can apply for the K-3 visa to shorten the time you must live apart. 

Explore the steps to get a K-3 nonimmigrant visa for your spouse. 

File petitions 

As the U.S. citizen, you should file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with your local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. Once you receive a receipt from USCIS (Form I-797), file Form I-129, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). The USCIS forwards both approved petitions to the National Visa Center. 

Submit visa documentation 

The NVC will forward your petition to the appropriate U.S. authority in the country where you and your spouse married. Then, you will receive further instructions from that U.S. Consulate or Embassy. This covers information about the required medical examination, interview and digital fingerprint scan appointment. 

Required documents and forms at the scheduled interview include: 

  • Civil documents, including marriage certificate, birth certificate and police certificate for any country where the applicant lived for at least 6 months as an adult (older than 16) 
  • U.S. passport valid for at least six months 
  • Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application 
  • Records from medical examination 
  • Relationship evidence 
  • Two photographs that meet USCIS requirements 
  • Form I-134, Affidavit of Financial Support 

You must also pay the applicable fees at this appointment. If your spouse has children who will also be coming to the United States, they can apply at the same time for K-4 child visas. 

Once the USCIS has all your family’s documentation, processing times vary. When your spouse receives the K-3 visa, he or she will also receive a sealed packet with all immigration documents. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol will require these documents upon entry into the U.S., along with the valid passport.