If you are planning to immigrate to the U.S. based on marriage to a U.S. citizen and are coming from overseas (as opposed to living in the U.S. already), the K-3 visa might be one of the options that you are considering. The three main visa options (which are more fully described in Nolo’s products and in the marriage visa section of its website) are either:
The trouble is, the K-3 visa only makes sense if the various government agencies involved (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS, and the U.S. State Department) actually approves them faster than regular immigrant visas. And they’re not doing that. In fact, they’re largely ignoring K-3 filings, knowing they can urge the couple to go ahead with a regular immigrant visa filing as soon as the I-130 immigrant visa petition is approved.
For those who want to hear the nitty gritty details, the main problem is that it’s taking USCIS just as long to issue approvals on I-130 immigrant visa petitions as on I-129F fiancé visa petitions, and once the I-130 is approved, an immigrant visa interview can be scheduled, making the I-129F approval irrelevant.
Meanwhile, the K-3 process is more expensive than the K-1 or immigrant visa options, because you have to double up on your visa petition filings (with both an I-130 and an I-129F). It also takes longer before you get approved for U.S. residency — you’ll have to wait some months in the U.S. before your green card is approved.
The bottom line is that most immigration attorneys will, when asked about the K-3, respond with phrases like, “Really stupid,” or “it’s dead.”
If all that seems confusing – which immigration law definitely is -- see an immigration attorney for a full personal analysis.