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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawComparing and Contrasting the K-1 Visa and the K-3 Visa

Comparing and Contrasting the K-1 Visa and the K-3 Visa

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests we're discussing the K-1 and the K-3 Visa. These are both K categorization visas. They are for spouse or the fiancée of a United States citizen. Let me be clear on that. The K categories only pertain to the fiancée or spouse of a United States citizen.

The K-1 visa is designed for the fiancée of an American citizen; the K-3 Visa is designed for the spouse of an American citizen. What are the differences between these two visas? Well as the title suggests, the K-1 is used to bring a fiancée into the United States; someone with whom one has not engaged in a legal marriage yet, but plans to in the United States within 90 days of arrival in lawful status and the K-3 Visa is designed for the spouse of an American citizen, so this is an individual that is already engaged in a legal marriage either abroad or in the United States prior to coming into the US.

A couple of things to note, both of these visas are non-immigrant. Even the K-3 for a spouse is not an immigrant visa. I have gone into this pretty well at length in other videos on this channel, but the K-3, although a non-immigrant visa, allows for adjustment of status in the United States or for one to go ahead and process their Immigrant Visa at a US Embassy or consulate abroad.  The K-1 is much more constricted in its approach. Basically it provides only 90 days of lawful status for the fiancée of an American citizen. Within 90 days that couple needs to go ahead and get married and file for adjustment of status. K-3 Visas generally, I believe at the time of this filming are issued in 2-year increments, whereas, K-1s again 90 days status.

Now comparison and contrast. well first of all we need to be clear. The K-3 Visa is not an overly optimal visa as at the time of this filming. One reason for this is so called Administrative Closure. We have done videos on this channel regarding Administrative closings of K-3 Visas. To summarize very quickly. Basically, if the Immigrant Visa case underlying the K-3 visa supplemental petition reaches the National Visa Center prior to the K-3 reaching National Visa Center, the K-3 will simply be closed. As of the time of this video many, many of the K-3s are being closed because they are, the underlying immigrant case is moving faster. This is due to the fact that the K-3 was actually invented as sort of a time-saving or fast tracking type of Visa. It was basically written under the provisions of the Life Act under President Bill Clinton and basically they were invented at a time when an immigrant spousal visa could take 4 to 6 years in some cases for the spouse of an American citizen while it was 4 to 6 months for the petition to be processed on a fiancée visa. So Congress basically said that that issue needed to be rectified. They created this K-3 category which essentially uses the K-1 processing line and they sort of fixed the issue. But that being said, since that time, USCIS has massively streamlined the processing of immigrant visas, and immigrant petitions and it's effectively phased out the K 3.

The thing when looking at these though, at the end of the day is, a K-1 really is for a fiancée so if the situation isn't quite right to go ahead and get married, maybe a K-1 fiancée visa is the better way to go. Contrast that with, a couple may already be married and they simply may want to try to get to the United States faster than with an immigrant visa and under those circumstances, a K-3 may be the way to go.

That being said, they are substantially different types of travel document and notwithstanding the differences, sort of the inherent differences there, adjustment of status is still required once physically present in the United States.