August 18, 2008: How Are K-3 Petitions and I-130 Petitions Processed?

How Are K-3 Petitions And I-130 Petitions Processed?

I am a US citizen and I recently got married to an Indian woman. We want to apply for K-3 visa so I was wondering if I can file both I-129F and I-130 together? Some sites say I can but some of them say that I first need to apply for I-130 and then once I have received a “Notice of Action,” I can submit the I-129F. Kindly advise.
— Anonymous

The purpose of the K-3 visa is for a person to enter the United States who has a legally valid marriage to a United States citizen, to join that spouse, and to file for permanent residency. The United States citizen petitioning spouse must also file a Form I-130 petition for the beneficiary. The beneficiary seeks to enter the United States to wait for the approval of the I-130 petition. The K-3 petition (I-129F) is filed with proof that the I-130 has been filed, which is usually in the form of the I-130 receipt notice, and proof that the marriage occurred in the form of a copy of the marriage certificate. Thus, you must file the I-130 before you file the I-129F. There is no filing fee for the I-129F. Once the I-129F is approved, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center where a background check is performed.

If everything is complete, the I-129F is electronically forwarded to the appropriate consular post. The Post will then issue a request for certain documentation to complete the issuance of the K-3 visa. The K-3 is usually valid for two years. An extension of the K-3 for an additional two years is possible if the Petitioner can prove that the I-130 has not been approved. However, you may apply right away to adjust your status to lawful permanent resident once you arrive in the United States with the K-3 visa. It is important to note that if the Petitioner and K-3 spouse get divorced, the K-3 spouse cannot adjust his or her status on the basis of another marriage to a different person. If you have further questions, it would be wise for you to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to discuss all of the immigration options and consequences.

Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys