CIS says they try to complete processing of spouse petitions within six months, but it seems that right now, it is taking CIS in California about nine months to process a petition for the spouse of a US citizen.
Is there any way to bring your spouse to the US faster? It is difficult to provide a definite answer because everything depends on the workloads of the various CIS offices, and NVC and the US Consulate in Saigon. However, there is an option and sometimes it works. We are talking about the K3 visa.
K-3 visas are available to the spouse and minor children of US citizens, if the citizen sponsor has filed an immigrant visa petition and if this petition has NOT YET been approved by CIS. The sponsor must also file an I-129F petition as part of the K-3 application procedure.
The K-3 visa allows the applicants to go to the U.S., to wait here until CIS approves their petitions. After the petition is approved, they can apply for a Green Card. There is no need to file for K3 if the petitioner does not wish to. He can wait for CIS-US to finish processing.
The K3 visa sounds like a good idea for couples who don’t want to wait for CIS to finish processing the marriage petition. But, is it really a good option?
First of all, according to California CIS, right now the processing time for spouse petitions and K3 petitions in California is about the same, with a difference of maybe 2 or 3 months, so there is no clear advantage to filing a K3 petition.
And, there can be a major dis-advantage to doing a K3. The K3 is based on a spouse petition that is waiting for CIS approval. Therefore, the US Consulate in Saigon does not know if CIS will approve or deny that spouse petition. The result is that the US Consulate examines K3 cases very closely, and denials are higher for K3 cases than for spouse cases without the K3 application.
Another reason why the Consulate hesitates to approve K3 cases is that the Affidavit of Support for these cases is not legally binding.
Finally, a spouse who enters the US on a K3 visa is still a non-immigrant. That means no Green Card is available until CIS completes the processing of the spouse petition. And, the wait for a Green Card could take another 12 months or more. In contrast, a spouse who enters the US as an Immigrant will automatically receive the Green Card in the mail within 2 or 3 months after entry.
So, based on our observations, at this time the K3 is an option for spouse cases but it is not a guarantee of faster processing.
Q.1. If the US Consulate denies a K3 visa application, what happens to the spouse petition that is with CIS in America?
A.1. If the K3 is denied because of lack of evidence or because of financial problems, it may still be possible to be interviewed again after CIS has approved the spouse petition. _____________________________________________________________________________
Q.2. To save time, can I file the K3 application with CIS at the same time that I file the immigrant visa petition for my wife?
A.2. You have to wait until you have filed the immigrant visa petition (I-130) and receive a fee receipt from INS. After that you can file the K3 application.
Q.3. My wife’s petition is at the National Visa Center in New Hampshire, but it seems like it’s taking a long time for her to get an appointment for her visa interview. Can I file the K3 application to speed things up?
A.3. The K3 cannot be used to speed up NVC processing. It is only for cases that are with CIS, waiting for approval.
ROBERT MULLINS INTERNATIONAL www.rmiodp.com
Immigration Support Services-Tham Van Di Tru
9070 Bolsa Avenue, Westminster CA 92683 (714) 890-9933
779 Story Road, Ste. 70, San Jose, CA 95122 (408) 294-3888
6930 65th St. Ste. #105, Sacramento CA 95823 (916) 393-3388
Cty Rang Mi: 47 Phung Khac Khoan, Q1, HCM (848) 3914-7638