K Visas

Under the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE Act) and its amendments, the K visa allows the spouse and unmarried children (below the age of 21 years) of a U.S. citizen to enter, live and work in the U.S. as nonimmigrants until they receive Lawful Permanent Resident status. The spouse is given a K-3 visa and the children are given a K-4 visas.

You can receive a K-3 (Spouse) visa if:

  • You have married a U.S. citizen.
  • Your U.S. citizen spouse has filed Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with USCIS for you.
  • You want to enter the U.S. to wait for the approval of the petition to become a Lawful Permanent Resident.
  • You have forwarded an approved Form I-129F (Petition for Alien FiancĂ©) to the U.S. Consulate (which issues immigrant visas) in the country where you were married. If you were married in the U.S., the approved petition has to be forwarded to a consulate which has jurisdiction over the area where you reside.

You can receive a K-4 (Child) visa if:

  • You are unmarried and under the age of 21 years.
  • You are the child of a foreign national who is eligible for a K-3 visa.

There are two advantages to having a K-3/K-4 non-immigrant visa:

You are allowed to work in the U.S. while waiting for your Permanent Resident status. However, in order to do this you must have a work permit. To apply for a work permit, submit Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) to the USCIS center in Chicago.

Note: You will not need to apply for a work permit after you have become a Lawful Permanent Resident of the U.S. because you will receive a permanent resident card which allows you to permanently live and work in the U.S. Your valid K-3/K-4 non-immigrant visa allows you to travel outside of and return to the U.S., even if you are still waiting for your Permanent Resident status.