K – Visas

Immigrant Visa for a Spouse (IR1 or CR1):

The first step is to file a Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130, with the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for your spouse (husband or wife) to immigrate to the United States.In certain circumstances, a U.S. citizen living abroad can file an immigrant visa petition at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate (post). To find out whether you can file a petition at a specific post abroad, you must contact that post.

Nonimmigrant Visa for a Spouse (K-3):

If you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen you can come to the United States (U.S.) with a nonimmigrant K-3 visa. If you are the child of the spouse of a U.S. citizen and your parent has been issued a K-3 visa, you can be issued a K-4 nonimmigrant visa. Both the K-3 and the K-4 visas allow you to stay in the US while your immigrant visa petition is pending. Before a K-4 visa can be issued to a child, the parent must have a K-3 visa or be in K-3 status.

Nonimmigrant Visa for a Fiance(e) (K-1):

If you are an American citizen and you want your foreign fiancé(e) to travel to the United States to marry you and live in the U.S., you must file Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) in the United States. You must file the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e),  Form I-129F, with the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that serves the area where you live. See the Department of Homeland Security’s USCIS Field Offices for information on where you can file the petition.

Note: You cannot file this petition at an embassy, consulate or U.S. immigration office abroad.

After the USCIS approves the petition, it sends the petition to National Visa Center for processing, prior to sending it to the embassy or consulate where your fiancé(e) will apply for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for a fiancé(e).


Effective February 1st, 2010, when both the I-129F petition for a nonimmigrant K visa and the I-130 petition for an IR-1 (or CR-1) spouse of a U.S. citizen visa have been approved by USCIS and sent to the National Visa Center (NVC), the availability as well as the need for a nonimmigrant K-3 visa ends. If the NVC receives both petitions:

  • The nonimmigrant K visa will be administratively closed.
  • The application process explained below will not be applicable and cannot be used.
  • The NVC will contact the petitioner and you with instructions for processing your IR-1 (or CR-1) immigrant visa.


  • Two copies of form DS-156, Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  • One Nonimmigrant Fiancé(e) Visa Application, Form DS-156K for K-1
  • Police certificates from all places lived in since the age of 16
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificate for spouse
  • Death and divorce certificates from any previous spouses
  • Medical examination (except vaccinations)
  • A passport valid for travel to the U.S. and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the U.S. (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions).
  • Two nonimmigrant visa photos, two inches/50 X 50 mm square, showing full face, against a light background)
  • Proof of financial support (Form I-134 Affidavit of Support may be requested.)

Process Time:

The length of time varies from case to case according to its circumstances. The time it takes each USCIS office and each consular office to process the case varies. Some cases are delayed because the applicants do not follow instructions carefully or supply incomplete information. (It is important to give us correct postal addresses and telephone numbers.) Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer.


Fees are charged for the following services:

  • Filing an immigrant Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130
  • Applying for a nonimmigrant visa application processing fee, DS-156
  • Medical examination (costs vary from post to post)
  • Fingerprinting fees, if required
  • Filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status
  • Other costs may include translation and photocopying charges, fees for getting the documents required for the visa application (such as passport, police certificates, birth certificates, etc.), and travel expenses to the embassy or consulate for an interview. Costs vary from country to country and case to case.