Alien-Spouse Immigration

Alien-Spouse Immigrant Visa

U.S. Immigration law allows two methods for future spouses of U.S. citizens to be brought into the U.S.:

  • K-1 Fiance Visa
  • K-3 Visa.

The K-1 Visa

The K-1 Visa generally takes less time to process than the Alien-Spouse Visa. The Alien-Spouse Visa, however, is a proven path toward lawful permanent residency for your spouse.

If the marriage takes place abroad, an I-130 petition should be filed after the marriage. This petition should be filed either with USCIS in the U.S., or at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.

Please contact USCIS or the appropriate foreign service post for details about what specific documents you will need to file for an immigrant petition for a new spouse. For more information, read our section on Family-Based Immigration.


The new K-visas are open to spouses of U.S. citizens who are the beneficiaries of an immigrant visa petition (I-130). The spouses’ unmarried children under the age of 21 are also eligible. Unlike the V category, there are no laws enabling visa issuance for grandchildren of the spouse or the petitioner.


Spouses who qualify for this status will be classified as K-3. In order to obtain K-3 classification, the non-immigrant visa petition must have been filed in the U.S. by the U.S. citizen spouse. Applicants must demonstrate that their marriage to a U.S. citizen is valid, that they are the beneficiaries of an I-130 immigrant visa petition filed with the USCIS , and that they wish to enter the U.S. to await approval of the I-130 petition or the availability of an immigrant visa.

If the petition has been approved, beneficiaries may wish to process their immigrant visas rather than the K-3 visa. When the beneficiary applies for the non-immigrant K-3 visa, the consular officer will ask whether they wish to find out if the approved petition has been received from USCIS . If so, the applicant may then have the petition forwarded to the processing consular so that the applicant may file an immigrant visa application. The application should be filed at the consular post designated by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Services to process immigrant visa applications for nationals of the country in which the K-3 processing post is located.

Children of spouses who qualify for this status will be classified as K-4. In order to obtain K-4 classification, the candidate must establish that he/she is the child of an alien entitled to K-3 classification. If the marriage of the beneficiary to the U.S. citizen took place abroad, the visa must be issued in the country in which the marriage took place. If the country does not have a consular post, the beneficiary must apply at the consular post designated by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Services to accept immigrant visa applications from nationals of that country. If the marriage took place in the U.S., the application must be filed in the country of residence of the alien spouse.


Because the K-3 and K-4 Visas function as substitutes for immigrant visas, much of the process is similar to that of obtaining an immigrant visa. Applicants may be asked to provide local documents establishing family relations and, in some cases, testimonials to establish the truth of these relationships. Applicants may also be asked to present evidence to establish that their health and criminal backgrounds do not pose a threat to the American public.

Colorado Immigration Attorneys at Murad & Murad have extensive experience in this area of U.S. Immigration Law.
To schedule a consultation, please call 303-449-5535.