K1 versus K3, which is better?
One of the things people have been doing with their immigration cases is trying to unearth secret strategies that maybe will help them skip this whole process. Unfortunately, a lot of these alternate theories that people are unearthing are things that simply don’t work right now.
The K1 visa is specifically for fiancés. If you’re already married, you can’t get a K1 visa. But the thing about K1 visas is that based on the way that they’re processed, some of the processing actually happens inside the United States after the person enters on a K1 visa.
Even though over the last several years and decades, the processing times for K1s and the processing times for spouse visas have varied a lot. But typically, the K1s are always a little bit faster than the spouse visas. They’re not processed faster in the sense of the entire process but they’re faster to get the person into the United States.
The fastest way to get your fiancé in the United States if you’re not married is typically to file for a fiancé visa even though you have to do a lot more processing once they’re in the US that you wouldn’t have to do if they were a spouse.
Why does this matter? At some point, congress said it seems really unfair that you would let fiancés come faster than people who are already married. They created the K3 visa with the intention that people who are waiting on spouse visas could get this other type of K visa for people who are already married and then they would be able to come in the United States faster.
Filing for a K3 Visa
Just like many things with the government, that’s a great idea. But based on the execution by the government and the process they created on how to get it, it’s currently not going to help you at all. They don’t help because the way the process works to try for a K3 visa is that you have to first apply for the first step of a spouse visa.
You would file your I-130 and wait to get the receipt back from that and then you file for the K3. Based on the way that they run those two petitions, even though the I-130 petitions are taking six to eight months, they’re still beating the K3 petitions. At that point, the government just kicks out your K3 application and denies it because you’ve already gotten further along in the process with this other case. They close that case entirely even though you’re still at the very beginning phase of the spouse visa.
You probably noticed that lawyers have not been talking about it. It’s not something that’s presented when you consult with someone and that’s because people who are working on this know that it exists legally but in reality, it’s not a thing that people are getting right now and that’s why we’re not recommending it.
If you’re in a traditional fiancé visa or spouse visa route, it really is the best and only way to do this right now under our current laws.