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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawThe K-3 Spouse Visa Process and the Coronavirus

The K-3 Spouse Visa Process and the Coronavirus

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the K-3 Supplemental Visa petition. 

For those who are unaware, American citizens who have spouses abroad can petition for an Immigrant Spouse Visa; that is kind of a standard methodology by which one brings a spouse from abroad into the United States.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Life Act passed in the 90s under the Clinton Administration, there is also a supplemental K-3 Visa category which can be petitioned for by American citizens who have a foreign spouse and in light of the Coronavirus pandemic and all of the interruptions to government services arising therefrom, I felt it was interesting to possibly note that the K-3 Visa, where once it was kind of in moth balls and I will get into that in a minute, the K-3 Visa may now be a really viable option for those who are looking to for lack of better term, fast track or expedite their spouse’s visa processing into the United States. 

A couple of things to keep in mind here. First of all, we are making this video prior to the promulgation of the Executive Order that has been announced by President Trump with respect to the suspension of certain green cards. Now it is our understanding as at the time of this video, that so-called "nuclear families", those with spouses and children abroad, will not necessarily be impacted by this Immigration suspension.  That being stated, it also is only supposed to pertain to Green Card cases so it is definitely a possibility that the K-3 Visa could be exempted from this just by dint of the fact that a K-3 Visa does not confer Immigrant status or lawful permanent residence to the bearer at the time of their entry into the United States. Much like the K-1, the K-3 is a Non-immigrant Visa; now it is a Non-immigrant dual intent Visa, but it's a Non-immigrant Visa nonetheless. It does not confer lawful permanent residence on the bearer at the time they enter the US.

The second thing to bear in mind with respect to this is again as noted, this US immigration suspension by Trump does not seem to specifically pertain to family-based cases or “nuclear family” based cases. Trump has made it clear that he is not a fan of "chain migration" and I think this Executive Order although we haven't seen it yet, based on what we are reading, will probably have provisions that provide certain exemptions for nuclear families. Again the K-3 is designed for the spouse of an American citizen. 

A final thing to think of with respect to this is in the aftermath of COVID-19, I think that there are going to be back logs associated with the immigration apparatus especially at the Department of Homeland Security, so where once, as I said, K-3s were put into sort of mothballs or in limbo due to what was called the Policy of Administrative Closure, so Administrative closing occurred when an underlying Immigrant Spouse Visa petition made it to National Visa Center either prior to,  contemporaneously with or shortly after an Immigrant Spouse Visa petition made it to National Visa Center. The K-3 was invented at a time when Immigrant Spouse Visas were processing very slowly and it was invented in order to provide a fast-track if you will, for spouses of American citizens. It looks like similar circumstances to those which arose to create the K-3 may come back wherein we see Department of Homeland Security processing times increase dramatically and underlying Immigrant Spouse Visas sitting in a situation where it takes a prolonged period of time for them to process. In that set of circumstances the K-3 becomes a much more viable option because National Visa Center is not taking it upon themselves to Administratively Close those cases due to the fact that they weren't necessary. In the past, Immigrant Spouse Visas were processing quickly so the K-3 wasn't needed. Now it appears to not be the case and perhaps the K-3 could become not only necessary but a much more viable option for an expedited spouse visa for an American's foreign husband or wife. 

So the thing to take away from this video is K-3 Visas during COVID-19 and sort of in the aftermath of COVID-19 may come more into vogue if you will and those who have an underlying Immigrant Spouse Visa at this time, may want to go ahead and look into the K-3 because it could prove to be a viable option for expediting the processing of one’s spouse in getting a visa to the United States.