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Immediate Relative of U.S. Citizen


Two mechanisms allow an American citizen to bring over a foreign wife or husband to live in the U.S. One involves securing an immigrant visa; the other involves securing a non-immigrant K-3 visa.

Immigrant visa

A citizen who wants to bring over his or her spouse must file an I-130 petition with USCIS. Once this petition gets approved, the spouse goes to a U.S. consulate in his or her country for consular processing to get a visa.

Non-immigrant visa (K-3)

This is a temporary visiting visa that allows the husband or wife of a U.S. citizen to come to this country, even while a case for permanent residency is pending. The spouse can work in the U.S. while awaiting the verdict on his or her permanent residence status.

Eligibility for K-3 nonimmigrant visa

The applicant must be married to a U.S. citizen, and the marriage must be valid. A Petition for Alien Fiancé must be filed on behalf of the applicant. Other eligibility requirements also apply.


If a spouse overstayed a previous visa to the United States, advocated the overthrow of the U.S. government, practiced polygamy, sold drugs, or previously submitted fraudulent immigration paperwork, he or she may be deemed ineligible. Even if you have been declared ineligible, you may be able to obtain a waiver to get the visa anyway.

Questions about marriage visas?

We at the law firm of Howard Law can provide reliable answers to your concerns about immigrant petitions for alien relatives and K-3 visas. Phone us now at 1 (800) 872-5925, or e-mail us via our website,, to set up a consultation with our legal team.