K-1 vs K-3 visa: Which is the better option?

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2023 | Family Immigration

Both K-1 and K-3 visas aim to bridge the gap for couples who wish to start a life together in the U.S. but are separated by country borders. However, they serve slightly different purposes and have distinct advantages.

Delving deeper into the intricacies of these two options is essential for choosing what best aligns with your personal circumstances. Here is what you need to know.

The differences explained

The K-1 visa is designed for couples who are yet to be married and want to do so in the United States. If you are a U.S. citizen and your fiancé is a foreign national, the K-1 visa allows your fiancé to enter the U.S. specifically to get married within 90 days of arrival. After the marriage takes place, your spouse can apply for permanent residency.

On the other hand, the K-3 visa allows the foreign spouse legally married to a U.S. citizen (not a green card holder) to enter the U.S. while their immigrant visa petition is being processed, thereby reducing the time spent apart.

Other differences include the visa fees involved, with the K-3 visa being slightly more expensive, and the visa holder’s eligibility for employment. K-1 visa holders must apply for a working permit to work in the U.S. when legally allowed to be in the country for the purpose of marriage (90 days). K3 visa holders have fewer such restrictions and can freely work in the U.S. with proper documentation as they await the decision of their immigrant visa petition.

Make an informed choice

Choosing between the two visas largely depends on the couple’s specific circumstances. Factors such as processing times, financial considerations, the urgency to be together and the desire to marry in the U.S. can play a pivotal role in determining the better option between the K-1 and K-3 visas. 

Seeking qualified guidance can help provide personalized recommendations based on your situation and the current immigration landscape.