The K-3 nonimmigrant visa is available for a spouse of a U.S. citizen who is applying for legal permanent residency (green card) in the United States and wishes to enter the United States while the immigrant visa application is pending. Eligible children may also be issued a K-4 nonimmigrant visa if the parent has K-3 status. To receive a K-3 visa, the U.S. citizen must first file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) with the USCIS to initiate the immigrant visa application process. Subsequently, the U.S. citizen must file a Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) (Form I-129F) with the USCIS for a spouse to seek the K-3 nonimmigrant visa. Typically, the I-129F is approved first so that the spouse can come to the United States on the K-3 nonimmigrant visa, apply for work authorization if desired, and wait for the green card application to be approved. In some cases, however, the USCIS approves the I-129F and I-130 petitions simultaneously and sends both approvals to the National Visa Center (NVC), resulting in a confusing situation where the spouse chooses whether to proceed with the green card process based on the Form I-130 or the K-3 nonimmigrant visa based on the Form I-129F.

The DOS now seeks to resolve that situation. Effective February 1, 2010, where the NVC receives both I-129F and I-130 approved petitions at the same time, the nonimmigrant K-3 visa case will be administratively closed, and the NVC will proceed with the I-130 immediate relative petition; the spouse cannot choose to apply for a K-3 nonimmigrant visa. If the NVC receives the I-129F approval first, the NVC will process the K-3 nonimmigrant case. The NVC will send the nonimmigrant petition to the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where the marriage took place, or if the marriage occurred in the United States, then to embassy or consulate in the country of nationality.