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What Are K-3 And K-4 Visas?


Family relationships are at the foundation of the American immigration system. The majority of people who immigrate to the United States—approximately 66 percent—do so primarily through a family connection. A challenge for families immigrating to the U.S. is that the immigration process can be difficult to navigate and take a significant amount of time. K-3 and K-4 visas are a special type of immigration option that allow immediate family members (spouses and unmarried children under 21) to obtain temporary status while they await their green card. Here, our Philadelphia immigration lawyer provides a more comprehensive guide to K-3 and K-4 visas.

Solution to Immigration Delays: K-3 Visas and K-4 Visas Allow Spouses/Children to Enter U.S. 

USCIS explains that K-3 Visas and K-4 visas are non-immigrant visas that are an option for a spouse and/or unmarried children under 21 who reside abroad and are waiting for approval to come to the United States. They are temporary visas that “shorten the time your family would need to spend apart.” Here is an overview:

  • K-3 Visa: A K-3 visa is a temporary visa that permits the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident to come to the United States while they are waiting for their green card.
  • K-4 Visa: A K-4 visa is a temporary visa that lets the unmarried children (under the age of 21) of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident come to the U.S. while they wait for their green card.

The K-4 visa is linked to the K-3 visa. In general, this means that the K-4 visa applicant must be the child of the K-3 visa applicant. 

The V Visa is No Longer Available as a Solution to Family Immigration Delays 

You may have heard of an immigration option called a V Visa. USCIS notes that the V Visa was created as a tool to help keep families together. Much like the K-3 Visa and K-4 Visa, the V Visa helped spouses and unmarried children under 21 obtain temporary status to come to the United States while they awaited their paperwork. The V Visa was a response to major immigration processing delays that affected many people and families in the early 2000s. However, the V Visa is only available to those who filed immigration paperwork prior to 2001. Put another way, it is no longer a viable option. It has been 15 years since any V Visa application has been approved.

The Bottom Line: If your spouse or children are waiting for a green card, the K-3 visa or K-4 visa is the best temporary solution to overcome an immigration processing delay. A Philadelphia immigration lawyer can help you and your family navigate the K-3/K-4 visa application process.

 Contact Our Philadelphia, PA Immigration Attorney Today

At Ellenberg Law Group, our Philadelphia immigration lawyer is a compassionate and solutions focused advocate for people and families. We have put together thousands of questions asked by USCIS that we use to prepare our clients. If you have any questions about K-3 visas or K-4 visas, we are here as a resource. Contact us today to set up a completely confidential consultation. From our office in Philadelphia, we provide immigration representation throughout Southeast Pennsylvania.


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