Is it straightforward?
A K-3 visa allows a spouse who is abroad to come to the United States while the petition is pending and have work authorization. The K-3 visa is intended so the married couple can be together while the immigration process is pending. One might think you should always file a K-3 visa because of this intention. Unfortunately, in practice it is does not always work that way.
To file a K-3 visa, you must have a pending petition with immigration. This means that a petition is filed first and has been pending before you can even file a K-3 visa. To file a K-3 visa, you must present a receipt for your petition. The receipt usually does not come in the mail until 30 days have past. The petition has now had a month head start on a K-3 visa at a minimum. Then you need to file the K-3 visa application. This takes more time to prepare. Finally, the K-3 is filed and pending. Now you have to hope that the K-3 visa is processed before the petition that has had a head start.
Often in practice the petition is adjudicated first. So what happens when the petition is approved before the K-3 visa? The simple answer is that the K-3 visa is then abandoned and your spouse goes through the residency process abroad and eventually comes in as a legal permanent resident just as if the K-3 was never filed. This is not always the case but often times it is. It leaves you then with the question as to whether it is worth filing for the K-3 in the first place. A lot of attorneys will tell you no. I ultimately leave it up to the client. I tell them that more than likely you will waste your money in filing a K-3, however sometimes the process actually works like it was intended and the K-3 is adjudicated first. In that case, you can be with your spouse quicker. No risk, no reward. I find that most people are willing to file the K-3 visa even if it is a loosing proposition. I surmise the reason is, I typically will not get a K-3 visa approved before a petition is filed. Just know that this rarely happens. If you would like further information, please call for an appointment.