Fri | Mar 23, 2018

Immigration Corner | How can we travel sooner?

Published:Tuesday | December 20, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My husband is a United States (US) citizen and he has recently filed (June 2016) the I-130 for our children. We want to know if we should apply for the K3 visa so they can travel sooner.


Dear LCH,

Your email does not give me all the details, for.example. your status as the spouse of the US citizen.

As a US citizen, your husband needs to file separate petitions for you and for each of the children. I am assuming that the children are not in the States with your husband. If the children are not your husband's children, they must have been under 18 years of age when the two of you were married in order for them to receive immigration benefits from your husband.

Depending on where in the US your husband resides, he would be covered by a specific US citizenship and immigration processing centre and the location determines the processing time for the I-130. On average, it takes about five to six months for the I-130 to be approved. Once approved, the file is transferred to the National Visa Center for consular processing, and that processing time frame rests primarily with the petitioner and beneficiary and how quickly paperwork is submitted.

A K-3 visa is for a spouse of a US citizen and a K-4 visa is for the step-children of the US citizen. The K visa does not apply to biological children of American citizens.

The processing time for a K-3/K-4 visa is approximately six months. Your I-130 application has been filed for four months and if you or your children are actually eligible for a K3/K4 visa, it would be meaningless to apply for it at this time.

The K3/K4 visas usually take approximately the same time as processing the I-130 and consular processing. When the K3/K4 visa was implemented in 2000, there was a long waiting period and it was designed to help families reunite faster than the regular processing would allow.


- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and personal injury law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida.