The K1 is a visa that may be obtained by the fiancée of a US citizen. In most instances, this may be the best option for an international fiancée, currently residing outside of the United States. A US citizen may apply for a K1 visa, and, when approved, the fiancée may travel to the US for up to 90 days. If a marriage takes place within the 90-day time frame, the spouse may then become a permanent resident and be allowed to remain in the US and work while waiting for approval.
The general requirements for this visa are that the sponsor must by a US citizen, that the sponsor and financee are free to marry legally, that they have actually met one another within two years prior to the visa being sought (there are some exceptions to this) and that they have the intention of getting married within 90 days of the fiancée’s arrival.
The K3 is a non-immigrant visa that lets the spouse of a US permanent resident come into the States and stay until they complete the immigration application process. The spouse may come into the US only once while holding this visa and, once in the country, must apply for permanent residency. Until they are approved for permanent residency, they are not permitted to work. This process takes about 6 to 12 months, and the process for a spouse’s immigration usually takes over a year.