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K-4 Visa: Bringing Children of K-3 Spouse to the United States

If you’re moving to the United States under a K-3 spouse visa, you might be wondering about the best way to bring your children with you. The K-4 visa is the solution, designed to allow your unmarried children under the age of 21 to join you in the U.S.

In this blog, we’ll guide you through the K-4 visa application process, including necessary documentation, eligibility criteria, and the overall timeline.

We’ll also touch on life after arrival and the path to permanent residency for your children. Join us as we simplify the process and help you plan your family’s move to the U.S. with confidence.

What is a K-4 Visa? 

This allows eligible children of K-3 visa applicants to enter into and stay in the United States. This permits the visa holder to immigrate to the United States to stay with their foreign citizen parent (the K-3 visa holder) and their parent’s U.S. citizen spouse until legal permanent resident status can be obtained. 

Can a K-4 visa holder permanently live in the U.S,?

This is not permanent but allows the children of a foreign citizen who is married to a U.S. citizen to enter the United States. This holding children may apply for permanent resident status at the same time as their foreign citizen parent.

To become a permanent U.S. resident, K-4 visa holders must apply for adjustment of status with the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after arriving in the United States. 

Children who have been issued a K-4 visa may still travel on This even if their K-3 visa-holding parent has already adjusted their status to legal permanent resident.

Who is Eligible? 

To qualify for This, an applicant must be a child under the age of 21 to be a K-3 visa applicant.  Thus, a K-4 visa holder must continue to be unmarried and under the age of 21 in order to be admitted to the United States and throughout their stay in the United States as K-4 nonimmigrants.  

What is the process for obtaining a K-4 visa? 

Eligible children of a K-3 visa applicant can apply for the K-4 visa at the same time as the K-3 visa petition or afterward.

Generally, the K-4 application process involves the same steps as the K-3 visa application process. 

Step One: Filling out Form I-129F, Form I-130, and Form DS-160 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

When the U.S. citizen spouse submits Form I-129F, the children seeking a K-4 visa must be listed on the form.  A separate Form I-130 must be filed by the U.S. citizen spouse for each K-4 visa child applicant. 

Eligible children may apply for K-4 visas once Form I-129F is approved for the K-3 visa applicant(s).  If This applicant’s Form I-130 is approved before or at the same time as the Form I-129F, then This applicant(s) may also forgo This and immediately qualify for an immigrant visa. 

If Form I-129F is approved before Form I-130, approval of Form I-129F applies to all eligible K-4 visa applicant(s) listed. However,  each K-4 visa applicant must have his or her own Form DS-160 completed and submitted, and each must pay the required fee. 

Step Two: Attend an Interview at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy

This applicant(s) over the age of 14 will likely be required to attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest to them, along with his or her foreign citizen parent.  

At the interview, This applicant and his or her parent will be asked questions to verify their relationship and the K-4 applicant’s eligibility. 

This applicant should bring  the following documents to the interview: 

Step Three: Entering the United States 

After This is approved to receive the visa, the Consular Officer will provide the applicant with a passport containing This and a sealed packet that contains the documents the applicant provided as well as documents prepared by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  The new K-4 visa holder must not open the sealed packet. 

The sealed packet will be opened by the DHS immigration official when the new K-4 visa holder enters the United States with their K-3 visa-holding foreign citizen parent. The new K-4 visa holder must seek entry into the United States within 6 months from the date the visa was issued.  

This holder may enter the United States at the same time as their parent or may enter the United States at a later date, so long as the entry is made within the validity period of This. 

This holder may join their K-3 visa-holding parent in the United States based on the same petition so long as This holder joins the K-3 visa holder within one year from the date the K-3 visa was issued. 

If the K-3 visa holder’s child(ren) seeks entry more than one year from the date the K-3 visa was issued, they may not use This and apply for an immigrant visa petition instead. 

Step Four: Application to Adjust Status to Legal Permanent Resident 

After This holder(s) arrives in the United States, the U.S. citizen spouse will need to submit Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to the USCIS so that This holder can become a legal permanent resident.  

While a K-4 visa holder must generally apply for adjustment of status before they turn 21 years old, the Child Status Protection Act may allow This holder to apply for adjustment of status after their 21st birthday if the U.S. citizen spouse (This holder’s spouse) filed Form I-130 on This holder’s behalf before This holder turned 21 years old. 

After the U.S. citizen spouse submits Form I-485 with accompanying documents, the application to register for permanent residence is reviewed by the USCIS.  This holder is usually required to appear for an interview, along with their foreign citizen parent and the U.S. citizen spouse. Approval of Form I-485 will grant This holder a Green Card valid for 10 years. 


Can K-4 Visa Holders Study in the United States? 

Yes. K-4 visa holders may study full-time or part-time at all levels of education while in the United States so long as the original conditions of This are adhered to.  K-4 visa holders are not permitted to change their status to a nonimmigrant student visa, or any other nonimmigrant visa category.  If the educational program lasts longer than the period of validity for This, the visa holder will have to receive legal permanent resident status to continue the educational program. Continuing education is not a valid basis for extending This. 

Can K-4 Visa Holders Work in the United States? 

In order for a K-4 visa holder to work in the United States, they must apply for and receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the USCIS by submitting Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.   This form can be filed online or through the mail. 

K-4 visa holders who are applying for a Green Card for lawful permanent residence can submit Form I-765 when they submit Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

For How Long Is This Valid? 

This is valid for two years or until the day before This holder’s 21st birthday, whichever occurs first.  This will expire when the visa holder turns 21 years old. 

How much does it cost to get a K-4 visa? 

  • The Form I-129F filing fee is $535
  • DS-160 fee is $160
  • The potential biometrics fee is $85
  • The embassy fee is $265
  • Form I-485 fee is $750-$1,140
  • Form I-751 fee is $595
  • Medical exam cost varies

Sweta Khandelwal

Sweta completed her Masters in Law from the University of California, Los Angeles and her JD from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in India and has been practicing law for 15+ years getting visas, green cards, and citizenship for 1000+ clients, 100+ companies across 50+ nationalities.

Sweta has been recognized as a ” Super Lawyer, Rising Star,” and as amongst the ” Top 40 under 40″ immigration attorneys in California (American Society of Legal Advocates). She is also the recipient of the Advocacy Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Sweta is also a chartered accountant — the equivalent of a CPA. This makes her uniquely positioned to understand the immigration needs of her business clients in the broader context of their corporate objectives.

Sweta is actively involved with immigration issues and immigrant communities in various capacities. She has assumed key roles at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), both at the local and national level. She has been a past chair at the Santa Clara Valley Chapter at AILA and has also been involved in various practice area committees at AILA National. Sweta has addressed multiple conferences/forums in the United States and worldwide on immigration and business issues.