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Given I-130 Delays, Is the K-3 Visa a Good Work-Around?

October 07, 2013 (1 min read)
"The Form I-130 petition is used to sponsor a spouse, minor child or parent of a US citizen who is outside the US.  In the recent past, such an I-130 petition filed with the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services on behalf of an immediate relative got approved in about 3-4 months.  The case was then sent to the National Visa Center, a clearing house for the consular posts of the Department of State.  One the petitioner submitted the required documents to the NVC, the file was dispatched to the consular post and an appointment was quickly scheduled.  The entire process generally took about six months or a little over.
More recently, I-130 petitions filed on behalf of spouses and other immediate relatives are reportedly taking much longer.  This author has heard that I-130s filed in January or February 2013 have still not been approved.  The Vermont Service Center states that I-130 petitions received on October 22, 2012 for immediate relatives are being adjudicated presently.  The California Service Center does not indicate any processing time for a similar I-130 petition.  This is quite frankly a shocking state of affairs.
... In light of long delays in the processing of the I-130 petition, it may be worth considering filing an I-129F petition for a K-3 visa.  Congress specifically designed the K-3 visa to allow spouses of US citizens to enter the US if the I-130 processing got delayed.  In recent times, K-3 petitions have not been filed due to the fact that I-130 petitions were processed in a few months.  It now makes sense to revive the K-3, and to file for it after the I-130 petition has been filed.  Both the Vermont and California Service Centers indicate that K-3 processing is taking 5 months.  If that time frame is accurate, then the beneficiary of a pending I-130 petition, which is expected to take a year or longer under current processing times, can at least unite with the US citizen spouse through a K-3 visa.  Once the spouse is here on a K-3 visa, it is permissible under law to file an I-485 application for adjustment of status.  While this is not a perfect solution as it involves two steps, the spouse can at least expect to unite with the US citizen spouse somewhat sooner." - Cyrus D. Mehta, Oct. 6, 2013.