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Immigration Issues/Work outside US on K3 Visa


QUESTION: I am a US citizen who married a Colombian in Colombia 2 months ago.

She has a job in Colombia and we own and home in Colombia and the US.  

I work in a job that requires me to maintain a security clearance and I am deployed in a war zone most of the year.  For me to keep my security clearance my wife must apply for a US residency / citizenship. (This I am sure of)   

She does not need the visa to visit here as she has a travel visa.

We would like to do this but my wife cannot remain in the US as she has a job in Colombia. Not to mention I will not be in the US as I am working overseas.  

We do intend to live in the US later in life. She can retire in a few years.

1. If we get an approved K3 Visa, can she report to the US to complete the process and then return to Colombia to work? (we can put her name on accounts and property in the US to prove her ties to the US an intention to live here)

2. IF so, how long does she need to be in the US.  She only has 3-4 weeks of vacation a year.

3. Will her marriage to me and/or application for a K3 visa interfere with her tourist visa?

ANSWER: dear Mike,

This is a very novel issue.  I think the K-3 visa is no longer issued anymore because the I-130 nowadays are approved within 6 months, thereby obviates the need for the K-3 visa.

She will be processed for a green card and she does not have to do it from the United States.  Her case can be processed in the US Embassy in Colombia.

After obtainin permanent resident visa (CR-6 Visa) she must enter the US once every 6 months to maintain it, until she formally moves to the United States.

She can certainly make it by taking her 3-4 weeks of vacation time and spend it in the US.

She will not be able to use a tourist visa anymore after the Embassy approves the CR-6 visa.  She will be returning to the US as a permanent resident and should not use the tourist visa anymore.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the info. I see on the US Embassy website that the I-130 can no longer be filled at a US Embassy but a US Citizen living outside the US.  As of July 31, 2011 all I-130's must be filled by mail.

So, I have to file my part by mail.   Do you think the rest can be done at the Embassy?  I cant find much info on the CR6.


Now the I-130 filed by US citizen living abroad goes to Chicago

see US Citizenship & Immigration Update: <a href=""></a>

After filing it with Chicago USCIS will approve it and forward it to the US Embassy where you reside for marital relationship verification steps.  After approval by the Embassy your wife would be able to obtain a CR-6 visa (a.k.a. immigrant visa, look for US citizen spouse)

Good luck!

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Jack Sung


Can answer: Immigration and visa issues Can't answer: Everything else


Been a practicing immigration attorney for 4 years.

Taiwanese American Lawyers Association. American Immigration Lawyers Association. Los Angeles County Bar Association

Southwestern International Law Journal

J.D. from Southwestern Univ. School of Law in 2007. Licensed attorney in California

Awards and Honors
LACBA 2011 Outstanding Public Service Award

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