Previously, the USCIS processing times for marriage petitions were extremely lengthy, resulting in the long-term separation of U.S. citizens and their foreign spouses. In December, 2000, the K-3 visa was established. The K-3 visa is issued by the United States embassy or consulate in the foreign spouse’s home country for the purpose of allowing the foreign spouse to legally enter the United States to await the approval of a marriage petition filed by the U.S. citizen with the USCIS. Since approximately February, 2010, however, the USCIS processing time for marriage petitions has significantly shortened. As such, there is no longer an advantage to processing a K-3 petition.