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Fiance Visa vs Marriage Visa : The Pros and Cons

Fiance Visa vs Marriage Visa : The Pros and Cons

Getting engaged and getting married are exciting times in your life! Now that you are getting married and planning your big day, it is important to know what you can do to start your new life together in the US.Are you a US citizen or green card holder who has a loved one outside the US you intend to marry?

If so, congratulations! You have got a lot of exciting plans to make. One of the first things that probably comes to mind is figuring out the fastest way to get your loved one into the US. There are basically two different paths for a loved one you intend to marry to come to the US and get a green card.

You will have to consider whether you should get married first. In other words, is a marriage visa better than a fiancé visa? Choosing between a fiancé visa and a marriage visa can be confusing for a lot of couples. Each path has its advantages and disadvantages, so what is best for one couple might not be suitable for another.

You will need to consider your immigration status in the US, how fast the process is, how much it costs, and other things. Talking with a fiancé visa attorney in NYC can help you easily resolve these queries. Here is some vital info you should know about fiancé visas and marriage visas.

What is a fiancé visa? (Fiance Visa vs Marriage Visa)

If you are an American citizen (not a legal permanent resident – green card holder) looking to sponsor your fiancé to the US, a fiancé visa might seem like the perfect solution. It is a temporary visa designed to speed up the green card process so you and your fiancé can be together without going through the long, drawn-out process in two countries.

One of the hitches of this visa is that you must meet in person with your fiancé at least twice in the two-year requirement. If you cannot meet, you may be able to request a waiver. But you will not get the waiver just like that. You should talk with a fiancé visa attorney in NYC if you need a waiver.

What is a fiancé visa? (Contd..)

Once you are in the US, you must get married at least 90 days after your fiancé’s arrival. You will then have to go through the I-485 (adjustment of status) process to apply for a marriage green card.

Although it is more expensive, it is usually the quickest way for your fiancé to enter the US, especially if you want to start your immigration process right away. Note that green card holders cannot apply for K-1 visas for their fiancé living outside the US.

What is a Marriage Visa? (Fiance Visa vs Marriage Visa)

If you are a US citizen or green card holder, you can apply for a marriage visa (IR-1/CR-1 visa or F-2A/family-based 2A category). It is a fast and affordable way to get green card status once you get married. You must have a valid marriage and prove that you and your spouse are in a real relationship.

A marriage is considered valid if it is seen as such in the country where it was performed. You will also need to have family pictures, lots of communication history, letters from your family and friends, etc. If you are looking for a fast and easy way to get a green card for your foreign spouse, a marriage visa is the way to go.

In some cases, a US citizen may marry and live with the foreign spouse somewhere else for a while before deciding to move to the US. The couple might have to wait outside the US while processing the immigrant visa. But what if the US citizen must return to the US before the foreign spouse gets their green card?

In that case, the US citizen might be able to get a K-3 visa for the spouse. A K-3 is a temporary visa that the immigrant spouse can use to come to the US and then change their status. It begins with the US citizen spouse filling out form I-130. After getting the receipt notice, the US citizen then must fill out form I-129F to apply for the K-3 visa.

K3 visas are only for spouses of US citizens and not for green card holders. The downside of the K3 marriage visas over the CR-1/IR-1 marriage visas is that once the foreign spouse is in the US, they have to file for an adjustment of status to become a legal resident.

Consulting a fiancé visa attorney in NYC will give you more information on marriage visas.

What is the best option for me?

Talking with a fiancé visa attorney in NYC to assess your situation is the sure way to know the best option for you. But you might want also to take note of some of the questions below that will help you know what works for you:

  1.    Are you a US citizen or a green card holder;
  2.    Are you already married outside the US;
  3.     Is the foreign spouse already in the US legally, and
  4.     If your partner is not yet in the US, how soon do you want your partner to be in the US?

When it comes to getting a visa for your foreign partner, it depends on a few things, and it is a personal choice. K-1 fiancé visas are usually the best option if you plan to marry your foreign fiancé within the US, but it takes a lot of planning and needs to happen within 90 days of your foreign fiancé entering the US.

What is the best option for me? (Contd..)

If you cannot wait long to marry your fiancé living outside the US, then the K-1 visa might not be the best choice, as you may want to go outside the US to marry your foreign fiancé. It is okay to have an informal wedding reception or a religious ceremony somewhere else before coming to the US for a legal marriage.

Generally, K-1 visas take 5-10 months to process. Although the marriage visa takes longer (10 to 16 months), you would have married your fiancé outside the US before you start processing. If you are worried about the cost, you might want to look into getting a CR1 or IR1 visa because the filing fee is less than the cost of filing for a K-1 visa.

When picking a visa for your fiancé outside the US, consider how often they travel. K-1 visas let you enter on your own, but if you are going abroad, you will need to fill out form I-485 (Advance Parole for international travel). But with a CR1 or IR1 visa, you can travel right away, because you will be a permanent resident when you get your visa.

K-3 visas let you enter multiple times and are good for two years. If you are unsure about the best option, it is a good idea to talk with a fiancé visa attorney in NYC.

Get Help!

Deciding the option that meets your needs when it comes to bringing your foreign partner to the US can be tricky and confusing. Taking the right path makes it easier for you to win your case. This is why it is vital you get the right help.

If you are a US citizen or a green card holder looking to bring your foreign partner into the US, but do not know the option that works for you, Gehi and Associates is the right place to go!

At Gehi and Associates, we have been helping couples with their visa needs for over 30 years, so we know what we are doing. Our fiancé visa attorneys in NYC will help you make the right decision, navigate the process, and get amazing results. Contact us now!

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