Fianc Visa Or Marriage Visa: Which Is Better
September 7, 2021 Apply for Green Card
When a U.S. citizen marries a foreign citizen, there are fundamentally two different ways for the foreign citizen to immigrate to the United States and obtain a green card. The choice a fiancé visa or marriage visa can cause confusion for many couples. Each has its own benefits. So whats best for one couple may not be ideal for another couples situation. In making your decision, youll need to consider speed of the process, cost, as well as other factors.
The fiancé visa is a nonimmigrant visa obtained by the foreign fiancé to travel to the U.S. for the purpose of getting married in the U.S. and then adjusting status to a permanent resident .
The marriage visa is an immigrant visa obtained by the foreign spouse while in the foreign country after marriage for the purpose of immigrating to the U.S. to live permanently with the spouse.
Failure To Marry Within 90 Days
Your K-1 nonimmigrant status will expire at the end of the 90 days. It cannot be extended. If you are not married at the end of the 90 days, the foreign national fiance must leave the United States immediately, or they will be in violation of US immigration laws. This may result in deportation, and will affect the fiances future eligibility for immigration benefits.
Contact An Immigration Attorney Today
The experienced immigration attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C. are here to support you through your journey of obtaining your fiancé visa. Engagement and marriage are exciting times in life, and we want to make your transition to the United States as seamless as possible. Contact us at 312.444.1940 or fill out an online form today.
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Your Spouse Must Continuously Maintain Lawful Status In The Us In Order To Preserve His Or Her Priority Date
If your spouse is lawfully residing in the U.S. with you at the time you file Form I-130, then he or she, must . . . continuously maintain lawful status in the United States in order to adjust status, until his or her priority date arrives. If your spouse loses lawful status as a result of residing in another country or for any other reason, then he or she will become ineligible to file Form I-485 based on your Form I-130 visa application. The only exception to this rule is if your spouse, had an immigrant visa petition or labor certification pending prior to April 30, 2001.
If You Are A United States Citizen And Your Spouse Is Overseas
You must file an I-130 form along with two passport-time pictures of the spouse and filled-out Form I-130A for the spouse. Once the I-130 form is approved, the case will be transferred to the National Visa Center for further processing. It is at that center where all the information is collected for the upcoming interview as well as the requisite immigrant via fees. Once the processing is completed the case will be sent to the consulate office at the place of your spouse’s residence. The NVC will notify you and provide further processing information as to the interview’s day and place. You should follow the instructions from the NVC carefully. Your delay in doing so would inevitably prolong the processing of the case.
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How Many Fiance Visa Holders Get Green Cards
US DHS immigration statistics up to 2018 are available for the public to view. In that year, there were 29,072 K visa holders who entered the US . That simply means 29,072 people got approved at the US Embassy, took a flight, and entered through a Port of Entry.
In the same year, 26,555 K visa holders successfully Adjusted Status to LPR. In other words, these many married their US partners, sent in their I-485, and were approved.
The question then becomes: So whats the approval rate of K visa holders?
Is it 26,555 divided by 29,072?
Not really, you see theres no way of actually calculating approval rates for Fiance visa holders. However, the USCIS does publish numbers in their annual report to give a hint. According to them, for family-based petitions, the overall approval rate is anywhere from 87% to 90%.
Table 2 in Appendix of the Annual USCIS Report to Congress in 2018
So great does that mean if you are a fiance visa holder who enters the US, gets married and sends out your Green Card application, theres a 90% chance youll get approved?
Not really, we cant take these figures at face value we have to realize a few major things first.
What To Do If You Are A Permanent Resident Marrying A Foreigner
If neither you nor your fiancé are U.S. citizens, but one of you is a permanent resident, you may be wondering how can a green card holder invite a fiancé here in U.S? As stated previously, there is no visa for a permanent resident to bring their foreign national fiancé to the U.S., but you may have some options moving forward. Though your options may be more difficult to as a green card holder, fiancé visa options are possible.
The first option is to wait to apply for the fiancé visa until the partner who is a lawful permanent resident becomes a U.S. Citizen. Once one fiancé is a citizen, you can begin the permanent resident fiancé visa process.
The second option is to marry your fiancé who is a permanent resident. You will become an eligible relative after filing Form I-130, which is a petition for relatives. Once you are married and have filed Form I-130, you will need to wait for visas to become available. In the waiting period, you are still not allowed to live in the United States.
The third option is the trickiest. If you absolutely find it necessary to get married in the United States, you can do so on a tourist visa. However, you need to return to your home country as soon as your tourist visa expires. The USCIS could potentially see this act as falsifiable. If there is any doubt you will return to your home country, you risk gaining future visas to come to the United States.
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The True K Visa Green Card Statistics Are Different
First of all, the number of people who enter yearly are not necessarily the same who apply or get approved for Permanent Residency the same year. For example, if someone applies in August 2020 and gets approved in August 2021, they are counted as having applied in 2020 and having been approved in 2021. This happens for several reasons: I-485 backlogs, and the fact that the fiscal year of application and of approval are different .
So we cannot say that since 26,555 out of 29,072 K visa holders were approved in 2018, its a 91% approval rate. Some people may be approved the following year.
Secondly, not everyone who enters the US actually gets married. A small percent of K-1 and K-2 visa holders decide not to marry and return home to their countries. What percent is that? We dont know. They werent necessarily denied a green card, they just didnt apply.
Next, many K visa holders marry in the 90-day period, but decide not to adjust status immediately they may apply after several months or years. Theyll do this perhaps if they dont have enough money to pay the I-485 application fees. How many couples apply late like this? Were not sure, but its a small amount perhaps less than 1,500.
So you see, even though 29,072 people entered the US with a K-1 or K-2 visa in 2018, and despite only 26,555 getting Green Cards in the same year, we cannot decisively say what percent are actually approved. We must accept the USCISs estimate of 90% approval rate.
How To Get A Fiance Visa Subsidiary K
Their names must be included in Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance. They must remain unmarried and under 21 in order to receive a nonimmigrant K-2 visa. K-2 visa holders cannot enter the United States before the K-1 fiance visa holder.
If you get married within the 90-day period, the foreign national fiances children may apply for permanent residence through adjustment of status, and may eventually become full US citizens.
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What You’ll Receive Upon Approval
Assuming all goes well, and the interviewer approves the immigrant’s application, the immigrant will become a “conditional resident.” That’s almost like getting a regular green card , except that this status basically runs out after two years. You’ll see the expiration date on the immigrant’s card.
So the immigrant will need to keep track of the two-year anniversary date and, up to 90 days before those two years is up, file to convert from conditional status to permanent resident status. This is done using USCIS Form I-751.
Can A Green Card Holder Get A Visa For A Spouse
Yes, green card holders can petition for their spouses to join them in the U.S. on a visa. Spouses of lawful permanent residents are eligible for a family second preference category visa. However, there is a long waitlist for category 2A green cards, and you can get a visa for your spouse much quicker if you are a U.S. citizen.
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Report Of Medical Examination And Vaccinations
Form I-693 must be submitted along with the K-1 Adjustment of Status application. Be aware that a medical examiner who is authorized by USCIS must be the one to carry out the medical exam of the foreign fiancé. This same physician should be the one conducting any necessary vaccinations. You can find a USCIS-approved doctor using the USCIS Find A Doctor tool.
If the medical exam was done more than a year ahead of the adjustment of status submission or if there were any issues with this exam, a new examination may be required for the application. Consult an immigration attorney to learn more, if this applies to you.
The medical exam includes a physical and mental evaluation, drug and alcohol screening, various medical tests, and a review of your medical history. Bring the following evidence with you to your exam.
- Immunization and vaccination records
- Copies of any chest x-rays
- A copy of your medical history
- Treatment plans for any medical conditions
The exam helps USCIS determine if you fall under any health-related grounds of inadmissibility.
The results are sealed and should be submitted to USCIS unopened.
The fee is dependent on the price the doctor charges. If you have health insurance make sure to bring your health insurance card to the appointment.
When Does A K
- You want to be together with your partner in the U.S. as soon as possible. With this visa, the foreign fiance can usually be living in the U.S. within 9-10 months of applying.
- You want to hold your wedding in the U.S.. The K-1 visa is designed to get foreign fiances to the U.S. so that the couple can get married. Your marriage is not possible or legally-recognized abroad. For example, you are a same-sex couple, and your partnership is not legal in the foreign fianceâs country.
- You are more worried about speed than cost. The process of applyign for a K-1 fiance visa followed by a Marriage Green Card is roughly $800 more expensive than simply applying for a Marriage Green Card through consular processing. That extra cost usually allows the couple to be together in the U.S. 2-3 months sooner than a Marriage Green Card would allow.
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When Should You Apply For The K
Once the I-129 form is approved, youll have 4 months to complete the second stage of completing the DS-160 and attending an interview. The K-1 visa, once issued, will have a 6 month validity, which means the non-US partner will need to enter the country within 6 months, and marry no more than 3 months after that.
Tips For Your Interview
Here are some ways you can optimize your chances of having a successful interview with the immigration officer and avoid red flags, delays, and denials:
- Arrive at least half an hour before your appointment time. The earlier the better.
- Avoid casual or immodest clothes. Always try to dress professionally.
- Answer questions calmly and clearly. Nervousness or unease may raise red flags.
- Avoid reciting memorized facts. It will be clear if you and your spouse have rehearsed your answers. Just answer truthfully.
- Dont forget the necessary documentation to validate your relationship.
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What Can’t I Do With A K 1 Fianc Visa
While this fiancé visa is a particularly popular route for intending immigrants to join their U.S. citizen fiancé in the US, it is officially classified as a nonimmigrant visa. This means that its only designed for temporary stays in the U.S. and doesnt grant full immigrant status. Because of this, there are certain restrictions as to what a K 1 visa holder can do while their visa is valid. Some of the things you cant do include:
Visiting the US more than once. Its best to avoid leaving the United States on a K 1 fiancé visa as they are only valid for a single entry within a 6-month period. Upon arrival, the visa grants 90 days in which to get married. If the visa has already been used to enter the United States and the foreign fiancé has then returned abroad before marriage, youll need to petition a Consular Officer in order to have a new K 1 visa issuance. This is only possible if the period of validity doesnt surpass the 90-day period granted by the initial entry of the alien fiancé into the United States. You must both still be free and intending to marry, and the foreign fiancés return to the US must occur within 90 days of the original admission. The K 1 visa is a nonimmigrant and single-entry visa, so you categorically cannot leave the United States and then re-enter on the same K 1 visa.
Whats The Path For Becoming A Permanent Us Resident
Under the terms of your K-1 visa, youll have 90 days to enter into a bona fide marriage with your partner. Once youre legally married, your spouse is counted as an immediate relative in the eyes of the immigration authorities, which then gives them the right to apply for a Green Card permanent resident status in the US.
Getting a Green Card gives more rights and freedoms than a K-1 visa and as it confers indefinite right to remain in the US, youll also avoid the hassle of needing to renew or extend visas from time to time. Its not the same as being a US citizen, but it is one step on the journey to naturalizing as a US citizen if your intention as a couple is to stay in the US for the long term.
While there are many different categories under which you can apply for a Green Card, most categories come with annual caps which mean it takes a long time to process your paperwork. Immediate family applications, however, are different. There is no annual cap, which means you can submit your paperwork all at once, and avoid the wait time for a visa number.
Check out the full details on the USCIS website to see the documents you need to support your application, and the fees youll have to pay. And if you want to read more on the topic, here are a few other handy articles:
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Fianc Visa Vs Spouse Visa
Acquiring citizenship through marriage is a decision that has to be carefully made. With so many categories of visas available, you need to methodically review the eligibility requirements of each one to determine the best option. Two visas, the fiancé visa and spouse visa, both have their individual characteristics.
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Disclaimer: This blog article is provided by Pandev Law, LLC for general educational and informational purposes only. Although this article discusses general legal issues, it does not constitute legal advice nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented in this article, or elsewhere on this website, without seeking the advice of appropriate legal counsel, or other professional counsel, licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. Pandev Law, LLC expressly disclaims any and all liability with respect to any actions taken, or not taken, based on any content of this article or website. This blog article may constitute attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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Can You Bring Your Fiancs Children To The Us On A K
Your fiancés children may be permitted to enter the United States with their parent if they are unmarried and under the age of 21. Theyll be in K-2 nonimmigrant status during their stay . Your fiancés children cant enter the U.S. before your fiancé does, but its okay for them to arrive later.
The children must remain unmarried and under the age of 21 in order to be admitted in K-2 nonimmigrant status. Then, after you and your fiancé marry within 90 days of his or her arrival in the U.S., you can petition the U.S. government for an adjustment of status.
What Is A Fianc
Under U.S. immigration law, a foreign-citizen fiancé of a U.S. citizen is the recipient of an approved Petition for Alien Fiancé, Form I-129F, who has been issued a nonimmigrant K-1 visa for travel to the United States in order to marry his or her U.S. citizen fiancé. Both the U.S. citizen and the K-1 visa applicant must have been legally free to marry at the time the petition was filed and must have remained so thereafter. The marriage must be legally possible according to laws of the U.S. state in which the marriage will take place.
In general, the foreign-citizen fiancé and U.S. citizen sponsor must have met in person within the past two years. USCIS may grant an exception to this requirement, based on extreme hardship for the U.S. citizen sponsor to personally meet the foreign-citizen fiancé, or, for example, if it is contrary in the U.S. citizen sponsors or foreign-citizen fiancés culture for a man and woman to meet before marriage.
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