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Fiancé Visa vs. Marriage Visa

If you are a U.S. citizen who has fallen in love with someone from another country and are looking to bring them to the U.S., there are some things you should know. While it is indeed possible to file for your partner's visa, the process may not be as quick as you hope, especially considering the impact of COVID-19.

Due to temporary shutdowns of U.S. embassies and consulates, there is currently a significant backlog of cases at the National Visa Center. As a result, the overall timeframe for the process has been delayed, and it typically takes about 1 ½ to 2 years. It's important to note that processing times can change on a monthly basis, so it's advisable to stay updated.

If you're wondering which option - fiance visa or marriage visa - is faster, the answer is neither. Historically, fiance visas used to be quicker, but that is no longer the case. Both types of visas involve two main steps. Step 1 is to apply for the visa, and once it is approved, Step 2 involves taking the necessary steps to schedule an interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy for your loved one. It's crucial to initiate Step 2 in a timely manner to avoid starting the process over, as this can be heart-wrenching.

Keep in mind that it's unlikely you will have the flexibility to choose a different location for the interview solely for the purpose of expediting the process. However, there may be some options available, particularly if your loved one holds residence or citizenship in another country, or if there are national security considerations to take into account.

What Are The Differences?

Fiance Visa - Form I-129F Petition

  • The K1 Visa, also known as Form I-129F, can be confusing due to the naming discrepancy.
  • Meeting in person within the last 2 years is generally required, with exceptions for religious or cultural reasons.
  • A single fiancé visa application can include all unmarried children under the age of 21, saving money.
  • After entering the U.S. on a K1 visa, marriage must occur within 90 days. It's important to note that if the marriage does not take place, the fiancé cannot marry someone else and obtain a green card.
  • All children can accompany the fiancé to the U.S. or join later, but they must do so before turning 21. Care should be taken to avoid leaving a child behind in this unfortunate situation.
  • Applying for a spouse's green card, officially referred to as Lawful Permanent Residency, must be done within 24 months of marriage through a process called "Adjustment of Status."
  • This process incurs additional costs and is different from a marriage visa, as the spouse enters the U.S. as a green card holder.
  • The fiancé can apply for a work permit and begin working once it is approved, even while the green card application is being processed.

Marriage Visa - Immigrant Visa - Form I-130 Petition

  • Get married in person in any country that recognizes the marriage as valid.
  • Alternatively, you can marry online at utahcounty.gov. The U.S. government recognizes this as long as you meet your spouse in person after the virtual marriage.
  • No need to legally adopt your fiance's children if they are under 18 years old at the time of the marriage. You can file a separate Form I-130 Petition for each child.
  • Remember to pay a separate filing fee for EACH child, as they are not included in your spouse's visa application.
  • After your spouse enters the U.S. on an immigrant visa and becomes a green card holder (Lawful Permanent Resident), children with approved visas can enter with your spouse or at a later time. This is known as the Follow to Join process.

Familia America is Here To Help You and Your Love

Navigating the immigration process can be challenging and overwhelming. However, the reward of being together with your loved one is well worth the effort. At Familia America, we have a wealth of experience in helping U.S. citizens bring their loved ones from overseas. We understand the intricacies of the process and can provide invaluable guidance to help make your journey as smooth as possible. Don't let the complexities of immigration procedures hold you back. Reach out to us today and let us assist you in bringing your loved one closer to home. Contact Familia America for a comprehensive consultation and take the first step towards realizing your dream.  

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Contact a Salt Lake City Fiancé Visa Attorney at Familia America Today

Attorney Gloria Cardenas brings more than 30 years of experience in immigration law to help protect the rights of clients and their family members. She and her knowledgeable team at Familia America work diligently behind the scenes to help process fiancé visa applications as quickly as possible. To learn more, contact the legal professionals at Familia America in Salt Lake City and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

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