Obtaining citizenship in the United States through marriage is a journey that has several roads. Depending on your eligibility, two of the best and most popular options are the fiancé (K-1) and marriage (K-3 and IR1/CR1) visas.
Which option is best for your situation?
Fiancé vs. Marriage Visa
First, let’s talk a little about the differences between the visas. As a U.S. citizen, you can bring your fiancé to the United States with a K-1 visa as long as you intend to marry and live with them in the U.S. With the K-1 visa, the foreign fiancé has 90 days to marry their sponsor in the U.S. Afterwards, the foreign (now) spouse can apply for an adjustment of status to become a legal permanent resident with the USCIS.
On the other hand, marriage visas offer two options: K-3 and CR1/IR1. With the K-3 visa, you can bring your foreign spouse to the U.S. by way of Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). Once admitted, a spouse may apply to adjust status to a permanent resident. In this case, a “spouse” is a legally wedded husband or wife anywhere outside of the U.S. The CR1/IR1 visas require Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, are valid for 6 months and permit a foreign spouse to come to the U.S. to reside permanently. No adjustment of status is necessary.
Which Is Faster?
One advantage of the K-1 fiancé visa is that the process is relatively faster than any of the marriage visas. The fiancé visa process typically lasts about 6 months, and becoming a permanent resident takes about 10 ½ months.
Which Is Cheaper?
Out of the two, marriage visas are less expensive. With total government fees, not including an attorney, the cost of a marriage visa is usually $830. A K-3 fiancé visa costs about $1,675 because of consulate, adjustment of status and biometric fees.
Which Has a Better Chance?
Figuring out which visa has a better chance is dependent on each situation. Misinformation, fraud, errors and missing information can affect how long the process takes and if a visa is approved or denied. Each visa has advantages, and if you’re unsure about which route to take, you need to enlist the help of an experienced immigration attorney.
Our Cleveland immigration lawyers at Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. are prepared to assist you in the process of applying for a visa. We serve the residents of Cleveland, Painesville, Westlake, Akron and surrounding areas.Call (330) 423-0899 or contact us online to find out how we can help!