National Proposal Day is March 20, and is a worldwide day to celebrate marriage and let your loved one know that you are open to a marriage proposal. But what if the person you love is not an American – and doesn’t even live in the United States? Is it better to get a marriage-based visa, or a fiancé visa – and what’s the difference?
If you plan to marry someone who does not live in the United States, there are two basic ways you can bring your loved one to America: a K-1 fiancé visa or a spousal visa. Many people confuse a K-1 visa with a K-3 spousal visa. The difference between a K-1 and a K-3 spousal visa is:
• a K-1 visa is for a foreign fiancé to come to the United States
Someone on a K-1 visa must marry within 90 days of entry into the United States. After this, the immigrant could then apply for a Green Card to obtain legal permanent resident status.
• a K-3 spousal visa is for a married foreign spouse of a United States Citizen to come to the U.S
You can sponsor your legal spouse to come to the U.S. by way of a Petition for Alien Relative, I-130 or K-3 nonimmigrant visa.
Spousal CR1 Green Card
An immigrant categorized under CR1 is allowed to enter the U.S. to live and stay with their U.S. citizen or PR spouse. The conditional residency is granted to couples who have been married for less than 2 years at the time their residency is granted. A conditional resident Green Card is valid for only 2 years, and the designation “CR1” on the physical card stands for “conditional resident.” A conditional Green Card holder must file Form I-751 “removal of conditions” to remove the conditions and obtain a Green Card with no conditions. A conditional Green Card is issued to a spouse who has been married for less than 2 years at the time their Green Card was first approved.
Which is better: a fiancé visa or a marriage visa? Here are some pros and cons of each type of visa for you to consider.
• Marriage visas are available to spouses of both U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents
• A K-1 is available only if your fiancé is already a U.S. citizen.
• A fiancé visa is typically a faster approval process
• Green Card approval is typically faster for a marriage visa
• K-1 immigrants have 90 days to get married after arrival in the U.S., then have to apply for adjustment of status which typically takes more than a year, and during this period you’re not permitted to work without special authorization
• If you are married to a U.S. citizen, your conditional visa gives you the right to work immediately before you apply for an adjustment of status
The visa application process can be confusing, and it can take months – or even years – to get your fiancé or marriage visa approved by USCIS. The assistance of an experienced family immigration lawyer can save you time and money, and recommend the best option for your situation.
The experienced immigration attorneys at Godoy Law Office in Chicago and Lombard offer assistance in family-based immigration matters to a range of people, including spouses, same-sex couples, fiancés, parents and children. We can also advise immigrants looking to secure status as permanent residents through the process of applying for a green card or citizenship. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office or call us at 630-912-0322.
Godoy Law Office serves the entire Chicago, Illinois area including DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, and Lake Counties
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