Fiancé Visa Versus a Spouse Visa

Fiancé Visa Versus a Spouse Visa

Many of my clients have questions about the nitty-gritty of the fiancé or marriage visa application process. They want to know how they can prove and document that their marriage is real; if their same-sex spouse or fiancé will be recognized; and how the fiancé and marriage visas differ. 

How Do I Document My Relationship?

Whether through a fiancé visa or a spouse visa, you must document your relationship at various steps: the first filing (Form I-129F or I-130), the embassy interview or the green card interview, the green card renewal and the citizen application. If you are engaged, you document your relationship and submit proof of your intent to marry within 90 days of your fiancé entering the U.S. If you’re already married, you will need to provide your marriage license plus lots of documents showing your relationship. Those documents can include letters from friends and family, joint bank statements (from an account that you actually use), joint lease or mortgage statements, joint bills, photos, proof of joint travel, and whatever else is relevant to your situation. 

Same Sex Couples

In the United States, same-sex marriage visa applications are treated in the same manner as heterosexual marriage applications. The foundation of any marriage-based visa application is documentation of your authentic marriage. You should provide a copy of your marriage certificate, be able to answer questions about your spouse’s family, and provide joint financial account statements, joint lease or mortgage documents, and photos of you as a couple. You may have country-specific questions or concerns about privacy and homophobia at the U.S. embassies or consulates. If so, make sure to talk to me or another immigration attorney. 

Is It Better to Apply as a Fiancé or a Spouse?

There is no “right” way to navigate the immigration process. Whether a fiancé or marriage visa is best for you depends on personal factors, whether you want to get married in the U.S., and your time limitations.

  • Marriage Visa:

To apply for a marriage-based visa, first, you get married. Congratulations! Once you apply for a marriage-based visa, it can currently take 12 to 24 months to get a petition for a foreign spouse approved by USCIS and another four to 10 months to get the immigrant visa to come to the U.S. The average time to get a marriage-based visa is ten to 13 months.  

  • Fiancé Visa:

Fiancé applications can also take a significant amount of time. As of 2019, these applications can take anywhere from three to 10 months to obtain a visa to travel to the U.S. and seek admission. To obtain a K-1 fiancé visa, you and your fiancé or fiancée must intend to be married within 90 days of your betrothed entering the U.S. as a K-1 nonimmigrant. Once you are married, your spouse can apply for lawful permanent resident status, otherwise known as applying for a green card. This can take one to two more years. The average time to obtain a fiancé visa is about 13 months. 

There are a lot of things to consider before getting married and beginning the immigration process. But whether you are already married, or contemplating an engagement, I can help you navigate this process, answer your questions, discuss your situation, and make your immigration journey as painless as possible.