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Marriage Visa, Fiancé Visa or K-3 Visa verses Adjustment of Status: Which One Should You File?
There are several different ways to file to bring your fiancé or spouse to Miami, Florida, or wherever you live in the United States. Many of our clients ask which is the best way to file, and it always depends on your circumstances and goals. Below we will discuss the differences between the Fiancé Visa (K1), the Marriage Visa (CR-1 or IR-1) or Spousal K3 Visa, and filing Adjustment of Status inside the United States.
Marriage Visa (CR-1 or IR-1)
A Marriage Visa or CR-1 or IR-1 visa is a spousal visa that is achieved by a two-step process while the foreign national spouse is abroad. The first step is a family petition or I-130 filed by the US Citizen (USC) or Lawful Permanent (LPR) spouse for their foreign spouse that proves that the relationship is legitimate. US Citizenship and Immigration Services decides the family petition purely based on the evidence submitted, without any interview. After the I-130 is approved, USCIS sends the case to the National Visa Center, where more documentation, including the Affidavit of Support, and fees are paid in the second step of the process, called Consular Processing. Once all documents are received, the file is forwarded to the U.S. Embassy for an interview to be scheduled. After the case is approved, the person will get an I-551 stamp marked on their passport, and their green card will arrive in the mail at their spouse’s US address.
Benefits of the Marriage Visa or CR-1 or IR-1 Visa
The CR-1 or IR-1 or Marriage visa is one of the cheapest ways to get your green card, and it is also beneficial when the foreign spouse needs to continue working or studying in the foreign country during the process. However, this process takes longer than the K1 Fiancé Visa for the K3 Spousal Visa.
Fiancé Visa (K-1)
A fiancé visa or K1 visa is a visa filed by an LPR or USC fiancé for their foreign future spouse before they are married. The process is to file the I-129F, and later complete Consular Processing after the case is approved. Although the fiancé visa is achieved in two steps just like the Marriage or Spousal visa, it is important to note that once the foreign national comes into the country, they will enter with a K1 visa and not the green card. The foreign national must marry their USC or LPR spouse within 90 days of their entry in order to qualify for the green card. Then, they must file the I-485 Adjustment of Status application and wait for their green card interview inside the United States.
Benefits and Drawbacks of the K-1 Fiancé Visa
The Fiancé Visa is one of the fastest ways to get your foreign significant other in the United States if they do not have another visa to enter the country. Further, the Fiancé Visa is an excellent visa for spouses who meet online and would like to “try out” the relationship in person before they actually get married. On the other hand, this process is more costly and takes longer before the foreign spouse receives the green card as opposed to marrying abroad to file for the Marriage or K-3 visas.
K-3 Spousal Visa
The K-3 Spousal Visa is a hybrid between the K1 Fiancé Visa and the CR-1 or IR-1 Marriage Visa, in that it permits a Marriage visa to be expedited to the same speed as a Fiancé visa. This visa is only available to spouses of US Citizens, not Lawful Permanent Residents. To file, an I-130 Family Petition must first be filed, and an I-129F petition can be filed thereafter with the receipt notice of the I-130.
This process was created because of the backlogs at USCIS for family petitions. If the I-129F case is processed faster than the I-130, the foreign spouse will be able to enter the country on the K3 visa, and once inside the United States, they will file the I-485 Adjustment of Status case. However, since USCIS has sped up on processing I-130s in recent years, in many cases, the I-130 case is processed faster than or simultaneously with the I-129F. If this occurs, the foreign spouse will be issued a CR-1 or IR-1 immigrant visa, and they will enter the country with their I-551 stamp on their passport and receive their green card in the mail in the U.S. within a few weeks.
Benefits and Drawbacks of the K3 Visa
The benefits of the K-3 Spousal Visa is that it is the fastest way to bring your foreign spouse to the US. Further, you have the option to come in the US with the K-3 visa and apply for Adjustment of Status inside the US or wait for your green card stamp at the embassy. The drawbacks are that the process is more costly to apply this way as opposed to a standard CR-1 or IR-1 visa.
Adjustment of Status
Another Option for US Citizens or LPRs who want to bring their fiancé or spouse to the United States is to apply for Adjustment of Status after their significant other has entered the United States through a different non-immigrant visa, like a B1/B2 Tourist Visa, F1 Student Visa, an Employment visa or the ESTA program. To apply, the USC or LPR spouse must file an I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status along with other corresponding applications, including for a work permit and travel permit. This application process takes place completely within the United States.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Adjustment of Status
The main advantage to applying for Adjustment of Status is that the couple is together throughout the immigration process, which can be lengthy depending on agency processing times. However, close attention must be given to the timing of the application to avoid a presumption of fraud on the non-immigrant visa – please talk to a lawyer before you get married or file this way! At present, the wait time to avoid non-immigrant intent is 3 months. Further, a person filing inside the US cannot work or travel until they receive their travel and work permit from USCIS, which is currently taking about 5-7 months to arrive. Thus, considering the time the person must wait to avoid a presumption of fraud on their non-immigrant visa, the foreign spouse cannot work or travel for about 8-10 months, which is difficult for many couples to do.
What is a K-1 Fiancé and Marriage Visa Lawyer?
A Fiancé and Marriage Visa Lawyer is an immigration lawyer who focuses on the Family side of Immigration Law and knows the ins and outs of immigration law as it pertains to bringing your family members to the United States. This lawyer is specialized in all the different types of family immigration processes and can help you distinguish and choose the best one for your individual circumstances and goals.
How Can a Fiancé and Marriage Visa Lawyer Help?
A Fiancé and Marriage Visa Lawyer can help you decide which type of marriage or fiancé visa is best for you and your spouse or fiancé. Further, because of their experience and expertise, they can make sure that all the correct paperwork and evidence is filed to prevent any delays in your case and ensure you have the highest chance of approval.
What is the process of Filing for a K-1 Fiancé or Spousal Visa with a Lawyer?
1) Hire an excellent lawyer
Not all immigration attorneys are the same, and you will not get the same service from a quality law firm as you do from the cheapest lawyer. You should review the lawyers in your area based on their success in your case type and their social media and online reviews from previous clients. Once you have found a lawyer with good reviews in family immigration, schedule a consultation.
After the consultation, the lawyer will send you an agreement. After you have signed that and made the first payment, you have hired your lawyer and the process can begin!
2) Fill out questionnaires to send to lawyer
Your law firm will send you a questionnaire and checklist as soon as you start your case. Please send back the filled in questionnaire as soon as you can so that the lawyer and her team can begin working on your forms. Fill out the questionnaire to the best of your ability and with the most accurate information to avoid errors or delays in your case.
3) Send evidence to lawyer from her checklist
After you have sent back the questionnaires, begin gathering the evidence the lawyer requested on her questionnaire, and send her everything once you have your package of evidence compiled. If you have questions about any of the evidence, feel free to reach out to the lawyer and her team for clarification. Make sure you obtain the most evidence you can from her checklist, as this will ensure your case is as strong as possible. This step is not the time to slack off – do your homework, as this will impact how successful your case is before immigration authorities.
4) Review forms for accuracy and sign forms
Next, the lawyer and her staff will send you the completed immigration forms for you to review for accuracy. Please let the lawyer’s staff know immediately if you find any errors, as they should be corrected before your case is mailed out. Once the form is perfect, sign the form with your lawyer or send it back to her in the mail.
5) Await interview at USCIS or the US Embassy
Next, wait for your interview! If you are inside the United States, you will receive a biometrics appointment to take your fingerprints and later receive your work and travel permit. If you are outside the US, you will need to submit more documentation to the National Visa Center once your fiancé or marriage petition is approved – your lawyer will advise you when she needs this documentation.
Finally, you will receive an interview either with USCIS if you are adjusting status or with the US Embassy. Once you get this interview, your lawyer will meet with you to prepare you for what to bring and what questions to expect.
Hire a Top Marriage and Fiancé Visa Lawyer in Miami, Florida
If you are interested in bringing your fiancé or spouse to the US on a Fiancé or Marriage Visa, you need a Top Immigration Attorney in Miami, Florida at your side to help you through the process. Especially if you are separated during your case, it is imperative that the process runs smoothly so that your separation is ended as fast as possible. Many times immigration cases fall outside of their normal processing times or they get delayed because of a lack of evidence, and your Marriage and Fiancé Visa Lawyer can help you keep things on track in the immigration process and make sure you are reunited with your spouse or fiancé the soonest possible. Call us at 305-501-0783 to schedule a Marriage or Fiancé Visa Strategy Session.