Fiance Visa vs. Spouse Visa
If you are a U.S. citizen and you are engaged to marry a foreign national who lives abroad, the K visa category provides you with two options: The fiancée visa and the spouse visa. We may also want to do consular processing instead. Which one you should choose depends upon the specific circumstances of your situation. If you have questions about which is better for you, The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates can help. We have more than 50 years of combined legal experience in a wide variety of complex and immigration law matters.
When to Choose the Fiancée K-1/K-2 Visa
You may want to choose this visa if:
- The fiancé has children who will be between 18 and 21 when you get married. One of the most important situations in which you should consider the fiancé visa instead of the spouse visa is when your foreign national fiancé has children who will be in the age range between 18 and 21 when you and your fiancé are married. There is a strange discrepancy in immigration law concerning whether you are married abroad or married in the U.S. If you are married abroad, your spouse’s children who are over 18 at the time of the marriage are not considered to be your stepchildren, and you will not be able to file a green card petition on their behalf. However, if your fiancé and his/her children come to the U.S. and then you get married in the U.S., the children can file a green card application by virtue of their K-2 visa status before turning age 21.
- The wedding is to be in the U.S. and you will live in the U.S. If you want your wedding to take place in the United States and continue to live permanently in the U.S., the fiancé visa would seem to be the proper choice.
- The wedding is to be in the U.S. and you will live abroad. If you want your wedding to take place in the United States, and then you and your spouse want to live abroad in your spouse’s home country, the fiancé visa or even a B-2 visitor tourist visa would work. Note that if you go the tourist visa route, you may need to submit evidence of your intent not to remain in the U.S.
Difficult Immigration Cases
If you believe your immigration case will be difficult, the best choice would seem to be the fiancé visa. That way if your case is difficult, your lawyer will be better able to become involved in the process by contacting government officials and by accompanying you to any USCIS interviews. If your case gets denied in the U.S., your attorney may file an appeal. There is no appeal if your case is denied by the U.S. consulate abroad.
When to Choose a Spouse K-3/K-4 Visa
You may want to choose this visa if the wedding is to be abroad and a green card application is filed in the U.S. If you want your wedding to take place abroad in your fiancé's home country, and then you want to have your new spouse come to the U.S. to file the green card application, this spouse visa choice seems appropriate.
If you want your wedding to take place abroad in your fiancé's home country, and then have your new spouse enter the U.S. as a permanent resident (green card status), then the consular processing method is likely the best choice. That way you can take care of everything before entering the U.S.
As far as fees and are concerned, it may be less expensive to do consular processing, but it depends on the circumstances.
The Fastest Option
If your goal is to get your fiancé into the United States as soon as possible, you should ask an immigration attorney to take a look at the present time frames and backlogs of your fiancé's home country. If you have questions about the K visa, our Columbus family immigration attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates can help.
Call us at (800) 625-3404 to schedule a consultation today.
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