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FIANCEE VISA (K-1) VS. SPOUSAL VISA (K-3)

After you decide that you want to marry your Fiancee, you will contemplate where you will get married, either in the U.S., your Fiancee’s home country or in a third country. The chart below illustrates the main differences between the fiancee and spouse visas and the factors you should consider when deciding which visa application to file.

FIANCE(E) VISA (K-1)

DIFFERENCES FIANCEE VISA SPOUSE VISA
Who can Apply Only U.S. citizens can file the K-1 visas. U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents may file spouse visas.
One or Two-Step Process After obtaining the K-1 visa and getting married in the U.S., your fiancee must apply for adjustment of status (AOS) to obtain her green card. So the K-1 visa is a two-step process. After obtaining the spouse visa and entering the U.S., USCIS will automatically mail out the permanent resident card (green card). So the spouse visa is a one-step process.
Government Fees Total K-1 visa fee is between $800 - $1000 (medical and vaccinations fees vary by country). Total AOS fee is between $1070 - $1500 (depends on whether a new medical exam and vaccinations are required). Total spouse visa fee is between $1200 - $1400. (medical and vaccinations fees vary by country).
Age of Immigrating Children Eligible children must be unmarried and under the age of 21 at the time of entering the United States. Eligible children must be unmarried and under the age of 18 at the time of your and your fiancee’s marriage.
Separate Application Forms For eligible children, a separate Form I-129F does not need to be filed for each child. The children’s names only need to be listed on their parents’ Form I-129F. If the U.S. petitioner is a U.S. citizen, then a separate Form I-130 is required for each eligible stepchild who wants to immigrate. If the U.S. petitioner is a U.S. legal permanent resident, then a separate Form I-130 is notrequired for each eligible stepchild who wants to immigrate.
Processing Time
(from the USCIS filing date to the time of the interview)
About 6 to 8 months for the K-1 visa and about 4 to 12 months for AOS (mostly depends on whether the couple are selected to attend an interview at their local USCIS office or whether the interview is waived). About 8 to 12 months for U.S. citizens applying for their spouses and stepchildren under the age of 21. About 2 years for U.S. legal permanent residents applying for their spouses and stepchildren under the age of 21.
Meeting During the Visa Process Depending on the processing time and Embassy/Consulate, an additional meeting/trip between the couple may be necessary to reduce the chances of visa denial. Depending on the processing time and Embassy/Consulate, an additional meeting/trip between the couple may be necessary to reduce the chances of visa denial.
Place of Marriage The legal marriage must occur in the United States after your fiancee enters the U.S. with the K-1 visa. The legal marriage can occur in any country and the couple must be married before filing the spouse visa application with USCIS.

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