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Category Archives: Family-Based

August 26, 2021



You and your partner are in love and want to live in the US, but one of you is not a US citizen.


You are worried and confused because  –

  • The immigration forms seem long and complicated,
  • The waiting time seems to take forever,
  • The cost seems high,
  • Dealing with the government makes anyone nervous, and
  • You don’t know what to expect.

Sometimes it seems too much.

You can relax. We can help you like we helped thousands of other people solve their immigration issues.

First, you should understand how this works for you.

A Fiancé Visa or a Marriage Visa – Which is Better for You?

What is your best path to getting the correct visas?

It depends on what is most important to you first.

If your goal is to live together in the US as a married couple as soon as possible, then a Fiancé Visa may be your best choice.

But, if your goal is to get a green card as quickly as you can, sometimes a Marriage Visa is better.


The K-1 Fiancé Visa – How Does it Work?

The visa is called the K-1 Fianc(é)e Visa. (In the US, a fiancé is a man and a fiancée is a woman. To keep things simple, we will use the term fiancé for both).

The K-1 Fiancé Visa lets the foreign-citizen fiancé travel to the US and marry their US fiancé sponsor. But you must do so within 90 days of arrival in the US.

Engaged international couples often choose the K-1 Fiancé Visa over the Marriage Visa because it is thought to be easier, quicker and less expensive.

The K-1 Fiancé Visa Timeline and Process


Filing the Petition and Embassy Interview

  • The first step is for the US citizen (“Petitioner”) to fill out a Petition for Alien Fianc(é)e Form I-129F  on behalf of their foreign fiancé (“Beneficiary”) and file it with the appropriate  S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) service center.
  • The Petition asks for information about the US fiancé like name, address, employment history, birth date and place, previous marital status, parents’ birth information and more. The foreign fiancé has to answer similar questions plus a few more like any criminal records.
  • Once the Petition is approved, it is sent to the US embassy in the foreign fiancé’s country for further processing.
  • The foreign fiancé is then interviewed at the USembassy in their country. The embassy will require certain documents like a birth certificate, a passport valid for travel to the US six months beyond the intended stay date, evidence of financial support, and more. Eligible children apply for a K-2 and must attend the interview and bring the correct documents as well.
  • If the filing and interview are successful, then a K-1 Fiancé Visa is issued


Two Waiting Periods – The Petition and then the Interview

  • It takes about 8-10 months for the USCIS to process Form 1-129F. Then it takes 4 to 6 weeks to schedule the interview at the US embassy in the foreign country.
  • An inaccurate, or poorly filled out, or incomplete Petition can slow down the process.
  • Covid-19 has delayed K-1 processing in some countries and affected the scheduling of some embassy interviews. Call our office at 801-502-0347 for the most current information.


Arrival in the US and Marriage

  • 6 Months to Get to the US. The foreign fiancé has six months to travel to the US from the approval date of Form 1-129F.
  • 90 Days to Get Married. You have only 90 days from the arrival date to get married.
  • If You Don’t Get Married. Life happens. If you decide not to get married, the foreign fiancé is not eligible to remain in the US and must leave the country right away. Unfortunately, you cannot change the status of the K-1 to another temporary visa like an F1 or H1B.
  • If You Do Get Married. Hopefully, all goes well and you get married within the 90 days. Congratulations !!! The next step is getting a green card.
  • Green Card Application. If the foreign spouse wants to work in the US, your next step is to get a green card by filing Form I-485, called Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.


The Marriage Visa Timeline and Process

The other visa option is to apply for a US visa after you get married.

The process, timeline and forms are different from the K-1 Fiancé. Many people feel this process is more complex, confusing, takes longer and costs more.


Marriage Visa Process.

  • Form I-130. Like with the Fiancé Visa, with the Marriage Visa you must first file a petition with the USCIS. This petition is called Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130. The purpose of this form is to establish the existence of a relationship to alien relatives who wish to immigrate to the US. In your case, you will be establishing your marital relationship.
  • The information asked for is similar to the Fiancé Visa Petition. The US spouse (“Petitioner”) fills out the form and provides information about names, addresses, work history, where you got married, names of former spouses (if any), and more.
  • Petition Approved. Once the petition is approved, it is assigned a case number and processed. You will be asked to submit the appropriate fees and some documentation like an Affidavit of Support, civil documents and more
  • Visa Interview. If the file is determined to be complete, the petition and the documents are sent to the US embassy in the foreign spouse’s home country. An interview is scheduled. You should bring valid passports to the interview and any other needed documents that you did not already supply.
  • (CR) visa or (IR) visa. If all goes well, the foreign spouse will be issued a visa. If you have been married for less than two years (from the date the foreign spouse enters the US), you will be issued a conditional resident (CR) visa. If your marriage is more than two years, you will be issued an immediate relative (IR) visa. The process can take 8 to 11 months to get to this point.
  • Green Card Application. If the foreign spouse wants to work in the US, your next step is to get a green card by filing Form I-485, called Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.


How Long to Get A Marriage Green Card?


This is a great question with no simple answers. The amount of time it takes to get a green card depends on many factors, but mainly on two questions.

1- Does the foreign spouse live in the US or abroad?


2- Is the US spouse a US citizen or a US green card holder?


Getting a green card can take from 9 months to more than 3 years.

For example, if the foreign spouse lives in the US and is married to a US citizen, then it is possible to file Form I-130 (establishing the marriage relationship) and Form I-485 (green card application) at the same time. Your total time might be from 9-14 months.

Other scenarios will take longer. To find out how long your situation will take, just give us a call at 801-502-0347.


What Should You Do Next?

Getting married is a joyous occasion but weddings can be stressful, especially when one of you is moving to the US.

Let us help you.


At ImmiVisa, we take care of the lengthy, complicated immigration process for you.


Our specialized team of immigration lawyers can help you find the easiest, least stressful, and least expensive best steps.


Whether you just want information, or you are ready get started, give us a call and start your path to the becoming a happily married couple living in the US.