If you are a U.S. citizen looking to bring your foreign fiancé into the country, you have the option of either bringing them to the U.S. on a fiancé visa (K-1) or marrying them first and then obtaining a spousal visa (IR1 / CR1). But which is the better option? Both visas have their pros and cons. Let’s first look at the fiancé visa. In order to be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen who intends to marry your fiancé within 90 days of his or her entry into the country. There are harsh consequences if the marriage fails to take place within these 90 days, including deportation and inability to pursue adjustment of status by any other means. You must both be free to marry and any previous marriages must have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment. Also, you must have met each other in person at least once within two years of filing your petition. To obtain your K-1, you need to file your I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiance) with the filing fee of $340 along with evidence of citizenship, two Form G-325-A biographic data sheets, one passport style color photo each of you and your fiancé taken within 30 days of filing, and copies of any divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees. Once in the U.S., your fiancé may file Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) to seek legal employment in the U.S. The Employment Authorization Document is usually issued within 90 days of the receipt of your application. In general, the K-1 visa is a faster process than the spousal visa, but it does take longer to get a work visa where a spousal visa allows the holder to begin work immediately. Also, your fiancé will need to file for adjustment of status, whereas those entering the U.S. on a spousal visa are instantly permanent residents and do not to fill out any forms for adjustment.
Though obtaining your marriage visa may take longer, there are certainly benefits. Many people consider the benefit of entering the US and immediately becoming a US Legal Permanent Resident worth the additional wait. The first step to obtaining your spouse’s citizenship is to file your I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative). As soon as your I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) is approved, the U.S. Department of State will invite your spouse to apply for an immigrant visa.
The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) assumes that about half of all marriage cases are fraudulent, so it will be necessary to prove that your marriage was entered into for love and not just for citizenship. With the appropriate documents, this shouldn’t be a problem. First, you must provide a photocopy of your marriage certificate (along with a certified translation if the document is not in English) as well as certificates from any previous marriages. You need to provide proof in the form of a divorce decree that any previous marriages were ended legally in your country.
To prove your marriage’s legitimacy, you should demonstrate the following: joint obligations for housing/living expenses, joint financial management, joint property ownership, and evidence that you and your spouse hold yourselves out as married. Example documents include your children’s birth certificates, joint bank account statements, joint income tax returns, joint property deed, and health/life insurance policies naming your spouse as the beneficiary. This list is by no means all-inclusive, nor is it necessary to provide all of these documents.
If the USCIS officer suspects that your marriage is a fraud, you and your spouse will be called in to interview separately. You will be placed in separate rooms and asked identical questions, the results of which will be compared to see if they match up. You may be suspect if you and your spouse do not share a common language, if there is a large age gap, if there are differences in class, cultural, religious, or educational background, or if you and your spouse do not live at the same address. Be prepared to answer some very detailed and specific questions about your relationship. Of course, if your marriage is indeed legitimate this interview should not be a problem. The entire process should take about six to twelve months, but of course, the exact amount of time varies on a case-to-case basis. The biggest difference between the fiancé visa and marriage visa is the amount of time it takes to bring your loved one into the country, but in the end the decision is a matter of preference.
Eugene Jones is a principal in www.ImmiGreatNow.com.com which provides web solutions for family Immigration. Eugene is also a principal in www.connect4business.com a lotus domino manufacturing solution and www.nauvou.com.com web based solutions for customer support.