The marriage visa (CR-1 or IR-1 visa) is an immigrant visa that permits a foreign spouse to enter the United States to live permanently with a US citizen or lawful permanent resident.  

On the other hand, the fiancé visa (K-1 visa) is a nonimmigrant visa used by a foreign fiancé to enter the United States to get married and, only then, adjust status to lawful permanent residence. 

In this article, you will discover whether a spouse or a fiancé visa may suit your case best. 

Marriage Visa vs. Fiance Visa USA – Taking a Closer Look 

Where Will the Marriage Take Place?  

The K-1 visa applies to applicants that want to enter the United States to get married. Accordingly, if the couple wants to marry inside the United States, the K-1 visa may be the best option.  

However, if the marriage will take place outside the United States, applying for a marriage visa may be the best approach. Ultimately, make sure to consult with an expert immigration attorney to have your case assessed individually. 

How Much Time It Will Take Until the Marriage Happens?  

Generally, if the couple wants to marry as soon as possible, marrying outside the United States will require less time. The K-1 visa, which is the fastest way to enter the United States in this context, will require a processing time between 5-10 months.  

How Much Time it Will Take Until the Foreign Spouse/Fiancé’s Date of Admission to the US?  

If the foreign spouse/fiancé wants to enter the United States as soon as possible, the K-1 visa will likely provide the fastest path. When compared to a marriage visa – which takes 10-16 months to process – the K-1 visa offers more expedited processing times. 

Still, if the foreign spouse/fiancé is still living abroad, it is still possible to file Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with the local USCIS office, which may expedite the process a bit. 

What are the Total Costs and Expenses Involved in the Process?   

Usually, obtaining a marriage visa tends to be less expensive. When comparing the total expenses involved in a K-1 visa nonimmigrant visa application (estimated total cost of $2,325), applying for a CR-1 or IR-1 immigrant Visa offers a higher cost-benefit (estimated total cost of $1400). 

Notice that these estimated numbers do not include costs such as travel tickets, lodging expenses, etc. Plus, the application process involves medical exam fees, which vary largely depending on the region and doctor. 

Will the Foreign Spouse/Fiancé Need to Travel Internationally?  

If the soon-to-be spouse travels often, it is a factor to be considered in the couple’s final decision.  

The K-1 nonimmigrant visa is valid for a single entry, which means the foreign fiancé will not be able to travel internationally until he/she files Form I-485 (Application to Adjust Status) and Form I-131 (Application for Advance Parole). 

It is crucial noting that traveling abroad before Form I-131 is approved will result in the abandonment of the adjustment of status application. On the other hand, the CR-1 or IR-1 visa will permit the foreign to travel abroad immediately. 

Marriage Visa vs. Fiance Visa USA – Immediately Consult with an Expert Immigration Attorney  

Waste no time with unnecessary risk. If you want to have your case assessed individually by an experienced legal advisor, call Attorney Romy B. Jurado today at (305) 921-0976 or email to schedule a consultation.