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.
|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.|
(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.|