Today, let's talk about the difference between a K-1 visa and a marriage green card. A K-1 fiancé visa is reserved for a couple that is not yet legally married. And that means both in the United States and in any country in the world. So, if you are legally married in your home country, you are not eligible for the K-1 fiancé visa.
A marriage-based green card application is for a couple that is already legally married. Now that's the simple difference between these two cases. But I'd like to share some other differences that may affect your decision on which one to go for. Let's say you are a couple, you are not yet married, and you are debating which case is best for you. I'd like to share three elements that you should think about.
The K-1 visa is faster
Number one, the K-1 fiancé visa will get your fiancé physically to the United States more quickly. You will have to deal with the USCIS, you have to file a case here, and then your fiancé will go to the embassy for a K-1 visa interview. And typically, I see those cases taking less time than a marriage-based immigrant visa. So with a K-1 fiancé visa, you get them here faster.
The K-1 visa is more expensive
The second factor to consider is that the K-1 fiancé visa is more expensive. Because even though you get them here faster to the US, you have a big expense once they arrive. That's because you have to file the I485 adjustment of status application. So the K-1 fiancé visa has more immigration filing fees. It is more expensive.
With a K-1 visa, you have more immigration work to do
The final element to consider is that with the K-1 fiancé visa, once your fiancé arrives in the United States, you are not finished with the immigration process. In fact, you are only about halfway through. Because they have to adjust their status in the US, it will take maybe 6 months to a year for that case to be finished. So once they arrive in the US, you have more immigration work to do on the case.
If you're already married...
On the other hand, if you’re already married when you’re dealing with the immigrant petition, you’re doing a marriage-based immigrant petition outside of the US. Once your partner gets to the United States with that immigrant visa, they are done. The green card just comes in the mail.
So the factors to consider are time, money, or whether you’re finished when your partner arrives in the US. Those are things to consider when deciding between these two options. If you have any questions, please contact me.