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K1 (fiancee) or spousal (CR1/IR1) visa ??

February 2 2013 at 4:59 PM
Ray B  (Premier Login rbacon1)
Owner

When beginning a relationship with someone from another country, the question is asked, which visa type is "better," fiancee or spousal immigrant?

Neither is "better" than the other, but there are some very good reasons for starting a fiancee visa first, or with marrying and starting the spousal immigrant visa path.

1. Overall costs are not much different (see below).
2. A fiancee visa may be a month or so faster than a spousal (unlike in the past, when a spousal visa would often take a year and longer). Currently, both visa types average (from submittal to interview) between 6 and 10 months.
3. The family, or the applicant, may insist on marriage abroad first, then a spousal visa, as a form of "insurance" that she will not be left "used" and deserted if the marriage doesn't work out.
4. A spousal (immigrant) visa application is looked upon more favorably during the interview than a fiancee visa application, if there is good evidence of a strong relationship. Recently, Cambodia and Vietnam have become very difficult for fiancee visa approvals. The Manila, Philippines U.S. Embassy tends to be equally favorable to either type of visa, from reports we have seen, UNLESS THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT AGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PETITIONER AND APPLICANT (30 or more years).
5. Costs and time associated with marriage outside the U.S. are unpredictable. The legal requirements in the Philippines make "fast" marriage difficult (waiting period after marriage license, mandatory counselling, etc.). A Catholic church wedding may takes months of advance preparation.

Estimated costs of processing and obtaining a Green Card (Permanent Resident status) are as follows (as of February 2013):

1. Submittal fee:....................fiancee, $340.......spousal, $420.
2. Sponsorship processing fee:.......fiancee, NONE.......spousal, $88
3. Visa fee:.........................fiancee, $240.......spousal, $230
4. Medical exam:.....................$225 (approximately), less for children under age 14.
5. Green Card issuance:..............fiancee, None.......spousal, $165 (after visa is issued)
6. Adjustment of Status (Stateside):.fiancee: $1,070.....spousal NONE

-Ray B



 
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