Immigration policy in the United States can be very complicated. As such, it can be difficult to understand what types of visas and authorizations you might need to live and/or move your family to the United States.
If you are married or recently engaged, you should understand the differences between a marriage visa and the K-1 fiancé visa.
What is a Marriage Visa?
If you are a United States citizen and your spouse is not a resident, then you are able to fill out Form I-130 on behalf of your spouse so that your spouse can obtain a marriage visa through the United States Consulate in your spouse’s country of residence.
If your spouse is already residing in the US with a valid visa, then your spouse can fill out a Form I-130 to obtain a marriage visa. Additionally, your spouse can fill out Form I-485 to adjust their status to permanent residence.
What is a K-1 Visa?
The K-1 visa is only available to foreign individuals who are engaged to a United States citizen. If a K-1 visa is granted, the visa holder must marry their partner within 90 days of entering the United States.
K-1 visas are not a good option for couples who do not intend to get married shortly after the engagement.
One difference to consider is that the K-1 visa application process typically goes much quicker than the application process for a marriage visa. Once the K-1 visa process is completed, the individual will receive a fiancé visa and can apply for a green card once married.
Unlike K-1 visas, couples must already be married in order to begin the marriage visa process. Once this process is completed, the individual will receive an immigrant visa and will receive a green card once inside the United States.
To be sure of which type of visa is applicable to your specific situation, you should always consult with an experienced immigration attorney. The United States immigration system is very complex, so it is important to be sure that you are taking the right steps to become a legal resident. If you are in the process of immigrating to the United States, or are petitioning your spouse and are unsure of the exact steps, it may be in your best interest to contact an experienced immigration attorney. As immigration law is constantly changing, it is important to put experience on your side. The Law Offices of Alexander Borell, brings over 20 years of immigration experience and offers free consultations in Miami, Tampa, Orlando and West Palm Beach to anybody who needs immigration help.