Advantages to the K1 Fiance Visa
There are some advantages to filing the K1 Fiance Visa. The obvious advantage is that if you are not sure about getting married to your overseas fiance, then this visa allows you to “try out” being together for 90 days in the United States before you make the decision to get married. If things don’t work out as you planned, then your fiance is supposed to go home.
Another advantage is that the wait time for a Fiance Visa is generally shorter than the Marriage Visa. There is less document collection in the United States before the file is sent to the U.S. Consulate overseas to schedule the interview. Skipping some of the document collection can save about 1-2 months.
The average wait time from the first day of filing with USCIS to U.S. Consulate approval of a visa is 6-7 months for a K1 Fiance Visa and 8-9 months for a CR-1 IR-1 Marriage Visa. These are general times not counting a holiday season such as Christmas and New Years, and for applications that are complete and easy to approve the day it is sent.
Don’t be fooled by advertisements “approval times” in 4 to 5 months. They are only referring to initial USCIS approval, not the approval of the visa. Approval of the visa means the complete process with approval from the USCIS, the National Visa Center and the U.S. Consulate all.
Another advantage to the K1 Fiance Visa are that the U.S. Government Fees are lower for the initial application. The original application is less because it is not an application for a Green Card, but rather a non-immigrant visa. I will compare the costs of both visas at the end of this article.
Advantages of the (CR-1 – IR-1) Marriage Visa
The top two advantages to the Marriage Visa are the fact that the process ends with Permanent Residency (Green Card) for your spouse upon arrival in the United States. The other advantage is the overall cost. Even though the Fiance Visa is cheaper for the original application, but once the fiance is in the United States, and the couple is married, then the foreign spouse will need to apply for the Green Card in the United States.