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Is there a difference in Applications?

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  • Is there a difference in Applications?

    What if you got married in "their" native country? What application would you file under and is the wait longer or less than a fiance visa?

  • #2
    What if you got married in "their" native country? What application would you file under and is the wait longer or less than a fiance visa?


    • #3
      Marry in the US
      A US citizen can petition for a fiancée to get a visa to enter the US for the purpose of marriage. Depending on where you live, the process of getting a fiancée to the US can take as little as a few months to well over a year. After marriage, the new spouse files for adjustment of status and after a few years, (depending on where you live) gets a green card.

      Mary outside the US
      If a US citizen marries a foreigner outside of the US, the spouse needs an immigrant visa to enter to the US. There are three ways to obtain this.

      1.) Direct Consular filing- Some US Embassies allow a USC to file an alien relative petition (I-130) while the foreign souse applies for a visa. You get married, go to the Embassy with the paperwork and as soon as the medical and security checks are completed, you are on your way to the States. The alien spouse arrives as a lawful permanent resident. Unfortunately, not all US Embassies allow DCF. Some restrict it to USCs who are living in the country. Some don't let anyone do it.

      2.) Immigrant Visa- The USC files an alien relative petition with the USCIS service center. After a few years, USCIS approves the petition and sends it to the National Visa Center. The NVC does administrative work and sends the case to the Embassy overseas. The immigrant visa is processed as above and the spouse comes to the States as an LPR.

      3.) K3- At one point, many moons ago, the immigrant visa process took about the same amount of time as consular filing. Then INS was tasked with extra work (amnesty, legalization, etc.) and the processing times skyrocketed. Congress in its infinite wisdom created the LIFE Act which allowed spouses of USCs to come to the US under temporary visas. Not tourist visas, visas similar to fiancée visas. The USC files the alien relative petition with USCIS, and then submits a fiancée petition for the spouse. Once approved, the case goes to the NVC, then to the Embassy. The spouse gets a K3 visa, comes to the US, and then files for AOS (the green card application.)

      DCF is by far the fastest, both getting to the US and getting LPR status, but not everyone can do it. The time it takes to get LPR status (the green card) is about the same for fiancees, IV spouses (#2) and K3 spouses (#3). The difference is that fiancees and #3s wait for a few years inside the US and the #2s wait outside.


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