Can I Immigrate Using a Marriage Visa? A Few Tips from an Immigration Lawyer

Are you one half of a dual nationality couple, wondering about the best means to obtain a visa and join your partner in the United States?
Your two main options are the K1 or Fiancé Visa and the CR-1/ IR-1 Marriage Visa.

The K1 Fiancé Visa           

The K1 or Fiancé Visa is the travel document most frequently used to bring a foreign fiancé to the United States. Under this visa, the person has the legal right to remain in the United States for 90 days. Within this period the two must legally marry and the spouse must subsequently apply for an adjustment of status, which will allow him/her to remain legally in the USA.
The main advantage this type of visa offers over the Marriage Visa is a shorter processing time. The average waiting time from the day you file the application to the awarding of a visa is 6 to 7 months for a K1 visa and 8 to 9 months for a CR-1/ IR-1 visa.
The second advantage the K1 Fiancé Visa offers consists in lower fees for the initial application (even if additional fees will have to be paid when applying for an adjustment of status).

The CR-1/ IR-1 Marriage Visa 

Although taking slightly longer to process, the Marriage Visa awards the foreign spouse Permanent Residency (Green Card) upon arrival to the United States. It also has the advantage of a lower overall cost.
A distinction should be made between the CR-1 Visa, the type of visa awarded when the couple has been married for less than two years, and the IR-1 Visa, applicable for couples married longer than two years. The CR-1 Visa awards the holder Conditional Permanent Residency for two years, while the IR-1 Visa entitles the visa holder to Permanent Residency for a period of ten years.
To sum up, the US fiancé visa process is comparatively quicker than the immigrant marriage visa process. However, a foreign national entering the US on an immigrant marriage visa will have a safer status than one on the K-1 visa.
If you’re interested in getting more information about the K-1 and CR-1/ IR-1 visas, it is a good idea to consult a competent immigration lawyer. A specialized immigration lawyer can help you get a clear understanding of the process so you can make an informed decision. If you decide to enlist his help, an immigration lawyer will guide you through the process, help you with the paperwork and enhance your chances of obtaining the visa.
Whether you decide to apply for a K-1 or CR-1/ IR-1 visa, it is important to gather the proper documentation and have them translated, if need be, up front, as this will save you a lot of precious time. One thing is of the essence: Do NOT lie to the US Government. Do not apply for a tourist visa when bringing a fiancée to the US for marriage, as this is tantamount to immigration fraud.

Your Immigration Lawyer’s Role in the Fiancé Visa Process

An immigration lawyer plays a variety of important roles in the life of a non-citizen. One of the most important roles that such an attorney can play is assisting you with your efforts to bring your fiancé and any dependents into this country so that you can marry and your fiancé can seek permanent residence or citizenship. If you are legitimately engaged to be married but your intended spouse lives in another country you will need to navigate the quite complicated immigration laws in order for this person to be allowed legal entry into the country as well as time in which you can marry. This is referred to as a fiancé visa and is an important, yet incredibly difficult to obtain, document.

The immigration attorney who will handle your case will help you through the process so that you keep to the strict schedule and submit the appropriate documentation so you have the best chances of your partner being allowed entrance. The first thing that you need to understand about the process of obtaining a fiancé visa for your intended spouse is that the proceedings can take several months to complete and the instances of delays and even rejections requiring the process to be begun again are not uncommon, so it is important that you seek the representation of a green card attorney as early possible. Once the process has been successfully completed and the fiancé visa has been issued, your fiancé has up to four months to use it to enter this country. After entry you have 90 days to legally marry. If the marriage has not been completed by the end of these 90 days your fiancé will be subject to removal.

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