April 21, 2008: K-1 or K-3: Which Visa Is Better, Faster To Obtain?

K-1 or K-3: Which Visa Is Better, Faster To Obtain

Hello, I am wondering which is better to do: filing for a K-1 Fiance Visa or getting married abroad and filing a K-3. Is one faster and less involved than the other? From what I have read, it sounds like it is less complicated and faster to file the K-1 Visa and get married here. However, it is very important to my fiance that we get married there with her family..
— Joe

Deciding on where you get married is a very personal decision that you and your fiancé must make. Regardless of where you get married, there will be an immigration process that you and your fiancé will have to go through.

It appears that the two options you are considering are the K-1 and K-3 nonimmigrant visas. Generally, both the K-1 and K-3 are filed using Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance(e). As you know, with the K-1 visa, your fiancé will enter the United States for the sole purpose of getting married to you. The marriage must take place during the three month period immediately after her admission to the United States. There are other requirements that must be met, however, even before the K-1 visa is issued, such as proof that you are a United States citizen and that you have met your fiancé in person within the two years immediately preceding the filing of the K-1 petition. With an approved K-1 and timely marriage, your new wife will be eligible for adjustment of status.

For the K-3 visa, you will first need to get married. It is important to note that the LIFE ACT requires all K-3 applicants to apply for the visa in the country where the marriage occurred. With the K-3, you will also have to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, because you are already married. Once your wife enters the United States with the K-3, she will be able to file for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident.

As you can see, both the K-1 and K-3 processes will ultimately lead to permanent resident status if all of the laws are followed. It would be wise to hire an experienced immigration attorney to assist you with the entire process because these types of visas require a lot more attention and detail than what is mentioned above.

Michael and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys

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