a couple who are celebrating their fiancé's day by showing their rings

Fiancé Visa

The Fiancé Visa, formally known as the K-1 visa in the United States, is designed for the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen. It allows the foreign fiancé(e) to travel to the U.S. to marry their U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. After the marriage, the foreign spouse can apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (Green Card holder). Here are the key features of a fiancé visa. 


You must intend to marry a U.S. citizen, and both parties must have met in person at least once within the past two years, unless meeting in person would violate strict and long-established customs, or would result in extreme hardship.

Process and Timeline

The U.S. citizen sponsor must file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once approved, the case is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) and then to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the fiancé(e)’s country for a visa interview. The entire process can take anywhere from 6 to 9 months.

husband and wife holding hands

Marriage Visa

Conversely, the Marriage Visa, or the CR-1/IR-1 visa in the U.S., is for foreign spouses of U.S. citizens or permanent residents. This visa allows the foreign spouse to enter the U.S. as a permanent resident, a significant difference from the K-1 Fiancé Visa. Here are the key features of a marriage visa. 


The couple must be legally married, and the U.S. citizen or permanent resident sponsor must file a petition on behalf of the foreign spouse.

Process and Timeline

Similar to the Fiancé Visa process, the petition is filed with USCIS, processed through the NVC, and then sent to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the spouse’s country for a visa interview. The marriage visa process generally takes about 12 to 18 months, longer than the fiancé visa, due to the green card issuance.

Making the Right Choice

Choosing between a Fiancé Visa and a Marriage Visa depends on various factors, including where you wish to marry, how quickly you want to be together, and your long-term immigration goals. While the Fiancé Visa allows for a faster reunion in the U.S. to get married, the Marriage Visa offers the advantage of entering the U.S. with permanent residency status.

Partner with IBP Immigration Law for Your Immigration Journey

The choice between a fiancé visa and a marriage visa requires careful consideration of your  individual situation. It’s crucial to secure the qualified immigration attorneys at IBP Immigration Law. Our experienced immigration lawyers can help you navigate these complex processes and ensure you select the most efficient and successful path for bringing your loved one to the United States. Contact IBP Immigration Law today to schedule a consultation with our team.

Attorney Ingrid Borges Perez speaks
English, Portuguese, and Spanish

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