K1 Fiance Visa Vs. K3 Marriage Visa
If you are a U.S. citizen trying to marry a non-U.S. citizen, or vice versa, with the ultimate goal of both you and your spouse living in the United States, you may be feeling confused and overwhelmed attempting to navigate the immigration process and determine the best option forward. The two most popular options for engaged couples, where only one is a United States citizen, are the K1 visa and the K3 visa. These visas operate differently and have separate requirements. Ultimately, this visa that is best for you depends on your specific circumstances. However, if you qualify for it, in most cases the K1 visa will be the more convenient option, as it is faster, less expensive, and a more streamlined process.
Understanding the K1 Visa
There are a number of significant differences between the K1 and K3 visas. The K1 visa allows a non-U.S. citizen who is engaged to a U.S. citizen to come to the United States for the purpose of marriage. The marriage must be performed legally within 90 days of the non-citizen fiance’s arrival in the United States. If the marriage does not take place within 90 days, then the visa is void and the non-citizen must return to their home country or face deportation. Once the marriage takes place the non-citizens status is converted to permanent resident, and they receive a green card. This allows them to begin living and working legally in the United States right after the wedding. Many people prefer this visa, as it allows them to begin life as a married couple in the United States seamlessly following their wedding.
Understanding the K3 Visa
Whereas the K1 visa is used for an engaged couple who wants to be married in the United States, the K3 visa is used for couples who have already married overseas where one spouse is a United States citizen and the other is a non-citizen living in a foreign country. There are certain income requirements that must be met in order to qualify for this visa. This visa allows the non-citizen spouse entry to the United States and provides them with a temporary legal status. Once the non-citizen spouse arrives in the United States they must apply for an adjustment in status in order to get a green card. This can be seen as a disadvantage of this process as compared to the K1 visa process, and extends the length of time required to get a green card as compared to the amount of time required for someone who receives a K1 visa. However, if you do not qualify for a K1 visa or you are already legally married, the K3 spousal visa can be the best option for you.
Schedule a Consultation with a Georgia Immigration Attorney
If you are interested in becoming a legal resident or citizen, or have questions about the immigration process, the experienced Atlanta family immigration attorneys at Shirazi Immigration Law are ready to help. With offices in Moultrie, and Atlanta, Georgia, our attorneys will assess the facts and circumstances of your case and identify the best path forward to naturalization. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.