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K-1 fiance visa or green card through marriage?

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Filed: AOS (pnd) Country: Netherlands

I am in the United States on a J-1 exchange visitor visa right now and I will go home in 2 weeks (I did not overstay my visa). During my stay here I got engaged. What is the best way to come back here and marry my fiance? Apply for a fiance visa when I go back home or get married first and then apply for the green card? Which process is easier and/or faster?

Edited by rosannevh

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Canada

Good question! If you can prove you had not met your fiance(e) when you first entered the States, you could get married and stay (according to the lady behind the counter at the immigration office my fiance and I spoke to last year) but this claim is usually met with a great deal of skepticism and I would research it very thoroughly before attempting.

In any case, take a look at this link [fyi: K3 is no longer an option] - it seems like K1 and IR1 are taking about the same amount of time these days (8-12months start to VISA). In terms of ease, the IR1 is slightly simpler and also much cheaper. This is because the K1 is *like* a Pre-marriage visa + an IR1 visa, which adds paperwork and fees. The downside of the IR1 visa is that you, the non USC will not be allowed to visit the US while the paperwork is in process. During the K1 processing, visits are allowed.

Take some time to read through the Guides on this site before you make any decisions - there is a lot to consider before you choose your road!

Edited by iampatricias

April, 2009 - We met

May, 2009 - We wooed

June, 2010 - We got engaged, looking forward to a small August 2010 wedding

** Reality Check: K-1 Process**

July 22, 2010 - NOA1

**5 months of patient waiting**

December 29, 2011 - call around for information about delay

January 5, 2011 - RFE notice (first online status update yet!)

January 10, 2011 - RFE Hardcopy

January 13, 2011 - RFE Response acknowledged

January 24, 2011 - NOA2 (at last!!)

February 3, 2011 - application sent from NVC to Montreal (aka. the Abyss?)

March 7, 2011 - Packet 3 sent to me

March 10, 2011 - Packet 3 delivered to Montreal

March 21, 2011 - Packet 4 sent to me

April 5, 2011 - Medical

April 13, 2011 - Interview - approved!

April 20, 2011 - visa in hand

May 9, 2011 - POE (Buffalo, NY)

May 10, 2011 - wedding :)

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: China

Marry now, and then file an I-130 for a spouse CR-1 visa.


K-1 (FEES ~$1800)

K-1 cannot take a job until getting EAD or Green-card, this can take MONTHS after arrival

K-1 cannot get a DL until they have EAD or Green-card, can use foreign DL in most states though.

K-1 becomes land locked and cannot travel out of the USA until having green-card or AP doc, which can take MONTHS to get.

CR-1 (FEES ~$900)

CR-1 gets green-card the moment they arrive in the USA so can take a job immediately

CR-1 gets green-card so can apply for a DL

CR-1 gets green-card so can immediately travel, conceivable the next day, passport is stamped I-551 which allows work and travel

CR-1 does not take much longer to get than a K-1

OUR TIME LINE Please do a timeline it helps us all, thanks.

Is now a US Citizen immigration completed Jan 12, 2012.



Look here: A Candle for Love and China Family Visa Forums for Chinese/American relationship,

Visa issues, and lots of info about the Guangzhou and Hong Kong consulate.

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If you and your families would be okay with getting married and then filing for a spouse visa then I think its a better route. :) In my case, I needed the k1 because my family didn't want me to have a rushed wedding just so Tim could petition me as a wife. They wanted the engagement coz it felt more real and I guess it gave us time to prepare and accept the situation :) But k1 is much more expensive so keep that in mind. Goodluck!

My Journey:

We met through a study-abroad program in Shanghai, China in August of 2009

We got engaged March of 2010

I received my K1 VISA in 6 months (June-December 2010)

We were married 04/02/2011
I received my conditional 2-year greencard (AOS) in 2.5 months with no interview (April-June 2011)

Our son was born 02/03/2013

I received my masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology 04/17/2013

I received my 10-year greencard (ROC) in 3 months with no interview (March-June 2013)

My husband returned from deployment 06/20/2013

My naturalization journey took 4 months (April-August 2014)

I became a US citizen on 08/01/2014

Received passport in 3 weeks (regular processing)

Thank you, VJ! smile.png

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