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Hey all,

My fiancee and I are facing a choice - spouse visa or fiancee visa. What process seems easier?

 

Here is our story to give you a little context:

I am a Russian citizen. I got my bachelors in the US (2011-2016), and have been dating my American fiancee since 2012. After I finished my bachelor in summer 2016, I did an OPT on my H1B in the US. We were able to both live in the same city and date until summer 2017 when I had to go back to Russia as my OPT expired. The company I was working for during my OPT offered to sponsor my H1B visa application twice in 2017 and 2018, but unfortunately both times my application got denied. 
 
Since I returned home my fiancee and I have been in a long-distance relationship and took 2 trips to spend time with each other: one trip in December 2017 and a second trip in January 2019. 
 
We are both young professionals and don't have a ton of money to pay legal fees. 
 
What is the most cost- and time-effective way for us to proceed: K-1 or IR-1/CR-1 visa?
 
Thanks,
Vica

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~~Moved to What Visa Do I Need, from IR1/CR1 P&P~~


Spoiler

Met Playing Everquest in 2005
Engaged 9-15-2006
K-1 & 4 K-2'S
Filed 05-09-07
Interview 03-12-08
Visa received 04-21-08
Entry 05-06-08
Married 06-21-08
AOS X5
Filed 07-08-08
Cards Received01-22-09
Roc X5
Filed 10-17-10
Cards Received02-22-11
Citizenship
Filed 10-17-11
Interview 01-12-12
Oath 06-29-12

Citizenship for older 2 boys

Filed 03/08/2014

NOA/fee waiver 03/19/2014

Biometrics 04/15/14

Interview 05/29/14

In line for Oath 06/20/14

Oath 09/19/2014 We are all done! All USC no more USCIS

 

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10 minutes ago, v_world said:

What is the most cost- and time-effective way for us to proceed: K-1 or IR-1/CR-1 visa?

The CR-1 is more cost-effective. Ask your local ZAGS what documents, other than a Russian tourist visa, does your American fiancee needs to marry in Russia. If you have US tourist visa then you can marry in the US and then leave the US to wait for the CR-1 process: 

If you have (or apply and receive) a Schengen tourist visa, then a marriage in either Copenhagen, Denmark or Reykjavík, Iceland is also a relatively fast option:

Edited by accumbyte

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There only have been 500 treads like this one. You can EASILY find an answer on the forum.


K1

29.11.2013 - NoA1

06.02.2014 - NoA2

01.04.2014 - Interview. 

AoS

03.2015 - AoS started.

09.2015 - Green Card received.  

RoC

24.07.2017 - NoA1.

01.08.2018 - RoC approved. 

 

 

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@v_world best bet overall, CR1 visa

Get married, US Citizen spouse petitions for the CR1 visa. If all goes well, visa (aka green card) available in about a year, give or take. 


I-751 journey

 

10/16/2017.......... ROC package mailed

10/18/2017.......... I-751 package received VSC

10/19/2017.......... I-797 NOA date

10/30/2017.......... Notice received in mail

10/30/2017.......... Check cashed

11/02/2017.......... Conditional GC expired

11/22/2017.......... Biometrics completed

  xx/xx/xxxx.......... waiting waiting waiting

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15 minutes ago, Ontarkie said:

~~Moved to What Visa Do I Need, from IR1/CR1 P&P~~

@accumbyte That's super helpful! Thank you.

 

It's actually a crazy coincidence because my best friend lives in Copenhagen, and I am sure she would be happy to help in organizing everything. Thank you for this info!

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@WeGuyGal That's what we originally thought to do. I think it makes more sense, especially because once I have the visa I can work right away. 

 

The tricky part is to figure out what should be the country of choice, as Russian laws make the process quite lengthy.

 

 

 

Edited by v_world

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16 minutes ago, v_world said:

@missileman 

I love this breakdown! This makes total sense to me. I think in our case CR-1 is definitely a better option. Do you have any suggestions on countries that allow for quick and easy marriage? Thanks!

Any country would work, but since you're Russian and he's American, how about either Russia or America?

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3 minutes ago, USS_Voyager said:

Any country would work, but since you're Russian and he's American, how about either Russia or America?

Well, on the Russian side it's pretty bureaucratic. He would have to come here, get all the necessary documents translated and notarized, and together we would submit our papers together in person. The marriage itself can take place no earlier than 32 days after submitting papers.

 

And about the US I thought the only we can get married there is if I enter under K-1 status (or maybe I'm wrong?)

 

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37 minutes ago, v_world said:

Well, on the Russian side it's pretty bureaucratic. He would have to come here, get all the necessary documents translated and notarized, and together we would submit our papers together in person. The marriage itself can take place no earlier than 32 days after submitting papers.

I'm a USC who married in Russia. It involves a lot of steps that are required in Moscow (must be in Moscow, there is no other option). If you live near Moscow or are able to make multiple trips there, then it would be somewhat doable. If going to Moscow is far away, then it's not worth it.

 

You can also marry in a 3rd country (outside of USA or Russia) as long as the marriage is valid and legal. Do you have a valid US tourist visa?


03639.png                  

 🇷🇺  ♥  CR-1 via DCF in Moscow* (2016-2017) 🇺🇸  Read about my DCF experience here and here.

Spoiler

26-Jul-2016: Married abroad 👩‍❤️‍👨
21-Dec-2016: I-130 filed at Moscow USCIS field office*
29-Dec-2016: I-130 approved! Yay! 🎊

17-Jan-2017: Case number received

21-Mar-2017: Medical Exam completed

24-Mar-2017: Interview at Embassy - approved! 🎉

29-Mar-2017: CR-1 Visa received (via mail)

02-Apr-2017: USCIS Immigrant (GC) Fee paid

28-Jun-2017: Port of Entry @ PDX 🛩️

21-Jul-2017: No SSN after three weeks; applied in person at the SSA

22-Jul-2017: GC arrived in the mail 📬

31-Jul-2017: SSN arrived via mail, hurrah!

 

*NOTE: The USCIS field office in Moscow is closing in March 2019.

 

I-90 GC Replacment (for Erroneous GC)

22-Jul-2017: GC arrives in the mail – error in middle name 😕

01-Aug-2017: Sent in I-90 online via website

05-Aug-2017: Biometrics scheduled

23-Aug-2017: Biometrics done @ USCIS office; told to keep GC!

16-Jul-2018: RFE for original card!! 🤬

31-Jul-2018: USCIS Appointment at local field office..

22-Aug-2018: Mailed GC back to USCIS in response to RFE

29-Aug-2018: GC received by USCIS

17-Sept-2018: Received CORRECTED GC in the mail! Finally!! 😂

 

📑 I-751 Removal of Conditions (2019-???) 📝

Spoiler

28-Jun-2019: Conditional GC expires

30-Mar-2019: Eligible to apply for ROC

??-???-2019: TBA...

 

 

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1 hour ago, v_world said:

Well, on the Russian side it's pretty bureaucratic. He would have to come here, get all the necessary documents translated and notarized, and together we would submit our papers together in person. The marriage itself can take place no earlier than 32 days after submitting papers.

 

And about the US I thought the only we can get married there is if I enter under K-1 status (or maybe I'm wrong?)

 

You can get married in the US, as long as you return back to Russia afterwards before beginning the CR1 process. You can't get married and stay without a K1, but you are certainly allowed to get married in the US and return back to Russia and then file the CR1. It's what we, and many others, did, as long as you return to Russia after the marriage there is no problem :) 


Our CR1 Journey So Far:
 

USCIS Stage:

  • Feb 8 2019: Sent package
  • Feb 14 2019: Delivered
  • Feb 21 2019: NOA1 (PD Feb 14, 2019)
  • Assigned to Nebraska Service Center (yay... 🙄)
  • Waiting for: NOA2

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50 minutes ago, millefleur said:

I'm a USC who married in Russia. It involves a lot of steps that are required in Moscow (must be in Moscow, there is no other option). If you live near Moscow or are able to make multiple trips there, then it would be somewhat doable. If going to Moscow is far away, then it's not worth it.

 

You can also marry in a 3rd country (outside of USA or Russia) as long as the marriage is valid and legal. Do you have a valid US tourist visa?

That's what I have been founding as well. I don't have a valid tourist visa for the U.S. but I do have a valid schengen visa. I'm seeing a couple of recommendations of getting married in Europe instead.

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