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  • dimartinolaw
  • January 11, 2024

Fiance Visa vs Spouse Visa? Which is faster in the US


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on fiance visas vs spouse visas in the United States. If you’re planning to bring your partner to the US, you might be wondering fiance visa vs spouse visa which visa option is faster. In this article, we will delve into the differences between the two types of visas, their processing times, and other crucial factors. It help you make an informed decision.

Understanding Fiance Visas

What is a fiance visa?

A fiance visa, officially known as the K-1 visa designed for US citizens, who wish to bring their foreign fiance to the United States in order to get married. It allows the foreign partner to enter the country temporarily for the purpose of marriage.

Eligibility for a fiance visa in the US

To be eligible for a fiance visa, you must meet certain requirements. You must be a US citizen, both you and your fiance must be legally free to marry. You must have met your fiance in person within the last two years. Additionally, you and your fiance must be able to demonstrate a genuine intention to marry. It will be within 90 days of arrival in the US.

Requirements for a fiance visa

The process of obtaining a fiance visa involves gathering and submitting various documents. You will need to provide evidence of your US citizenship. It is proof of your relationship with your fiance and ensure that all required forms are completed accurately. It’s essential to follow the instructions provided by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) carefully to avoid delays or complications.

Process of obtaining a fiance visa

The process begins with the US citizen filing a petition (Form I-129F) with the USCIS. Once the petition is approved, it is forwarded to the US embassy or consulate where your fiance resides. Your fiance will then need to attend an interview, and if successful the visa will be issued allowing entry into the US. After arrival, you must marry your fiance within 90 days, after which your fiance can apply for an adjustment of status to become a permanent resident.

Understanding Spouse Visas

What is a spouse visa?

A spouse visa, known as the CR-1 or IR-1 visa, is intended for US citizens who are already married to a foreign national residing outside the United States. This visa enables the foreign spouse to immigrate to the US and become a permanent resident.

Eligibility for a spouse visa in the US

To be eligible for a spouse visa, the US citizen petitioner must be legally married to their foreign spouse, and the marriage must be recognized as valid under US law. It’s important to note that same-sex couples are also eligible for spouse visas, as long as the marriage is recognized legally.

Requirements for a spouse visa

Similar to the fiance visa, the process of obtaining a spouse visa involves meeting specific requirements. You must provide evidence of your US citizenship, a valid marriage, and meet the financial sponsorship requirements to prove that you can financially support your spouse.

The process of obtaining a spouse visa

The process begins with the US citizen filing a petition (Form I-130) with the USCIS. After approval, the petition is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing. The NVC will then request various documents, including financial information and supporting evidence, from both the US citizen petitioner and the foreign spouse. Once all necessary documents are submitted and reviewed, an interview will be scheduled at the US embassy or consulate where the foreign spouse resides. If the interview goes well, the visa will be issued, allowing entry into the US as a lawful permanent resident.

Comparison between Fiance and Spouse Visas

Now that we understand the basic requirements and processes for both fiance visa vs spouse visa, let’s compare them in terms of processing time and other factors.

Processing time differences

The processing times for fiance and spouse visas can vary. Generally, fiance visa applications are processed more quickly compared to spouse visas. The average processing time for a fiance visa is around 6 to 9 months, while spouse visas may take 12 to 18 months or longer. However, these are approximate time frames, and actual processing times can be influenced by various factors.

Advantages and disadvantages of fiance visas

Fiance visas offer certain advantages. They allow couples to get married in the US and offer a faster route for foreign partners to join their US citizen spouses. Fiance visas also provide the opportunity to get to know each other better before making the commitment of marriage. On the downside, the 90-day time constraint might be stressful for some couples, as failure to marry within this period can lead to the foreign partner being required to leave the US.

Advantages and disadvantages of spouse visas

Spouse visas offer the advantage of granting immediate permanent residency upon entry to the US. Once the visa is approved, the foreign spouse becomes a lawful permanent resident, allowing them to work and live in the US permanently. However, the longer processing time compared to fiance visas can be a disadvantage, as it may result in a longer period of separation for the couple.

Examples and case studies

To better illustrate the differences in processing times, let’s consider a couple’s scenario. Alex and Maria, a US citizen and a foreign national, decided to get married and live in the United States. Alex opted for a fiance visa, while Maria applied for a spouse visa. In this case, Alex and Maria’s fiance visa was approved within eight months, and Maria was able to join Alex in the US, and they got married within the stipulated 90-day period. On the other hand, Maria’s friend, Sophia, chose the spouse visa option. Sophia’s visa processing took around 14 months, during which she was residing in her home country. Sophia and her husband had to endure a longer separation before finally being reunited in the US.

Factors Affecting Processing Time

Several factors can influence the processing time for both fiance visa vs spouse visa. Some common factors include the workload of the USCIS and the US embassy or consulate, the accuracy and completeness of the documents submitted. The complexity of the case, and external factors such as security clearances or administrative delays. It’s vital to be mindful of these factors and ensure all documentation is properly filed and submitted to expedite the process.

The importance of documentation and filing

To avoid delays and ensure a smooth visa application process, it is crucial to provide all required documents accurately and promptly. Any missing or incomplete documentation may result in a request for further evidence or cause delays. Seeking legal advice from an experienced immigration attorney can help streamline the document. The preparation process and ensure compliance with all requirements.


Choosing between a fiance visa vs spouse visa depends on your personal circumstances and priorities. Fiance visas generally offer a quicker path to bring your partner to the US for marriage, but spouse visas provide immediate permanent residency upon entry. Consider the processing times, advantages, and disadvantages of each visa type, and consult an immigration attorney for personalized guidance based on your specific situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get a fiancee visa?

The processing time for a fiance visa can take between 6 and 9 months on average. However, it’s important to note that processing times can vary depending on individual circumstances and external factors.

Can a fiance visa be expedited?

In certain cases, a fiance visa application can be expedited. However, expedited processing is usually only granted for specific reasons, such as medical emergencies or extreme humanitarian circumstances.

How long does it take to get a spouse visa?

The processing time for a spouse visa can take 12 to 18 months or longer. However, similar to fiance visas, actual processing times can vary depending on various factors involved in the application process.

Does being married before applying for a spouse visa affect the processing time?

Being married before applying for a spouse visa does not generally affect the processing time. However, it is crucial to ensure that the marriage is legally recognized and that it meets all other eligibility requirements.

Can I switch from a fiance visa to a spouse visa without leaving the US?

It is possible to switch from a fiance visa to a spouse visa without leaving the US. However, the process may involve filing additional forms and providing the necessary supporting documents to USCIS. It is advisable to consult an immigration attorney for guidance specific to your situation.

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