Is it better for an immigrant to file as the fiancé of a USA citizen or as the spouse of a USA citizen? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration attorney here in St. Louise. A visitor to our website asked a question that we get when people come to visit us sometimes at the office, and that is; should we file on a fiancé visa or a spouse visa?
I understand where this question is coming from. Historically, fiancé visas were actually processed faster than immigrant spouse visas. There’s a couple reasons for that, one is that the process is a little bit less [inaudible 00:00:42] where it was for fiancés. For whatever reason fiancé visas were just getting processed faster by the state department. The delay for immigrant visas for spouses got so bad that they invented something called the K3 visa which was a hybrid spouse and fiancé visa that was suppose to help spouse get into the US as fast as fiancés. Instead of fixing the problem they just created a whole new visa. That process has been weaned and eliminated now that the state department doesn’t process K3 visas when a spouse visa has already been approved.
A lot of the benefits that used to be associated with filing as a fiancé are gone. That’s mainly because fiancé visas and spouse visas are processed at about the same speed. Generally if your fiancé or spouse is outside the United States, depending on the complexity of your case, it’s probably going to take about eight or nine or ten months from the time that you file to the time that your spouse gets here. That’s true whether it’s a fiancé or a spouse visa. There’s really not a time benefit that’s associated with fiancé visas. They might be a little bit faster, but not much.
The other thing you need to keep in mind is that if you get a spouse visa, that once that case is approves and the petition is granted and the visa is placed in the person’s passport, then once they arrive in the United State, if you’ve paid the last visa fee then the green card should come automatically in the mail. If you come as a fiancé then you’re going to have pay for the green card fee, which is over a thousand dollars. You may have an interview, here in the United States, based on your new marriage to allow the person to adjust status. There’s some extra cost associated with a fiancé visa.
A couple of other things to keep in mine. Number one, is that if you are already married you have to file a spouse visa. We get people who call our office from time-to-time and think they’re being clever and that they can fudge and act like they’re just engaged because their buddies told them that fiancés get here faster. It’s very important that you’re completely honest with the immigration service and with the state department and at the interview. You don’t want to get in a situation where it looks like you’re lying or being too cute in pretending that you’re a fiancé when in fact you’re married. That’s one thing to keep in mind; you always want to make sure to tell the truth to the immigration service and to all the other government agencies.
If you have any questions about fiancé visas or about any other part of the immigration process related to fiancés, give us a call, 314-961-8200, or you can always email me, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.