Home Guides K-1 Visa And Marriage Visa: All Rules And Possibilities

K-1 Visa And Marriage Visa: All Rules And Possibilities

K-1 Visa And Marriage Visa: All Rules And Possibilities

Marrying a U.S. citizen with a foreigner involves getting a fiance visa or a marriage visa. The procedure looks like a quest but no need to be wary. We will present you with rules, terms, tips, and hints, and after reading the guide, you can make a conscious decision about the type of visa and pass your path without errors.

The K1 visa: the main rules

K-1 visa is an excellent option for couples who want to check their relationship in real-life conditions. Under the terms of this visa, the foreign-citizen fiancé has the opportunity to come to the U.S. for 90 days. Within these days, the couple can make an official marriage and afterward have a green card for an alien in the family. 

documents for applying marriage visa

A common question is whether a K1 visa is immigrant or nonimmigrant. The first option is correct: the K-1 visa allows obtaining permanent residence.

Getting a fiance visa in the U.S implies making the following steps:

  1. Your fiancée serves Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) instructions to USCIS. 
  2. You get a K-1 visa at the U.S. Embassy or consulate and get a visa interview.
  3. Your fiancée comes to the U.S. After marriage; she can apply for conditional permanent residence status.

Cost of K 1 fiance visa. The total fee, medical examination, filling forms, and other expenses— $2,325

The K3 visa: rules, process, cost

The K3 marriage USA visa is provided for couples that married in another country before moving to the U.S. To obtain a visa, you need to prove a personal meeting within the last 2 years. With this visa, a foreign spouse can come to the United States and apply for a green card. In this situation, the process includes these steps

  1. U.S. citizen spouse applies Form I-130, Petition for an alien spouse, with Department of Homeland Security. 
  2. After petition processing, U.S. citizen spouse applies Form I-129F.
  3. If all is okay, you can start the process of getting a green card. 

K-3 visa is valid for two years.

Cost. The total for getting a K-3 visa is $2,615 (not including additional expenses such as travel ones, medical exam, etc).

CR-1 visa: the main rules

Following the IR-1 visa, a couple must marry abroad. The duration of a marriage under the terms of a visa is from 0 to 2 years. The visa enables the spouse of a foreigner to obtain conditional permanent resident status.

How to obtain a CR-1 visa in steps

  1. Filling out a visa application and petition for a foreign relative.
  2. Verification of the petition by the national visa center.
  3. Submitting a petition to the US Consulate in the spouse’s country.

Money question—$2,205 (for filing all fees and Application to Adjust Status). 

The IR-1 visa: the main rules

By the IR-1 visa, a couple must marry abroad. The marriage must be valid for more than 2 years. The visa makes it possible for the wife of a US citizen to obtain a permanent green card.

The process of obtaining a visa is similar to that of CR-1. All types of visas for marriage (K-1 also) give opportunities to obtain permits for children

Money question—$2,205 (for filing all fees and Application to Adjust Status).

fiancee visa requirements

Terms for U.S. citizen 

If a U.S. resident wants to marry a foreign woman, he must read these requirements:

  • Age from 18 years old
  • Citizenship or green card 
  • Residence in the U.S.
  • The total household income should start from 125% of the Federal Poverty. The exact price varies on the number of people in the family and state for living. Please, check out the infographics for more details about income. 

2021 Minimum Annual Income Requirements for Most Sponsors: 125% of Federal Poverty Guidelines

Number of people in your household (including yourself and your spouse)*For sponsors in the 48 contiguous states, D.C., and U.S. territoriesFor sponsors in AlaskaFor sponsors in Hawaii
For each additional person, add:$5,675$7,100$6,525

2021 Minimum Annual Income Requirements for Military Sponsors: 100% of Federal Poverty Guidelines

Number of people in your household (including yourself and your spouse)*For sponsors in the 48 contiguous states, D.C., and U.S. territoriesFor sponsors in AlaskaFor sponsors in Hawaii
For each additional person, add:$4,540$5,680$5,220

Tables last updated April 1, 2021. Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

To calculate the number of people in your household, you must include:

  • Yourself (sponsor)
  • Your spouse or relative (green card applicant)
  • Any unmarried children under age 21 (or the age of majority where they live)
  • Anyone else you claim as a dependent on your tax return
  • Anyone who will be applying for a green card and arriving to the United States with your spouse
  • Anyone else you are sponsoring on a separate Affidavit of Support
couple received marriage visa

Fiance visa vs. marriage visa: how to make the right choice 

Choosing the correct visa depends on many determinations for each case of marrying a foreign national. We recommend taking these factors into account: 

  1. Place of the wedding. The only K-1 visa assumes marriage on U.S. territory. If a couple wants to take a marriage only in the U.S., it’s the best option, but it would help if you were confident that 90 days is enough to plan a marriage. If the couple wants to marry abroad, it is possible to choose from marriage visas.
  2. Terms of the wedding. If you want to get married as soon as possible, look for marriage visas. Approving a K-1 can take around 5-10 months, and when you marry abroad, you can do it almost immediately. 
  3. Speed of moving to the U.S. If you want to start marrying a non-US citizen pretty fast, then a K-1 or K-3 visa is the optimal way. The terms of waiting for a K-1 visa is approximately 5-10 months and for K-3 is 3-12 months. Waiting for a spouse visa takes around 10-16 months. 
  4. Price of visa. Costs of permits differ because of different packs of documents and procedures. Marriage visas are cheaper. 
  5. Residence’s questions. If you want to get married for a permanent green card, you can choose between K-3 and CR-1 visas. But in any case, all visas give an indirect opportunity to get U.S. citizenship through marriage.

Think about the importance of each factor and make a conscious decision. And also, take a look at the table below.

Please note: marrying a foreigner on a tourist visa is not entirely correct. It will be challenging to prove the suddenly arisen feelings, and there is a significant risk of being refused a green card for a foreign spouse. If you don’t want to have a problem with immigration law, better to use special permits for marriage.

visa approved

Visa comparison table

We have collected the essential information on different types of visas so that you can quickly evaluate available options and make the right decision.

Visa / ConditionsK-1K-3CR-1IR-1
Total price (except medical exam, travel expenses, etc)$2,034$2,615$2,205+$2,205+
Place of wedding, U.S./AbroadU.S. Abroad Abroad  Abroad 
Visas for childrenYesYesYesYes
Term of receipt, month5-10 3-12 10-16 10-16 
Immigration status through marriageConditional ResidentPermanent ResidentConditional ResidentPermanent Resident
Validity90 days 2 years2 years10 years
Married term— No terms 0-2 years2 years +

To sum up: the most important about marriage visas

To summarize, here are the most important information about marriage visas:

  1. If you strive to marry a foreigner, you can choose between marriage visas or a fiance visa.
  2. The choice of visa depends on reasons: the place of the wedding, terms of marriage, speed of moving to the U.S., price of the visa.
  3. You can marry a foreigner upon reaching a certain income level.
  4. All visas allow the possibility of moving the children of a foreigner to the U.S.

Depending on your case, use a suitable marriage or fiance visa, but not a tourist visa. Then you will be sure that your spouse will receive a green card, and you can live a happy life in the U.S.

Paul Bloom
The creative jewel of our writing team, Paul Bloom, brings psychology into action and writes expert blog posts, recommendations, and top dating site reviews. Paul makes a comprehensive analysis of current dating trends and analyses them from a psychology perspective to create content that can help you meet a foreign partner, charm a girl you like, and build a happy relationship.
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