Which Path Should I Choose? File a K1-Visa or Get Married and File an I-130.

Which Path Should I Choose? File a K1-Visas or Get Married and File an I-130.

The goal of our immigration law firm is to help fellow immigrants achieve their American dream. In addition, many of them wish to get their loved ones into the United States. Our clients often ask, “What is the best or quickest way to get my spouse or fiancé to the United States? Do I file for a K-Visa or get married and file an I-130? Well, the short answer is it depends on the situation. 

In this article, immigration attorney Ifeoma Odunlami discusses the process of both the fiancé visa (K-Visa) and marriage-based petition, which is consular processing (I-130), along with the concerns and benefits of each.

*Please note this article is not an actual consultation or legal advice; this is for informational purposes only. The more information you have, the more empowered and informed immigrants can be. Our goal is to empower immigrants and provide knowledge so they can receive their green cards and ultimately become U.S. citizens. 

If you need additional guidance, our immigration law firm in New Jersey can help you submit your petition. In addition, we work with clients locally, nationwide, and internationally.

What is the K-1 Visa or fiancé Visa?

The K-1 Visa, also known as the fiancé, is a non-immigration visa that allows you to come to the United States. However, to apply for a K-1 visa, you must be a U.S. Citizen, not just a green card holder or permanent resident. You also must have seen your fiancé in the past two years in person. When you file for a K-1 Visa, you also have to include a statement of intention (I29F) that you will marry within 90 days of your partner arriving in the United States. Once you receive your visa stamp, you must come to the United States within six months.

A K-1 Visa is a seven-step process, whereas a marriage-based visa is a four-step process.

The seven steps for applying for the K-1 Visa or fiancé Visa

To start your petition, you must file form I29. Once approved, you must complete the DS 160 through the National Visa Center (NVC). Once that is approved and all the correct documents have been submitted. 

The petition will be moved to your fiancé’s home country. The next step is a counselor interview will be scheduled. If the interview is approved, your fiancé will receive their K1 Visa. 

Next, you must arrive in the United States within six months, and then you must marry in the United States within 90 days. After that, you have to file your adjustment of status. When you file your adjustment of status, you will also receive a work permit and a travel visa. 

*Note that the adjustment of status can take up to four to eight months. 

You will be called to appear for an adjustment of status interview. If you are approved, you will then receive your green card.

How Long Is the K-1 Visa Process?

The K1 Visa can be a longer process longer because you must have two interviews and the green card process. However, if you wish to come to the United States as soon as possible, and you are okay with waiting for your papers, not working, and waiting for your green card. Then, the K1 Visa might be the best option for you. 

However, if a K1 Visa is not the best option for you, then you will want to marry your spouse and wait in your home country, work, and wait in your home country for your green card. This option is called a marriage-based petition or consular process, which is a four-step process.

Do I have to marry the person who applied for my K1 Visa?

Yes, you must marry the person who filed your petition. If you decide not to marry that person, you cannot adjust your status in the United States even if you marry a U.S. Citizen later. Instead, you must leave the United States and come back again through consular processing. To adjust your status and receive your green card, you must marry the person who filed the petition for you.

The four steps for applying for a marriage-based petition or I-130

To be approved for a marriage-based petition, the petition has to be either a green card holder or a U.S. citizen. The first step is the fun part, and that is getting married. If you are a green card holder, you have to wait for your priority dates to be reached before moving to the next step. However, if you are a U.S. Citizen, there is no waiting; your case is moved to the National Visa Center (NVC). Then, you will complete the DS-260 and submit all the documents. Next, your case will be moved to the immigrant’s home country, and a consular interview will be scheduled. They will stamp your green card if you meet all the requirements during the interview. This stamp allows you to travel to the United States. Upon arrival, you pay your fee and receive your green card.

The difference between K-1 Visa and I-130

It is important to remember that the K-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa, whereas the marriage-based petition (I-130) is a direct path to a green card. Therefore, if you want to get your green card as soon as possible, it would be best to take the path of a marriage-based petition. Also, the K-1 Visa is more expensive by about $1,000 because you have to do the adjustment of status.

What path should you take if you have children? The K-1 Visa or the I-130?

If you have unmarried children under the age of 21 and you file for a fiancé Visa, they can be included as part of your petition as derivatives with a k2 Visa. 

Suppose you’re a U.S Citizen filing for a marriage-based petition, and your spouse has children. Unfortunately, the children cannot be beneficiaries because you have to file for the children separately in separate petitions. The reason is that with a marriage-based petition, there is no wait to get your green card.

However, if you are a green card holder and your spouse has unmarried children under 21, the children can be beneficiaries of the green card petition. 

Also, if you are a U.S. citizen filing a marriage-based petition for a step-child, the relationship must have occurred before the step-child turns 18. So, if the child is unmarried and older than 18, you would probably want to file for a K-1 Visa so that everyone can come to the United States. Then, you need to file your adjustment status before the child turns 21 so the child can get their green card without having to file a separate petition.  

 If you have additional questions or are looking for a consultation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our immigration law firm. We pride ourselves in thinking outside the box to help you figure out the information you need to help you with your case. 

*Please note this article is not an actual consultation or legal advice; this is for informational purposes only. The more information you have, the more empowered and informed immigrants can be. Our goal is to empower immigrants and provide knowledge so they can receive their green cards and ultimately become U.S. citizens.

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Which Path Should I Choose? File a K1-Visas or Get Married and File an I-130?

Which Path Should I Choose? File a K1-Visas or Get Married and File an I-130?

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If you have any additional questions about obtaining your green card or are looking for immigration services, don’t hesitate to contact the Odunlami Law Firm at 973-993-1900 or email us at support@odunlamilaw.com.

We can help you will your immigration needs.

Areas of Immigration Law:

 
  • Naturalization (Citizenship) Application

  • Immigrant Relative Petitions

  • Fiancé Visa Applications

  • Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing

  • Criminal Consequences and Deportation Defense

  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Application

  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

  • Green Card Renewals

  • Temporary Work Visas

  • Temporary Protected Status

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

  • Waivers

Categories

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