Should I Marry my British Fiance in the UK or the US?

If you are reading this, chances are you are an American who fell in love with a Brit, or a Brit who fell in love with an American. This post will focus on couples who plan to get married and settle in the United States, and wish for the British citizen to obtain permanent residency in the US with a green card. If you are looking to settle in the UK, go here.

We will go over the pros and cons of each option, and try to give some insight to what to expect for each that will help you make the right decisions.

Option: Getting married in the UK, then immigrating to the US.

married couple in UKIf you want to get married in the UK, then return back to the US to settle, the US citizen will first need to obtain a Marriage Visitor Visa. It’s different than a UK Fiance Visa, which is intended for those settling in the UK. This visa is required to enter the UK with the intent to marry but not settle. You will need to make sure your marriage is legally recognized in order to make the second half of this process possible – The CR-1 Spousal Visa required for the British citizen to come to the US and settle.

Once the US citizen gets this visa, which usually takes around 2 to 4 weeks to obtain, he or she can travel to the UK, then get married. This visa allows the US citizen to spend no more than 6 months in the United Kingdom.

After marriage, you can immediately begin the UK citizen’s CR-1 Spousal Visa application. This generally takes between 6 and 7 months. During this time, the US citizen could stay in the UK for the duration of their visa, but there likely will be some time that the couple is apart. This is one of the hardest parts of this process, for family, emotional and financial reasons.

Big BenOnce the CR-1 is granted, the UK citizen can enter the Unite States, and receive the green card in two to three weeks. Once received, they can legally work in the US, and exit the US for trips. Generally, the next steps are removal of conditions and then naturalization.

What kinda costs are we looking at?

For this option, you can expect the following costs:

  • Marriage Visitor Visa application: (£83/≈$125)
  • Trip cost for US citizen to travel to the UK (cost varies)
  • Wedding in UK: (≈£18,244/≈$27,500 – based on UK average wedding)
  • CR-1 Spousal Visa process: ($1,680/≈£1,120 – includes government fees – based on RapidVisa’s low costs)
  • Trip cost for UK citizen to travel to the US (cost varies)

How long should we expect this to take?

  • Marriage Visitor Visa: 2 to 4 weeks
  • Wedding Period: (varies)
  • CR-1 Spousal Visa Process: 6-7 months

Things to consider:

  • Make sure everyone meets all the requirements for their respective visas.
  • Consider how much time apart you are willing to bear.
  • Make sure both citizens have their respective passports.
  • Plan ahead, because the process is already long, and lack of planning can prolong it.

Option: Getting married in the USA and settling there after marriage.

If you intend to marry before traveling to the States together…

Statue of LibertyOne option that many of our customers choose is to get a K-1 Fiance Visa, which allows the UK citizen to enter the US with the intent to marry, get married, then adjust status to a permanent resident. While this is usually the quickest option, it is by no means a breeze.

What kinda costs are we looking at?

For this option, you can expect the following costs:

How long should we expect this to take?

  • K-1 Fiance Visa: 5-6 month wait until able to enter US and marry.
  • Adjustment of Status: 5-6 month wait for green card (to be able to work and re-exit the US)

Things to consider:

  • The US sponsor must be able to support the UK citizen via income, assets, or joint sponsor.
  • Consider how much time apart you are willing to bear.
  • Keep in mind the UK citizen will be in the US for up to 6 months without the ability to work, until the green card is granted.
  • Plan ahead, because the process is already long, and lack of planning can prolong it.

If the UK citizen was present in the US without the intent to marry then decided to get married…

uscisIf a UK citizen were visiting the US, without the intent to marry, for example, on the visa waiver program, and decided to get married during their stay, they could simply adjust status and stay in the US as a permanent resident. If you attempt to adjust status like this even though you had the intention to marry, you may be in violation of law, and could face criminal action, including but not limited to deportation and permanent ban from the US. We highly urge you to avoid hardship and possible life-changing consequences by only choosing this method if you truly qualify.

What kinda costs are we looking at?

For this option, you can expect the following costs:

How long should we expect this to take?

  • Adjustment of Status: 5-6 month wait for green card (to be able to work and re-exit the US)

Things to consider:

  • If you try adjusting status on a tourist visa or visa waiver when you actually knew you were going to get married before you came, you will be in violation of US law and could be deported.

Click here to read testimonials of our UK customers



Disclaimer: The information herein is not intended as legal advice and is provided for general information only.Questions involving interpretation of specific U.S. laws should be addressed to an attorney and/or government officials.

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Disclaimer: The information herein is not intended as legal advice and is provided for general information only.Questions involving interpretation of specific U.S. laws should be addressed to an attorney and/or government officials.

Get free email updates when we post!

 


Disclaimer: The information herein is not intended as legal advice and is provided for general information only.Questions involving interpretation of specific U.S. laws should be addressed to an attorney and/or government officials.

Get free email updates when we post!

 
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