“Is the paperwork different between the spousal visa and fiance visa in the Philippines”
Yes. The two processes are as different as day and night. The forms are different, the process is different, and actually, the CR-1 spousal visa is a lot more complicated. But the nice thing about a spousal visa is it also provides a green card.
If having the green card immediately upon entering is important to you, you could actually save time and money in the long run by filing for a spousal visa instead. The fiance visa is a little bit shorter and quicker up front, but in the long run, because it does not include the green card, is actually longer and more expensive in the long run.
Getting Married in the Philippines isn’t a Cake Walk
One thing to keep in mind, you mentioned getting married in the Philippines. The Philippines is a little different when it comes to getting married because you have to go to the local civil registrar’s office and get the marriage license. They’ll take that marriage license, post up on a bulletin board for 10 business days (doesn’t include weekends). All in all, you are looking at about two weeks just to get the marriage license. Once you get the marriage license, you have to schedule a marriage through either a church, or a magistrate, or a local judge. Then you’ll get married, then you have to take the paperwork and file it with the PSA (Philippines Statistics Authority). It is possible that it takes two to three months to get your paperwork back from the PSA, and you cannot start the visa process until you have that certified marriage certificate from the PSA.
So keep in mind, right now, the spousal visa’s taking about anywhere from 7-10 months on average to process with the USCIS, National Visa Center and the interview at the embassy. On top of that, you’ve got two to three months just to get the marriage certificate, so it could be a long process. That’s why a lot of our customers choose to go with the fiance visa because you don’t have to wait all that time.