What’s the Difference Between a Fiance Visa and a Spousal Visa? [Video]

fiance or spousal visa? If you are not quite sure which visa you should apply for for to bring your loved one to the USA, this post should give insight to all the differences and pros and cons of each. If you are not yet married, you will want to put some thought into both options before making wedding arrangements. If you’re already married, the spousal visa is your only option as the K1 fiance visa only applies to unmarried, engaged couples.

Although we can’t recommend a visa type for you, we can give you a fair comparison so you can decide what works best for you.

There are 6 basic aspects to consider when comparing the 2 paths.

1. How quickly can my fiance get here?

The visa process has several stages and different steps. We have other resources for more detail on the K-1 fiancee visa timeline and CR-1 spousal visa timeline.

The fiance visa is generally several weeks faster from the time of application to the time the visa is issued. If getting your fiance to the US as quick as possible is your only concern, the fiance visa is worth your consideration.

2. How quickly can my fiance get a green card.

Permanent residency card (green card)

The green card is required if the alien fiance wants to legally work in the US or travel abroad. If you opt for the K-1 fiance visa, your fiance will need to adjust their status, which takes another 5 to 6 months.

In the case of a CR-1 spousal visa, the green card is included, and presented upon entry to the USA.

So if your priority is being able to work and travel as quickly as possible, the spousal visa is 5 to 6 months quicker than the fiance visa.

3. What’s the cost difference?

The cost of the CR-1 spousal visa is going to run several hundred to a thousand dollars more than the K-1 fiance visa… Initially.

Just remember the K-1 visa doesn’t include the green card, and if you factor in the cost to adjust your status, the CR-1 is much more affordable in the big picture. Adjusting your status is going to be over $1,000 more than the initial K1 visa.

4. Which one is more likely to be approved?

Immigration fraud areas
Some regions are more prone to K-1 denials due to the level of immigration fraud. If you suspect this, call us.

If you go with RapidVisa, your likelihood of approval with either of these visas is very high. Over 99%. However, it is our experience that if the applicant comes from a region where immigration fraud is more prevalent, the fiance visa has a much higher denial rate.

It may be a safer bet to opt for the spousal visa if this is the case – Because the act of marrying usually overcomes the hurdle of proving your relationship is bona fide. Give us a call if you have any concerns that would raise your risk of a fiance visa denial.

5. Can I bring my children?

If the alien spouse has children, if they are young enough and not married, they may be eligible to come over with their parent.

On a CR-1 spousal visa, as long as you married before the child’s 18’th birthday, and apply for the visa before the child’s 21’st birthday, the child can accompany the alien parent on a CR-2 visa.

On a K-1 fiance visa, the child qualifies if they are unmarried and under age 21 by the day they enter the US on an accompanying K-2 visa.

6. Which way is easier?

If you want to come over on a spousal visa, you’ll probably be getting married outside the US. Make sure you look at the country of marriage’s requirements, laws and challenges. Check out our interactive map with information on 179 countries. Some countries are easier to get married in than others.

For example, if you are getting married in the Philippines, there is a 10 day waiting period from the time you file your application to the time the wedding certificate is issued. This is the kind of thing you’ll want to look into to make sure you plan the right amount of time in country and don’t miss any country specific protocol.



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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17 Responses

  1. My interest is an “Adjust Your Status” as I’am currently in the USA with a travel waivor ( 5year ) ( B1/B2 ).
    My comment and/or question is; Could I be eligible to “Adjust my status” being that I have a criminal record in Canada ( the case was from 1989,ajudicated in 2005 )? I’am married to an American Citizen (we were married in Houston Tx in 1999.

    Thank you in advance for any information that would assist my in my situation.
    Sincerely, G.Norman Lambert

    • George, Please call our office for case specific questions. If you require legal help our agents can determine that and get you to our staff attorneys. If it’s clear cut, our agents will also be able to help.

    • @jeneffer As soon as you have a marriage certificate in hand you should qualify under the requirements, assuming you meet all the other requirements. Give us a call for any specific situations.

  2. I’m interest in information on the K1 visa. My fiancee is in Cuba and we would like to marry in the USA. What would be the procedure to start the K1. What information do I need from him and myself. What would be the cost. And how long does it take since it starts the procedure until he can come to Miami. Thank you Mary

  3. My Filipina wife and I were married 5/28/15 on a K-1 visa. The K-1 visa expires 7/26/15.
    Her passport was stamped on entry to the USA to be good ’til 8/9/15. We do not intend to apply for AOS as we plan to go back to the PH due to her business interests there. We plan to apply for CR-1 when/if we plan to return to the USA. I have medical issues that need to be addressed while in the USA. These issues could take up to mid-Sept. If we stay here until that time will that create problems for my wife to be able to return to the USA in the future on a CR-1?

  4. Hi i would like to ask if you entertains fiance visa, we would like to apply fiance visa.. my boyfriend is from australia. How much is the total charges or payments on that.. how much is the medical.. what hospital will i go during medical… you have a qualified hospitals here in cebu or i should go to manila for medical

  5. Hi! I sent my 1-130 form on sep 2015 for my spouse that lives in Mexico, and I got the notification on Oct 4th.
    My question is how convenient is to ask for a k3 visa, for speed up the process.

  6. I am in the USA on J1 visa bearing the two year home residency requirements. But I actually fled into the US to seek for political asylum which I applied for and it’s pending.
    But I fell in love with a US citizen and we plan to get married. So can I possibly adjust my status after we get married given that I am also waiting for asylum decision?

  7. We are getting married in two weeks. He is American and I am Canadian., I want to work ASAP in the USA (I am Canadian) however we have a cruise booked for Jan 14,2017 (visiting the islands outside of the USA). Can all be done before Jan 2017 and will I be able to go on the cruise? I just moved in with my American fiancé in the USA, do I have to leave the USA?

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