I’m In Love with a Foreigner…Now What?

K-1 VISA vs. IMMIGRANT VISA

k-1 visa

The internet continues to make the world smaller and smaller. We are able to make connections with people all over the globe with just a few quick clicks of a mouse. Sometimes these connections develop into romantic relationships, and suddenly you find yourself in love with someone living on the other side of the world. Or perhaps a chance meeting while vacationing in another country led you to the love of your life. However you came to find yourself in love with a foreigner, one question typically arises: Now what?

If you are ready to take the leap and begin the process of bringing the love of your life to the United States, you have two main options to do so. The first is to apply for the K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa in order to get married in the United States. The second is to marry abroad and apply for the Immigrant Visa. So, which option is better for you? Ultimately, the answer depends on your unique situation. Caruso Law Group has prepared a list of pros and cons to help you make that choice:

How soon can I begin the application process?

If you have been in the same place at the same time within the past two years, you can begin the process of filing for the K-1 Visa today. If you have not satisfied the two-year in-person meeting requirement, you will need to be together in person prior to starting the K-1 application process. If you are not yet married, you will need to travel abroad and marry your significant other before beginning the process of applying for the Immigrant Visa. If you are already married, you can begin the process of filing for the Immigrant Visa today.

ADVANTAGE: It’s a draw and completely dependent on your situation.

How quickly will the love of my life be able to come to the United States?

Typically, the K-1 Visa process takes 6-8 months from the time the initial I-129F Petition is submitted to USCIS until the K-1 visa is issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The Immigrant Visa Process typically takes 10-12 months from the time the initial I-130 Petition is submitted to USCIS until the Immigrant Visa is issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

ADVANTAGE: K-1 Visa

How much will it cost to bring the love of my life to the United States (and get him or her a green card)?**

There are several fees that must be paid to the U.S. government for both applications. The first step in either application is the petition (I-129F for the K-1 Visa and I-130 for the Immigrant Visa) and both petitions have a filing fee of $535.00. Following the approval of the petition, visa fees must be paid to continue the process. The visa fees for the Immigrant Visa total $445.00. The visa fee for the K-1 Visa is $265. Once the Immigrant Visa is approved, a final fee of $220.00 must be paid for production and delivery of the green card. Once your loved one enters the United States with the K-1 Visa, you must marry and then submit an Adjustment of Status application for your loved one to receive a green card. The filing fee for the Adjustment of Status application is $1,225.00.

Total cost for the K-1 Visa and Adjustment of Status applications: $1,925.00

Total cost for the Immigrant Visa application: $1,200.00

ADVANTAGE: Immigrant Visa

**Important Note: The filing fees listed above are current as of August 2017. USCIS and Department of State filing fees are subject to change. Legal fees paid to an attorney’s office for assistance in preparing and submitting immigration applications are separate from filing fees. Contact Caruso Law Group for a free consultation to discuss our legal fees for the K-1 and Immigrant Visa applications.

Will my loved one be able to work after arriving in the United States?

If your loved one enters with an Immigrant Visa: yes. He or she is eligible to work immediately upon entry to the United States.

If your loved one enters with a K-1 Visa: most likely no. Your loved one may request a stamp in his or her passport authorizing employment, but it is usually not provided upon entry.

ADVANTAGE: Immigrant Visa

Is there anything else I have to do once my loved one enters the United States?

If your loved one enters on the Immigrant Visa: no. Your loved one will need to keep track of the expiration date on his or her green card to renew it down the road, but otherwise, no.

If your loved one enters on the K-1 Visa: yes. You will need to marry within 90 days of his or her entry to the United States with the K-1 Visa and then file an Adjustment of Status application for his or her green card after you marry.

ADVANTAGE: Immigrant Visa

Do I need an attorney to help me file?

Totally your call. Both the K-1 Visa and Immigrant Visa applications have multiple steps in the process and involve several immigration agencies. The applications themselves have different requirements for what forms, documents, and relationship evidence are required. The team at Caruso Law Group has helped clients through both the K-1 Visa and Immigrant Visa process with success. It is our goal at Caruso Law Group to make either of these processes as easy for you and your loved one as possible so you can focus on maintaining your long-distance relationship without the added stress of navigating the visa application process alone. If you are considering hiring an attorney to help you file for either visa, contact Attorney Vanessa Caruso for a free consultation. Please remember, every case has different legal and factual scenarios. While Caruso Law Group will do its best to get the cases it works on approved, we cannot guarantee success.