Chicago Immigration Attorney

What Is the Difference Between a Fiancé Visa & Marriage Visa?

Couples often have difficulty understanding the difference between a fiancé(e) visa and a marriage visa. If you plan to build your life as a married couple in the United States, but you or your partner isn’t a U.S. citizen, you will need to know which visa to apply for.

Fiancé Visa Vs. Marriage Visa

The primary difference between a fiancé(e) visa and a marriage visa is that with a fiancé(e) visa, the couple can marry in the United States. In contrast, a marriage visa requires the couple to marry outside of the U.S.

Fiancé Visa

A fiancé visa (also known as a K-1 visa) allows a foreign fiancé(e) to marry and live in the United States. The foreign partner would be able to travel to the United States with a K-1 visa and marry their sponsor within 90 days. The partner who is a U.S. citizen can sponsor the other to obtain a visa. U.S. green card holders are not eligible to apply for fiancé visas.

You and your fiancé(e) must prove that your relationship is authentic—through photos, correspondence, and written statements from people who know you as a couple. You must also prove that you have met in person at least once in the past two years; however, this requirement can be waived for religious practices.

Marriage-Based Green Card

The marriage green card process is initiated with an I-130 petition. Only U.S. citizens and U.S. green card holders can file an I-130 petition. To qualify, you and your spouse must have a legally valid marriage, typically proven with a marriage certificate showing both spouses’ names and marriage dates. You must also prove that any previous marriages have been terminated and that your marriage is not fraudulent. You can verify this by providing evidence like joint leases, joint bank accounts, pictures of you together, and more.

If you need legal guidance with your fiancé(e) or marriage-based green card, contact our Chicago immigration attorneys today at (312) 471-0014!