Which visa is best?
We often get asked, “which is better, the K1 fiancé visa, spousal visa, or K3 visa?” The answer to that question is, there is no answer. There is no one visa that is right for everyone. Some will prefer to use the spousal visa, while for other couples the K1 fiance visa will be better suited. The K3 visa is obsolete and seldom used anymore, click on this link to see why the K3 has become the dinosaur of marriage based visas.
Here we will discuss the differences between the K1 (fiancé) and the CR1/IR1 (spousal) visa and the pros and cons of each. In a nutshell, the K1 is a couple of months faster, and by the time one adjusts status to get the green card, costs about $1000 more.
With the K1, once a visa is issued, the beneficiary has 4-6 months from the time of the completed medical exam in which to enter the US. Once in the US, the beneficiary has 90 days in which to marry the petitioner or leave the country. They then must adjust status and apply for the green card and work permit. This costs $1070 and takes an additional 4-6 months.
With the spousal visa, once a visa is issued, the beneficiary has 4-6 months from the time of the completed medical to enter the US. Once in the US, the green card and SS card applications are already completed and will arrive in the mail in 2-4 weeks. They are then done for at least two years, no adjustment of status is needed, no waiting for employment authorization, etc.
One other factor in the spousal visa is marrying in the Philippines, which can be troublesome for some. Read this article for info on marrying in the Philippines.
So while some will opt for the faster visa issuance date the K1 will provide, others will always choose to marry in the Philippines and be done with the process for a while upon entry to the USA.