Which is Faster? K1 Visa or Marriage Green Card

Which is Faster K1 Visa or Marriage Green Card

You might be wondering what's faster, a K1 fiance visa or a marriage-based green card?  In this article, we will answer that question, and you might be surprised by the answer.  Between a K1 fiance visa or a marriage-based green card, they are both faster . . . in different ways.  Confused?  Not to worry, read on.   


We are Ashoori Law, led by Michael Ashoori, a U.S. immigration lawyer based in Los Angeles, California.  At our law firm we work with clients from all over the world, and we regularly post articles and videos to make sure that you are up to date with the latest immigration news.  If, after reading this article, you have more questions, then we invite you to contact us at Ashoori Law.  Feel free to call us at +1-818-741-1117 or you may schedule a free consultation by clicking this link.


Defining the Two Visas


A K1 fiance visa is a special visa that a U.S. citizen can petition with USCIS to get a visa for their fiance who is outside of the United States.  Once the fiance enters the United States, the couple can then get married; and once the couple is married, the fiance who entered on the K1 fiance visa can apply for a green card through a process called an adjustment of status.


A marriage-based green card is different from a K1 fiance visa.  The way a marriage-based green card works is that, first and foremost, the couple must already be married.  Once the couple is married, the U.S. citizen or the lawful permanent resident can file an immigrant petition on behalf of his or her spouse. And along with that immigrant petition, the citizen or permanent resident must include various documents, showing that the couple is in a bona fide marriage.


If the immigrant spouse is lawfully in the United States, then they will likely do an adjustment of status.  If, however, the spouse is outside the United States, then he or she will likely apply for their immigrant visa at the appropriate time via consular processing.  Now let's get into the question of this article, which process is faster?


So, Which is Faster?


Consider this hypothetical scenario.  In the case of a K1 fiance visa, the petitioner is a U.S. citizen and his fiance is outside of the United States.  Similarly, in the context of a marriage-based green card, assume that the petitioner is a U.S. citizen and his spouse is outside of the United States and will, therefore, be required to do immigrant visa processing.  So, with that framework, let's explain the answer.


The K1 fiance visa is an option that allows the U.S. citizen to file a petition with USCIS, called the Form I-129F. This petition is filed while the immigrant fiance remains outside of the US. Once that petition gets approved, then the foreign fiance can apply for her K1 fiance visa to enter the United States through consular processing. 


By contrast, with the marriage-based green card, the U.S. petitioner will file a Form I-130and again, the immigration spouse will remain outside of the US while it processes.  Once that is approved, then the foreign spouse can apply for their immigrant visa to enter the United States through consumer processing.  Generally speaking, the I-129F, the form that's required for the K1 fiance visa, generally processes faster than the I-130.  So, generally speaking, the I-129F processes fasterAnd, therefore, it's generally a quicker process to receive an approved K1 fiance visa to enter the United States than it is to receive a marriage based visa and enter the US. 


However, which option is faster at getting the person the green card? As noted before, the K1 fiance visa is for couples who are not yet married.  The fiance applies for their visa to come to the United States.  Once in the United States, the couple then gets married, and the foreign fiance can apply for their green card.  As you can see, there are a number of different steps in that equation. The U.S. citizen has to file a petition with USCIS. The petition has to get approved. Then the fiance can apply for their visa. Then the fiancé gets the visa approved, comes to the United States, the couple gets married, and the fiance then applies for their green card through the adjustment of status process.  A lot of different steps.


Yet, with the marriage-based green card process, the couple is already married.  So, the U.S. citizen files the form I-130.  Once approved, the foreign spouse applies for their immigrant visa and enters the United States.  Upon initial admission to the United States, the immigrating spouse becomes a green card holder, i.e, a lawful permanent resident.  (Depending on the situation, she/he may either be a conditional green card holder or a ten-year green card holder). 

Which is Faster K1 Visa or Marriage Green Card
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As a review, the K1 fiance visa is faster, generally speaking, for somebody to enter the United States. However, the marriage-based green card process is faster, generally, for somebody to actually obtain their lawful permanent resident status (get their green card).


My name is Michael Ashoori and I'm a U.S. immigration lawyer and the founder of Ashoori Law. As an immigration lawyer, I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.  If you have any questions, feel free to schedule a free consultation by clicking this link.

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Michael Ashoori, Esq.

President of Ashoori Law

I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.

Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.

Got a question? Send me an email.