Differences Between a Fiance Visa and a Marriage-Based Visa

  • By: Serving Immigrants
  • Published: April 1, 2021
Differences Between a Fiance Visa and a Marriage-Based Visa

Differences Between a Fiance Visa and a Marriage-Based Visa


If you are a United States citizen and your fiancé lives overseas, you have an important decision to make. Should you bring your fiancé over to the U.S., or should you marry them overseas and then bring them over as your spouse? Factors such as timing, your personal preference as to where to hold the wedding, and expense can all play a part in your decision.


Fiance Visa

A fiancé visa, also known as a K-1 visa, is issued to a foreign national who is engaged and intends to marry a U.S. citizen. Before filing for a fiance visa, a couple must show that they have seen each other in person within the last two (2) years. The foreign partner must marry the U.S. citizen within ninety (90) days of being admitted to the United States. The U.S. citizen partner must meet the income level of 100% of the federal poverty line. You must be able to establish that you have concrete wedding plans and that your relationship is bona fide.


Marriage-Based Visa

A marriage-based visa requires that the foreign national be legally married to a U.S. citizen prior to applying for the visa. You must prove that your marriage isn’t fraudulent and that you are not married to anyone else. The U.S. citizen spouse must earn at least 125% of the federal poverty guidelines.


Differences to Consider

There are some other differences between these visas that should be considered, including:

  • Cost—as of early 2021, the government fees associated with a fiancé visa total approximately $2,025. The costs for a marriage-based visa total $1,200.
  • Time—with a fiancé visa, the foreign national can typically come to the U.S. within seven (7) months of the application. The marriage-based visa can take up to thirteen (13) months to be completed.
  • Where do you want to get married—it is important to consider where you want to get married, which can depend on where your friends or family are located. One solution to this dilemma may be to have a celebration that is separate from an actual wedding ceremony.

Questions about the fiance visa? We can help!

If you are trying to decide between a fiancé visa and a marriage-based visa, then you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney. At Serving Immigrants, we can help you make the best decision for your family. Contact us online or call us at 305-924-1133 to schedule a consultation.

Magdalena Cuprys, Esq.

As an immigrant and a refugee herself, attorney Magdalena Cuprys understands how
important, terrifying, and exciting immigrating to America can be. She understands
how important it is to have one’s legal status in order to achieve the American dream.

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