Compare Fiance Visa vs K3 Visa vs Immigrant Visa

 
Fiance Visa
K3 Visa
Immigrant Visa
Sponsor eligibility
Only U.S. citizen
Only U.S. citizen
U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
Marriage place
USA
Outside USA
Outside USA
Duration to enter U.S.
Shortest
Not too much slower than Fiance Visa
Longer
Unlikely to be able to enter U.S. meanwhile
May be faster than K3 sometimes
Duration to get green card
Longer
Longer
Shorter
Chance to get to know your fiance better before marriage
Yes
90 days period
No
No
Travel outside U.S. while pending green card
Advance parole required
Advance parole not required
Freely allowed to travel in and out of U.S. as green card holder
Work permit
Can work after getting social security card and EAD
Can work after getting social security card and EAD
Can work instantly after arrival in the U.S.
Relationship failure before getting green card
No option to adjust status and must leave U.S.
No option to adjust status and must leave U.S.
Can't get green card
Visa extension before filing adjustment of status
Not allowed
Allowed
N/A

While an immigrant visa process is overall faster to get the green card (typically, 1 year to 18 months, but it all depends upon the USCIS, consulate etc.), they (spouse/children) enter the U.S. with a green card.

Through a K3/K4 visa, spouse and children will be able to arrive in the U.S. in around 6 to 8 months (again, it depends), it will take several years to eventually get a green card through adjustment of status.

If you have children between the ages of 18 and 21 who are not the natural children of your US spouse-to-be, choose a fiance visa (K1 or K3). Due to a strange twist in immigration laws, children under 21 can accompany a fiance on their visa, but only children under 18 can accompany a just-married spouse on an immigrant visa - if the U.S. citizen spouse is not the children's biological parent.

While comparing the choices, where available, Direct Consular Filing (DCF) is preferred as it is quickest. It is similar to an immigrant visa, but several steps are combined into one. However, DCF should be used for straightforward cases only. If there are any adverse factors, such as criminal record, serious illness, or previous out of status time, DCF may not work. Also, the procedures at various consulates keep changing and they may or may not be allowing DCF at any given time. DCF is available only to U.S. citizen-foreign national marriage and not available for permanent residents.

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