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Comparing the K-1, K-3, and Immigrant visas

 

U.S. citizens and their foreign fiance(e)s and spouses often wonder which visa to use and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each. The following chart below presents the characteristics of each and allows a side-by-side comparison. 

 

If you have more questions about which visa is more appropriate for you and your loved one's situation, please contact us for a consultation. 

 

 

 

K-1 Visa

K-3 Visa

IR-1 Visa

 

Visa type

 

Non-immigrant

 

Non-immigrant

 

Immigrant

Approximate total processing time

6-12 months

6-12 months

12-24 months

Where do I file the petition?

The BCIS

The BCIS

May file abroad

What petition form do I file?

I-129F 

I-129F and  I-130

I-130 

Are there any major restrictions I should know about?

Single entry. Valid for 6 months; to marry petitioner within 90 days of entry to the United States and must adjust status

Multiple entry. Valid for two years, but must adjust status   within 2 years

LPR status. Processing for green card begins on entry

Can my fiancée/fiancé or spouse take her/his children?

Yes.  Only unmarried children under 21 but must be issued K-2 visa within one year of the K-1 issuance

Yes.  Only unmarried children under 21 but must be issued K-4 visa within one year of the K-3 issuance

Yes. Separate IR-2 petitions must be filed for each child.  Stepchild must be  younger than 18 years old at time of parent’s marriage

Is an interview required?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Do I submit the I-134 Affidavit of Support?

Yes

Yes

No

Does the Embassy need the original petition & documents from BCIS?

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

 

 

   
   

 

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