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Fiance Visa vs Marriage Green Card: Making the Right Immigration Decision

28 Nov, 2023

If you’re facing the decision between a fiance visa and a marriage green card, there are numerous factors to consider. Immigration lawyer John Kraie provides valuable insight into the 10 key considerations for making this important choice. From processing complexity to costs and long-term implications, this comprehensive guide covers the essential aspects of each option.

Understanding Fiance Visa vs Marriage Green Card

In this context, a US citizen is petitioning for a foreign fiance. Fiance visas are exclusively for US citizens, requiring that the couple is not married but has met within the last two years. On the other hand, a marriage green card application is for couples who are already married and seeking permanent residency for the foreign spouse.

Processing Complexity

The fiance visa involves multiple steps, including notifying the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), obtaining approval, embassy interviews, and visa acquisition. Additionally, after entering the US, the couple must marry within 90 days and apply for an adjustment of status. In contrast, the marriage green card process is completed after the initial steps, with no further requirements post-entry.

Timetables

As of late 2023, the processing times for the fiance visa and marriage green card have significantly varied. While both involve waiting periods, the fiance visa processing times have been notably longer than those for marriage green card applications.

Costs Associated

Both options come with government fees, but the fiance visa incurs additional expenses for the adjustment of status after entry, resulting in a higher overall cost compared to the marriage green card.

Work Authorization

Fiance visa holders are not permitted to work upon entry to the US and must apply for a work permit, leading to delays in employment. Conversely, those entering on a marriage green card are immediately eligible to seek employment.

Travel Permission

Individuals with a marriage green card have more flexibility in travel, whereas those with a fiance visa face restrictions and may need to obtain advanced parole for emergency trips.

Removal of Conditions

Filing for the removal of conditions is a potential requirement for both options, but it is more common for those with a fiance visa, leading to additional paperwork and costs.

Apply for Citizenship

The timeline for eligibility to apply for US citizenship differs between the two options, with marriage green card holders having an advantage in expediting the process.

Process Streamlining

The marriage green card process has a more standardized approach, while the fiance visa process varies based on the procedures of individual embassies, resulting in increased complexity and potential challenges.

Fiance Visa as a Non-immigrant Visa

Despite being categorized as a non-immigrant visa, the fiance visa often functions more like an immigrant visa in practice, creating ambiguity and potential inconsistencies in treatment.

Varied Treatment and Implications

Differences in how fiance visas and marriage green cards are treated, especially during exceptional circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic, can have significant implications for applicants.


In conclusion, while there are rare scenarios where a fiance visa may be suitable, the majority of cases tend to favor the marriage green card option due to its streamlined process, fewer complexities, and long-term benefits. It’s crucial for individuals facing this decision to seek personalized legal guidance based on their unique circumstances to make an informed choice.

For more in-depth insights and personalized advice tailored to your specific situation, consider downloading the Ultimate Marriage Green Card guide at marriageimmigrationlaw.com and scheduling a consultation with immigration attorney John Kraie. Making the right immigration decision is vital, and expert guidance can make the process smoother and more successful.

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