Marriage Visa vs Fiance Visa: Which one is faster?

Are you and your fiancé facing the dilemma of choosing between a fiancé visa and a spouse visa? Are you puzzled by the conflicting opinions regarding which one is faster? Well, you’re not alone. In the complex world of immigration, everyone seems to have an opinion, and it can be overwhelming for couples just starting their immigration journey. But fear not; we’re here to break down USCIS wait times and shed light on the current situation to help you make an informed decision and get your immigration process started.

USCIS Wait Times: Just the Beginning

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is your first stop in the immigration process. Here, you prove your eligibility and the authenticity of your relationship based on love. However, it’s essential to understand that USCIS is just the initial phase in your immigration journey. Your case, whether it’s a spouse visa or fiancé visa, will move on to the National Visa Center (NVC) and eventually to the U.S. embassy or consulate abroad where your immigrant beneficiary resides. So, while USCIS provides valuable estimates, it’s crucial to recognize that other wait times will factor into the equation.

The USCIS Wait Times

As of now, USCIS is reporting wait times of approximately 12 to 15.5 months for the I-130 petition for the spouse visa and 14 to 16 months for the fiancé visa. On the surface, it may seem like the spouse visa is slightly faster, but there’s more to consider.

Tracking Wait Times

In reality, we’ve observed that both the fiancé visa and spouse visa cases are progressing at a similar pace, with decisions coming in around the same time. While USCIS estimates are a useful starting point, they are subject to fluctuations. In recent times, the NVC phase for the fiancé visa has experienced some delays, making it take a bit longer compared to the spouse visa. However, this can vary based on the country of origin of the immigrant beneficiary.

The Big Picture: Around 18 Months

To give you a 30,000-foot view, we’ve found that, in general, both the fiancé visa and the spouse visa tend to take about 18 months to reach the finish line. While wait times are undoubtedly crucial as you want to be together as soon as possible, there are other factors to consider when deciding between the two.

Other Key Considerations

  1. Children: If you have beneficiary children under the age of 21 who will be coming to the United States, the fiancé visa is often the better option, as it allows them to be part of the family unit.
  2. Marriage Abroad: Consider how easily you can get married abroad. In some countries, the process can be complex and time-consuming. If this applies to you, the fiancé visa might be preferable.
  3. Post-Arrival Limbo: Historically, the fiancé visa was designed to be a fast option. However, it comes with a trade-off – after arrival, you must navigate the green card process, which can leave the immigrant beneficiary in a period of limbo, unable to work or fully integrate into society. The spouse visa allows you to hit the ground running upon arrival.

In summary, while USCIS wait times provide valuable insight, they don’t tell the whole story. Both the fiancé visa and spouse visa are currently tracking at around 18 months, with other factors to consider when making your choice. Stay tuned for our upcoming webinar, where we’ll delve even deeper into your options and provide essential tips for starting your immigration journey. Making the right choice is essential, but remember, what’s most important is getting your immigration process underway.