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K-1 Visa vs. K-3 Visa
In Comparison: Getting Fiancé (K-1) or Spouse Visa (K-3)
If you are a US citizen, you have several options to bring your significant other into the United States. In most common cases, you can either apply for a K-1 Visa, which is an appropriate visa for your fiancé, or a K-3 Visa, which is an appropriate visa for your spouse. There is often confusion over the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Fiancé VISA: K-1
The process tends to be slightly less complicated than for K-3 visa;
  • K-1 visa tends to have a shorter waiting period than K-3;
  • K-1 is a single entry visa. Your fiancé cannot travel freely under a K-1 and would have to apply for advance parole if he/she needs to travel outside the United States;
  • K-1 does not allow your fiancé to work in the United States.  Your fiancé must apply for a work permit in order to work in the United States. However, this is not different from the K-3.
  • There must be no legal barrier preventing you and your fiancé from getting married in the United States (for example, you would not be legally entitled to get married if a divorce from a previous marriage is still pending), and you must marry your fiancé within 90 days of the date in which your fiancé has entered into the United States.
  • You must meet your fiancé in person at least once within the past two years, unless meeting your fiancé in person would violate long-established customs or would create extreme hardships for you.
  • K-1 visa is valid for 180 days from the date of issue.
Spouse VISA: K-3
The process tends to be slightly more complicated than K-1 because you have to file a family based immigration petition (form I-130) for your spouse. This application must be received by United States Citizenship and Immigration (“USCIS”) before you can apply for your spouse’s K-3 visa. (Please note that if your family based immigration petition (I-130) is approved then you have the option to either wait for the immigrant visa or apply for a K-3 visa, which is considered a non-immigrant visa).
  • K-3 visa tends to have a longer waiting period than a K-1 visa because you have to file the family based immigration petition (I-130) before you can apply for the K-3 visa.
  • With the K-3 visa your spouse can travel freely in and out of the United States as long as the K-3 visa is valid.
  • Just like the K-1, your spouse has to apply for a work permit in order to accept employment in the United States.

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