I meet with many people who ask me if they should do a fiance visa or spouse visa if their significant other is not in the U.S. and will process at a U.S. consulate. Generally speaking, the fiance visa will be faster if the goal is to be together in the U.S. as soon as possible. Remember that once your fiance comes to the U.S. with the fiance visa (K1 visa), you must get married within 90 days of your fiance entering. Once you are married, the green card application can be filed, and your fiance would remain in the U.S. while that is processed. Eventually, an interview will be scheduled at your local USCIS office where you will both go in and be interviewed by a USCIS officer. If everything looks good, the green card application will be approved, and the green card will be mailed to your spouse.
If you choose to go the spouse visa route, your spouse would eventually get an interview at the U.S. consulate abroad. If it goes well, your spouse will get a visa put in their passport, and once they enter the U.S. they will be considered to have green card status. The green card will get mailed to the U.S. address that was listed on the visa application.
A consulate that we deal with often is the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. That consulate is the busiest consulate in the world, so expect a long waiting time before the spousal visa interview is scheduled. As of this writing, it will be at least a 3-year wait from the time of filing the initial spouse petition until the interview. Keep in mind that these processing times are subject to change at any time without notice. If your significant other is in Mexico, you may want to consider the fiance visa instead because those will process faster.
This is general information only, not advice. Everyone has different circumstances and one option may be better than the other depending on your situation. If you’d like to schedule a consultation to find out which option is best for you, please call my office at 801-883-8204.