Many of my clients who have fallen in love with someone from the Philippines, file for a K1 Fiance Visa so their fiancés can to come to the US to get married. Applying for a K1 Fiance Visa seems to be the most popular course of action for most couples to get married and live together in the United States. The K1 Fiance visa works great, but there is another very good option to consider. You could get married in the Philippines and apply for a Marriage Visa instead.
If you get married in the Philippines, you will need to file for a CR1 Marriage Visa instead of the K1 Fiance Visa. The overall costs and processing times are similar, but the CR1 Marriage Visa has one big advantage over the K1 Fiance Visa, it comes with a Green Card. Once the Filipino spouse arrives in the United States on their CR1 Visa, USCIS will send him or her their Legal Permanent Residency Card (commonly known as the Green Card).
If you decide that you would like to get married in the Philippines and then apply for a CR1 Marriage Visa, you need to review the rules for getting married in the Philippines. You can find the most current rules and the steps for getting married in the Philippines by visiting the US Embassy site for Manila, Philippines at: http://manila.usembassy.gov/marriage.html.
There are rules for a church wedding and for a civil wedding. Either way, you should carefully review the steps for each and follow all procedures. Make sure you allow yourself enough time in the Philippines to complete all the required tasks and waiting periods.
I got married in the Philippines some 25 years ago and it remains one of my most memorable and enjoyable experiences of my life. As an Attorney specializing in Fiance Visas and Marriage Visas, I think it’s a very good option for some couples.
Good luck and please feel free to give me a call toll free at 1-888-515-3529 if you have any questions. You can also find me on Skype. I would be happy to discuss with you all the factors that you should consider when deciding between a Fiance Visa or a Marriage Visa.
Attorney Jeff Pettys