I always hope that a couple reaches out to me for a free consultation before they make their final decisions and take actions that can't be changed. This is especially important when deciding whether to marry outside the USA then apply for a spouse visa or to marry within the USA after arrival on a fiance visa.
In choosing between pursuing a fiance or spouse visa there is a lot to be considered as far as speed, expense, and overall complexity that can make one path decidedly more attractive than another.
Sometimes the first call I get from a couple is after they have made their decisions and have already limited their available options. They often say: "We got married because this proves how serious a couple we are"
Well, No, Not really.
Well Congratulations! it is a super big and important step that you got married. In your eyes and that of your family, friends, and church your relationship is Rock Solid.
Immigration is not impressed.
But, as far as immigration is concerned it doesn't make much of a difference. This is because the type of Visa you are applying for is based on marriage. This means that no matter what, a marriage IS REQUIRED.
It's just a question of timing and location.
To get a marriage based Visa (fiance or spouse), either you marry first, then apply, or you apply first, then marry. At the end of the day the marriage has taken place and is simply an expected, normal part of the full process.
Marriage is expected, It is not proof of bone fides.
It is not in itself, proof that your relationship is bona fide. It is not in itself proof that the Visa should be granted. It's only proof you are eligible to apply.
When applying for a fiance or spouse visa a couple must ALWAYS prove to the consular officer's satisfaction that their relationship is genuine, sincere, and Bona fide.
The challenge to present proof and convince the Consular officer that the couple is genuine is the same in either case: regardless of being already married or just planning to marry.
Within the Visacoach "front-loaded" petition we create (for either K1 or CR1 visa) is always detailed and believable proof of a bone fide relationship. We MUST include demonstrative proof that the couple has spent time face to face, has corresponded, and has sincere, solid plans for a future together.
Spending a lot of time together as a single unmarried couple is just as persuasive as the same time spent together as a married couple. The proof is in the totality of their actions, not just a short time spent in front of a justice, minister or priest.
Marriage Certificate is not Magic Bullet
A marriage certificate is not a magic bullet to solve the problem of having weak proofs of a bone fide relationship.
DO get married if that is your pleasure, then apply for a spouse visa.
DO NOT get married if the reason for the wedding is to compensate for weak overall evidences and you think, incorrectly, that a marriage certificate would overcome the missing proofs.
Married or Not, DO gather solid proofs of a sincere, bone fide relationship to include with a VisaCoach Front Loaded Petition.
By Fred Wahl