Dear Sophie: Should we seek a K-1 visa or marriage-based green card?

​​Here’s another edition of “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people all over the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder or seeking a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your questions in my next column.”

TechCrunch+ members receive access to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.

Dear Sophie,

I’m a U.S. citizen who has been living and working temporarily in Germany for the past year.

I got engaged last month to my amazing partner – a German citizen — but I now need to return to the U.S. in a few months for work.

Should I get a K-1 visa for my fiancée so she can come with me when I return to the U.S., or should we get married and live apart until she can get a green card and join me in the U.S.?

—Searching for a Speedy Solution

A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Image Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)

Dear Searching,

These days, very few things are speedy when it comes to immigration — the deep backlogs created by the pandemic are the most recent challenges causing delays. My law partner, Anita Koumriqian, and I chatted about the backlogs, the K-1 fiancé/fiancée visa, and marriage-based green cards in a recent podcast episode, “Love and Immigration.”

Before the pandemic, it was faster for a fiancé or fiancée to get to the United States via a K-1 visa than for a spouse to get to the U.S. via a green card. But things have shifted.