But is it better to get the fiance visa or get married in the U.S. and then get the spouse visa?
I heard the latter option is cheaper in the long run, , but is it quicker/easier/ less hassle with border entry and everything else?
Both visas have the same requirements (financial, accommodation, relationship), and are both considered to be in the same visa category: Settlement Visa, so the processing times are the same for both (i.e. they only publish processing times for all settlement visas together and don't differentiate between fiance and spousal visas), and they aren't treated any differently when it comes to the visa being issued, or ease of border entry etc.
The only real reasons to go for one over the other are your own personal circumstances, financial position and which works better for you.
- The fiance visa is valid 6 months and does not allow any form of work or study until after you are married and have the next visa... so if you want to be able to work right away, get married in the US and apply for a spousal visa.
- Also, the fiance visa does not give any free NHS access, so you will need health insurance until you have the FLR(M) visa. On the other hand, with a spousal visa you are covered for full NHS care immediately, so if that's important, get married in the US.
- Some people choose one over the other because of where they want to get married, or who they want to attend the wedding. For example, if UK family members cannot travel, you may decide to marry in the UK; or maybe if you've always dreamed of getting married in a particular place in the US, then you might choose to marry there.