Is K1 Visa better then the CR1 Visa?

There are two options available for U.S. citizens who plan to wed a foreign national and reside in the United States after marriage. Depending upon whether your fiance wants to relocate to the U.S. before or after the marriage, our office will determine which type of visa you will need. Also, we will review other intricacies involved with both types of the process.

For a foreign national with intent to wed an American citizen, a K1 Visa, commonly known as a “Fiance Visa,” is required. With a fiance visa, the marriage must take place within 90 days after the foreign national arrives in the US. Since a fiance visa is a non-immigrant visa, a separate application to secure permanent residence after the marriage will be required. If there are children under the age of 21 (unmarried), they may also accompany their parent to the United States as they have a derivative status. The entire fiance visa process takes on average from six to seven months to be completes. Fiance visa process tends to be quicker and smoother as opposed to the marriage visa process.

Couples applying for a fiance visa must be unmarried. Legal marriage must take place within the territory of the United States. Religious ceremonies that are not legally binding may be performed in one’s home country and will not interfere with the K1 visa process, as long as no legal documents are issued. The marriage between the American Petitioner and the Beneficiary must be performed within 90 days after the arrival of the fiance in the U.S.

If you feel that fiance visa is appropriate for your situation you may read more information about: K1 Visa Process, K1 Visa Requirements, K1 Visa Timeline and K1 Visa Interview.

Couples who are already married (for less than two years) may apply for a CR1 (Conditional Residency) Visa, also known as a “Marriage Visa.” A CR1 visa process takes approximately eight to ten months to be completed. The process for a marriage visa is essentially the same as that of a K1 fiance visa in terms of procedural steps, but differs in that more evidence of the legality of the marriage will be required. The Adjustment of Status process is incorporated into a CR1 Visa process. If you feel that CR1 Visa process is more appropriate for you, our law office is experienced with this process as well. 

Our Recommendations:

  • Although traditional, non-binding ceremonies are permitted before applying for a fiance visa, avoid presenting evidence such as ceremony photos during the visa interview, as this might affect the progress of the approval process should the official in charge of your case assume the legal marriage was performed outside the US.
  • Upon issuance of the fiance visa, file for a permanent resident status for your fiance as soon as possible to avoid possible immigration problems. The adjustment of status process takes on average five to six months.
  • Be aware that a CR1 Marriage Visa will take longer for processing and approval when compared to a fiance visa. The resident status adjustment is part of this process and partially accounts for the additional time. The National Visa Center can also be a complex part of the process that may potentially add delays.

Please feel free to contact our office with any questions regarding visa options. We will answer the questions you have. We are looking forward to representing your interests in the fiance visa or marriage visa process.

Written by: Joel Turney