Advantages of the K-1 Fiance Visa and the CR-1 Marriage Visa
By Immigration Attorney John Buda
Advantages to the K-1 Fiance Visa
There are some advantages to both the K-1 Fiance Visa and CR-1 Marriage Visa. The obvious advantage of the K-1 is that if you are not sure about getting married to your overseas fiance, then this visa allows you to “try out” being together for 90 days in the United States before you make the decision to get married. If things don’t work out as you planned, then your fiance is supposed to go home.
Another advantage is that the wait time for a K-1 Fiance Visa is generally shorter than the CR-1 Marriage Visa. There is less document collection in the United States before the file is sent to the U.S. Consulate overseas to schedule the interview. Skipping some of the document collection can save about 1-2 months.
The average wait time from the first day of filing with USCIS to U.S. Consulate approval is 6-7 months for a K-1 Fiance Visa and 8-9 months for a CR-1 IR-1 Marriage Visa. These are general times not counting a holiday season such as Christmas and New Years, and for applications that are complete and easy to approve the day it is sent.
Don’t be fooled by advertisements “approval times” in 4 to 5 months. They are only referring to initial USCIS approval, not the approval and issuance of the visa. Approval of the visa means the complete process with the USCIS, the National Visa Center and the U.S. Consulate.
Advantages of the (CR-1 – IR-1) Marriage Visa
The top two advantages to the CR-1 or IR-1 Marriage Visa are the fact that the process ends with Permanent Residency (Green Card) for your spouse upon arrival in the United States. The other advantage is the overall cost. Even though the Fiance Visa is cheaper for the original application, once the fiance is in the United States, and the couple is married, then the foreign spouse will need to apply for the Green Card in the United States.
The K-1 Fiance Visa is a temporary visa. The spouse must be adjusted to CR-1 Conditional Marriage Visa after entering the United States and getting married.
As info, CR-1 is the term given to the Marriage Visa for couples who have been married less than two years. For couples married longer than two years, IR-1 is the Marriage Visa term. All CR-1 Conditional Resident Visas can adjust to Permanent Resident (IR-1) 90 days prior to the second year wedding anniversary. The CR-1 is good for 2 years while the IR-1 is a 10 year Green Card. The IR-1 can be renewed every 10 years.
Before 2010, it was taking immigrant visas (CR-1 – IR-1) up to 2 years for approval. The K-1 and the old K-3 visa allowed loved ones to be together sooner. That is not the case anymore. The approval times are close, but the Fiance Visa is a bit faster.
John B. Buda
Buda Law Group
Buda Law Group offers affordable, effective marriage and fiance visa services. Contact us today!