K1 Fiancé Visa vs. CR1 Marriage Visa


When comparing a K1 Fiancé Visa vs CR1 Marriage Visa, many are unsure of the difference. Attorney Michael G. Murray, P.A. offers a guide. Call us for information.

What Is a K1 Fiancé Visa?


Sharing your life with someone from another country comes with certain obstacles that need to be overcome. A foreign fiancé/fiancée who wishes to live with their partner who is a U.S. citizen in the United States requires a visa. One option for immigrating to the U.S. is a K-1 fiancé visa. It is worth noting that the word “fiancé” used in this context applies to both men and women.

K1 fiance visas allow foreign citizens to enter the U.S. to marry their United States citizen fiancé(e). They will need to apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for an adjustment of status if they want to remain in the U.S. indefinitely after getting married. 

For more information and advice, speak with a qualified immigration attorney such as Michael G. Murray, P.A.

Eligibility Requirements for K-1 Fiancé Visa


A K1 visa is only available to the fiancé(e) of U.S. citizens. The future spouse of a lawful permanent resident or green card holder is ineligible for this type of visa.

Three basic requirements that should be met to qualify for this type of visa are:

  1. The foreign national fiancé should be engaged to their U.S. citizen partner and should have physically met in person within the last 2 years.
  2. The foreign national fiancé and the U.S. citizen partner should be legally free to marry at the time of filing for the K1 visa.
  3. The U.S. citizen partner should be able to prove their ability to financially support their fiancé. To fulfill this requirement, the assistance of a co-sponsor can also be enlisted.

Furthermore, they have to marry you within 90 days of their entry into the U.S. That date is nonnegotiable and not extendable. 

K1 Fiancé Visa and Adjustment of Status


The K-1 visa is a temporary fiancé visa issued to an alien who is engaged to a U.S. citizen living in the U.S. The visa is generally valid for 6 months. However, it automatically expires after 90 days from the date of entry into the U.S. Then, the holder is required to apply for an adjustment of status through marriage to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR).

An immigration attorney has the knowledge pertaining to the fiance visa (K-1) basics to help you through the process.


What Is the Cost of a K1 Fiancé Visa?

The U.S. citizen is required to file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and pay a processing fee, which can be paid in person, by mail, or online. The cost of filing a K1 Fiancé Visa form is about $535. However, when you add fees for adjustment of status, etc., the costs can soar.

Consulting with a local law firm can help you avoid expensive mistakes while navigating the immigration process.


K1 Fiancé Visa Processing Time

How long does it take to bring spouse to USA?” is a popular question many people ask.

The processing time can vary. It can take six months or more, so plan and start preparing your application as soon as possible if you meet the requirements.

What Is a CR1 Marriage Visa?


A CR1 visa allows a foreign spouse married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident to live in the United States along with their spouse. “CR” stands for “conditional resident” because this visa is only provided to couples married for less than two years. 


Eligibility Requirements for CR1 Marriage Visa


Whereas K1 fiance visas are only applicable to U.S. citizens, CR1 marriage visas are also available to the spouses of lawful permanent residents. The processing times, though, are often different.

The income of the sponsoring spouse also has to meet the proposed criteria, and the foreign-born spouse should be at least 18 years old.

How to Apply for a CR1 Marriage Visa?


To initiate a spouse visa, a U.S. citizen can submit Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to USCIS for approval. They will also need to submit the required supporting documentation. This may include proof of identification and citizenship, such as:

  • Birth certificate or a U.S. passport
  • Medical exam or biometrics
  • Bona fide marriage certificate
  • Joint bank account statements, etc.

After the approval, the petition is transferred to the National Visa Center (NCV) for a case number.

What Is the Cost of a CR1 Marriage Visa?

In 2020, the cost of a CR1 marriage visa totaled around $1,200. The breakdown for that is as follows:

  • $535 filing fee to USCIS for Form I-130
  • $325 to the U.S. State Department
  • $120 for Form I-864 Affidavit of Support to the State Department
  • $220 fee to USCIS after you are approved

Further expenses may also be incurred for travel to and from the visa interview venue, medical examination, and attorney fees if you choose to hire one.

For further processing information and advice when preparing for your consular interview, contact an immigration lawyer such as Michael G. Murray, P.A.


CR1 Marriage Visa Processing Time

The processing time for a CR1 spousal visa is longer than that for a K1 fiance visa. Whereas a K1 visa only has to be cleared by the USCIS and Embassy, the CR-1 visa also requires approval from the National Visa Center. Plus, the USCIS step for K1 is often shorter than that for the I-130 (C.R. 1).

Generally, the CR-1 processing time is between 12 and 18 months, though it can vary depending on various factors.

K1 Fiancé Visa or CR1 Marriage Visa, Which Is Better?


Your situation will dictate whether you should apply for a CR-1 marriage visa or a K1 visa. It is essential in both paths to prove that your relationship is a legitimate one to all of the involved agencies. If any of them doubts your eligibility, your application will be delayed or rejected.

Since the approval duration for an I-129F (for K1 Visa) is only about four months, any delays will effectively end a K-1 case. On the other hand, an I-130 (for a CR1 visa) has no termination date. If the USCIS returns it, you will get an opportunity to address the agency’s concerns.

Choosing the right path to immigration is difficult. You can better assess your options with a savvy lawyer who understands your case.


How Can an Attorney Help With a K1 Fiance Visa?


Retaining the services of a K-1 visa attorney can be valuable during the visa process. The right attorney can provide guidance and information to help you file a visa suitable for your needs. They can ensure that all the required documents have been submitted and accepted by USCIS and handle any potential issues that may arise.

Michael G. Murray, P.A., can assist you with questions concerning immigration issues. Reach out today and schedule a consultation today!

Coronavirus update: We are safely open for business! USCIS is still accepting new filings for all applications. Our office is offering virtual consultations for new clients so that you don't have to come to our office in person. Call us to schedule your virtual meeting today.
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