Fiancés of U.S. citizens have two primary options to consider for immigrating to the United States:
- A K-1 fiancé visa is a temporary visa for couples who are engaged. The foreign partner can come to the United States on a K-1 fiancé visa and get married to their U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days. The K-1 visa holder must then apply for adjustment of status (AOS) from within the U.S. in order to remain in the country as a legal permanent resident (marriage green card holder).
- A CR-1 spousal visa is for couples who are already married. The sponsor must be either a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident living in the U.S. or abroad. The foreign spouse must be living outside of the U.S. to be eligible.
Both the K-1 and the CR-1 visas take on average 14 months to be approved. However, there are some key differences between the K-1 vs. the CR-1 visa listed below:
Legal Permanent Residence
- Once you obtain your CR-1 visa, you are a U.S. green card holder or legal permanent resident and you are able to immediately live and work in the U.S., as well as travel in and out of the country freely.
- The K-1 is a temporary, one-time-entry visa that does not permit you to work or travel in the U.S. Once married, K-1 visa holders must apply for adjustment of status (AOS) in order to obtain legal permanent residence, which is another long and expensive immigration process.
- The total cost to obtain a CR-1 visa or marriage green card is $1,200. The total cost to obtain a K-1 visa plus AOS (marriage green card) is $2,025.
- USCIS recently announced they plan to increase the cost of filing for a number of immigration forms, including the K-1 visa , CR-1 visa and AOS, as soon as May 2023. The proposed fees would increase the cost of the CR-1 visa to $1,485 and the cost of the K-1 visa plus AOS to $2,260 – $3,540.