Family Based U.S. Visas
The visa options most used by American citizens are the fiancé visa (K-1), the spouse’s visa (CR-1/IR-1), and the nonimmigrant visa (K-3) for spouses. Immigration, based on family ties, is a complex process and often faces delays in processing.
Fiancé (K-1) Visa: Suitable for the American citizen who wants to marry a foreign person. With this visa, the foreign bride can enter the U.S. and will have up to 90 days to marry from the date of entry. After marriage, you must apply for your Adjustment of Status to get the Conditional Green Card, also known as Permanent Resident card.
Spouse Visa (CR-1/IR-1): Suitable for the foreign spouse of an American citizen. The process for obtaining the Green Card occurs in the country of origin of the foreign spouse. After approval, you may enter the U.S. and become a Permanent Resident immediately.
Nonimmigrant Visa for Spouse (K-3): If the foreign person does not want to stay away from their American spouse while waiting for the approval of their immigrant visa (CR-1/IR-1) K-3. However, this option is rarely requested because its processing time is usually longer than the CR-1/IR-1 spouse visa.
Choose the Appropriate Visa
Wedding venue: With the K-1 fiancé visa, the wedding must take place in the U.S. within 90 days after the foreign bride’s entry onto American soil. If the marriage occurs outside of the U.S., the foreign spouse will have to opt for the CR-1/IR-1 visa.
Processing Time: The K-1 fiancé visa is usually the fastest. It usually takes from 5 to 10 months for approval. The CR-1/IR-1 spouse visa usually takes from 10 to 16 months, while K-3 can take longer than the CR-1/IR-1 spouse visa time to pass.
With the CR-1/IR-1 spouse visa, the foreign spouse will be eligible to work in the U.S. immediately. K-1 and K-3 visa holders should apply for the Work Permit, which normally takes from 3 to 4 months to obtain.
The K-1 fiancé visa is only valid for a single ticket and, for your carrier to travel internationally, you need to wait for your travel document. In turn, holders of CR-1/IR-1 and K-3 visas can travel internationally.
IR-1/CR-1 spouse visa processing results in payment of lower fees because it only involves a visa application. The K-3 visa fees are higher because it is a secondary order from anyone who has already paid for the CR-1/IR-1. Already for the K-1 fiancé visa, the costs are slightly higher because its holder should apply for an Adjustment of Status.