What are the CR1 and K3 Visas?
The K3 and CR1 visas are two different kinds of documents that can be used to bring a foreign spouse of a US citizen into the country. However, there are differences between the two in terms of the application process, their intended uses, and the rights granted to the visa holder.
In this post, we will review which visa may be a better option for you - the K3 or CR1 visa.
On the one hand, a K3 visa is a temporary, non-immigrant visa that allows the foreign spouse to enter the US while they wait for a decision on their immigrant visa petition. Applicants for the K3 visa may apply for legal permanent residency while living in the U.S. This visa allows the foreign spouse to change their current immigration documents through what is known as an “adjustment of status.”
A CR1 visa, on the other hand, is an immigrant visa that allows the foreign-born spouse of a US citizen to enter the US as a permanent resident. Applicants for the CR1 visas must wait in their home country while their application for this immigrant visa is processed. This is known as “consular processing.”
Differences Between the K3 And CR1 Visas
The primary difference between the K3 and CR1 visas is the applicant's mobility during the application process.
The K3 visa was created to reduce the geographical separation between foreign spouses of US citizens. It allows the applicant to obtain a nonimmigrant visa while abroad and enter the United States to await the approval of the immigrant visa petition. Once their petition is approved, they can apply for an adjustment of status to become a legal permanent resident (LPR).
The CR1 visa only allows the foreign spouse to enter after their application for US legal permanent residence has been approved.
There are some additional differences as well concerning employment. A K3 visa does not allow holders to work unless they obtain authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). An EAD allows the K3 holder to legally work in the US while waiting for a decision on their permanent residency status, aka green card. In contrast, a CR1 visa holder can legally work in the US.
The K3 visa is a multiple-entry visa and allows the holder the travel in and out of the country for the duration of its validity. If the K3 visa expires before the holder obtains legal permanent residence, they must apply for a re-entry permit. If the marriage between the US citizen and foreign spouse is dissolved, the K3 visa will become invalid within 30 days. Unless they submit an application for another visa, the holder will be required to leave the country.
Once the CR1 visa is approved, the holder receives a conditional status as a US lawful permanent resident (LPR) and a single-use travel visa. In the 90 days before their conditional residence card expires, holders of CR1 visas must petition jointly with their spouses to have the restrictions on their permanent resident status lifted. While holding conditional permanent resident status.
K-3 Or CR1 For Spouse Visa Eligibility Criteria
The eligibility criteria also differ for these two spousal visas. Applicants should be careful in selecting the visa that best suits their needs.
Applicants for the K3 visa must be the legal spouse of a US citizen and currently reside in the country. Spouses of green card holders are not eligible for a K3 visa. They must have already completed and filed Form I-130 with USCIS. They must also have evidence of being financially independent and able to support themselves.
Applicants for the CR1 visa must be married and able to present a valid marriage certificate. They must prove their marriage is bona fide through documentation and evidence, including photographs, financial documents, correspondence, or other physical proof of their authentic relationship.
K-3 Or CR1 Spouse Visa Required Documentation
Both the K3 and CR1 visas start with the same document. In both cases, the US citizen spouse must complete Form I-130: Petition for Alien USCIS. This is, however, the only document the two visas have in common.
The K3 visa application also requires Form I-129F: Petition for Alien Fiance(e). Applicants for the K3 visa do not need to file an affidavit of support, but they will need to prove that they will not need to rely on government funds to support themselves.
Additional required documents for the CR1 visa application include Form I-130 and Form DS-260. The applicant will have to pay fees of $535 and $445 for these two forms, respectively.
K3 or CR1 Visa Processing Times
The processing times for both visas are subject to change based on where the application is submitted, how complex the application is, and what country the foreign spouse is from.
In general, however, the processing time for a K3 visa application is between four to 16 months. The CR1 processing time can take between 10 and 30 months. As an immigrant visa, the CR1 visa can require additional processing by USCIS and the U.S. Department of State (DoS), that the K3 visa does not.
These processing times depend on the average time it takes for USCIS to process the case, but applicants should understand that every circumstance varies. The processing times will depend on their unique situation.
K3 Or CR1 Visa FAQs
What is a K3 visa, and who can apply for it?
What is a CR1 visa, and who can apply for it?
What is the main difference between a K3 visa and a CR1 visa?
How long does it take to process a K3 visa?
How long does it take to process a CR1 visa?
K3 Or CR1 Visa Conclusion
There are key differences between a K3 and a CR1 visa. Depending on your circumstances, one of these visas might be better for you or your spouse. Remember, The main difference between a K3 and a CR1 visa is that a K3 visa is a temporary nonimmigrant visa that allows the foreign-born spouse to enter the US while waiting for the approval of their immigrant visa petition. A CR1 visa is an immigrant visa that allows the foreign-born spouse to enter the United States as a permanent resident.
If you have any questions about a K3 Or CR1 visa, our immigration attorneys can help you understand the difference. Book a consultation to speak with an immigration attorney today.