K-1 vs CR-1/IR-1 (Fiancé Visa vs. Marriage Visa) - Arvian Immigration Law Firm
Marriage Visa

K-1 vs CR-1/IR-1 (Fiancé Visa vs. Marriage Visa)

The United States immigration system provides two primary avenues for foreign couples to unite: the fiancé visa and the marriage visa. Each option enables cohabitation of couples within the United States, however, they are intended for distinct circumstances and possess varying criteria. In the present composition, we shall apprise you of the K-1 fiancé visa and the CR-1/IR-1 marriage visa, elucidate their distinctions, and assist you in determining the optimal option for your circumstances.

The matter at hand pertains to the Fiancé Visa, also known as the K-1 Visa.

Requirements for Fiance visa

The K-1 visa, commonly referred to as the “fiancé visa,” enables a non-citizen who intends to enter into matrimony with a U.S. citizen to lawfully enter the United States for the purpose of marriage. In order to obtain a K-1 visa, it is imperative that you satisfy the subsequent prerequisites:

  • It is imperative that both the United States citizen and the foreign fiancé(e) are lawfully eligible to enter into a marriage contract and intend to do so within a period of 90 days from the foreign fiancé(e)’s entry into the United States.
  • It is a prerequisite for the K-1 visa claim to have been filed that the two individuals have had a physical encounter at least once within the preceding two years, subject to certain exemptions for cultural or extreme hardship grounds.
  • It is imperative that the American citizen seeking to sponsor their betrothed must satisfy specific income criteria to demonstrate their ability to provide financial support to their intended.

In order to initiate the K-1 visa proceedings, it is incumbent upon the American citizen to submit the Form I-129F, which is the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), to the esteemed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Upon approval of the petition and subsequent issuance of the visa, the foreign fiancé(e) shall be permitted entry into the United States for the purpose of marriage. Subsequent to the nuptials, the non-native partner is eligible to submit Form I-485, which is the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, in order to pursue a green card via the adjustment of status procedure.

The undersigned seeks legal assistance in obtaining a marriage visa, specifically a CR-1/IR-1 visa.

The marriage visa is a type of immigrant visa that is available exclusively to the spouses of individuals who are either United States citizens or legal permanent residents. There exist two distinct categories of marriage visas, namely the CR-1 visa, which is reserved for marriages that have not yet reached the two-year mark, and the IR-1 visa, which is designated for marriages that have surpassed the two-year threshold. The procedural steps involved in obtaining a marriage visa are as follows:

The petitioner, being a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, submits Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to USCIS as evidence of the relationship.

Upon acceptance of the petition, the foreign partner shall proceed to file an application for an immigrant visa through the National Visa Center (NVC) and the U.S. embassy or consulate in their country of origin.

It is required that the foreign spouse attend a medical examination and interview at the United States embassy or consulate.

In the event that the application is deemed acceptable, the foreign partner shall be granted an immigrant visa, thereby enabling them to lawfully relocate to the United States.

The Fiancé Visa and Marriage Visa are distinguishable in their legal nature and requirements.

Whilst both the fiancé visa and the marriage visa serve the purpose of uniting couples, it is imperative to note that there exist certain crucial distinctions between the two.

The current standing of the relationship. The fiancé visa is intended for betrothed pairs who have not yet entered into matrimony, whereas the marriage visa is designated for wedded pairs.

Fiance visa processing time

Typically, the duration required to obtain a fiancé visa is comparatively shorter than that of a marriage visa. This implies that the expeditious unification of couples is feasible.

The process for obtaining a green card entails that a non-native spouse who enters the United States under a fiancé visa must initiate an application for a green card through the adjustment of status procedure subsequent to their nuptials and cohabitation. Upon the issuance of a marriage visa to a foreign partner, they are granted legal permanent residency status in the United States.

The aggregate expenses associated with obtaining a fiancé visa, encompassing the alteration of status, are typically greater than those incurred in obtaining a marriage visa.

Please be advised that selecting the appropriate course of action is a matter of utmost importance. It is recommended that careful consideration be given to all available options before making a decision. The individual in question is seeking clarification regarding the legal distinctions between a fiancé visa and a marriage visa.

When considering the selection between the fiancé visa and the marriage visa, it is advisable for the involved parties to carefully deliberate upon their individual requirements and preferences. Please consider the following points for your contemplation.

Timing: If expeditious cohabitation within the United States is the objective of the couple, then the fiancé visa may be the more judicious option due to its comparatively shorter processing period. It is imperative to bear in mind that working hours are subject to change and may not remain consistent.

Regarding the location of the wedding, it is advisable that the couple opt for the fiancé visa if their intention is to solemnize their marriage within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States. Conversely, a spousal visa would be more advantageous if the pair is presently wedded or intends to enter into matrimony beyond the territorial confines of the United States.

It is advisable to consider the financial implications of obtaining a fiancé visa, which typically involves a change of status, as the overall expenses may exceed those of obtaining a marriage visa. Prior to arriving at a decision, it is advisable for a pair to duly consider their financial resources.

In the event that the U.S. petitioner is a legal permanent resident and not a U.S. citizen, it is imperative that the couple pursue a marriage visa as opposed to a fiancé visa. This is due to the fact that the fiancé visa is exclusively reserved for the fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens.


In summary, the fiancé visa and marriage visas afford the opportunity for foreign couples to cohabit in the United States. By being cognizant of the distinctions between the two options and considering their individualized circumstances, couples can aptly determine the optimal course of action for their particular case. It is advisable for couples to seek the counsel of an immigration lawyer or an authorized agent in order to obtain tailored guidance and assistance throughout the immigration process. This will ensure that their immigration process proceeds with greater ease and success.

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