Many people confuse a K-1 Visa with a spousal visa. The difference between a K-1 and a spousal visa are as follows: a K-1 visa is for a foreign fiance to come to the United States, while a spousal visa is for a married foreign spouse to come to the U.S. The eligibility criteria are different for each type of visa, and the wait time and cost for each type of visa are different. An experienced immigration attorney can help evaluate your situation and advise you on the best option for your applications to be approved.
A spouse is defined by USCIS as a legally wedded husband or wife and includes same-sex spouses. In some cases, common-law spouses also qualify as spouses.
What Is A K-3 Visa?
A K-3 visa is for a spouse you married outside of the United States. You can sponsor your legal spouse to come to the U.S. by way of a Petition for Alien Relative, I-130 or K-3 nonimmigrant visa.
Eligibility requirements for a K-3 nonimmigrant visa include:
What Is A CR1 Spousal Green Card?
A conditional resident Green Card is valid for only 2 years, and the designation “CR1” on the physical card stands for “conditional resident.” A conditional Green Card holder must file Form I-751 “removal of conditions” to remove the conditions and obtain a Green Card with no conditions. A conditional Green Card is issued to a spouse who has been married for less than 2 years at the time their Green Card was first approved.
An immigrant categorized under CR1 is allowed to enter the U.S. to live and stay with their U.S. citizen or PR spouse. The conditional residency is granted to couples who have been married for less than 2 years at the time their residency is granted.
The K-1 visa program allows United States citizens to sponsor their fiancé(e)s for legal entry into the United States. However, these people must marry within 90 days of entry into the United States. After this, the immigrant could then apply for a green card to obtain legal permanent resident status. Already married people may ask for a similar K-3 visa.
Qualifications for a K-1 Visa
To qualify for a K-visa, immigrants must meet special criteria and take specific actions once in the United States:
1. No one can apply for a K-1 visa on his or her own. Only a United States citizen who is currently engaged to a non-citizen may initiate the fiancé visa application process.
2. The immigrant and the sponsoring citizen fiancé(e) must get married no more than 90 days after the immigrant’s entry into the United States. Couples who are already married, who plan to marry outside the United States, or for situations where the fiancé(e) already legally lives in the United States cannot pursue a K-1 visa.
3. The two people must have met each other in person at least once over the past two years and be legally free to marry.
If you have questions about whether it is better to apply for a fiance visa or a spousal visa, an experienced immigration attorney can help evaluate your situation and advise you on the best option for your applications to be approved.
If you are married or engaged to a U.S. citizen and want to move to the United States, contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Godoy Law Office in Cook and DuPage Counties, Illinois, to advise you on your removal of conditions petition. Please contact our office or call us at 855-554-6369.