K-1 Visa VS CR-1 Visa: Which Is Faster To Get Approved By USCIS?

When you are considering which immigration visa to apply for, one major factor will be the time it will take for approval. Statistically, the K-1 visa (I-129F) will take less time than the CR-1 visa (I-130) but it has more restrictions and includes an additional step of adjustment of status once you arrive in the U.S.

There are benefits to both visa types but the best one to choose will depend on your circumstances. In many countries it is next to impossible to get approved for the K-1 visa because the U.S. consulates see so many immigration fraud cases.

Even if your relationship is genuine and you have a boat-load of evidence, you still may not get approved – or worse, be placed on administrative processing.

Does The USCIS Consider Your Country “High Fraud”?

Are you applying from a high fraud country?
Are you applying from a high fraud country?

The term “high fraud country” irritates me because it lumps everyone from a specific country into the category of immigration scammers.

There are many bona fide couples that just happen to live in countries that the USCIS considers high fraud and will then need to jump through hoops to prove their relationship is real.

Interestingly enough, fraud can be committed by applicants from western countries too, but they are not scrutinized to the same degree.

Which Countries Are Considered “High Fraud” For Immigration Purposes?

The majority of countries that are considered high fraud are developing nations. Generally, if the standard of living in these countries is poor, there may be more incentive for applicants to use marriage as a way out of their homeland.

Another reason that your country can be considered high fraud is if the USCIS has a higher than normal fraud charges for beneficiaries from your country.

This means that if there is a high percentage of U.S. citizens that report fraud on their spouses from a specific country, it will make it more difficult for people from those countries to apply for a visa in the future.

High fraud countries should consider CR-1 visaCountries On The High Fraud List:

  • Nigeria
  • India
  • Ghana
  • Morocco
  • Yemen
  • Kenya
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • China

This is just a few of the countries that are considered high fraud. If you are applying from any of theses countries, you will need to provide as much evidence supporting your relationship as you can.

Which Option Is Better For Me: K-1 Visa or CR-1/IR-1 Visa?

When my husband and I were considering both these options, an important factor was that we didn’t want to be separated after our marriage.

The downside to the CR-1 visa is that you will be separated from your spouse until they receive their CR-1 visa approval. This can be difficult on couples so many choose the K-1 visa route.

  • K-1 Visa: This is for the fiance(e) of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You are allowed to fly to the U.S. to marry your fiance(e) within 90 days of arrival.
  • CR-1/IR-1 Visa: This visa is given to the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The U.S. citizen must marry their partner abroad and then apply for the visa while their spouse waits in their home country.

Not all couples are separated during the processing of the CR-1 visa, some have the financial resources to live with your foreign spouse while they wait for visa approval.

K-1 visa allows you to have a US wedding
K-1 visa allows for a US wedding

Benefits Of The K-1 Fiance Visa:

  • faster processing time (usually 6-12 months)
  • allows you time to plan wedding while you wait
  • can be with your spouse after marriage
  • gives you time to live with fiance(e) before marriage
  • less expensive filing fee ($340 vs $420)

Benefits of CR-1/IR-1 Spouse Visa:

  • you receive your green card when you arrive in the U.S.
  • gives you more rights if relationship doesn’t work out
  • beneficiary’s family can plan and attend the wedding
  • easier to get approval compared with K-1 (country specific)
  • Lower chances of being placed in administrative processing (country specific)

So both types of visas have their pros and cons, and choosing between the two will depend on your specific circumstances.

Remember, the time it takes to get approved for either the K-1 visa or the CR-1 visa is small when compared to a lifetime with your loved one!


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