How to Choose Between a K3 Visa and a CR-1/IR-1 Visa
By J McFayden, eHow Editor
Both the K3 and CR-1/IR1 visas allow your foreign spouse to enter the U.S. and reside with you permanently. While the outcome is the same, there are some significant differences between the two that should be considered before applying. Read through the following points to help you choose the visa that’s best for you and your family.
Instructions Step11 The K3 visa is classified as a non-immigrant visa while the CR-1/IR-1 visa is classified as an immigrant visa. This means that the CR-1/IR-1 visa holder enters the U.S. as a permanent resident while the K3 visa holder must make an application after entry to adjust status to permanent resident.
Step22The CR-1/IR-1 visa holder can work immediately upon entry to the U.S. with no restrictions. K3 visa holders must apply for employment authorization or wait until they receive a green card before accepting employment. Step33Although the CR-1/IR-1 visa holder benefits by entering the U.S. as a permanent resident, the approval process can be significantly longer for a CR-1/IR-1 visa than a K3 visa, meaning a longer separation for the couple. Step44Both types of visas allow travel outside the U.S. and re-entry. The CR-1/IR-1 visa holder receives a green card allowing open travel and the K3 visa is a multi-entry visa, meaning the holder may travel outside the U.S. for up to two years, or until permanent residence is approved. Step55After arriving in the U.S., if the K3 marriage fails before adjustment of status is complete, the visa holder must leave the U.S. CR-1/IR-1 visa holders receive permanent resident status upon entry and can remain in the U.S. regardless of marital status. Tips & Warnings
Consult U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for the most current policies and procedures, follow instructions provided on the forms and consult an immigration attorney if you have any questions.
Resources U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services