U.S. K3 Visa vs CR1 Visa

Both of these processes are ingrained in the fact that the U.S. citizen and the foreigner married outside the U.S. with the intention to bring the foreign spouse to the U.S.

Spouses of U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for K-3 Spouse Visa or CR-1 Spouse Visa. Both visas require that the couple are LEGALLY MARRIED, and one of the parties to the marriage is a U.S. citizen. Those who are engaged or living together and are not yet married do not qualify for these visa categories.

K-3 Spouse Visa

K3 Visa’s distinct difference to the other is it allows the foreigner spouse to obtain a visa issued at the U.S.embassy/consulate abroad, and then come to the U.S. and start processing the Adjustment of Status in order to obtain permanent residency (green card). Applicants will be required to demonstrate the fact of continuing and genuine relationship during the submission of the petition such as official marriage certificate and photos, and other means of communication to maintain the relationship during the physical separation such as chat logs and calls. The petitioner has to present evidences that he is financially able to support the foreigner spouse so he/she will not become a public charge in the U.S. nor social welfare dependent.

CR-1 Spouse Visa

This option is for spouses who are physically apart, hence want to reunite so the other party can come to live with the U.S. citizen in the U.S. This visa is for permanent immigration to the U.S. A petition will be filed by the US Citizen at the USCIS on behalf of his/her spouse. Once approved, the holder may enter the U.S. and may reside permanently. The visa holder gets his/her green card in a single application. When the spouse visa is issued, the permanent residency is automatically approved and the green card is waiting for the new spouse upon his/her arrival in the U.S. Because there is no need to do Adjustment of Status, this yields to a lower cost for government filing and medical exam fees compared to the other visa. In case the American sponsor’s income is not enough, a co-sponsor is acceptable. Another advantage of CR-1 Visa is that the spouse can take a job and work in the U.S. immediately. Upon arrival on a spouse visa, the spouse is pre-approved for a green card and permanent residency.

In Conclusion

Depending on your plan and what course to take in bringing your foreign partner to the U.S., both U.S. visas have differences in the application process and the rights and benefits granted to each of the visa holders.

On one hand, a K-3 visa is a multiple entry visa which allows the holder to exit the U.S. and re-enter within the duration of the visa. The K-3 visa holder can process the Adjustment of Status while living in the U.S. He/she will need to apply for a re-entry permit if his/her K-3 visa expires while the application of the Adjustment of Status is still pending. On the other hand, the CR-1 visa holder needs to wait in his/her home country while processing for the legal permanent residence for the U.S. Once the CR-1 visa is issued, the holder is granted both a single entry visa and conditional legal permanent resident status. He/she will have to apply for a re-entry permit if he/she wishes to leave the U.S. while under the permanent resident status.


Category: Adjustment of Status, K Visas

Siam Legal International

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Siam Legal is a full service law firm but it has an extensive range of immigration, corporate, and real estate experience accessible to clients both domestically and internationally. It has offices strategically located throughout the major cities in Thailand including Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Samui and Phuket along with international representative offices in Australia, London and Las Vegas.


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