If you recently got engaged, congratulations! The next step is to figure out the best immigration path for you and your fiancé(e). Will the K-1 fiancé visa or the CR-1 spousal visa help you reunite sooner? 

Not sure which path is right for you? RapidVisa can help! Learn more, or get started today.

How is the K-1 fiancé visa different to a marriage green card? 

The K-1 visa allows the foreign engaged partner to come to the United States to marry their U.S. citizen fiancé. Once married, the couple can apply for a marriage green card.

Another option is for the couple to get married outside the United States, and then the U.S. citizen spouse would sponsor the foreign spouse for a marriage green card. 

RapidVisa helps you and your partner reunite sooner. We guide you on your immigration journey, right until the finish line. Get started on your application today!

K-1 fiancé visa vs. CR1 spousal visa: Which is faster?

When choosing between the K1 and CR1, there are two time-related factors to consider:

  1. How quickly can your fiancé enter the United States?
  2. How soon after arriving in the United States can they obtain permanent residency (also known as a green card)?

If your main concern is getting your fiancé to the United States as quickly as possible, the K-1 visa historically used to be several weeks faster from the time of application to the time the visa is issued. However, government processing times have recently started to change and the K-1 visa and CR1 visa now have similar wait times. 

When you use RapidVisa, the K1 fiancé visa as of 2023 typically takes between 13 and 18 months, and the CR1 spousal visa typically takes between 9 and 13 months. Keep in mind that the processing time can be longer — sometimes more than a year — depending on your specific situation. 

How are the K-1 and CR1 processes different?

It's important to note that the K-1 visa has an extra step: After a fiancé enters the United States on a K-1 visa, they need to marry the U.S. citizen and apply to adjust their status, a process that can take several more months before receiving the green card. Without the green card, the foreign spouse won't be able to legally work in the United States or travel outside the country without applying for another visa.

If the couple gets married outside the United States, and the foreign spouse then enters the United States on a CR1 spousal visa,  they will obtain their green card immediately after entering the U.S. For this reason, if your primary concern is for your fiancé to get a green card as quickly as possible, the CR1 spousal visa is the best option. 

How much does each visa type cost?

Overall, the K-1 visa process is more expensive in the end because it includes the additional step of applying for a marriage green card once you're married in the U.S. The U.S. government also recently proposed increases to immigration fees that could make the marriage green card process significantly more expensive in the coming months. Here are the total costs you can expect for the K-1 visa and the CR1 visa, including future costs if the fee increases go into effect:

Which visa type is best for me?

So, to recap, as of 2023, the current processing times for the K-1 visa and the CR1 visa are similar, however the CR1 visa will help your foreign spouse obtain their green card faster. The K-1 visa therefore is generally a good option for couples who want to get married in the U.S., rather than getting married abroad. Below is a breakdown of the key differences between the two visa types to help you determine which option may be best for you and your partner:


If this sounds complicated, don’t worry! RapidVisa can guide you through every milestone of your immigration journey. Ready to start? 

Disclaimer: The contents of this post were accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing. Immigration is constantly changing, and old information often becomes outdated, including procedures, timelines, prices, and more. Take note of the publish date. For archival purposes, these posts will remain published, even if new information renders them obsolete. Do not make important life decisions based on this content. No part of this post should be considered legal advice, as RapidVisa is not a law firm. This content is provided free of charge for informational purposes only. If anything herein conflicts with an official government website, the official government website shall prevail.

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