K1 vs CR1 – Which is Faster?

One of the most frequently asked questions we have been receiving in the past few weeks and months is whether it’s faster to do the fiancé visa or the spouse visa.

A lot of couples become paralyzed by this decision. The K1 is the fiancé visa route and the CR1, also called IR1, is the spouse visa route. These are two very common options for couples.

The fiancé visa was historically the faster option for couples to be together. Before COVID, we would be able to help couples get through the fiancé visa process typically in under six to eight months. We used to be able to complete the entire process from fiancé visa through green card in under a year.

Then immigration began to slow down and COVID happened. There were backlogs in general with immigration and COVID and things became very slow for the fiancé visa. But historically, that was the fastest option for couples to be together.

The answer to the question on which option is faster is it really depends on which one would be faster based on your particular situation or your particular circumstances.

Factors to Take Into Account

When we meet with couples, we ask a lot of questions to get to know them as a couple and understand what their goals are. One of the things to consider is if you aren’t married yet, how soon can you reasonably get married to be able to file the spouse visa?

Because if you can’t actually be together for months to a year due to work obligations or travel bans and things like that, we would tell couples it would be faster to think about the fiancé visa because that is something that you can file right away once you meet certain requirements and you have actually met in person.

If you meet all the requirements for the fiancé visa and you aren’t going to be able to be together soon to get married, then the fiancé visa in that case would be likely a faster option.

Another big part factor is the country where the immigrant is from. Because while the US embassies and consulates don’t do processing times, there are ways that we can check visa processing times.

Also, we’ve helped hundreds of couples and we are able to see how things are progressing for certain individuals from certain countries. We use this information to say, “We see you’re from this country and this is what we’re seeing right now for processing times with the fiancé visa or with the spouse visa.”

We also ask everyone if they are a citizen of multiple countries. That’s something else that we use as a technique. If they’re a citizen of multiple countries, it would be fastest to have the interview in a certain country that seems to be processing them faster.

Different Situations

There are a lot of rumors that the fiancé visa is slower than the spouse visa and vice versa. These are just rumors because each person has their own unique situation. Everybody going through this process has a unique relationship and everybody’s from different countries, different situations, and different times that they filed.

While that might be one person’s experience, take that with a grain of salt because it could be very different from yours based on when you’re filing, the specifics of your case, and what countries that you could possibly process through for the fiancé or spouse visa.

Just know that right now, it’ll really depend on which one is faster. We are seeing certain couples from certain countries that we would recommend the fiancé visa over the spouse visa. For others, we’re seeing that the fiancé and the spouse visa are processed about the same time.

While going through the immigration process and in life, there are a finite amount of things that we can control and we cannot control the chaos that is immigration. But what you can control is taking steps forward and making a decision. Getting something filed and not letting yourself be paralyzed by that decision-making process.

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