The K-3 visa and CR-1 visa are both immigration visa categories in the United States that are used for the purpose of spousal immigration. While the K-3 visa and CR-1 visa share the objective of allowing a foreign spouse to join their U.S. citizen spouse, there are some key differences between them.
- Processing Time: One of the main differences between the K-3 visa and CR-1 visa is the processing time. The K-3 visa is designed to provide a faster route for the foreign spouse to enter the U.S. temporarily while the immigrant visa (CR-1) petition is being processed. However, in recent years, the processing times for both visas have become more similar, and the K-3 visa has become less commonly used.
- Entry and Work Authorization: With a K-3 visa, the foreign spouse can enter the U.S. and subsequently apply for employment authorization to work in the country. On the other hand, with a CR-1 visa, the foreign spouse enters the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident, which means they have immediate work authorization.
- Conditional Residency: If a marriage is less than two years old when the CR-1 visa is granted, the foreign spouse is given conditional permanent residency. They must apply to have the conditions removed within the 90-day period before the second anniversary of their entry into the U.S. This requirement does not apply to the K-3 visa.
- Immigrant Intent: The K-3 visa is considered a nonimmigrant visa, while the CR-1 visa is an immigrant visa. The K-3 visa holder must intend to return to their home country once their authorized stay in the U.S. is over. In contrast, the CR-1 visa is intended for the foreign spouse to immigrate permanently to the U.S.
- Petition Process: To apply for a K-3 visa, the U.S. citizen spouse must file both an immigrant visa petition (Form I-130) and a nonimmigrant visa petition (Form I-129F). The CR-1 visa only requires the filing of an immigrant visa petition (Form I-130). The K-3 visa is intended to facilitate the process for the foreign spouse to join the U.S. citizen spouse while the immigrant visa petition is being processed.
It’s worth noting that the popularity and usage of visa categories can change over time due to immigration policy changes or other factors. Therefore, it’s always recommended to consult with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or an immigration attorney for the most up-to-date information and guidance regarding specific visa categories.