What is a CR-1 Spousal Visa?
If you have been married for less than 2 years to a US Citizen you will file a Petition for Relative (I-130) and receive a CR1 spousal visa. The foreign spouse will be granted a conditional green card, valid for 2 years which will allow him/her to travel out of the country, get a social security card and work legally. The conditional status must be removed within the 90 day period prior to the expiration of the green card or USCIS will begin deportation proceedings. (In general the Green Card will be received within 1 to 3 months from entering the USA).
In order to remove the conditional status, form I-751 must be filed during the 90 days immediately before the second anniversary of the granting of the conditional status. If this petition is not filed, USCIS will begin deportation proceedings immediately.
What is an IR-1 Visa?
If you have been married for over 2 years to a US Citizen you will file a Petition for Relative (I-130) receive an IR1 visa. The foreign spouse will be granted a 10 year green card which will allow him/her to travel out of the country, get a social security card and work legally. After 3 years of having permanent resident status (Green Card) the immigrant is eligible to apply for US Citizenship.
What is a K-3 Visa?
The K-3 visa (Petition for Fiancee-I-129F) was designed to make it possible for spouses of US citizens to get to the U.S. quicker and not have to wait for an spousal visa (CR-1, IR-1) to get approved. In order to file a petition for a K3 visa you must first file an I-130 Petition for Relative which is the (CR-1, IR1) then when you receive a USCIS Notice of Action of receipt you can file the K3 visa (Petition for Fiancee I-129F) with a copy of the USCIS notice.
If the K-3 (I-129F) is approved before the CR-1, then you can proceed with the K-3 spousal visa you also have the choice of not using the K-3 visa and proceed with the CR-1 or IR-1. If the CR-1, IR-1 is approved first or at the same time you no longer have an option to proceed with the K3 you must stay with the CR-1, IR-1. When your spouse comes to the United States with a K-3 spousal visa, you will then have to file for a marriage green card(adjustment of status).
The K-3 spousal visa vs. the (CR-1, IR-1)Spousal visas: Which is the right choice for you and your Fiancé?
The K-3 spousal visa was originally set up to save time over the CR-1and IR-1 spousal visas. Right now we are seeing both the K-3 and the CR-1 being approved at about the same time, but these changes constantly and processing times vary from country to country.
All spousal visas must file the Petition for Relative (I-130) CR-1, or IR-1 (see definitions above) first then if you are trying to get your spouse here as fast as possible you would file the K-3 (I-129F). If the CR1/IR1 receives USCIS approval sooner than the K3, the petitioner no longer has an option to obtain a K3. If the CR1/IRI and K3 receive USCIS approval at the same time, the CR1/IR1 will override the K3.
CR-1, IR-1 advantages: your spouse will be able to enter the United States with immigrant status and your spouse will be able to work immediately. This saves you the time and money of applying for the adjustment of status.