I have read both pros and cons about a CR-1 visa vs. a K-1 visa. What is your opinion? And why is one better than the other?
I am about to go and marry this fine lady (leaving May 13th) – I have read both pros and cons about a CR-1 visa vs. a K-1 visa. What is your opinion? And why is one better than the other etc. I feel it is better to marry in China for her family’s sake, then file the CR-1. Also what are your fees?
Scott, Thank you for your inquiry. At this time, I see substantial advantages in most cases in processing a CR marriage visa as compared to a K1 fiance visa. The fact that you have already spent time in person before considering marriage is good. It would likely be a mistake to marry in China on a first visit.
On average, a marriage visa is currently taking several weeks longer to obtain than a fiance visa. Timing changes and each consulate is different, so you need to contact an immigration attorney for a reasonable timing estimate.
A major advantage of the marriage visa is that we can preprocess a green card so that the foreign spouse obtains the marriage visa and is also preapproved for a green card. When the foreigner arrives in the U.S. he or she is already green card approved.
A fiance visa must be completed in two steps: First, we bring the foreigner to the U.S. on a fiance visa, then the couple marries in the U.S. After marriage, the foreign spouse remains in the U.S. to apply to become a permanent resident green card holder based on the marriage.
Marrying abroad does not guaranty her entry to the U.S. From an immigration standpoint, marriage is a piece of paper. The fiancee and spousal visas are both good and valid visas. The closeness of the relationship is what matters more.
There are procedural advantages to the CR marriage visa in the event of a visa refusal. There is also a bit more leverage with the CR visa in event of a lawsuit. A lawsuit is rare, but when battling against a visa refusal we need to argue based on legal principles. Having the ability to sue helps in negotiations.
A K fiancee visa refusal is very difficult to overcome since a K1 refusal has less procedural protections. An immigration officer might feel somewhat more confident in denying a K1 without having good cause because there is not much we can do about it other than to try and limit damage to the foreigner. If denied a fiance visa it is important to make appropriate objections for the record because a visa refusal can hurt any future chances on a refiling either as a fiance or spouse.
A fiance visa is preferable if the foreigner has a child over the age of 18 years. On a fiance visa, it is possible to immigrate an unmarried foreign dependent child to the U.S. up to the age of 21 years. By comparison, a child must be under 18 to qualify if you marry first and then immigrate your spouse on a marriage visa. I’ve had clients with older children divorce and process on a fiance visa just to immigrate the child.
It is generally better to bring the foreigner to the U.S. as a fiance and enter into a prenuptial agreement than to try to have the foreigner sign a prenups. outside the U.S. There can be enforcement problems in the event of a divorce and law suit if your witnesses to the prenups. are overseas. You need to discuss this issue with a family law attorney in your State who has experience with prenups. I sometimes work with family law attorneys regarding the impact of immigration on prenups. and vice versa.
I have been an attorney for more than 20 years and have managed 14,000 cases, including many hundreds out of China. I’ve successfully sued on a K1 China case and have a working knowledge of procedures to help protect your interests. Our fees are reasonable and depend on your situation.