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What’s the Difference Between a K1 and K3 Visa?





The primary variance between the K1 fiancé visa and the K3 spousal visa is tied to the marital status of the foreign citizen involved. The K1 visa is for those engaged to a U.S. citizen but yet to be married, while the K3 visa is designated for couples already in matrimony.

Each type of visa has its unique set of eligibility conditions and validity durations. It’s prudent to consult legal services before lodging your application to ensure all required paperwork is properly prepared, helping to avert potential delays or rejections.

What Is a K1 Visa?

The K1 visa, also called the betrothed visa, is a tool that enables couples to relocate their significant others to the United States provided they are engaged, but this comes with certain stipulations. The engaged pair must commit to wed within a 90-day window from the date they land in the US. Non-compliance can result in a breach of visa conditions and consequently, the individual may lose their right to stay. You can contact a fiancè visa attorney to help you through the process.

Additionally, the couple must have been physically present together at least once in the preceding two years. They are required to present substantial proof to validate the sincerity of their relationship. This evidence often comprises photos, testimonials from kin and friends, flight tickets, and records of text exchanges, all of which are typically incorporated in a K1 visa application.

What Is a K3 Visa?

Regarding spousal visas, the term CR1 might be most familiar to you. A CR1 visa permits a spouse to journey to the United States and reside there, provided the couple is already wedded. It carries more benefits than the K1 visa, enabling the spouse to immediately work and travel under the CR1 visa.

However, it has a significantly longer processing period. This is where the K3 visa becomes pertinent. A K3 visa authorizes the spouse to live in the United States while the CR1 is undergoing processing hence it requires submitting two applications. It is a non-immigrant visa that offers provisional residency while the CR1 application is being determined.

The Main Differences Between the K1 and K3 Visa

The primary distinction between the K1 and K3 visa lies in the individuals they are designed for – the K1 is intended for a partner of a US citizen while the K3 is for an individual already married to an American citizen. Moreover, there is a difference in travel limitations as well; the K1 visa permits only a single entry into the US, whereas the K3 visa allows multiple entries into the country.

What are the Similarities Between the K1 and K3 Visas?

The K1 and K3 visas share many similarities and are often viewed as an advantageous pathway for foreign nationals desiring to reside in the US. These visas allow holders to alter their status to permanent residents. This is given they apply while their visa is still active. Even though the K1 and K3 visas fall under the nonimmigrant visas, their holders are treated as immigrants.

The K1 and K3 visas permit holders to bring their dependents to the US. Additionally, with appropriate paperwork, these visa holders can work and travel. It’s worth mentioning that initially, visa holders might receive green cards with conditions. To obtain full citizenship, they must apply for a change in status, which may involve extra charges.


The K3 visa has recently fallen out of favor due to its complex and lengthy process. We suggest you apply for a spousal visa in the IRI or CR1 categories instead. Regardless of the visa type you opt for, it’s imperative to engage a seasoned immigration lawyer. They can provide necessary guidance throughout the process, ensure you fulfill all prerequisites, submit all required documentation, and keep your case progressing smoothly, maximizing the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

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