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Which visa should we use to bring my wife/fiancée from Austria to the US, K-1 or CR-1?

Crystal Lake, IL |

I am a naturalized US Citizen and she is an Austrian Permanent Resident but with Iranian citizenship. Our plan was to get married next month in Austria but are now considering whether it would be better to attempt the K-1 visa and get married in the States or whether to go with our original plan to petition for the CR1 after marriage in Austria. Our goal is to get married and eventually have her live permanently in the US. Which path seems to be most appropriate for us and which would cause the fewest complications? Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much!

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Attorney answers 7


Unfortunately, the variables involved in making the decision are too many to address on a website such as this. You should meet with an attorney directly - preferably someone with knowledge of procedures at the US Embassy in Vienna - and discuss the pros and cons of each option, as well as the various processing times. Please bear in mind that processing information is based on reported averages and past experiences, it is impossible for an attorney to guarantee how long a process will take. Good luck!

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I fully support Counsel Thomann's premise: without meeting a sensible counsel in person your understanding of all legal options will be not only incomplete but greatly flawed to make the correct decision.

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I agree with my colleagues in that this is a decision that is personal to the individuals goals. There is not a very big difference in which is more or less complex. The K-1 adds an extra petition and fee, but the marriage would need to take place in the U.S. - it is a good option is certain cases where the goal is to enter the U.S. as soon as possible.


The article below touches on the situation you describe. Best of luck.

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Have a consult in person. Gehen Sie persoenlich zu einem Rechtsanwalt.

This advice does not form an attorney-client relationship and is merely informative. It should not by itself be relied upon to address a legal concern.


Considering all of the issues, the time and the cost, it would be worthwhile to review this in person with a lawyer. Just you should know it can take well over a year for USCIS to process a petition for alien relative, and add to that the time processing at the consulate, and it may be a very long time before your fiancé comes to the U.S.

The above is intended only as general information, and does not constitute legal advice. You must speak with an attorney to discuss your individual case.


If you have the ability to marry in the immigrant's country, go ahead. Then you can skip the adjustment of status stage. This will save you $1,490 in government fees. If you do the immigrant visa, rather than the fiance visa, your spouse will be a green card holder as soon as they enter the US. If they are your fiance, they MUST marry you and not waste time on the adjustment of status application. TIME and MONEY gone to waste, in my opinion.