Ask the Consul [#4 in a series]: All About IV Marriage Visas – US Embassy for Barbados & Eastern Caribbean
- What is the difference between an Immigrant Visa CR1/IR1 and a K3? Which is better for my spouse and I?
Marriage-based petitions for spouses of United States Citizens fall under the immigrant visa categories of IR1 (for couples married more than two years) and CR1 (for couples married less than two years). A K3 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows your spouse to travel to United States and apply through USCIS in the U.S. to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) of the United States.
In the past, petitioners often applied for the K3 visa class because these cases were processed more quickly. This is no longer true in our Consular District. The Immigrant Visa Unit in Bridgetown is scheduling IR1 and CR1 appointments as soon as all documents for these cases are received at the National Visa Center. As a result, there is little or no difference between the time it takes to receive an IR1/CR1 appointment and a K3 appointment.
Please keep in mind that U.S. citizens filing an I-130 petition for an IR1 or CR1 spouse must file separate I-130 petitions for any children also immigrating to the United States.
- What if I (a U.S. citizen) am not married yet, and I want to get married to my non-American fiancé(e) in the U.S. What do I do then?
There is a visa class available for the fiancé(e) of a U.S. Citizen. A fiancé(e) visa (or K1 visa) is a non-immigrant visa, however because the process is similar to that of an immigrant visa the Immigrant Visa Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown handles fiancé(e) visas. The fiancé(e) visa is for foreigners who wish to marry a U.S. citizen in the United States and then become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) without having to leave the United States. If you are granted a K1 visa, you have 90 days from entry into the United States to marry your U.S. citizen fiancé(e). If your plans change, and you do not get married within the 90 day time frame, you must leave the United States. K2 visas are for the children of K1 fiancé(e) applicants.
After your marriage takes place in the United States, you and your U.S. citizen spouse must contact USCIS to change your status to that of a Legal Permanent Resident. The change of status is NOT automatic simply because you get married.
For further information on obtaining a K1 visa, please follow instructions on U.S. Embassy Bridgetown’s website at http://barbados.usembassy.gov/iv-k_1_visas.html. You can also reach the Immigrant Visa Unit in Bridgetown by e-mail at BridgetownIV@state.gov
- How can I prove to the consular officer that I have a real marital relationship with my foreign spouse?
For immigrant visa cases involving a marital relationship, such as marriage and stepchild cases, it is your responsibility to prove to the consular officer that you have a real marital relationship. If you and your spouse have any children together, make sure you bring the children’s legal birth certificates in long form – one that shows both parents’ names. You should also provide ample evidence to demonstrate that the two of you have a life together as a couple. Examples of marital relationship evidence might include, but are not limited to, photographs of you and your spouse together from periods before and after the wedding, shared civil documents, remittance receipts, phone records, etc. To qualify for the visa, it is your responsibility to prove to the consular officer that you have a genuine marital relationship with your spouse.
- For more information
Any further questions about this, or other Consular and travel topics can be found at http://travel.state.gov/ or our website at http://barbados.usembassy.gov. You can contact the Immigrant Visa Unit in Bridgetown by e-mail at BridgetownIV@state.gov.