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U.S. Citizen/Canadian Citizen (Engaged) K-1 vs. CR-1?

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I am a U.S. Citizen and I am currently engaged to my Canadian Fiancé. We are both working professionals in our respective countries and visit each other on a weekly basis by crossing the land border via the Visa Waiver Program. We have been seeing each other for 3 years now and are planning our wedding for this upcoming August (2015) in the United States. I am a Civil Servant with adequate income to support her if necessary and she is a Registered Nurse. With that said, she will have no problem gaining employment in the United States when the time comes for her to immigrate (She currently has a license in both countries).

I have reviewed the guides and I am now leaning towards the CR-1 based on what I have read but I was hoping to get further validation from experienced members on this forum. I understand that we are pushing the time limits for the K-1 but more importantly my Fiancé would like to avoid the break in employment that appears necessary under the K-1 process while waiting for work authorization (EAD).

Before I completely rule out the K-1 I have some questions:

1. How difficult is it to obtain parole for her to re-enter Canada to visit friends/family while waiting for AOS?

2. In relation to the above question, is there any possibility of her being able to legally maintain her employment in Canada while awaiting AOS and an EAD card?

Regarding the CR-1:

1. While awaiting approval, can we maintain contact/visits the same as we had before applying? And is it safe to assume that CR-1 approval would take close to a year?

2. Is there any other way to speed up the process besides getting married sooner? Can our timeline move quicker if we have no issues come up during the application process?

And now to complicate things:

1. How would her status (K-1) or the application process (CR-1) be affected by her obtaining a work visa (H1-B) either before or after we get married? I would imagine she can't can't possess both a K-1 and H1-B simultaneously but is there any issue with her possessing an H1-B while awaiting approval of the CR-1? And is it safe to assume we could not be living together legally until she obtains either the K-1 or CR-1?

In a perfect world we would get married and she would move in immediately with employment lined up here in the United States. In a best case scenario, it appears we'll be applying for the CR-1 and continuing our long-distance relationship until she receives a conditional green card.

Thank You in advance!

Marc

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Canadians don't use the visa waiver program. ;) When we enter it's the equivalent of a b1/b2 visa you just don't apply for one.

K1 Q:

1) AP is easy to apply for but takes about 90 days to get, same with the EAD and is free when applied for with the AOS. It normally comes in a combo card.

2) No. She cannot leave the USA without AP while you AOS. If she does so her AOS is considered abandoned. To this point it's even important to remember to cancel any round trip tickets. If you're wanting her to work remotely, that falls in a grey area where she really doesn't have authorization to work, but it's not for a US company so she's technically not taking a job away from a US citizen or resident. It's not a grey area I'd personally be willing to go into, but others have.

CR1 Q:

1) absolutely. Its important to bring proof of your ties to your home country (beneficiary) but otherwise most Canadians, especially those with jobs, have very little issue crossing the border for short visits (visits 2 weeks or less.)

2) Nope. It happens as it happens. Most of this process is completely beyond your control. Like you have zero control, you have no idea what's happening, you cannot do anything. During the USCIS stage you won't even have a clue if someone has looked at the file until you get an RFE (request for evidence) or decision. The NVC stage is more active as you have fees to pay and forms to mail or email and to fill out online, however there are large waiting periods of a few months while they review forms that you just don't know what's happening. You can call but unless something happens, they really can't help. Unless you're active military and soon onto deployment the chances of an expedite is pretty much non-existent.

H1B is a visa that is dual intent. It allows the person to adjust their status. If she wants an H1B visa then go that route and simply adjust her status afterwards. It is different from a TN visa which is not a dual intent visa.


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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Like your wife, I also want to be able to work as soon as I enter the US. In those cases, the CR-1 is the way to go. And she can definitely continue to travel down to see you. My husband filed the I-130 last September and I have been flying over to see my husband every three months without issue. She just need to bring a letter from her employer to prove that she has a job and also rental agreement or mortgage papers, to show strong ties to Canada.


Met online October 2010


Engaged December 31st 2011


heart.gifMarried May 14th 2013 heart.gif



USCIS Stage


September 8th 2014 - Filed I-130 with Nebraska Service Center


September 16th 2014 - NOA1 received


March 2nd 2015 - NOA2 received :dancing:



NVC Stage


March 28th 2015 - Choice of agent complete & AOS fee paid


April 17th 2015 - IV fee paid


May 1st 2015 - Sent in IV application


May 12th 2015 - Sent in AOS and IV documents


May 18th 2015 - Scan Date


June 18th 2015 - Checklist received


June 22nd 2015 - Checklist response sent to NVC


June 25th 2015 - Put for Supervisor Review


Sept 15th 2015 - Request help from Texas US Senator Cornyn and his team


Sept 23rd 2015 - Our case is moved from supervisor review to NVC's team for dealing with Senator requests


Nov 4th 2015 - CASE COMPLETE!!!! :dancing:



Embassy Stage


Dec 16th 2015 - Medical exam


Dec 21st 2015 - Interview


Dec 21st 2015 - 221(g) issued at interview for updated forms


Jan 13th 2016 - Mailed our reply to the 221(g) to the US Embassy, received and CEAC updated the next morning


Jan 20th 2016 - Embassy require more in-depth info on asset for i-864


Feb 1st 2016 - Sent more in-depth info on assets as requested. Received the next morning


Feb 16th 2016 - Visa has been issued :dancing: :dancing: :dancing: :dancing: :dancing:



In the US


April 5th 2016 - POE Newark. No questions asked.


April 14th 2016 - SSN received


May 10th 2016 - First day at my new job :dancing:


May 27th 2016 - Green Card received


June 7th 2016 - Got my Texas driver's license

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If it wasn't obvious by my timeline and profile, we also went the CR1 route. Not being able to travel was not even an option so that immediately cancelled the idea of the K1 for us.


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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NLR: Thank You for your quick response. If it takes 90 Days to get both AP and EAD I don't know that the K-1 route would be ideal for us. I believe I may also have been confusing the the H1-B with what would really be a TN. She was looking at travel nursing which I would presume is under the TN; I would imagine this would create some issues for us in pursuing the CR-1. It's possible she may be able to obtain a H1-B through the local hospital in town but I'm now doubting this considering the limited number available.

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The CR1 does have that nice option to work and travel right away.

Generally:

K1 is faster to visa

CR1 is faster to green card.

However, noting your location in Montana I suspect your fiancee is in Alberta? I also came from Alberta.

CR1 interviews ONLY happen in Montreal. K1 interviews happen in both Vancouver and Montreal. There is a medical exam that needs to be done before the interview that can only be done by a panel physician. There are approved panel physicians in Surrey BC, a few in the Toronto area, and Montreal. The cost of going to Montreal vs Vancouver is approximately the cost of the AOS (adjustment of status.) It maybe more or less but she can get the medical done in Surrey and the interview in Montreal if that is financially/time constraints more feasible than a week in Montreal (which I did.)

However factoring in the wages lost for those 3 months, it likely makes more sense financially to go with the CR1. It's okay not to have job lined up right away in the USA. A Canadian citizen or resident can claim EI because they're relocating to be with a spouse (if their place of employment cannot transfer to the USA.) I was able to submit an EI claim right before leaving Canada and received benefits a few weeks later. A K1 can also do that, but they have to wait for their EAD before they are entitled to any benefits. This is because Service Canada asks if you are ready, able, and wiling to work... since a K1 cannot work until they get their EAD the answer is no and they're not entitled to benefits at that time.

It's a lot to think about and we took our time deciding and in the end it wasn't cost etc that made the decision. It was simply the inability to travel asap. I have a daughter in Canada who did not want to move to the USA. Not being able to travel at the drop of a hat was just not feasible. If your fiancee feels that not working would drive her batty, then by all means, get married first! People seriously underestimate the benefit of working right away. At least coming from Canada she'll be able to drive. Many K1 can't even do that until they get their EAD so they're stuck at home, with nothing to do, and absolutely no way to go anywhere.


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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Thank You so much for your insight. My fiancé is in fact from Alberta! Based on your comments and what I've read it seems CR-1 is the only realistic option based on our situation. We have a wedding planned in August here in Montana but we are now thinking of getting married in a courthouse this month to get the ball rolling on the CR-1. We are ready to get married and our only hesitation is the complication of having two weddings on paper (the August Wedding would be more ceremonial in nature).

My Fiancé will continue working in Alberta so proving she is maintaining her employment to customs shouldn't be an issue. She does live in a condo that her parents own and therefore her name is not on a property title or lease agreement. Any other suggestions for creating a paper trail that proves she is maintaining residence in Canada? I was thinking car registration/insurance but I suppose this isn't as good as a lease agreement.

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