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EAdamo

K-1 or CR-1?? Canada to USA (Catholic, want Church Wedding)

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Hi Everyone,

 

I have read through several posts on here and appreciate everyone's advice, but I was hoping to get some guidance and input on my scenario in particular after providing some background information.

 

My boyfriend of 7 years is from Canada, and I live in the US (Ohio).  We are trying to decide which path is better for us (K-1 Fiancé Visa or the 1-130/Cr-1 Spousal Visa).

Boyfriend and I have visited back and forth regularly and have a lot of evidence of our bona fide relationship.  I have met his family/friends and he has met mine on many occasions. Neither of us have been married before or have any children.

 

1. Boyfriend and I are both Catholic, and it is important to us to plan a wedding mass and reception in a church (and not live together until church ceremony). Does anyone have experience planning a church/religious marriage ceremony at the same time as the immigration visa process?  When is it best/safe to start making deposits and setting a date? Which visa (fiancé or spousal) is better for this scenario?

2. In many ways it seems the CR-1 Spousal visa has its advantages (he would be able to work right away, and travel back and forth to Canada if needed for family).   Since we are not yet married though, my question/concern is, HOW DO WE ACCOMPLISH THIS?  If boyfriend comes here, does he tell the border security agent "I am going to get married and plan to return to Canada", OR does he simply say "I am going to visit my girlfriend" and then we get married and he goes back to Canada and then we proceed with the CR-1 Spousal visa process?  Does he have to tell Border guard agent upon returning to Canada that we got married? (Boyfriend does not stay here for extended periods of time as he and I both work, so its not like he can be here for 4 months and then we get married...which I have read is what most couples do) so as to not appear to be "planning" to get married ahead of time.

3. Boyfriend and I are both hyper-aware and hesitant to do ANYTHING that would be suspect to visa fraud or having him denied at the Border.  At first, I thought the K-1 fiancé visa was the best route, because it is the safest way from ever being suspect to visa/immigration fraud, but I have seen CR-1 proposed at the more streamline and less expensive route, but I am concerned that he will have a hassle at the border when he would come to get married (even though he would leave and we would fill out CR-1 spousal visa)

4. To use an immigration attorney or not? Has anyone used the "Visa Coach"?

5. Online USCIS account/application or sending everything in via paper?

6. Another thought that I had is if I go to Canada to get married and then return here and apply for CR-1 spousal visa...but again, do I tell the border agent "I am going to get married and pinky promise I'll return"?  What happens if stye say "no you can't come into the country"??  Has anyone had any problems with this and can share there experience?  (I think I would prefer for him to come here for legal marriage ceremony unless there's an overwhelming reason it would be better/easier to go there). What is involved in going to Canadian courthouse to get married?

 

 

Sorry this was so long but I wanted to give you all the information to hopefully provide the best guidance. Thank you all in advance for your assistance and advice!!

 

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Every couple has their own priorities, and each couple must decide which visa is better for their situation.

K-1
    Slightly faster arrival in the US (currently about 3 months sooner)    
    More expensive than CR-1    
    Requires Adjustment of Status after marriage (expensive and requires a lot of paperwork)    
    Spouse can not leave the US until she/he receives approved Advance Parole (approx 5-6 months)    
    Spouse can not work until she/he receives EAD (approx 5-6 months)    
    Some people have had problems with driver licenses, Social Security cards, leases, bank account during this period    
    Spouse will not receive Green Card for many months after Adjustment of Status is filed.

  

CR-1
    Slightly slower arrival in the US (currently about 3 months later)

    Less expensive than K-1    
    No Adjustment of Status(I-485, I-131, I-765) required.    
    Spouse can immediately travel outside the US    
    Spouse is authorized to work immediately upon arrival.    
    Spouse receives Social Security Card and Green Card within 2 or 3 weeks after entering the US    
    Opening a bank account, getting a driver's license, etc. are very easily accomplished with GC, SS card, and passport.

    Spouse has legal permanent Resident status IMMEDIATELY upon entry to US.
   


 


"Experience can be a tough teacher to those who fail to heed good advice"- Missileman, 12/6/18

"Only a fool would fail to heed the advice of someone who has walked in his shoes"- Missileman, 2/8/19

"What I am to be, I am NOW becoming"- Benjamin Franklin

First career- 20 year Retired E-8, USAF Missileer,

Second career-Retired Registered Nurse, experience in Labor& Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent & Adult Psych

Third career-Retired IT Developer & Database Administrator for surgical services dept.

 

Immigration Journey:

  • Texas Service Center after transfer from Nebraska
  • Consulate :Taipei, Taiwan
  • Marriage: 7/30/2015
  • I-130 NOA1 : 4/27/2016
  • I-130 Approved :9/8/2016
  • Case received at NVC: 10/11/2016                               
  • Case # and IIN#: 10/24/2016
  • AOS Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • AOS Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • IV Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • IV Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • DS-260 Completed: 10/28/16
  • Scan Date:11/9/2016
  • Supervisor review: 12/21/16 
  • Checklist: 1/13/17 
  • Case Complete: 4/10/17
  • Interview Date: 5/8/17 
  • Visa  "ISSUED": 5/10/17
  • Visa and Passport in hand/Flight to USA Booked!!!: 5/12/17  
  • POE Dallas DFW on June 22, 2017
  • SS Card received : 7/3/2017
  • 2-year Green Card received in mail: 7/15/17
 

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He can legally travel to the US, marry you, then return to Canada to continue the CR-1 process........visits are also allowed.

Edited by missileman

"Experience can be a tough teacher to those who fail to heed good advice"- Missileman, 12/6/18

"Only a fool would fail to heed the advice of someone who has walked in his shoes"- Missileman, 2/8/19

"What I am to be, I am NOW becoming"- Benjamin Franklin

First career- 20 year Retired E-8, USAF Missileer,

Second career-Retired Registered Nurse, experience in Labor& Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent & Adult Psych

Third career-Retired IT Developer & Database Administrator for surgical services dept.

 

Immigration Journey:

  • Texas Service Center after transfer from Nebraska
  • Consulate :Taipei, Taiwan
  • Marriage: 7/30/2015
  • I-130 NOA1 : 4/27/2016
  • I-130 Approved :9/8/2016
  • Case received at NVC: 10/11/2016                               
  • Case # and IIN#: 10/24/2016
  • AOS Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • AOS Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • IV Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • IV Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • DS-260 Completed: 10/28/16
  • Scan Date:11/9/2016
  • Supervisor review: 12/21/16 
  • Checklist: 1/13/17 
  • Case Complete: 4/10/17
  • Interview Date: 5/8/17 
  • Visa  "ISSUED": 5/10/17
  • Visa and Passport in hand/Flight to USA Booked!!!: 5/12/17  
  • POE Dallas DFW on June 22, 2017
  • SS Card received : 7/3/2017
  • 2-year Green Card received in mail: 7/15/17
 

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Yea if you want to plan an actual wedding better to do it and marry then go the CR-1 route. The K-1 visa doesn't really allow you the time to plan because so many things can happen to delay the process. Most of us I'd say just do a court house wedding. 

 

Now that being said, you could do that with the K-1 and then plan a church ceremony after, but up to you entirely obviously.

Edited by Ben&Zian

08/15/2014 : Met Online

06/30/2016 : I-129F Packet Sent

07/08/2016 : NOA 1 Received

08/25/2016 : NOA 2 Received (48 days)

11/08/2016 : Interview - APPROVED!

11/18/2016 : Visa in hand

11/23/2016 : POE - Dallas, Texas

From sending of I-129F petiton to POE - 146 days.

 

02/03/2017 - Married 

 

02/24/2017 - AOS packet sent

03/06/2017 - NOA1's received via text

03/31/2017 - Biometrics appointment Completed

06/01/2017 - EAD/AP Combo Card Received in mail

12/06/2017 - I-485 Approved

12/14/2017 - Green Card Received in mail - No Interview

 

 

giphy.gifvd9wauve2wlsd9fuctxk.gifgiphy.gif     

 

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I'll grab these:

 

31 minutes ago, EAdamo said:

4. To use an immigration attorney or not? Has anyone used the "Visa Coach"?

5. Online USCIS account/application or sending everything in via paper?

6. Another thought that I had is if I go to Canada to get married and then return here and apply for CR-1 spousal visa...but again, do I tell the border agent "I am going to get married and pinky promise I'll return"?  What happens if stye say "no you can't come into the country"??  Has anyone had any problems with this and can share there experience?  (I think I would prefer for him to come here for legal marriage ceremony unless there's an overwhelming reason it would be better/easier to go there). What is involved in going to Canadian courthouse to get married?

4 - It is all pretty much do it yourself.  Nothing you have said so far leeds to needing an attorney.

5 - You send in the I-130 paper copy

6 - Canada is pretty easy at the border.  Not too many Americans overstay into Canada.  Your Job is in Ohio and you are not quitting it.


March 2, 2018  Married In Hong Kong

April 30, 2018  Mary moves from the Philippines to Mexico, Husband has MX Permanent Residency

June 13, 2018 Mary receives Mexican Residency Card

June 15, 2018  I-130 DCF Appointment in Juarez  -  June 18, 2018  Approval E-Mail

August 2, 2018 Case Complete At Consulate

September 25, 2018 Interview in CDJ and Approved!

October 7, 2018 In the USA

October 27, 2018 Green Card received 

October 29, 2018 Applied for Social Security Card - November 5, 2018 Social Security Card received

November 6th, 2018 State ID Card Received, Applied for Global Entry - Feb 8,2019 Approved.

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On 1/25/2019 at 3:14 PM, EAdamo said:

Hi Everyone,

 

I have read through several posts on here and appreciate everyone's advice, but I was hoping to get some guidance and input on my scenario in particular after providing some background information.

 

My boyfriend of 7 years is from Canada, and I live in the US (Ohio).  We are trying to decide which path is better for us (K-1 Fiancé Visa or the 1-130/Cr-1 Spousal Visa).

Boyfriend and I have visited back and forth regularly and have a lot of evidence of our bona fide relationship.  I have met his family/friends and he has met mine on many occasions. Neither of us have been married before or have any children.

 

1. Boyfriend and I are both Catholic, and it is important to us to plan a wedding mass and reception in a church (and not live together until church ceremony). Does anyone have experience planning a church/religious marriage ceremony at the same time as the immigration visa process?  When is it best/safe to start making deposits and setting a date? Which visa (fiancé or spousal) is better for this scenario?

2. In many ways it seems the CR-1 Spousal visa has its advantages (he would be able to work right away, and travel back and forth to Canada if needed for family).   Since we are not yet married though, my question/concern is, HOW DO WE ACCOMPLISH THIS?  If boyfriend comes here, does he tell the border security agent "I am going to get married and plan to return to Canada", OR does he simply say "I am going to visit my girlfriend" and then we get married and he goes back to Canada and then we proceed with the CR-1 Spousal visa process?  Does he have to tell Border guard agent upon returning to Canada that we got married? (Boyfriend does not stay here for extended periods of time as he and I both work, so its not like he can be here for 4 months and then we get married...which I have read is what most couples do) so as to not appear to be "planning" to get married ahead of time.

3. Boyfriend and I are both hyper-aware and hesitant to do ANYTHING that would be suspect to visa fraud or having him denied at the Border.  At first, I thought the K-1 fiancé visa was the best route, because it is the safest way from ever being suspect to visa/immigration fraud, but I have seen CR-1 proposed at the more streamline and less expensive route, but I am concerned that he will have a hassle at the border when he would come to get married (even though he would leave and we would fill out CR-1 spousal visa)

4. To use an immigration attorney or not? Has anyone used the "Visa Coach"?

5. Online USCIS account/application or sending everything in via paper?

6. Another thought that I had is if I go to Canada to get married and then return here and apply for CR-1 spousal visa...but again, do I tell the border agent "I am going to get married and pinky promise I'll return"?  What happens if stye say "no you can't come into the country"??  Has anyone had any problems with this and can share there experience?  (I think I would prefer for him to come here for legal marriage ceremony unless there's an overwhelming reason it would be better/easier to go there). What is involved in going to Canadian courthouse to get married?

 

 

Sorry this was so long but I wanted to give you all the information to hopefully provide the best guidance. Thank you all in advance for your assistance and advice!!

 

1) It would be easier to plan a large wedding if you go the CR1 route.  You can plan everything and have your wedding and then worry about immigration.  K1 would NOT be ideal for a large church wedding.  We had a small wedding where I grew up (and was not living at the time) outside.  But many people plan the whole church wedding.  What is involved in a wedding depends on your state or province. 

2) My husband told the CBSA he was getting married, but he came up to Canada.  If you wish to do it the opposite way you can say the same thing and he should have evidence he is planning on returning like a letter from his employer, a return ticket (or itinerary) and even a lease or other items normal people don't just up and leave.  

3) I never had an issue visiting my husband before or after marriage.  I was upfront about my intentions and even though I carried evidence of ties to Canada, I was never asked to show them.  Generally short trips, packing appropriately, and having a job helps. 

4) don't bother unless you don't have the time or patience for the paperwork or have an underlying issue

5) via paper

6) see post 1.  


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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If the nature of the wedding is an important factor to you both, I'd recommend CR1. As others have said, it's legal for him to visit you here and you get married, then he return to Canada in order for you to pursue immigration process. You could also go there and get married, I'd imagine, if that is another possibility for you two.

 

With the K1, it is still possible to have the wedding you want. My husband and I did K1 and still wanted a traditional wedding. While it's nearly impossible to successfully plan one while the immigration visa is processing, we got legally married privately once he arrived on his K1, then proceeded to plan our traditional wedding where we celebrated with family and friends as anyone normally would. I want to share that, so as to ensure that one specific factor does not discourage you one way or another.

 

That aside, there's definitely perks to the CR1 that K1 does not have - the beneficiary is able to work and such upon entry, whereas with K1, there is an additional process/waiting period. The biggest difference between the two, other than getting married first or afterwards, is the difference in processing times, which honestly varies no matter which route you take, based on any other factors.

 

Based on the information you've shared, I don't see a visa coach or attorney being necessary. Utilizing a third party like that is really only helpful if you and your partner have a very complicated case or anticipated red flags. If none of those, it's very easily a DIY process. I wouldn't waste the money. :) 


Håll ut, y'all.

 

               K1 Process                                                                                AOS Process

July 2015 - met online thanks to Zak Bagans                                                            May 25, 2018 - South Carolina marriage license issued

June 2016 - first in-person meeting                                                                             May 26, 2018 - legally married

August 2016 - stateside visit                                                                                        June 7, 2018 - applied for Social Security Number [manual verification required]

February-April 2017 - stateside visit                                                                           June 18, 2018 - SSN/card received in the mail

April 4, 2017 - got engaged                                                                                          June 30, 2018 - submitted I-485 (AOS)/I-765 (EAD)/I-131 (AP) together

June 5, 2017 - submitted I129F                                                                                   July 9, 2018 - AOS/EAD/AP electronic NOA1 received

June 12, 2017 - received NOA1                                                                                   July 13, 2018 - AOS/EAD/AP hard copy NOA1 received (dated July 6, 2018)

December 1, 2017 - received NOA2                                                                            July 25, 2018 - Biometrics appointment (Charlotte, NC)

January 17, 2018 - NVC received case                                                                      August 1, 2018 - case status updated to "Ready to be Scheduled for Interview"

January 18, 2018 - received NVC case number by phone                                      August 11, 2018 - case status updated to "I-485 Interview Scheduled"

January 24, 2018 - packet received via email                                                           August 16, 2018 - AOS Interview Scheduled letter received

February 15, 2018 - medical appointment                                                                 August 28, 2018 - visited civil surgeon (Winston-Salem, NC) to complete I-693

February-March 2018 - trip to Gothenburg                                                                                                [beneficiary had to get one remaining vaccination stateside]

February 22, 2018 - interview at the US Embassy in Stockholm                            September 18, 2018 - I-485/AOS Interview in Greer, SC

                                    [passed, pending receipt of medical papers]                           September 18, 2018 - case status updated to "Card Has Been Issued/Mailed"

February 27, 2018 - medical papers received by Embassy                                     September 25, 2018 - Green Card received in the mail

March 5, 2018 - visa received in the mail with passport                                          October 6, 2018 - traditional wedding with family & friends

May 16, 2018 - POE in Charlotte, NC

 

 

Up next.... Removal of Conditions!

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