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K1 vs. CR1 - Advice? UK to US

My boyfriend and I (both early 30s) live in the UK. He is a UK citizen and I am an American citizen living and working here on a visa. We've been together for a year and a half and have lived together for 3 months now. We want to get married and move to the States as soon as possible (knowing that will probably be quite a while).

Our two priorities are: 1) living together as much as possible during processing (not me there, him here for long periods of time for example) and 2) being able to work as much as possible (we're not in a position where he can come to the States for months without ability to work).

  1. Would it be faster/easier in any way for us to apply for the K1 visa and get married in the States or get married here in the UK and apply for the CR1 visa?
  2. While either of those applications are pending, can we both continue to live and work in the UK? In an ideal world I would like to sort all of the legal stuff out from the UK and only go to the States once & together when he has greencard. Is that possible or is it necessary to go back and forth a lot?

I know it is probably easiest to get a lawyer, but that's not financially viable for us right now, so thank you very much for any advice.

Thank you!

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