IR1/CR1 Visa

The IR1/CR1 Visa is a type of family-based visa or green card that allows the foreign spouses of US citizens to become permanent residents of the United States if they are legally married.

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    What is the IR1/ CR1 Visa?

    IR1 or CR1 visas can also be called “marriage green cards” or “spouse green cards.” If you have recently become married to someone who lives in the United States and wishes to join them to live, this is the type of visa you will need.

    The IR1 and CR1 visas are designed for two slightly different situations. Which visa you will apply for depends on the length of time you have been married. The difference between the IR1 visa and the CR1 visa is:

    IR1 Visa

    The IR1 Visa is for foreign citizens who have been married to a citizen of the United States for two years or more.

    CR1 Visa

    The CR1 Visa is for foreign citizens who have recently gotten married to a US citizen (less than two years.) CR1 Visa is only intended for couples who plan to stay married for two years or more. CR1 Visa will allow you to become a “conditional resident.”

    If you come to the United States on a CR1 Visa you are able to change to an IR1 Visa after being married for a minimum period of two years. In the event you get divorced before the two years are up, you will be required to return to your original country.

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    Eligibility requirements for the IR1/CR1 Visa

    The eligibility requirements for an IR1 Visa and CR1 Visa are slightly different.

    Immigration officials will verify that your marriage is not fraudulent and check that you meet the eligibility requirements for the visa.

    In order to apply for the IR1 Visa, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

    • Applicant must be legally married to US citizen and able to provide proof of marriage as well as evidence of the relationship.
    • Applicant must have been married to a US citizen for two years or more.
    • Applicant must be married to a US citizen who has a valid address within the United States
    • Applicant must be married to a US citizen who has enough finances to support them after they arrive in the United States.

    In order to apply for the CR1 Visa, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

    • Applicant must be legally married to US citizen and able to provide proof of marriage as well as evidence of the relationship.
    • Applicant must be married to a US citizen who has a valid address within the United States
    • Applicant must be married to a US citizen who has enough finances to support them after they arrive in the United States.

    How to Apply For An IR1/CR1 Visa

    Sponsor files petition

    The first step to applying for the IR1/CR1 Visa is for the US citizen to file Form I-130 “Petition for Alien Relatives” and submit it to USCIS.

     Applicant files immigrant visa electronic application

    Once the petition is approved by USCIS, the foreign citizen can continue the IR1/ CR1 visa application process at a US Embassy or Consulate in their home country by filing Form DS-160, “Immigrant Visa Electronic Application”.

    Once the form is submitted, you will see a confirmation page that you need to bring to the visa interview with you.

    Gather and submit documents

    Your immigration lawyer can advise on the exact documents you must submit with your application,

    Medical Exam and Vaccinations

    Applicants are required to undergo a complete medical exam as well as obtain required vaccinations.

    The petition process

    What happens after the sponsor files the form “Petition for Alien Relatives”?

    The application process for the IR1/CR1 starts with the sponsor/ US spouse submitting the petition for their foreign spouse to USCIS.

    The processing time for the petition should be complete within a few months and the US citizen will receive a decision notification.

    If the petition is approved, it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) which will send a package with further instructions to the foreign applicant.

    Then the foreign citizen can proceed with the visa application at a US Embassy or Consulate in their home country.

    What documents do you need?

    In order to prove your eligibility to receive the IR1/CR1 Visa, you need to include a number of mandatory supporting documents in your application.

    Once all the documents are gathered you can send them to the NVC for inspection.

    To avoid delays, make sure you include all required documents. Required documents include:

    • A valid passport with at least 6 months left to expiration after your intended entry to the US
    • Confirmation page of Form DS-160
    • Documents proving that you are legally married to a US citizen such as a marriage certificate
    • Signed Affidavit of Support from your US citizen spouse
    • Proof of medical examination and required vaccines
    • Two standard passport size photographs
    • Criminal record
    • Military records (if you have served in the military).

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      How long is the processing time for an IR1/CR1 visa?

      Processing time can be sped up by submitting all documentation promptly and accurately.

      There are no limits on the number of people who can receive the IR1 or CR1 visa each year, unlike some other visas.

      Therefore, the waiting time for the IR1 or CR1 visa is much shorter than others. Most applications will be processed within eight to ten months.

      Fees for an IR1/CR1 Visa

      The total fees that are associated with obtaining an IR1 or CR1 visa can vary slightly depending on your individual situation.

      Some fees may be incurred when obtaining documents from a third party, or utilizing services such as translators for required documents that must be in English. You may also have fees for medical exams and vaccinations as well as doctor visits.

      Applicants of the IR1/CR1 Visa must pay the following fees:

      • $535 for the processing of Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relatives
      • $325 for the processing of Form DS-160
      • USCIS immigrant fee of $220 after visa is approved
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                Frequently Asked Questions

                If the petition is rejected, the US citizen who filed it will be provided with the reason for the rejection decision. They will then have the option to reapply after correcting any necessary factors.

                A visa interview is one of the most important parts of the process for the IR1/ CR1 Visa.

                Once all required documents are received you will get an invitation to attend your visa interview at the embassy or consulate in your home country. You will be asked questions about your personal relationship and facts pertaining to your marriage.

                Authorities will determine whether your marriage is not fraudulent and whether you and your spouse meet the eligibility requirements for the IR1 or CR1 visa. You should not worry about the visa interview but make sure to answer all questions truthfully and to the best of your knowledge.

                Permanent Citizen vs. Non Immigrant: The difference between the IR1/CR1 Visa and the K3 Visa is that K3 Visa is also intended for foreign spouses of US citizens. This means that while the IR1/CR1 Visa brings foreign citizens to come to the US as permanent citizens, the K3 Visa is a “non-immigrant permit.” Foreign citizens who come to the US on the K3 Visa can only stay there for a limited period of time.

                Validity period: The K3 Visa will be valid for two years. During this time K3 Visa holders cannot apply for a different non-immigrant visa.

                Working rights: Those who receive the IR1 or CR1 visa automatically receive the right to work in the United States. In order to be able to work in the United States while on the K3 Visa, foreign citizens need to apply for a work permit after they arrive.

                Processing Time: The processing time for the K3 Visa usually takes approximately six to nine months, so the waiting time is much longer than the IR1 or CR1 Visa and for this reason many people opt to apply for the visa with the shorter processing time.

                If you are not sure which visa is right for you, you may want to consult a qualified immigration lawyer. After assessing your eligibility for the IR1, CR1, and K3 Visa they will advise you on which one is best for your unique situation.

                It is entirely possible for you to obtain an IR1/CR1 Visa without the assistance of an immigration lawyer.

                However, if you choose not to use a lawyer to assist you with this process, you will want to become informed on the entire application process for both the sponsor and applicant, as well as fully review any documents that are required.

                Being up to date on all rules, regulations, and requirements will ensure that your application is processed quickly and give you the best chance of obtaining the IR1 or CR1 visa.