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CR1 & IR1 Spousal Visa

IR1/CR1 Visas are immigrant visas issued to foreign spouses of U.S. Citizens. If you follow this process, the foreign spouse will complete the visa process completely outside the US, and then arrive in the US and become a Permanent Resident immediately. Once the immigrant visa holder enters through a US Port of Entry, he or she will receive a Green Card in the mail (at their US address) within a few weeks. Additionally, sometimes the immigrant visa holder will have their passport stamped at the Port of Entry with an I-551 stamp (indicated their Legal Permanent Residency Status).

The spouse in the U.S is the Petitioner and the spouse in the foreign country is the Beneficiary. This page mainly focuses on IR1 or CR1 visa process where petitioner completes entire process most of time staying in the United States. When petitioner files for IR1 or CR1 visa at overseas consulate it is termed as Direct Consular Filing.

For statistics on the numbers of immigrant visas issued by the U.S., broken down by country, see: The U.S. Department of State Visa Statistics page. For 2007, Table VIII -- Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas Issued (by Area of Birth): Fiscal Year 2007 -- breaks down IR-1s and CR-1s by country.

Differences Between IR1 and CR1 Visas

  • IR1 (IR stands for "Immediate Relative") Visas entitle their holder to receive Permanent Residency within the United States for a period of 10 years (may be renewed)
  • CR1 (CR stands for "Conditional Residency") Visas entitle their holder to receive "Conditional" Permanent Residency within the United States for a period of 2 years

The deciding factor on which visa an applicant is issued (IR1 versus CR1 visa) is the amount of time that they have been married at the time the visa is issued. If an applicant has been married to their US Citizen spouse for a period of two years or greater they will be issued an IR1 Visa. If they have been married less than two years they will be issued a CR1 Visa. A CR1 Visa will result in the applicant obtaining "conditional" permanent residency within the US and after a period of two years the applicant can apply to "Remove Conditions" 90 days before the conditional permanent resident card expires and they will be issued a regular 10 year green card.

Eligibility

To obtain either visa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be legally married. Living together does not qualify as a marriage for immigration purposes. Unmarried partners are ineligible to sponsor visas to the United States.
  • You must be 18 years old before you can sign the Affidavit of Support, which is a form that will be required later in the process.

CR1 & IR1 Visa Process

The first step to bring your spouse to the U.S is to file the I-130 (Immigrant Visa Petition) with the USCIS. This form will be processed for approval and sent to the National Visa Center for further processing. Then petition will be forwarded to the embassy nearest the beneficiary. That embassy will collect the necessary information and conduct a visa interview where an IR1 or CR1 visa may be issued.

Self Help Guides

CR1 & IR1 Visa Processing Time

VisaJourney tracks historical processing times for CR1 & IR1 Visas, from the initial I-130 Petition NOA filed by the US petitioner to the Final CR1 or IR1 Visa being issued to the fiance at their US Consulate.

The following plot shows the overall processing time for CR1 & IR1 visas from the initial I-130 petition. To track your immigration case and receive free estimated approval dates, you can add your timeline information to the VJ timeline system.

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