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Canadian starting IR-1 process with US dual-citizen

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Canada



We are completely new to this process and website, please forgive me if I ask stupid questions.


I am a Canadian citizen, working as a registered nurse. My fiancé is a US dual-citizen starting medical school in California this August. We live together and have a dog together.


We are getting legally married this July 20, 2019. 


We would like to start the green card process as soon as possible. I’ve done a bit of research and it seems like the best route for us is the IR-1.


We will be doing long-distance while we wait for the green card processing. Will I be able to visit him in California from Vancouver? 


Is it useful to hire an immigration lawyer to help file the IR-1? I am just afraid I will screw something up and delay the processing. I have no clue where to start with this IR-1 process.


Again, thank you for your help and patience!

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Romania

The process is completely DIY. Actually, I would mildly advise against a lawyer unless you have a complex case (criminal record, multiple filings etc) which you do not seem to have. There are good lawyers out there but a lot seem to be ill informed. Actually a good number of the people I know who have filled through an immigration lawyer found themselves regretting it either because the process turned out to be easier than they thought or because the lawyer messed up when filling the forms and they had to take responsibility themselves. Ouch. 

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Canada

Hi! Yes, you can visit your spouse while your CR1/IR1 visa is pending/going through the process. I've done it with no issues. Just be honest at the border and make sure you have a return flight/ proof you'll be returning home (a letter from your employer will do- but I've never done this myself.) Make sure you read all the guides on filing within the website. Always ask questions! No matter how stupid it may seem. It's better to ask a stupid question and get an obvious answer than second-guess yourself and make a huge mistake/ cause delays.

If you do not have any issues with criminal history, divorce, connections to drug and alcohol abuse (likewise for your spouse) than I don't see why a lawyer would be necessary. Although what I'm about to say is completely anecdotal (so take it with a grain of salt,) I know people who have gone through immigration lawyers with a clean record and they are regretting it. Expensive, and very very slow. In fact, one lawyer has not even submitted their i-130 application in to the USCIS yet (the first step!) However, they are the professionals so if you have questions that can't seem to be answered here, going through a lawyer isn't wrong.


I am doing this solo, in fact, my spouse (the petitioner) is being educated about the entire immigration process from me. I've learned everything I know so far, and everything I will need to know in the future, from this very website. I made a youtube video about how to put your i-130 application together, I'll send you a link in a direct message.

Hope this helps!


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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Canada

As other have stated if you do not have a complex case then you do not need a lawyer. I could not agree with them more. I am originally from Ontario, Canada and my now wife of 6 years and I completed this process without a lawyer all the way from the K-1 petition through the consulate stage to me immigrating and adjusting status, then completing removal of conditions to citizenship. 7 year and 4 month process all without a lawyer. It may be stressful but it is worth it in the end. I owe a lot of credit to the veterans that helped me with every single question I had. 



N400 - Naturalization                                                                                                           U.S. Passport

Aug 05, 2018 (Day 1): Applied for Naturalization online                                                Oct 01, 2019 (Day 1): Sent US Passport Application

Aug 06, 2018 (Day 2): Check Cashed, NOA1 received online                                        Oct 08, 2019 (Day 8 ) : Passport trackable 

Aug 11, 2018 (Day 6): Recvd notification that Biometrics appointment scheduled  Oct 17, 2019 (Day 17) : Received Passport

Aug 13, 2018 (Day 8): Received biometrics appt letter online                                      Oct 21, 2019 (Day 21) : Received Naturalization Cert. back

Aug 28, 2018 (Day 23): Biometrics Appt

May 06, 2019 (Day 274): In Line For Interview

Jun 11, 2019 (Day 311): Interview Date

July 01, 2019 (Day 327) : Oath Ceremony I AM NOW A US CITIZEN!!!!




TO SEE MY FULL TIMELINE GO HERE: http://www.visajourney.com/forums/user/125109-cdnon-usavt/


"that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding." -Colossians 2:2-

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Did everything myself from I-130 to ROC.  Have zero interest in citizenship at this time so I haven't completed that step.  No RFE, checklists or anything else that caused a delay, beyond my husband not getting documents to me quickly enough.  

We did the CR1 process and I visited every couple of months.  No issues entering as my stays were not long (10 days tops) and I had a return ticket.  I brought proof of my ties to Canada, but was never asked for them. 

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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We also did the whole lot ourselves. I’ll be filing for citizenship in a few months and flying solo with that paperwork too. 


The biggest piece of advice I can give is to read as much as you can before starting. Read the instructions on the forms multiple times. Read these forums. Read the guides on this site. If you still have questions, just ask them here. I have lost count of the number of threads I’ve seen here where it’s obvious that the poster hasn’t read the form instructions at all (asking how much the fees are, where to mail the forms, who to make the check payable to, and so on). Too many people get over excited about applying to bring their loved one here (I get that, I remember the excitement of starting the process) but it’s something you need to get right  first time. Most of the RFEs we see here are the result of not reading the instructions. 


The process is not difficult. It’s not the NASA selection process for a space mission. You will not be asked a single question to which you don’t already know the answer, assuming the relationship is genuine. But you will be asked the same question multiple times and it is a long and tedious process. Read as much as you can to understand how the process works, read through the forms and check them again after completion to ensure you haven’t missed a question. Answer each question exactly what is asked. Don’t try and second-guess why the question is asked or try to interpret a different meaning - take every thing at face value. Don’t read anything into anything. 


There is only one right answer to each question - the truthful answer. 




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Filed: Lift. Cond. (apr) Country: China
On ‎7‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 4:50 PM, vanrntocalirn said:

Is it useful to hire an immigration lawyer to help file the IR-1? I am just afraid I will screw something up and delay the processing. I have no clue where to start with this IR-1 process.


Whether or not hiring a lawyer will be useful is in the eye of the beholder; what I suggest is you (and your husband to-be) study the instructions for the forms and the forms themselves and determine what your own comfort level is in completing and submitting them along with the required additions.  If you both find yourself comfortable handling it all yourself and neither of you have anything in your background that could raise red flags in the eyes of immigration, then you may feel you can handle it yourself.  On the flip side, if you determine for yourself it's something you absolutely cannot or there are any red flags; then legal or professional assistance may be necessary.  As others have alluded to, having a lawyer or other professional service won't guarantee that your case will be problem free.

Our journey:


September 2007: Met online via social networking site (MySpace); began exchanging messages.
March 26, 2009: We become a couple!
September 10, 2009: Arrived for first meeting in-person!
June 17, 2010: Arrived for second in-person meeting and start of travel together to other areas of China!
June 21, 2010: Engaged!!!
September 1, 2010: Switched course from K1 to CR-1
December 8, 2010: Wedding date set; it will be on February 18, 2011!
February 9, 2011: Depart for China
February 11, 2011: Registered for marriage in Wuhan, officially married!!!
February 18, 2011: Wedding ceremony in Shiyan!!!
April 22, 2011: Mailed I-130 to Chicago
April 28, 2011: Received NOA1 via text/email, file routed to CSC (priority date April 25th)
April 29, 2011: Updated
May 3, 2011: Received NOA1 hardcopy in mail
July 26, 2011: Received NOA2 via text/email!!!
July 30, 2011: Received NOA2 hardcopy in mail
August 8, 2011: NVC received file
September 1, 2011: NVC case number assigned
September 2, 2011: AOS invoice received, OPTIN email for EP sent
September 7, 2011: Paid AOS bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 9, 2011)
September 8, 2011: OPTIN email accepted, GZO number assigned
September 10, 2011: Emailed AOS package
September 12, 2011: IV bill invoiced
September 13, 2011: Paid IV bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 14, 2011)
September 14, 2011: Emailed IV package
October 3, 2011: Emailed checklist response (checklist generated due to typo on Form DS-230)
October 6, 2011: Case complete at NVC
November 10, 2011: Interview - APPROVED!!!
December 7, 2011: POE - Sea-Tac Airport

September 17, 2013: Mailed I-751 to CSC

September 23, 2013: Received NOA1 in mail (receipt date September 19th)

October 16, 2013: Biometrics Appointment

January 28, 2014: Production of new Green Card ordered

February 3, 2014: New Green Card received; done with USCIS until fall of 2023*


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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Canada

These answers are spot on. We hired an attorney and regretted it. We had to do all the work gathering everything. She literally asked us all the questions from the I-130 and used our written answers to cut and paste into the form. We got all the information to her quickly, then we had to call her repeatedly to get her to file. We paid $2000 for the first step. We ended up firing her once our case got to the NVC, as she was asking for $2000 more and wanted us to fill out the next forms ourselves and she would "check it over". I felt terrible because I'm the one that convinced my husband to get an attorney so that we could be sure we did everything right. Our case ended up taking twice as long at USCIS as other people, despite being straight-forward with no red flags. If I had found this site before I started this process, we would have had the confidence to do it ourselves. If you do go the attorney route, make sure you do some research and get some reviews from others who have used them.  

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