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Hey I was issued an IR1 visa since me and my wife have been married for more than 2 years. the only concern is that we don’t live together as shes still living with her parents until she finishes university my concern is that would this be a red flag? will this be okay since i won’t have ROC? thank you
What is a IR-1 / CR-1 Spouse Visa? IR-1 / CR-1 Spouse Visas are immigrant visas issued to foreign spouses of US Citizens. After the US citizen spouse files (and has approved) the proper petition with the USCIS, the foreign spouse will complete the visa process completely outside the US. Upon approval and once issued, the foreign spouse may enter the US with their visa and pass through the arrival Port of Entry, where they will become a Permanent Resident immediately. They will receive a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) in the mail at their US Address within a few weeks. Note to K3 Applicants: This process also applies to K3 Visa applicants whom have had their I-130 approved prior to their I-129f. In this case you may chose to persue the I-130 path as opposed the the K3. This will allow the immigrating relative to enter as a permanent resident as opposed to having to file for adjustment once here. If the I-129f is later approved and forwarded to the embassy then you can write them to request the approved I-130 be acted on and the K-3 process abandoned. Who is Eligible to File? U.S. citizens legally married to a foreign national may petition for a IR-1 / CR-1 visa. If the marriage is less than two years old, the consulate will issue a CR-1 Visa (and if longer than two years it will issue a IR-1 Visa). The primary difference between these two visas is that a CR-1 Visa will result in Conditional Permanent Residency (requiring a petition to be filed later to lift this conditional status) versus a IR-1 Visa resulting in full Permanent Residency upon arrival in the US by the foreign spouse. Forms Needed to File for a IR-1 / CR-1 Spouse Visa: 1. I-130 2. I-130A 3. G-1145 (optional) The above forms can be filled out on your computer and printed. Make sure you sign and date them as required. Anything you cannot fit by typing, you can handwrite (very neatly) in black ink in the blank instead. You should always verify the current forms at www.uscis.gov. Assembling the I-130 Package: Checklist Forms and Documents (follow these assembly instructions. All supporting documents must be in English or be translated as noted here.): 1. Payment as required by USCIS. Use a personal check so you can track the payment. Money Orders are also accepted. Read the Guide to Paying USCIS Immigration Fees. 2. Cover Letter. Should include a description of what your are petitioning for (I-130), a table of contents (list everything in the packet). If you need additional room to explain your case, attach a separate sheet (list the attachment on the cover sheet). Make sure to sign and date the cover sheet. 3. Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative 4. Copy of the full Birth certificate (front and back) for the US Citizen or a copy of ALL pages of the US Citizen's passport. This is used to establish citizenship. 5. A copy of petitioner's proof of naturalization. (If applicable) 6. A copy of petitioner's proof of permanent residency. (If applicable) 7. A copy of the intending immigrant's birth certificate and/or passport along with English translation. (If in any language other than English) (no longer needed) 8. A copy of your marriage certificate (If not in English then again get a translation) 9. If either you or your spouse were previously married, submit copies of documents showing that all prior marriages were legally terminated (court certified copies of the petitioner's and/or intending immigrant's divorce documents). 10. A copy of a prior spouse's death certificate. (If one or both of you were married before, and the prior spouse died) 11. Two passport-type photos (see specification) of the petitioner. Write the full name on the back of each photo. Place in a plastic bag and label the bag "Photo of <Insert Name>". Attach the bag to a sheet of paper and place behind the corresponding I-130. 12. Two passport-type photos (see specification) of the non-US Citzen spouse. Write the full name of the beneficiary on the back of each photo. Place in a plastic bag and label the bag "Photo of (insert name) ". Attach the bag to a sheet of paper and place behind the corresponding I-130. 13. Evidence of a bonafide marriage (see note below for what to include) 14. Form I-130A: Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary Evidence of a Bonifide Marriage The USCIS now requires that when filing an I-130 for a spouse that you include evidence of a bonifide marriage. They list examples of acceptable evidence as: 1. Documentation showing joint ownership or property; or 2. A lease showing joint tenancy of a common residence; or 3. Documentation showing co-mingling of financial resources; or 4. Birth certificate(s) of child(ren) born to you, the petitioner, and your spouse together; or 5. Affidavits sworn to or affirmed by third parties having personal knowledge of the bona fides of the marital relationship (Each affidavit must contain the full name and address, date and place of birth of the person making the affidavit, his or her relationship to the petitioner of beneficiary, if any, and complete information and details explaining how the person acquired his or her knowledge of your marriage); or 6. Any other relevant documentation to establish that thereis an ongoing marital union. Attach "E-Notification" Form (Optional) Clip a completed G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, to the first page of your application (on top of the cover page). By completing this form and attaching it, USCIS will send you an email and/or text message to alert you when your application was received. Mail the I-130 Package to the USCIS You should mail the completed form(s) to the proper USCIS Lockbox (Note the location & PO Box address for your filing type: stand alone). Mail the package with return receipt requested / delivery confirmation. Send via USPS. IMPORTANT! Make TWO copies of the entire package before you send it in. This includes the money orders too. You want to have a perfect replica of the package you are sending in. All Forms that you submit must be originals with original signatures. Supporting Evidence that you submit may be photocopies. Retain ALL original supporting Evidence since the USCIS has the right to check them by issuing an RFE (Request For Evidence). If you receive an RFE, follow the direction exactly, and make two copies of what you sent back. During any future interviews the USCIS may also want to examine the original supporting evidence. Create a VJ Timeline Estimate processing time and approval date: Creating a VJ Timeline will allow you to track your case and will generate an estimated approval date for your petition. You can always gain access to many other tools to help you plan how long your Visa Journey will take! What Happens After You Mail the I-130 Out? A few weeks after you have sent your petition to the USCIS you will receive a Notice of Action (aka NOA) letter indicating that they have begun processing your I-130 application. You can check the status of your application as well as other processing time information here. When your I-130 petition is finally approved, the service center that processed your petition, will send you another Notice of Action letter indicating your approval, and the forwarding of your approved petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, along with a phone number to contact the NVC with. Your case will now only be dealt with by the NVC. The service center that you filed with, will have no more knowledge on the status of your petition or case. A few weeks after you have received your last Notice of Action indicating the approval and forwarding of your I-130 application to the NVC, the NVC will send your relative a packet of forms that you and your relative must fill out before your relative can be given an interview date with a consulate abroad. The packet will likely contain instructions to fill out the DS-261 and DS-260 online forms, by the intending immigrant. An I-864 form is also included that must be filled out by the petitioner (living in the US). The I-864 is the Affidavit of Support form that requires copies of the petitioners past 3 U.S tax returns (or tax transcripts which are free from the IRS) as well as any bank or financial records available (see the I-864 for exact requirements based on your case). The petitioner must make at least 125% above the U.S federal poverty to indicate to the U.S government that the intending immigrant will not become a federal charge to the government when he/she arrives in the U.S.. If the petitioner cannot meet these requirements, then he/she must still file an I-864, and find a joint sponsor who can meet the requirements on his/her own. When a joint sponsor is needed ,proof of their U.S citizenship or permanent residency is required. (i.e. copy of birth certificate, immigration status etc). The joint sponsor must be residing in the U.S, and he/she must also submit his/her past 3 years U.S tax returns along with bank or any other financial records available. The joint sponsor must submit his/her own I-864 form to accompany the petitioner's I-864 form. Forms that may be either sent back (or requested to be gathered and kept for the interview) to the NVC or the consulate abroad (depending upon which consulate you are going through) before an interview date with a consulate abroad can be scheduled are as follows: Pre-Interview Forms / Items: 1. Completed and signed OF-169. 2. Completed and signed Of-230 Part 1 and 2 forms. 3. I-864 Affidavit of Support Form along with past 3 year U.S tax returns (or transcripts) and any other financial documents required. 4. A copy of intending immigrants biographic page of passport(s) including expiration date. 5. Original or certified "long" birth certificate. * 6. Original adoption decree. (if applicable) 7. Marriage certificate. (if applicable) 8. Divorce decree(s) or death certificate(s) (if applicable) 9. Police certificate(s) ** 10. Court and prison records.(if applicable) 11. Custody records. (if applicable) 12. Military records (if applicable) * Per the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), they may also be unavailable. Or certain countries don't have individual birth certificates as understood in the US, but the FAM will describe the suitable document. The consulate can explain the alternate requirements to the beneficiary in detail. ** On police clearances, as per the FAM, they may be unavailable. Or with some countries [Korea comes to mind], they will be sent directly to the consulate from the involved government. The consulate can explain the alternate requirements to the beneficiary in detail. After the NVC or Consulate Abroad receives the above forms and supporting documents (which may not all be required to mail back at that time), an interview date will be scheduled for the intending immigrant at a consulate abroad. The NVC or the consulate abroad will send your relative a letter indicating at what time and day the interview is scheduled for, and of required forms that must be brought to the interview. Make two copies of each original document or piece of evidence below and bring them with you. Documents needed are: Interview Forms / Items: 1. Valid Passport. 2. Original or certified "long" birth certificate. * 3. Original adoption decree. (if applicable) 4. Original or certified copy of the marriage certificate. (if applicable) 5. Original death certificate. (if applicable) 6. Original divorce decree. (if applicable) 7. Police certificate. ** 8. Court record(s) (if applicable). 9. I-864 Affidavit of Support Form along with past 3 year U.S tax returns (or transcripts) and any other financial documents required. (see poverty limits here) 10. Court and prison records.(if applicable) 11. Medical examination information 12. Two passport-type photos (see specification) of the spouse or benefitiary * You should have the originals on hand at this point for the Final Interview. Per the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), they may also be unavailable. Or certain countries don't have individual birth certificates as understood in the US, but the FAM will describe the suitable document. The consulate can explain the alternate requirements to the beneficiary in detail. ** On police clearances, as per the FAM, they may be unavailable. Or with some countries [Korea comes to mind], they will be sent directly to the consulate from the involved government. The consulate can explain the alternate requirements to the beneficiary in detail. On The day of your relatives (or spouses) interview, he/she must bring EVERY document listed above that applies to your case, and should be prepared for a long wait. There may be additional forms required. The interview appointment sheet will contain a list of everything you must bring. It will also tell you the payment amount due and the forms of payment accepted. The interview can last for as littles as 10 minutes or up to an hour depending upon your specific case. You relative will take an oath under US law to tell the truth, and it is very important that your relative answer every question as truthfully as possible. In general, it is a good idea that your relative bring documentation to prove strong ties and a relationship with you, the petitioner. (i.e. phone bills, letters etc.) If the consulate officer approves your relative's immigrant visa application, your relative will be issued an immigrant visa that allows your relative to become a US permanent resident. Your relative will become a U.S permanent resident only when he/she enters the U.S at a port of entry, until this time, he/she only has an immigrant visa that is valid up to 6 months from the interview date. If your relative cannot immigrate to the U.S within the 6 month allotted time, then his/her immigrant visa will expire, and the I-130 process must start all over again. At the bottom of either a CR-1 Spouse Visa or IR-1 Spouse Visa is the following sentence, "Upon Endorsement Serves As Temporary I-551 Valid For One Year." The endorsement is a standard CBP admission stamp with applicable information written in by the officer. This allows the visa itself to act as a temporary green card before the actual green card arrives in the mail. Additionally, if your relative is a CR-1 visa holder, the green card will only be valid for two years. Within ninety days before the green card expires, you will have to file an I-751 form to remove it's conditional status. As a general note, please see the I-130 FAQs here.
Each year tens of thousands of visas are issued to a spouse or fiance of an American Citizen so that they may move to the US and be with their loved ones. For a non US Citizen Fiancé(e) the most common way of bringing them to the US is a K-1 (fiance) Visa. For a non-US Citizen spouse there are several common ways to bring them to the US, each with their own Pro's and Con's. Listed below are the common ways to bring a non-US Citizen Fiancé(e) or spouse to the US as well as a few Pro's and Con's for each option. Marriage Based Visa Comparison Table Visa Type K-1 K-3 IR-1 / CR-1 DCF Marital Status Engaged Married Married Married Time for Visa (Months) 9.5 16 13 3 Requires AOS Yes Yes No No Requires EAD Yes Yes No No Req. Travel Doc Yes No No No Time to Greencard (Months) 17.5 20.5 13 3 Total Cost $1650 $1705 $903 $945 Extra Notes Must be married within 90 days of entry. AOS must be filed in order to gain Legal Permanent Resident status. Failure to file AOS before I-94 expires accrues out-of-status days. After entering the US, may file for AOS within two years or instead wait for I-130 to be approved and pursue IR-1 / CR-1 Visa. Visa holder automatically becomes a Legal Permanent Resident after entering the US. Can work and travel freely. US consulates typically only do this for US citizens who live overseas. DCF results in a IR-1 / CR-1 Visa. Fiancé(e) Visa (K1) In General A K-1 Visa allows a Non-US Citizen Fiancé(e) to a US Citizen to legally enter the US and Adjust Status to become a Legal Permanent Resident. The process of obtaining a K-1 Visa starts by the U.S. citizen filing a form "I-129F: Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)" with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). The USCIS is responsible for processing this petition and if approved will forward (via the National Visa Center) the petition to the consulate serving the location of the Non-US Citizen Fiancé(e). Upon receiving the approved I-129F petition, the US Consulate will contact the Non-US Citizen Fiancé(e) and request certain information be gathered and provided to the US Consulate. Additionally there will be an actual "visa interview" in person (at the consulate) for the K-1 Visa. If the embassy approves the K-1 Visa, they will issue the visa typically within two to three days after the interview. Once the Non-US Citizen Fiancé(e) receives the K-1 Visa they may enter the US any time within six months of the visa being issued. Arriving in the US it is important to note that they must get married to the US Citizen who petitioned their K-1 Visa within 90 days and file for Adjustment of Status (AOS) to become a Legal Permanent Resident. If they fail to do this within 90 days of entry into the US they may accrue unlawful status inside the US as defined by the USCIS. This may potentially affect future immigration benefits they file for. You may view the K-1 current and historical processing time trends to get a better idea of the time the process may take at various stages. Unless an engaged couple decides to get married, this is their main visa option. If they decide to get married they will need to file for a K-3 or IR-1 / CR-1 Visa instead. Pluses "Relatively" fast process. As fast or quicker than K-3 and/or IR1 / CR-1 Visas (which are only available to married couples). Once in the US and married, the K-1 Visa Holder may obtain a social security card, Employment Authorization Document (EAD), and seek employment legally within the US. As a note, typically an EAD is applied for at the same time as the K-1 Visa Holder files for AOS (after marriage). Generally an EAD is issued within 90 days of the application being received. The K-1 Visa allows time for an engaged couple to be together in the US before marriage since the visa is good for 90 days. The Non-US Citizen Fiancé(e) must marry the US Citizen and apply for AOS to remain in the US. If they do not marry there are no other methods to remain in the US and they must return home. Minuses The K-1 Visa Holder will need to apply for Advance Parole (AP) if they wish to travel outside of the US while their AOS application is being processed and not yet approved. Leaving without an approved (and in hand) AP will result in abandoning the pending AOS application and require filing for a new visa (either K-3 or IR-1/CR-1) to re-enter the US. In nearly all cases, if the marriage fails prior to the K-1 Visa Holder's AOS application being approved there are no other options for legally remaining inside the United States; the K-1 Visa Holder will be required to leave the US. A K-1 Visa Holder only has "valid status" for 90 days after they enter the US (and must be married and apply for AOS by that time to not accrue "unlawful status". This 90 day window may not be extended. Only U.S. citizens can file for a fiance visa. Spousal Visa (K3) In General A K-3 Visa allows a Non-US Citizen (spouse) married to a US Citizen to legally enter the US and adjust status to become a Legal Permanent Resident. If a couple wishes to pursue this visa they must be legally married (or get married before starting the process). The couple may have previously been married either outside or within the US (the location does not matter as long as the marriage was officially recognized in the location in which it occurred). The process of obtaining a K-3 Visa starts by the U.S. citizen filing a form "I-130: Petition for Alien Relative" with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). This form is also filed to petition for an IR1 / CR1 Visa (see next section). What makes the K-3 Visa special is that instead of waiting for the I-130 to be approved, the US Citizen may, upon receipt of the I-130 being accepted by the USCIS, file an I-129F petition with the USCIS indicating the desire to obtain a K-3 Visa. This option has the benefit that the I-129F for a K-3 Visa will often be processed faster than the "underlying" I-130. This means that the time waiting for the Non-US Citizen Spouse to enter the US may be less. The USCIS is responsible for processing the I-129F and if approved will forward (via the National Visa Center) the petition to the consulate serving the location of the Non-US Citizen Spouse. The remainder of the process at the embassy is similar to the K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa process. After the K-3 Visa is approved byt he US Consulate, the Non-US Citizen Spouse can enter the US with their status as a "K-3 Visa Holder" valid for two years. They may freely travel in and out of the US as the K-3 Visa is a multiple entry visa. At any time within these two years they may file for and initiate an Adjustment of Status (AOS) process with the USCIS (to become a Legal Permanent Resident). If so they will be deciding to Adjust Status within the US (just like a K-1 Visa Holder would) and will follow the normal AOS process which may take six months or even longer in some regions of the US. Alternately, if prior to filing for AOS the K-3 Visa Holder has their underlying I-130 petition approved by the USCIS they may instead (of filing for AOS) choose to return to their consulate abroad to interview and obtain an IR-1 / CR-1 Visa. In this case they would abandon their status as a K-3 Visa Holder and re-enter the US as a IR-1 / CR-1 Visa Holder. Entry into the US as a IR-1 / CR-1 Visa Holder results in the immediate conversion to becoming a Legal Permanent Resident (your green card is mailed out shortly after arrival in the US). You may view the K-3 current and historical processing time trends to get a better idea of the time the process may take at various stages. A married couple may also file solely for a IR-1 / CR-1 Visa instead of a K-3 Visa. See the next section for details. Pluses Once in the US, may apply for a social security card and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Employment may be freely obatined while the K-3 Visa and EAD are valid. NO Advance Parole (AP) (unlike a K-1 Visa Holder needs) is required for travel to and from the US while the K-3 Visa is Valid. K3 and K4 visa recipients are in valid status for 2 years and the visa is a multiple re-entry visa. K-3/K-4 visa holders may extend status by showing strong intent to eventually adjust status. The K-3 Visa Holder may apply for Adjustment of Status within the US BEFORE the underlying I-130 petition is approved. Generally allows applicant to enter the US faster then waiting for the I-130 to be approved and the IR-1 / CR-1 visa to be issued. Minuses will have to file Adjustment of Status after entry to the US or once their I-130 petition is approved (while their K-3 Visa is valid) return to their home country to be interviewed for an IR-1 / CR-1 Visa. May only adjust status based on marriage to original US Citizen petitioner. If the marriage fails before Adjustment of Status is complete, the K-3 Visa Holder will have to leave the US. K-3 and K-4 visa holders cannot change to another visa status and stay in the US if the marriage fails. An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) must be obtained and there will be some waiting time before the K-3 Visa Holder can work. The exact amount of time for for an EAD to be approved is roughly 90 days. Spousal Visa (IR1 / CR1) In General A IR-1 / CR-1 Visa allows a Non-US Citizen (spouse) married to a US Citizen (see note at end) to legally enter the US, immediately becoming a Legal Permanent Resident upon entry. This option may take longer than obtaining a K-3 Visa. If a couple wishes to pursue this visa they must be legally married (or get married before starting the process). The couple may have previously been married either outside or within the US (the location does not matter as long as the marriage was officially recognized in the location in which it occurred). The process of obtaining a IR-1 / CR-1 Visa starts by the U.S. citizen filing a form "I-130: Petition for Alien Relative" with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). This form is also filed if a couple intends to obtain a K-3 Visa (see above section). The USCIS is responsible for processing the I-130 and if approved will forward the petition to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC may request certain information be provided to them (initial case processing) prior to forwarding the completed package to the consulate serving the location of the Non-US Citizen Spouse. The visa processing at the US Consulate is similar to other family visas such as the K-1 and K-3 however the IR-1 / CR-1 Visa is an "Immigrant Visa", which means the Non-US Citizen Spouse will upon receiving their visa and entering the US immediately become a Legal Permanent Resident. Their "green card" will be mailed to them shortly after their arrival. As a Legal Permanent Resident they may work and travel to and from the US freely using their "green card" and status as a Legal Permanent Resident. You may view the IR-1 / CR-1 Visa current and historical processing time trends to get a better idea of the time the process may take at various stages. A married couple may also file for a K-3 Visa while waiting for their I-130 to be approved. This is done by filing an I-129F after the I-130 has been received by the USCIS. See the above section for details. Note: Technically, a US Legal Permanent Resident can apply for this visa for their Non-US Citizen Spouse however the waiting time is up to five years. They can file and wait for a visa number to become available (again up to five years) or wait until they themselves become a US Citizen -- whichever comes first will allow the visa process to move forward immediately. Pluses This is an "Immigrant" Visa and will as such allow the applicant to arrive in the US as a Legal Permanent Resident. After entry into the US, as a Permanent Resident they may seek employment without restrictions. No Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is required. After entry into the US, as a Permanent Resident they will not require special permission to leave the US for travel. No Advance Parole (AP) document is required. IR1/CR1 Visas often do not take much longer than the K-3 Visa option. The benefit of entering the US and immediately becoming a US Legal Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) to many people is worth the additional small wait in time. Minuses Separation from family may be longer than if filing for a K-3 Visa (or K-1 visa for a non-married fiance). The applicant will most likely not be able to enter the US while their IR1-CR-1 Visa is being processed. Direct Consular Filing In General Direct Consular Filing (DCF) allows a US Consulate to process a IR-1 / CR-1 Visa (for a Non-US Citizen (spouse) married to a US Citizen) without having to wait for the USCIS in the US to process the required paperwork. Instead all paperwork is filed and processed AT THE CONSULATE. This is often a much faster way to get a IR-1 / CR-1 Visa however there is one requirement that must typically be met: To Qualify: U.S. consulates will typically only do this for US citizens who are Legal Residents of the country (typically for at least six months) in which the US Consulate sits (overseas). You will be required to show proof. This can be any country with a US Consulate (that the US Citizen is a resident) and need not be the country in which the Non-US Citizen Spouse lives. If the US Citizen qualifies to file using DCF, in most cases it is the quickest route to obtaining a IR-1 / CR-1 Visa. Be sure to contact your respective Consulate to determine if this option is possible. Do not assume it will be. Once the IR-1 / CR-1 Visa is approved their rights of the IR-1 / CR-1 Visa Holder are the same as if they had gone through the USCIS in the US initially. The Non-US Citizen Spouse will upon receiving their visa and entering the US immediately become a Legal Permanent Resident. Their "green card" will be mailed to them shortly after their arrival. As a Legal Permanent Resident they may work and travel to and from the US freely using their "green card" and status as a Legal Permanent Resident. Pluses Potentially (if qualified) the quickest route to admission to the US and to Legal Permanent Resident in the US, based on marriage. The process usually takes less than 3 months The IR-1 / CR-1 Visa Holder has the same rights as if they had gone through the USCIS in the US initially. Wait times for the visa interview can be one week to three months, which is still faster than other marriage based visa options! Minuses Consular policies can change over time, and one should always confirm with the consulate that they will do this process. US Citizen must show proof of US domicile/intent to reestablish domicile to qualify as a Sponsor for the I-864. Additional Notes on DCF Notes about DCF: To find out whether you can file a petition at a specific post abroad, you must ask that post. For information on how to contact the post, please visit their specific U.S. Embassy or Consulate website.