USA and the UK
What is a Marriage Green Card?
An IR1 or CR1 Spouse Visa is an immigrant visa which is designed for foreign nationals who are legally married to a U.S. citizen.
Otherwise known as the Spouse Green Card, these permits are specifically designed for foreign spouses who wish to become U.S. permanent residents. Unlike the K3 Spouse Visa and other family permits, the IR1/CR1 Visa grants a Green Card through marriage.
What are the IR1/CR1 Visas?
The IR1/CR1 Visa enables a foreign national to join their spouse in the United States where they can become a permanent resident in the country.
For a married couple, this visa is a ticket to a new life in the United States.
With a Spouse Green Card, you will be able to:
- Travel in and out of the U.S. for specific periods of time
- Obtain a driver’s licence
- Open a bank account
- Enter into employment
What are the Different Types of Marriage Green Cards?
There are two different kinds of marriage Green Cards under this family based Green Card: CR1 Visa and IR1 Visa.
The CR1 Visa is a conditional residence visa which is available to foreign spouses who have married their partner recently. This visa is granted on the condition that the couple stays married for at least 2 years.
The IR1 Visa is for foreign spouses who have been married to their partner for at least 2 years. If someone has been living under a CR1 Visa, they will be able to transition to the IR1 Visa after two years of marriage.
What are the Main Requirements for an IR1 Visa?
There are a number of requirements in which the couple will need to fulfil in order for a spouse to be eligible for the IR1 Visa/Spouse Green Card.
The most fundamental requirement is that the couple are legally married. The applicant must provide a marriage certificate in the IR1/CR1 Visa application to prove the marriage.
In addition, one of the spouses must be a U.S. citizen who has a valid address within the USA.
What is the Application Process for an IR1 Visa/Spouse Green Card?
The application process for an IR1 Visa can be a long one.
Generally, the application will follow this process:
- U.S. spouse completes Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relatives) and submits it to the USCIS
- Petition is processed and a decision is sent to the U.S. citizen
- If approved, the National Visa Center (NVC) will send a package with full instructions on the next steps in the application process to the foreign applicant
- Applicant begins the IR1 Visa application process and completes Form DS-260
- Applicant takes required medical examinations and receives vaccinations
- Documents are compiled to form a portfolio of evidence
- Foreign applicant attends interview at U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country
- Applicant receives NVC packet and travels to the U.S.
The Petition Stage
As mentioned above, the IR1 Visa application begins with the petition. The I-130 (Petition for Alien Relatives) must be completed by the U.S. citizen and submitted to the USCIS.
Usually, the petition will be processed within a few months. The USCIS will inform the petitioner of their decision. If the petition is rejected, the petitioner will be informed of the reasons for the refusal. There will be a chance to make any necessary changes before resubmitting the petition.
If the petition is approved, the next stage of the application process can begin.
IR1 Visa/Spouse Green Card Application
There are no caps imposed on the number of people who can receive an IR1 Visa/Spouse Green Card in a year, which means that your application for the Marriage Green Card can begin as soon as the petition is accepted.
The foreign applicant will receive a packet of documents from the NVC after the petition has been accepted. This packet contains key information, including the ID invoice number and case number which are used to start the application process.
The DS-260 Immigrant Visa Application form must be completed and submitted to the NVC. The form will ask a series of questions related to the applicant’s background and their reasons for wanting to relocate to the United States.
When the form has been completed, a confirmation page and number will be displayed. This information must be printed out and included in the portfolio of evidence which you will need to submit to the NVC.
If you would like any further information on the IR1 visa application process, please call us now on +1 844 290 6312.
Medical Examination and Vaccinations
As with any foreign national who wishes to become a resident in the United States, all IR1 Visa applicants will need to complete a medical examination and take certain vaccinations before they travel to the U.S..
In your NVC packet, you will receive full instructions on what you need to do. It is imperative that you receive all the necessary vaccinations and complete the medical examination. If you fail to do so, your IR1 visa application will be rejected.
You must obtain signed documents from a licenced doctor that show you have taken the required medical examination and received the vaccinations. These documents will form part of your portfolio of evidence.
What are the Required Documents for an IR1 Visa/Spouse Green Card?
You need to provide a number of supporting documents to the NVC during the IR1 application process.
The supporting documents which must be sent to the NVC include:
- A valid passport for more than six months after your planned entry to the U.S.
- Marriage documents. Ideally this will be a genuine marriage certificate, but wedding albums and proof of honeymoon destinations might be sufficient
- A signed Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support from the U.S. petitioner)
- Confirmation page of DS-260 application
- Medical examination and vaccination documents
- Two photographs per individual
- Court and criminal records and/or police certificate
- If you have served in the military, you must bring your military records
When you have gathered all your documents, you will be ready to send your portfolio of evidence to the NVC.
The NVC will assess your documents and determine whether you have provided sufficient documentary evidence.
What Happens During the Interview?
If the NVC is satisfied with what you have provided, you will be invited for an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.
The interview is a necessary part of the IR1/marriage Green Card application and is the final stage in the process.
The interviewer will ask you a series of questions around your personal circumstances and application. If the interviewer is satisfied, your passport along with the passport of all your accompanying family member, will be stamped with the IR1/CR1 Visa.
If you are given permission to reside in the United States, you will also receive a package of information. You must not open this package under any circumstances. When you arrive in the U.S., you need to give this package to the immigration border official.
What are the Fees for an IR1 Visa Application?
The applicant will need to take into consideration a number of fees when they complete an IR1 Visa application. The fees are likely to vary depending on the country from which the application is made.
The main costs of the visa application include:
- Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relatives). (Currently $535)
- Form DS-260 for visa application (Currently $325)
- Medical examination and vaccinations fees
- USCIS Immigrant fee, which must be paid before you travel to the U.S.
- Fees for the translation of documents
How Long Does it Take to Get an IR1 Visa?
There are no restrictions imposed on the number of people who can receive an IR1/CR1 Visa in a year. This means that the waiting time for a Spouse Green Card will be much shorter than for other family based Green Cards, such as the preference relative F2A and F2B visas.
IR1/CR1 Visa applications are generally completed within ten months but often times are completed within eight months.
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Both these permits are designed for aliens who are married to a U.S. citizen and wish to enter the county as permanent residents.
The “IR” from IR1 stands for “Immediate Relative”. It is applicable for couples who have been married for longer than two years. If you and your spouse got married less than two years ago, you might apply for a CR1 (from “Conditional Resident”) Spousal Visa.
While they are both intended as family permits, the K3 Visa for Spouse and the IR1 Visa grant different benefits to their holders.
The K3 Visa is a temporary permit with nonimmigrant intents. In other words, it grants only a limited authorized stay in the U.S.
If you wish to spend more time in the country and get a Green Card, you should apply for an adjustment of status.
While on a K3 Visa, you can travel freely outside the U.S. However, if your marriage ends before you can get a Green Card, you must leave the country within 30 days. Additionally, you will be allowed to work in the U.S. only after applying for a work permit.
On the other hand, both the IR1 Visa category and the CRI1 Visa process have immigrant intents. This means that, together with your visa, you will be granted a conditional legal permanent status. As a CR1 or IR1 Visa holder, you can seek employment in the U.S. without applying for a work permit.
It must be noted that both visa application processes begin when your U.S. sponsor files a Form I-130. However, if you wish to apply for a K3 Visa, you must also submit a Form I-129 to the USCIS. Moreover, you may need to file ad affidavit of support for both visas, to show that you do not intend to rely on the U.S. public financial support.
The IR1 and CR1 Visa can be requested by foreigners who:
- Are legally married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident;
- Can prove to be in a genuine relationship;
- Wish to live in the U.S. as permanent residents;
- Are aged 18 or above;
- Meet specific visa income requirements.
It is essential to submit adequate documentation to prove the authenticity of your marriage. It the USCIS suspects that you only got married to enter the U.S., your application will be automatically rejected. For this reason, you may wish to submit some of the following evidence:
- Copies of joint bank account statements;
- Wedding photos;
- Pictures from parties, trips or events you have taken part to as a couple;
- Phone or chat records proving that you talk regularly even if you do not live in the same country;
- Written statements from people who know you both and can witness you are in love.
The first step to getting your Marriage Green Card is to file a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130). This must include your supporting documents, along with detailed information about your U.S. sponsor.
After your petition has been processed, you can move to the next step. If you already live in the U.S. on different immigration status, you must file a Form I-485.
Differently, if you live abroad, you need to follow a different consular process. At the end of it, you will be summoned for an interview with a consular officer. At this time, you will be asked for further evidence and information about your relationship. This is the most crucial part of your application since it is meant to ensure that you are not committing any immigration fraud.
Your Immigrant Visa for Spouse may take several months to be processed. Due to the significant number of applications received each year, the USCIS needs to perform different checks.
As a consequence, the IR1 Visa timeline from the submission of your application to the time you receive your permit is between seven and ten months.
Based on your country of origin, the USCIS may require further documentation. This may affect your IR1 Visa timeline.
Your Marriage Green Card Visa is valid for six months. However, at the end of this period, you will not need to apply for an adjustment of status. Once you get your CR1 or IR1 Green Card, you will be able to work, live, and travel freely in the U.S.
At IAS, we specialize in helping happy couples live together in the U.S.
Our immigration lawyers are experienced in submitting successful Marriage Green Card applications. As a part of our service, you will be paired with one of our best legal advisors. Your dedicated expert will:
- Review your situation and if you meet the requirements;
- Help you gather appropriate documentation to demonstrate your marriage is genuine;
- Liaise with your partner who lives outside the U.S.;
- Liaise with the USCIS;
- Help you fill your Petition for Alien Relative and your affidavit of support (if needed).
If you are ready to start your journey through your Marriage Green Card application, one of our attorneys will be happy to discuss your case.
Get in touch today. You can call us on +1844 290 6312 or ask for a free call back from our immigration experts.