The IR1 Visa and CR1 Visa are spouse Green Card Visas that enables foreigners to move and leave permanently in the US after legally getting married to a US Citizen.
If you thought US citizens only got married to other US citizens, then you are wrong. They also do get married to people from other nationalities. The married couple can decide to begin the immigration process in the foreign country before permanently moving to the US. When the spouse from the foreign country is granted the IR1 visa, he or she can then follow their spouse who is the US citizen to the US with a Green Card or Permanent Immigrant Visa.
For a foreigner to be granted a Green Card through marriage and live permanently in the US, they need to obtain a Spouse Visa in order to travel to the US. This article will go through a spouse visa, what it is, its requirements, its application procedure, and other important details.
What is IR1 Visa (Spouse Green Card)?
The Spouse Visa is a special type of visa that is granted only to persons who are legally married to US citizens. The IR-1 Visa gives them the opportunity to travel and live with their spouse permanently in the US. They can also freely work is the US once they are granted the Spouse Green Card, without the need for a US Work Visa. This visa allows couples to be united and live together in the United States. They can decide to relocate and start a new life anywhere they choose within the US.
The spouse from a different country is allowed to do several things such as obtain US documents, travel in and out of the US for specific any time, get a driver’s license, open bank accounts and so on. The foreign spouse becomes eligible to apply for a US citizenship after a certain period has passed and he/she has complied with the requirements of the green card. Suppose the married couple bear children together, these children are also automatically granted US citizenship.
Categories Of Marriage Green Cards?
Many individuals want to move to the US and live there permanently for employment purposes. Some marriages happen just to acquire an immigrant status within the US. These marriages are not allowed and are frowned upon by the US government. Never the less, to prevent this from happening, the US government has come up with two types of marriage green cards:
- Conditional Resident Spouse Visa (CR1)
- Immediate Relative Spouse Visa (IR1)
What is CR1 Visa? The CR1 Visa (Conditional Resident Spouse Visa) is given to spouses of US citizens who want to move to the US immediately after they get married. The CR1 visa permits the foreign citizen to move to the US as an immigrant with a green card. But there is a condition and this condition is that the couple has to stay married for a minimum of two years.
To gain a more permanent status after two years of marriage, the foreign spouse can now apply for the immediate relative spouse visa or the IR1 that doesn’t have a validity period of just two years. The foreign spouse will return to their home country if the couple gets a divorce or break up before the two years on the CR1 are complete since their status will no longer be valid.
What Is The Difference Between the CR1 Visa and The CR2 Visa?
IR1 Visa Requirements
For couples that are looking into applying for the IR1 visa, there are several requirements. The US citizen’s spouse won’t be granted the IR1 visa if all of the IR1 Visa requirements aren’t fulfilled.
Be Legally Married
This is the main criterion to qualify for this category. This is required so that fake green card marriages are not permitted to get an IR1 visa. Under US laws and regulations, living together isn’t considered marriage.
Be A US Citizen
Even if you are legally married and one of the spouses is in the US but not a US citizen, the spouse in the foreign country won’t be granted the IR1 Visa. The IR1 or CR1 Visas are granted only to people whose spouses are US Citizens and they are not. The US citizen also has to show proof of residence and also show that they can be able to take care of their foreign spouse.
Marriage Green Card Required Documents
You are going to need to compile a list of supporting documents that will be sent to the National Visa Center(NVC) for processing. The file containing the supporting documents should or must include the following List Of documents and requirements.
- Provide a passport that will be valid for over 6 months even after you enter the US
- You must also include a signed Form I-864. This is an affidavit of support which is done by the US citizen.
- Printed Copy of your Form DS-260 confirmation page.
- Proof that you have taken your medical tests and vaccines by showing all documents from a licensed and approved medical doctor.
- Proof that you are married by providing documents. You can proof this by :
- Providing Marriage Certificate that shows the marriage is legal and genuine
- All your Wedding albums
- All Honeymoon destinations you visited.
- Receipts of Expenditure from the wedding party and organization, etc
- Two photographs for each of the spouses and the photos must fulfill all the requirements for US Visa Application.
- You should present all your criminal and court records or a police record.
- You should present all your military records if you served the army
[READ ALSO]: TYPES OF US WORK VISAS AND HOW TO OBTAIN A US WORK VISA
IR1 Visa Application Process
This process follows a similar pattern to the other types of family-based visas and is divided into two sections. One which must be done by the US citizen and the other which is done by the spouse in the foreign country. They Are as Follows:
- The Spouse who is the citizen of the US petitions for their spouse in the foreign country to US citizenship and immigration services (USCIS)
- Once the petition has been approved, the spouse in the foreign country then applies to a US embassy in their home country
This means that the application must start from within the US with the US citizen filing a petition to the authorities for their spouse. Without this first step and without the petition being approved, the IR1 visa application process can not proceed.
Filing The Petition
This is done by filing form I-130 online, petition for alien relatives. The US citizen must file this form in all the necessary sections and then submit it to USCIS. To process this petition, there is a fee which the US citizen must pay.
The petition that was filed by the US citizen will then be sent to the Department of Homeland Security and within a few months, it will be processed. When the processing is complete, the US citizen will be notified about the status. In case the petition filed by the US citizen for their Spouse is rejected, the USCIS will contact you alongside the reason why it was rejected. If it is accepted, it will now go to the National Visa Center (NVC). The National Visa Center will then be contacting you every once in a while with regards to your IR1 visa application.
The applicant in the foreign country will be sent a package by the NVC. This package that will be handed to you is going to contain important information such as the invoice ID number and case number. This is going to be used for the application step at the US embassy in the foreign country.
File Form DS-260
Form DS-260, immigrant visa electronic application is the form which all individuals applying for immigrant visas must submit. Applications can be accessed via the NVC case number that links it to your case and the approved petition. The IR1 visa applicant or their agent must fill out all necessary sections.
The Form DS-260 has different sections which contain different questions which require the applicant to answer. These questions are basic and is all about the applicant’s background and reasons why they want to immigrate to the US. Once the Form DS-260 is submitted, you will be given a confirmation number and confirmation page. You have to print out this page and number and attach it alongside your supporting documents when submitting the application.
Do The Medical Examinations
Individuals who want to immigrate to the US must fulfill certain medical and vaccination requirements. The package that will be given to the applicant by the NVC after their petition has been approved will specify the type of medical test and procedures and tests the applicant must take and all the vaccines that they should take. A licensed doctor who will sign them must complete these documents and check-ups. You will attach these documents to your supporting file that will then be sent to the NVC.
Compile Your Document File
Apart from the Form DS-260, you are also required other supporting documents which gives the NVC a better understanding of why you want to go to the US under the IR1 Visa and why they should let you.
Attend the Interview
Each of the US immigrant applicants must attend an interview at the US embassy where they are applying. The National Visa Center takes measures to ensure that all necessary documents have been submitted before they schedule the interview.
Receive The Packet From NVC and Move To The US.
If the IR1 visa is approved, the foreign spouse can freely travel to the US. The visa will be stamped on their passport and the embassy will give them a package that they must take along when they first travel to the US. This package must remain closed. The US immigrant officials at any US port of entry are the only people allowed to open it and decide whether or not to grant you access into the US.
IR1 Visa Fees
The fees that must be paid by the IR1 applicant are:
- $535 for the petition
- $325 for the visa application (form DS-260 fees)
- The fees for the supporting documents and translation.
IR1 Visa Processing Time
The processing time for the IR1 visas is quite shorter than those of the family preference visas since the IR1 visa has no annual caps. Generally, the processing time can take 8-10 months depending on individual circumstances.
How To Get Green Card With IR1 Visa
After getting your IR1 visa, the next step is to become a Lawful Permanent Resident of the US. This process is called obtaining a Green Card. You must live in the US and also have an approved petition from USCIS and the visa, to be able to change your status from immigrant visa to an LPR.
finally, you have to file the form I-485, which is an application for permanent residence and to adjust status to USCIS. If this form is approved after being processed, you will get your green card in the mail a few weeks later.
How To Get An IR1 Visa Health Insurance
As an IR1 visa holder, you will get access to American health care. But getting treated medically in a US hospital can be quite expensive and is probably one of the most expensive in the world.
Getting a broken leg or arm treated may cost you about $2500 in any other hospital in different countries while getting this same treatment in a US hospital will cost you about $10,000 on an average. So picking a good health insurance plan which suits you best, also affordable and covers all your needs is advisable.
WHERE TO GET HEALTH INSURANCE FOR IR1 VISA?
There are so many private insurance companies on of which is VisitorsCoverage. They provide affordable health insurance plans for Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States.
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CR1 visa and IR1 Visa Interview Questions
Other Immediate Relative Visas Include: