Updated: 4/27/2018

What Is a CR1/IR1 Spousal Visa?

IR1/CR1 Spousal Visa

CR1/IR1 Spouse Visas are immigrant visas issued to foreign spouses of US Citizens.

After the US citizen spouse files I-130 petition with the USCIS, the foreign spouse will complete the visa process in their foreign country.

Upon approval and once the visa is issued, the foreign spouse may enter the US with their visa and pass through Port of Entry, where they will become a Permanent Resident immediately.

They will receive a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) in the mail at the US Address specified on their application within a few weeks.

The CR1 visa will allow the immigrating relative to enter as a permanent resident and not have to file for adjustment of status after arrival.

What is the difference between CR1 and IR1 visa?

The CR1 (“conditional residency”) visa is issued when you have been married less than 2 years at the time of your application. It grants you a temporary 2 year green card upon moving to the US. You will then need to remove the 2 year conditions by filing I-751 removal of conditions.

The IR1 (“immediate relative”) visa is issued when you have been married for more than 2 years at the time of your application. It grants you a 10 year green card which you will need to renew or you can file for US citizenship.

CR1/IR1 Visa Checklist Download

CR1 visa checklist

CR1 Visa Process Timeline

  • Step 1: Fill out I-130 petition & send to USCIS lockbox (time varies)
  • Step 2: Receive Notice of Action 1 (1 week)
  • Step 3: I-130 petition is approved (4-6 months)
  • Step 4: Case is sent to National Visa Center (1-2 weeks)
  • Step 5: NVC issues case number and sends packet 4 to beneficiary (1-2 weeks)
  • Step 6: Beneficiary completes DS-261 choosing an agent (time varies)
  • Step 7: Beneficiary/Petitioner pays IV and AOS fees (time varies)
  • Step 8: Beneficiary completes online form DS-260 (time varies)
  • Step 9: NVC forwards case to US consulate (1-2 weeks)
  • Step 10: US consulate schedules interview (2-3 weeks)
  • Step 11: Beneficiary schedules medical examination (time varies)
  • Step 12: Beneficiary attends visa interview (time varies)
  • Step 13: If CR1 visa approved, beneficiary enter the US at port of entry (time varies)

Total Time For CR1 Visa Completion: Up to 12 Months.

  • If you receive an RFE this will delay your case by up to 60 days.
  • If you have a criminal conviction that makes you inadmissible, this requires that you submit a waiver form I-601 (this can delay your case by a few months)

Learn the top 10 reasons a CR1 visa is denied.

Learn more about the NVC process.

Forms To File For I-130 Petition (Step 1)

I-130 Petition for Alien Relative [download]
A citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States may file this form to establish the relationship to certain alien relatives who wish to immigrate to the United States. A separate form must be filed for each eligible relative.

Step-by-step tutorial on how to fill out I-130 (with screenshots)

I-130A Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary [download]
Biographic Information: To provide biographic information on the beneficiary spouse. (if non-US spouse lives overseas they don’t need to sign it. If they are currently in the US, they must sign it.)

Step-by-step tutorial on how to fill out I-130A (with screenshots)

G-1145 (optional) E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance [download]

This form is used to receive electronic notification (e-Notification) that your application has been accepted.

Learn what to include if you have children that will immigrate with you.

Download USCIS instructions on how to fill out these forms.

Assembling The I-130 Package

Payment: Use a personal check or money order. Make check payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (Fee $535.00)

Cover Letter [download]

Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative

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.

If petitioner was not born in the US:

  • A copy of petitioner’s proof of naturalization. (If applicable)
  • A copy of petitioner’s proof of permanent residency. (If applicable)

A copy of your marriage certificate (Translate if not in English)

Divorce/Annulment Decrees (If either of you were previously married)

  • copies of divorce documents (must be court certified copies)
  • copies of prior spouse’s death certificate
  • copies of annulment documents of prior marriages.

I-130A filled out by the non-US Citizen spouse with their information, signed and dated. (if non-US spouse lives overseas they don’t need to sign it. If they are currently in the US, they must sign it.)

Evidence of a bona fide marriage (see note below for what to include).

2018 Income Requirement

Household Size Annual Income Required
Active Military (100%) Civilians/Vets (125%)
2 $16,460.00 $20,575.00
3 $20,780.00 $25,975.00
4 $25,100.00 $31,375.00
5 $29,420.00 $36,775.00
6 $33,740.00 $42,175.00
7 $38,060.00 $47,575.00
8 $42,380.00 $52,975.00

Download USCIS Income Calculator

USCIS income calculator

Where to Send Your I-130 Petition

If US citizen live in:

Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virgin Islands, Washington, Wyoming

USCIS Phoenix Lockbox

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) deliveries:

USCIS
ATTN: I-130
PO Box 21700
Phoenix, AZ 85036

For Express mail and courier deliveries:

USCIS
Attn: I-130
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034

If US citizen lives in:

Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin.

USCIS Chicago Lockbox

For U.S. Postal Service:

USCIS
P.O. Box 804625
Chicago, IL 60680-4107

For Express mail and courier deliveries:

USCIS
Attn: I-130
131 South Dearborn-3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517

If US citizen lives abroad:

USCIS Chicago Lockbox

For U.S. Postal Service:

USCIS
P.O. Box 804625
Chicago, IL 60680-4107

For Express mail and courier deliveries:

USCIS
Attn: I-130
131 South Dearborn-3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517

Forms Needed To File For IR1/CR1 Visa (Step 2)

DS-261 Online Choice of Address and Agent

This is an online form that allows you to choose the address for the beneficiary and the person that will get communication from the consulate.

DS-260 Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration [example]

This is an online form for the immigrant visa application that the beneficiary fills out to get the CR1/IR1 visa.

I-864 Affidavit of Support [download]

To show that an intending immigrant has adequate means of financial support and  is not likely to become a public charge. (must be filled out by US citizen)

Once I-130 is approved, National Visa Center (NVC) will send the non-US citizen spouse a packet of forms (listed above) that you both need to fill out before an interview date will be given to you.

Evidence Of A Bona Fide Marriage for CR1 VIsa

The following evidence can be used to show a bona fide marriage. Provide as much documentation as possible (there is never too much!)

  • Affidavit from petitioner and beneficiary verifying the marriage or relationship
  • Affidavit from witnesses to the relationship/marriage (parents, siblings, other relatives, close friends)
  • Wedding announcements, invitations
  • Church certificate
  • Wedding pictures
  • Joint bank account letter (when opened and balance) and recent statements
  • Joint credit card statement – including receipts from charges made by both of you
  • Evidence of joint life and cohabitation: monthly bills, insurance, assets etc.
  • A deed showing co-ownership of your property or a lease agreement with both of your names on the lease
  • Receipts of money transfer (if applicable)
  • Phone bills showing your conversations
  • Receipts of gifts sent online or otherwise
  • Transcripts of chats or Skype calls
  • Copies of letters and/or e-mails
  • Copies of holiday cards addressed to you both
  • Birth certificate of any child that has been born to your marriage
  • Airline ticket receipts showing trips taken together or to visit each other — including boarding passes
  • Copies of the passport stamps from any visits to your spouse’s country
  • Pictures of you together on vacation and/or with family and friends. It’s best to include a range of times, not just a bunch of photos from a short period of time

After You Mail Out The I-130 Petition

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 USCIS office 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.

You will receive your last Notice of Action in a few weeks 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 for filling out DS-261 choose an agent, and DS-260 immigrant visa form part one and two forms that must be filled out by the intending immigrant online at CEAaC.gov site.

 Form I-864 is also included that must be filled out by the US citizen petitioner. The I-864 is the Affidavit of Support form requires copies of IRS tax transcripts for the past 3 years as well as any bank or financial records available as supporting documents.

The petitioner must make at least 125% above the U.S federal poverty to prove that intending immigrant will not become a public charge.

If the petitioner cannot meet these requirements, then they must still file out form I-864, and find a joint sponsor who can meet the requirements on their own. When a joint sponsor is needed, proof of their U.S citizenship or permanent residency is required for the joint sponsor as well. (i.e. copy of birth certificate, immigration status etc).

The joint sponsor must be residing in the U.S, and they must also submit the last 3 years U.S tax transcripts along with bank or any other financial records available. The joint sponsor must submit their own I-864 form to accompany the petitioner’s I-864 form.

Documents To Gather Before CR1 Visa Interview

The Non-US citizen spouse will need to gather and bring the following documents to their interview:

  • Confirmation page of DS-260 (last page of the online form).
  • I-864 Affidavit of Support Form along with last 3 years U.S tax transcripts and supporting financial documents.
  • A copy of all pages of intending immigrants passport(s).
  • Original or certified “long” form birth certificate. (translated to English)
  • Original adoption decree. (if applicable)
  • Marriage certificate. (translated to English)
  • Divorce decree(s) or death certificate(s) (if applicable)
  • Police clearance certificate(s)
  • Court and prison records. (if applicable)
  • Custody records. (if applicable)
  • Military records (if applicable)

After the NVC or Consulate Abroad receives the above forms and supporting documents (you may not 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 the intending immigrant a letter indicating the time and day of the interview, and a list of required forms that must be brought to the interview.

No Birth Certificate Available: obtain a certified statement from the appropriate government authority stating the reason the applicant’s birth record is not available.

Police Clearances:  must obtain police clearance from all countries you have resided in for more than 6 months after age 16.

The Medical Examination

Every applicant will need to complete a medical examination by a civil surgeon chosen by USCIS. No one is exempt from the medical no matter their age.

You must make the medical exam appointment yourself before the interview date. It’s best to schedule all of your medical exams on the same day so that the results will be ready at the same time.

  • Bring the interview appointment letter
  • Bring their vaccination records
  • There will be a fee for vaccines administered
  • An X-ray will be performed (waived if pregnant)
  • A complete physical exam will be performed

The CR1 Visa Interview Process

The Non-US citizen spouse will be required to attend an interview at the embassy of consulate abroad before their visa is approved. The US citizen spouse may attend the interview but it is not required.

  • The interview can last for as little as 20 minutes or up to an hour depending upon your specific case.
  • You 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.
  • Bring documentation to prove strong ties and a relationship with you, the petitioner. (i.e. phone bills, letters, emails etc.)
  • If the consulate officer approves your immigrant visa application, you will be issued an immigrant visa that allows them to become a US permanent resident (green card holder).
  • You will become a U.S permanent resident only when you enter the U.S at a port of entry, until this time, you only have an immigrant visa that is valid up to 6 months from the interview date.
  • If you cannot immigrate to the U.S within the 6 month time frame, then your 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 you are a CR-1 visa holder, the green card will only be valid for two years (conditional green card). Within ninety days before the green card expires, you will have to file an I-751 form for removal of conditions.

CR1/IR1 Port of Entry Process

  • When your flight lands, must get in the line for visitors (even if your U.S. spouse is traveling with you).
  • You are still considered a nonimmigrant until you receive the I-551 stamp in your passport.
  • Bring your entire I-130 petition and CR1/IR1 visa application with you.
  • CBP officer will take your fingerprints and ask you to provide the sealed medical envelope from the civil surgeon.
  • After the CBP officer reviews your passport and documents, they’ll stamp the visa with an I-551 that proves you are a lawful permanent resident.
  • Your green card and SSN (if you applied for one) will arrive in the mail in 2-3 weeks.

Read more about the CR1/IR1 port of entry process.

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Susan Barton
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Susan Barton

I am an American citizen married to a Mortocan man. We’ve gone through all procedures, paid all fees etc. we started this process May 9 of 2014 and I have yet to get approval for my husband to come here with me in America! He did his medical testing and had his first interview but they said they found THC in is blood so they made him get tested every four months for a year. All test were negative of course because he doesn’t do any drugs! After this they told him come back for more blood work and have… Read more »

naima
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naima

hi ayan, I’m from Morocco. please, what does mean social media identifier? is it mean passeword of every social media or something else?

naima
Guest
naima

hi ayan, I’m from Morocco. please, what does mean social media identifier on Ds 55-35 form? is it mean passeword of every social media or something else?

DEAN WESTCHESTER
Guest
DEAN WESTCHESTER

1. WE NEED TO VERIFY WHETHER OR NOT THE USCIS DOES CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS ON THE PETIONER AND BENEFICIARY FOR SOUSAL CR1 VISA, SIMILIAR TO THE K-1 VISA PROCESS?

2. IF SO, WHEN, DURING THE APPLICATION REVIEW PROCESS OF THE PETION AND OR DURING THE EMBASSY INTERVIEW?

3. IF THERE ARE PRIOR CHARGES IDENTIFIED IN CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK, HOW MIGHT THEY BE MITIGATED…AND IF ADJUDICATION OF GUILT WAS WITHHELD, MEANING NO CONVICTIONS, DOES THIS MEAN THE PETIONER AND BENEFICIARY SPOUSE WILL NOT HAVE A PROBLEM GETTING APPROVED AND AT THE INTERVIEW?

THANK OYU!

Dominique
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Dominique

my husband and I have been married for 2 years now. Our case has been approved. It now sits in the NVC office waiting for an I864 and the fees to be paid. I have worked for 2years now on my current job. However, due to my lack of child care I will have to leave my job. can I still submit a the form to have my case expedited? If I file for unemployment will our case get denied?

Jamie
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Jamie

Hi! this website is really helpful, thank you so much for sharing your experience and such precise infos. but Id like to ask when we will be sending the affidavit of support is it after getting NOA2 or after the NVC stage? me and my husband is currently waiting for our NOA2 🙂 thank you so much God bless!

Lisa
Guest

Do a non immigrant revoked visa affects an immigrant visa

Jamie
Guest
Jamie

hi Ayan! I just like to ask, when and where shall we send the AOS and attached documents like w2 and payslip? thanks! ?

Jamie
Guest
Jamie

Hi Ayan, for the main sponsor the following attachments needed for 1-864 are W2 and payslip? then for our co sponsor the attachments are her w2, payslip, photocopy of her passport and her naturalization document? is this correct?. thank you!

Jocelyn
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Jocelyn

Hello Ms. Ayan, my name is Jocelyn and I live in the Philippines. Last September 2017 my us citizen husband who is living in United States submitted the form 1-130 as to USCIS as petitioner but unfortunately we overlooked by not submitting the 1-130a. Now, we received a notice RFE to submit the I-130a. My concern is, can I designate my husband/petitioner as a preparer for the I-130a? Also, since I am not in US, can I leave the “Spouse Beneficiary’s Signature” unsigned? Please help. Thanks

Moe
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Moe

Hello Ayan, I will get married to an American citizen and she lives in the US right now, the problem is I am a Palestinian-Syrian and I have shocked and I do not know if I can join her. is there a ban prevent me joining her if we get married?

Jocelyn
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Jocelyn

Hello Ms. Ayan. I have concern that I need to ask you please. My husband who lives in the United States filed an I-130 for me as his beneficiary and I live outside of US. My husband used his surname as my family name in the petition since we’re married already. My question is, how does it affect when filling out the form DS-260 since my passport is still in my unmarried name? Please please help

Rihab
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Rihab

Hi Ayan
My interview is this week , my husband already paid the fees on nvs website n everything
But I’m worried if I have to pay anything at interview day
I’m from morocco

Maya
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Maya

My fiance visa was denied form consular level and planing to get legally married to apply spouse petition.Do I really need to write withdrawal letter to cancel the petition because I have not get any notice from USCIS about refusal yet.

Kim
Guest
Kim

Hi Ayan. I am beginning the I-130 packet and my husband and I recently married. I am a US citizen and he will be my beneficiary. I took his last name and legally changed it when we applied for the marriage certificate but have not changed my name on anything else (passport, ID, credit cards, etc). Will this affect the application if I use my husband’s last name or should I use my maiden name?

Madeline
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Madeline

Hi Ayan, this website it so helpful! I have a few questions I was hoping to get some help with (actually I have millions, but just these for now). I’m a female US citizen and my spouse is a male French citizen. 1. Above it says the applicant needs to bring 3 years of US tax transcripts to the interview, but if my spouse hasn’t lived in the US yet, how would they have any tax documents to show? Is this supposed to be 3 years of tax documentation for their home country? Or are these copies of MY taxes… Read more »