2019 CR1 Visa Process: Get Approved For The Spouse Visa In 10 Easy Steps
If you’ve found the love of your life abroad or are getting married to a US citizen or green card holder, you are probably thinking about ways to be together, right? Learn more about the 2019 CR1 visa process and each step that needs to be completed to successfully be approved.
Long distance relationships are hard but long distance marriages are even harder!
One of the most difficult aspects of US immigration is the long waiting period after you file your I-130 petition. It can take several months before you hear from USCIS at all.
So, in this post we will take a look at the 2019 CR1 visa process and how you can get your visa as quickly as possible.
Joseph met the love of his life Maria while on vacation in Mexico. After dating for several months, they decide to get engaged and continue to get to know each other.
After a year, they get married in Mexico and begin the 2019 CR1 visa process. Joseph gather evidence of their marriage and completes the I-130 petition for his new wife.
They submit the I-130 petition with the fee to USCIS for processing. Months go by when finally, they hear back from USCIS that their petition was approved and sent to the National Visa Center (NVC).
The next steps will be the interview, medical and port of entry.
1. You Must Get Married
This is a no-brainer, right?
You must be married to a US citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident before you can file for the I-130 petition (and CR1 visa down the road).
After the wedding is over and the ink has dried on your marriage license, it’s time to gather the rest of the evidence and complete the documents.
Getting married is just the first step of many many steps you must complete to successfully get approved for the CR1 spouse visa. Missing anything during this process will likely delay processing, or worse, get your petition rejected by USCIS.
You can get married just about anywhere. If you choose to get married in the United States, the beneficiary must leave the country after submitting the I-130 petition and wait outside the country for your CR1 visa interview.
I’ve seen some applicants visit the US then apply for adjustment of status but this can be risky because you must prove that you didn’t intend to get married and adjust before visiting the US.
2. Petitioner Must Be A US citizen or LPR
The US petitioner must be a US citizen by birth, naturalization or through their US citizen parents.
If the petitioner is a green card holder, they must be able to prove this by providing their birth certificate or naturalization document or passport.
The 2019 CR1 visa process is very similar whether the petitioner is a US citizen or LPR. The only difference is that there is a priority date for a spouse of a green card holder.
What is a priority date?
A priority date is a waiting period for a visa to become available. Since the spouse of a green card holder is not in the category that can get a visa right away, they must wait until a visa is available before an interview is scheduled.
3. Complete I-130 Petition & Pay Fee
You’re now ready to start filling out the I-130 petition and pay the filing fee.
While completing the forms, you may have a few questions but don’t worry, I’ve created a step-by-step tutorial on how to complete the forms.
Before submitting the petition for your spouse visa, be sure to review all the documents and sign all the forms before mailing your packet to USCIS.
Forgetting to sign a form can get your I-130 petition rejected pretty quickly. And although you won’t lose your filing fee if it’s immediately rejected, it will delay processing of your case.
4. Evidence of Bona Fide Marriage
Is your marriage real? Well, you have to prove it to USCIS by including evidence of your relationship.
This is the part that gets a lot of people nervous. If this is your concern, you can relax knowing that if you have honestly married for love you should be able to prove it easily.
If your case does trigger some red flags, then it may be more difficult to get your I-130 petition approved. In the end, you can definitely overcome of the red flags.
USCIS Red Flags:
- Large age gap
- Short courtship
- Different culture/religion
- Multiple marriages/divorces
- Never meeting in person
As you can see, overcoming these red flags can be difficult but not impossible. If your petition does eventually get approved, you’ll need to pass your CR1 interview before your visa will be issued.
5. Meet The Income Requirement
For the CR1 visa to be approved, you must show that you will not become a public charge.
This means that you will not apply and receive government welfare once you become a permanent resident. Makes sense, right? USCIS only wants to bring people to the US that are self-sufficient.
|Household size||I-134 Affidavit||I-864 Affidavit|
|Active Military (100%)||Civilians/Vets (125%)|
Using the above income requirements for 2019, you can see what income you must make for the I-864 affidavit of support.
For example: If your household size is 3 (including your spouse), you will need to make at least $22,887.00 a year.
This is taxable income only for those of you who are self-employed.
Avoid Certain Criminal Convictions
Being convicted of a crime can make it difficult to apply for the CR1 visa for your spouse. It’s not impossible though as long as you haven’t been charged with specific crimes that make you ineligible of the visa.
Crimes Committed By Petitioner
Crimes committed by the US petitioner that will make you ineligible to petition your spouse for a CR1 visa are specifically related to crimes against minor children.
See details in the quote below:
NOTE: The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act may prohibit certain petitioners from successfully filing visa petitions for any family member if the petitioner was convicted of a “specified offense against a minor,” unless USCIS determines that the petitioner poses no risk to the beneficiary. The “minor” must have been under 18, and the convictions specified, broadly defined, involve primarily sexual or related offenses.
Crimes Committed By The Beneficiary
If you are the beneficiary spouse, you will likely be required to get a copy of your criminal record from all countries you’ve lived in for than 6 months (after age 16) and this will be used to determine whether they qualify for a visa.
For the USCIS to find a beneficiary inadmissible, the conviction must be for a statutory offense which involves moral turpitude.
Go To The Medical Exam
The CR1 medical exam is intended to learn whether you have communicable disease that could spread inside the United States if you were allowed in.
This means that the panel physician approved by USCIS will ask that you bring your vaccination records as well as perform a detailed physical examination.
Additionally, you will complete an x-ray that will determine whether your have or have had tuberculosis in the past. Don’t worry if you’ve had it in the past, as long as you’ve been successfully treated, you should still be eligible for the CR1 visa.
Once the medical exam is completed, the panel physician will either send the results directly to the US consulate or embassy or will make it to you to bring to your interview.
It’s important not to open the medical packet. It will likely say “DO NOT OPEN” and if you do open it, it’s no longer valid and you will need to do the medical over.
Pass The CR1 Interview
The final step of the 2019 CR1 visa process is the interview! Aren’t you excited? It’s very straightforward and you don’t have to be nervous about it (even though I know you will be!)
The interview is used to determine if you are being honest about your marriage and intentions. The consular officer will go over your documents and answers you’ve provided to be sure everything checks out.
Lastly, there is a background check performed and a name search. If anything comes up during the screening, it will delay the issuance of your visa by a few weeks.
Related Post: CR1 Interview Documents To Bring To The Consulate
Podcast Episode: EP4: CR1 Spouse Visa Interview Questions & Answers
Special Note On Travel Ban Countries
If you are applying from a travel ban country that Trump has outline, be ready for a long wait.
- North Korea
Most of these countries are Muslim countries and you may have a very common name that triggers multiple flags. If you from a travel ban country, you may still be approved but it will take more time than usual.
CR1 Port of Entry Process
The final day has come! It’s time to pack your bags and head to the United States to begin your new life with your spouse.
I’ve written about the CR1 port of entry process before, and it’s probably the easiest part of your journey.
You fly (or drive from Canada or Mexico) to the US and get into the line for visitors. You present your passport and any other documents requested by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
They will review your visa and quickly take a look at the information in their computers. You will be fingerprinted and then told “welcome to the Untied States”.
That’s it! You are officially a permanent resident after they stamp the I-551 in your passport!
Need more help with your CR1 visa application? Check out the Migrant Academy, a complete online course for the spouse visa and great community of other migrants planning to move to the US.
Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.