cr2 processing times

CR2 Visa Processing Times 2017

Being separated from your spouse and child can be really stressful. In this post, we’ll discuss the CR2 visa processing times for 2017. The good news is that you can petition both family members for a green card at the same time.

Your spouse and child are considered immediate relatives if the American spouse is a U.S. citizen.

Many couples understand the process to petition for the spouse beneficiary but get confused on how to include a child on the I-130. Here’s the good news: your child can be included in the beneficiary spouse’s petition. This is what’s called a “derivative beneficiary”.

Who is considered a derivative beneficiary?

A derivative beneficiary is someone that can’t be petitioned for directly, but instead, can follow-to-join or accompany the principal beneficiary based on a parent-child relationship.

Case Example:

Lilly submitted the I-130 for her husband Marco and his 6 year old son Thomas. Since Thomas is the biological (genetic) son of Marco, he can accompany him to immigrate to the US based on their parent-child relationship.

Marco will need to include evidence that he is in fact the father of Thomas. This can include the birth certificate, DNA tests and other evidence of his ongoing father-son relationship.

What’s interesting in this case is that if the beneficiary parent is the father, they have to go above and beyond to prove they are the biological father of their child.

A mother may not be scrutinized as heavily because she probably gave birth to the child and she can prove this with the birth certificate.

Who Is Considered a Child For The CR2 Visa?

USCIS has specific criteria to determine who will be considered a child when it comes to immigration.

Generally, a child is someone who is unmarried, under the age of 21 and meets the following requirements:

  • Genetic, legitimated, or adopted son or daughter of a U.S. citizen; or
  • Son or daughter of a non-genetic U.S. citizen mother who is recognized by the relevant jurisdiction as the child’s legal parent.

So, the definition of a child to USCIS is very different than your own. Of course a child older than 21 or married is still your child but they just won’t be considered a child for the purpose of US immigration.

CR2 Visa and Risk of Aging Out

What happens if your child is about to turn 21 before the I-130 petition is filed?

This is where the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) comes in to save the day. The CSPA was created in 2002 to protect children from “aging out” while they wait for the long CR2 visa processing times to complete.

Before 2002, a 20 year old unmarried child could have a petition submitted for them but while waiting for approval, could “age out” and no longer qualify for the green card.

If a US citizen parent files the I-130 for their child, their age “freezes” on the date of filing. This means that if you file for your 19 year old daughter and the case takes 2 years to process, USCIS will still consider her eligible since it was filed on her 19th birthday.

Case Example:

Kathryn and her daughter Olivia were petitioned for by her US husband Robert. Olivia is a senior in a Canadian college and has recently turned 20 years old. Their I-130 petition was approved after 6 months and Kathryn and Robert were concerned because their daughter was about to turn 21 soon.

Thankfully, their case is covered under CSPA which ultimately freezes Olivia’s age at 20 years old. No matter how long it takes they case to approve, their daughter will still be eligible as a derivative beneficiary on her mother’s application.

child cspa

CR2 Visa Processing Times 2017

How  long the CR2 visa processing times take will depend on the processing time for the CR1 spouse visa. This is because a child’s CR2 visa approval is based on whether their parent can get approved for the CR1 visa.

The CR1 spouse visa processing time is taking about 12 months to complete.

But, I’ve seen cases where the child’s CR2 visa processing times take much longer. If this ever happens, you should contact the US consulate to find out what is delaying your child’s visa.

Since the CR1 visa is only valid for 6 months, you want to make sure that your child’s visa is approved within this time period.

Case Example:

John met and married Susan in Spain and he quickly filed the I-130 petition for Susan and her 3 year old daughter Amy. On the I-130 petition, they made sure to include her daughter Amy in part

Although John hasn’t legally adopted Amy, she is considered his step-child because he has married her mother. After the I-130 petition is approved by USCIS, it’s sent to the National Visa Center. At this stage, John must now pay separate visa fees and complete separate I-864 affidavit of support forms for each beneficiary.

After the medical exam and interview, Susan and Amy’s visas are approved and issued without delay.

This case shows the process if everything goes well. But, sometimes there are delays  in the CR2 visa processing times which can be very stressful on both parents.

No one wants to leave their child behind.

This is why it’s important to make sure that your child’s visa is approved and issued before your own CR1 visa expires. It’s really rare that a CR2 visa will take this long to complete but sometimes the US consulate can drop the ball and make mistakes.

How To Apply For CR2 Visa For a Child

Step 1: File the I-130 petition

The CR2 visa processing times begins the same way as the CR1 visa. Both the parent beneficiary and child must be included in the I-130 petition. This will tell USCIS that you want to bring them both to the US as permanent residents.

Remember to include all children of the beneficiary and not just those who are immigrating. This will be important if the foreign spouse wants to petition for adult children once they receive their green card.

Step 2: Receive the first notice of action (NOA1)

About 1-2 weeks after submitting the I-130 petition, you’ll receive the first notice of action. NOA1 is a letter that USCIS sends the US spouse letting them know that the petition has been accepted.

This doesn’t mean that it’s been reviewed.

It just means that the check was cashed and the forms were signed. If you forgot to include payment or didn’t sign the form, USCIS would just return your application without cashing the check.

cr2 visa processing times

Step 3: I-130 petition approval (NOA2)

Awesome! The I-130 petition has been approved.

Now you’ll receive the second notice of action (NOA2) which will tell you the petition has been approved and is being sent to the National Visa Center for further processing.

Step 4: National Visa Center (NVC) processing

The NVC will send you a list of documents that you need to gather and submit as well as an invoice to pay the visa fee and affidavit of support fee.

Both the beneficiary spouse and child will then be required to fill out online form DS-260. Once this is complete and submitting, your case is sent to the US consulate abroad for visa processing.

Step 5: US Consulate processing and interview letter

Now that the US consulate has your case, they’ll send you a letter asking you to schedule your medical exam and interview. This will differ based on the consulate or embassy so follow the instructions on the appointment letter.

Sometimes you are required to schedule your own interview date and other times, they’ll do it for you.

Step 6: Complete the medical examination

It’s now time to schedule your own medical exam with a USCIS approved physician. Your child must also attend the medical exam and remember to bring their vaccination records with you to the appointment.

The medical exam is used to find out if you have a communicable disease. It’s sounds a lot of worse than it is. Basically, USCIS wants to make sure you don’t have anything that can spread inside the US.

Failing the medical exam doesn’t mean your visa will be denied. You will just need to get treated before a visa will be issued.

Medical reasons that can delay visa approval:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Syphilis
  • Missing vaccinations

Step 7: Complete the visa Interview

Finally, the visa interview is used to meet you and your child in person. This gives the consulate officer a chance to ask you questions and watch how you react.

As long as you have been truthful in your application, there’s nothing to worry about. Your child will also need to attend the interview and depending on their age, they may be asked questions as well.

Your child will accompany you at your visa interview even if they are also schedule for one.

Be sure to bring their original birth certificate and other evidence you’ve already submitting for them. Even if the US consulate doesn’t request it, you should bring them just in case you are asked.

Step 8: Visa issuance and port of entry

Once the visa interview is complete, you’ll wait for your visa to be issued. In most cases, you and your child’s visa are issued together and either mailed to you or you may need to pick them up.

Learn more about the CR1 port of entry process.

In some cases, one visa is issued faster than the other. This can definitely complicate things but I haven’t seen too many cases where the parent’s visa is sent months before the child’s visa.

You should still be proactive about this type of delay though. The last thing you want is for your own visa to expire right after your child’s visa is approved.

If this ever happens, you will need to start the process all over again. It’s better to just enter the US without your child so that you can become a permanent resident and then go get your child when their visa is approved.

CR2 visa

Final Thoughts on CR2 Visa Processing Times

The CR2 visa processing times can vary depending on the country your applying from and the circumstances of your case. Your child can “piggyback” on your own I-130 petition which makes things a lot easier.

What’s really important is to make sure that you file the I-130 petition before your child turns 21 and that they remain unmarried.

If your child no longer qualifies as a child to USCIS, they won’t be able to  accompany the beneficiary parent and will then need to wait until their parent files a separate I-130 after becoming a permanent resident.

This will cause a big delay so it’s best to meet the definition of a child instead of waiting until they age out.

Finally, the overall CR2 visa process is the same as the CR1 visa. The only difference is that it depends heavily on whether the parent beneficiary is approved at the interview.

The US consulate will not approve a CR2 child visa if the parent is no eligible for the CR1 spouse visa.

Lastly, the child must enter the US either at the same time as their CR1 visa holder or shortly after. A CR2 visa holder can’t enter the US before their parent does. Again, it’s because it’s based on the principal beneficiary’s eligibility.

Are you bringing your child with you to the United States? Are you concerned for them aging out? Let me know in the comments below.

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