Embassy Phase for IR-1/CR-1 (Spousal) Visa

US Embassy Seal for emabassy where IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase interviews are performed.

Prepare for the IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase InterviewWoman studying on a roof in preparing for her IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase interview


In this section, we specifically discuss how to prepare for the IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase interview.

NVC schedules the IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy serving your spouse’s foreign country. NVC sends the Beneficiary, the Petitioner, and your agent/attorney, if applicable, an email or letter noting the appointment date and time.

Important: Print out and keep the IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase interview appointment email or letter. Most importantly, bring this to the IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase interview. To explain, this is your “Invitation” to get into the embassy. In fact, they turn away people that do not have the appointment email or letter.

Interview Preparation Assistance

If you have signed up with RapidVisa, as part of their service, they assist you through the IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase. Furthermore, they do it at no extra cost than your original fee. They give you advice on scheduling the embassy interview.  Also, the advise on the medical requirements of your specific country, signing up for the courier service, and documents that you need to bring to the interview.  They help with any other specific requirements of your specific country or U.S. Embassy.

If you go to one of their offices before the IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase interview, they help prepare you for the interview. The help includes possible interview questions. Contact RapidVisa and talk to a live agent using their live on-line chat portal. Alternatively, send them an email or call directly by telephone.

Prepare for the Interview

After you receive the IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase interview appointment email or letter from NVC, start preparing for the interview by:

  1. Schedule and Complete the Medical Examination
  2. Register for Courier Services
  3. Perform any Specific Requirements in the email/letter or that the specific U.S. Embassy or Consulate Requires
  4. Gather Documents Required for the Interview
  5. Prepare for Interview Questions
  6. Read Additional Information

Don’t Buy Your Airline Ticket until After the Interview

Important: We recommend that you do not buy your airline tickets to the U.S. until you have your Visa in hand.  Buying the ticket ahead of time, especially a non-refundable ticket, is an extreme risk. There are many things that can delay you in the embassy phase. For example, delays include complications during the medical examination,  complications during the interview. Even in the worse case, denial of the visa is a possibility.

Schedule and Complete the Medical Examination

As part of the IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase, schedule and complete the medical examination.

Kid getting an xray as part of a K-1 Fiance Visa Embassy Phase or IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase medical exam.

The Beneficiary and each applying child, if applicable, are required to complete a medical examination with an authorized physician in the country where you will be interviewed. Unlike the K-1 spousal Visa, NVC will not schedule the medical examination for you. You need to schedule the examination yourself. The letter or email from NVC will indicate how to schedule the examination.

The medical examination(s), along with any required vaccinations, MUST be completed before your scheduled visa interview date. This exam must be with an embassy-approved doctor.  Exams conducted by other physicians will not be accepted.

Read embassy-specific instructions and get a list of approved doctors on NVC’s Medical Examination page. After the examination, the clinic or physician will either send the exam results directly to the embassy or give you a sealed envelope.  If the doctor gives you a sealed envelope, do not open it.  Instead, bring it to your visa interview and give it to the consular officer.


Register for Courier Service/Other Pre-Interview InstructionsRegister Here for courier services as part of the K-1 Fiance Visa Embassy Phase or IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase

Many U.S. Embassies and Consulates require visa applicants to pre-register for courier services. The registration is done during the K-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase.
This service is for returning applicant passports and visas to them after the interview.
Each embassy or consulate has unique entry and security requirements. For example, the requirements include whether applicants can bring electronics including cell phones into the embassy or consulate.
Before your IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase interview, read the specific requirements for the embassy or consulate of your interview. Specifically, go to that embassy website.

Gather Documents Required for the InterviewA folder containing gathered documents for the IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase interview.

Every visa applicant no matter their age must bring certain documents to the IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase interview. For example, these documents include original version of all civil documents submitted to NVC and copies of those documents. In addition, bring the financial documents from the petitioner and any other financial sponsors.  Specifically, bring all of the documents that you sent to USCIS and NVC.

Remember that you submitted copies to NVC.  Bring your originals or certified copies. You should bring the documents if you submitted a photocopy of them to NVC.

Also bring an album of your photos with you and your spouse.

What happens if you forget to bring something that you need to the IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase interview?  The consular officer will not be able to complete the processing of your visa. You will have to gather the missing items and provide them to the embassy, and may have to come for additional interviews. Failure to bring all items on the above list can delay visa issuance.

Read Additional Information

Read NVC’s Interview Preparation Notices and the U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s website where the IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase interview is held for additional information. You can also read NVC’s Frequently Asked Questions. Remember, failure to bring all required documents to the interview may cause delay or denial of the visa.

Visa Applicant Interview

Interview Preparation

U.S. Embassy Seal where a interview occurs during the K-1 Fiance Visa Embassy Phase

The applicant (Beneficiary) and all children of the applicant obtaining a IR-1/CR-1 Visa and IR-2/CR-2 visa, if applicable, are REQUIRED to attend the IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase interview together. The Petitioner does not need to attend the interview. However, we recommend that you do attend. The Petitioner is allowed to attend.

Check your date and time of your interview appointment provided in your interview appointment letter and arrive at the embassy ahead of schedule.  The staff at the embassy entrance directs where to go or line up.

Read the instructions for your embassy on what you can and can’t bring to the interview. Most embassies do not allow any electronics including cell phones.

At the Interview


The first step will be to go through security.  First, you go through a metal detector. At this point, you can be searched. Next, you go to a window where you turn in your appointment letter. After that, you go to another window where you take an oath that everything that you say or provide is true.


After that you go to another window for fingerprinting.  At the finger print window, there is an embassy staff person that takes the fingerprints of the applicant obtaining a IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa. Also, any children obtaining a IR-1/CR-2 Visa get finger printing.


After fingerprinting, the applicant(s) go to another window where there is a consular officer. This officer is most likely of the nationality of the country you are in. The officer takes certain documents that you have brought. The officer definitely takes all of the applicants passports and medical envelope, if you were given them by hand at the medical appointment. They look at or take other supporting documents that you brought. The consular officer asks you some questions. If you want, you can have a translator present.

Remember: If you sign up with RapidVisa, as part of their service, they assist you in being ready for the embassy questions. If you go to one of their offices before the interview, they help prepare you for the interview including possible interview questions. Also, click here for RapidVisa’s list of 70 potential K-1 interview questions.

If you have everything in order and answered the questions to the satisfaction of the officer, you will be directed to a second consular officer window.

After the first consular interview, you go to a second consular window. This consular officer is typically an American Consular. First, the consular looks through all of your documents. Secondly, the officer asks you to show him or her other documents that you have brought. Also, the consular might take these documents.  Finally, the second consular officer asks questions. A translator is available upon request.

The consular tells you if you are approved. On the contrary, if not approved, they request additional information and reschedule. Also, you are told if you are denied.

Interview Exit

If approved, the consular hands you a Rights and Protections pamphlet.  This pamphlet explain your rights in the United States relating to domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. Also, it tel the protections available to you.

Next, They tell how to get your passport back along with an approximate time frame. The interview is over.  Yeah!!!!!

If you need to bring additional information, the consular explains what information you need to gather and bring back.  The consular tells you how to reschedule another appointment. Reschedule your appointment on your way out.

If you are denied, the consular informs you why you were denied a visa. Review to NVC’s Denials webpage for more detailed information.

Remember: The U.S. Embassy keeps the Applicant’s passport as they affix the visa inside the page.  The Applicant(s) get their passport back when the visa is provided by the courier service. The passport is inside the first envelop.  Open the first envelop to retrieve the passport. DO NOT open the second envelop.

After the Interview
Airplane, tickets, fare and pack

Passport/Visa and Sealed Immigration Package

Visa Preparation

After you pass the IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Embassy Phase interview, the embassy or consulate prepares your immigrant visa. The visa is put on one of the pages in your passport. This usually takes 3-7 days, but can take longer. Your passport with visa inside is put in a package of the courier service along with a sealed a sealed immigrant package.

Courier Delivery

The courier delivers the package to you. The deliver it at the place you instructed during registering with the courier. The courier texts the probable day and time of delivery. In most cases, package can picked be up at an office of the courier.

Note: You need another form of ID besides your passport to pick up the package as your passport is in the package.

The courier gives you the package. Open the courier’s outside package and retrieve your passport and the sealed immigration package:

Very Important: Do not open the sealed immigration package.  This MUST remain sealed until you reach the U.S. Port of Entry where a U.S. Customs officer will open the package.

Now, book your tickets to the United States.

Booking Tickets

Because you really shouldn’t book your tickets until you have your Visa in hand, you will most likely be booking tickets at the last minute since you probably want to go to the U.S. as soon as you can.

If your booking at the last minute, try booking with Last Minute Travel.

Click HERE to get flight availability and prices with Last Minute Travel.

Airfare, Hotels, Rental Cars, Vacation Packages
 Priceline is another very good site to check flight availability and prices when traveling at the last minute. Priceline typically has very good rates.

Pay USCIS Immigrant Visa Fee

About the USCIS Immigrant Fee

If you are immigrating to the United States as a lawful permanent resident, you must pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee online unless you meet one of the exemptions.. We recommend that you to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee after you pick up your immigrant visa from the Department of State and before you depart for the United States.

The USCIS Immigrant Fee is $220. The fee is used to recover USCIS costs related to immigrant visas issued by the U.S. Department of State at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad. USCIS uses this fee to process your immigrant visa packet and produce your Permanent Resident Card (commonly known as a Green Card). The fee covers the cost of USCIS processing, filing and maintaining immigrant visa packets, plus the cost of producing Permanent Resident Cards.

For more information on the USCIS Immigrant Fee, go the the USCIS web site here.

How to Pay the Fee

Pay the fee by going to the USCIS website here. You need to have your A-Number and DOS Case ID, which can be found on your immigrant data summary, USCIS Immigrant Fee handout, or immigrant visa stamp.

If you cannot pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee, a family member, friend, employer, attorney or accredited representative can pay for you. If someone pays the fee for you, they will need your Alien Number (A-Number) and Department of State (DOS) Case ID.

What if you do not Pay the Fee

You may also pay the fee after you arrive in the United States. If you arrive in the United States and haven’t yet paid the USCIS Immigrant Fee, USCIS will send you a notice requesting payment with instructions on paying your fee. You will not receive your Green Card until you have paid the USCIS Immigrant Fee.

If you do not pay the fee within the time listed in the notice, you will not receive your Green Card.  Failure to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee will not affect your status as a lawful permanent resident, but you will only have evidence of your lawful permanent status for one year from the date of your admission, as evidenced by the temporary I-551 stamp placed in your passport by CBP at the time of your admission.


The following groups do not have to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee:

  • Children who enter the United States under the orphan or Hague adoption programs;
  • Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants;
  • Returning lawful permanent residents (SB-1s); and
  • K non-immigrants.

Travel to the United StatesWoman with packed luggage and ready to travel

You are now ready to pack and travel to the United States.

Don’t risk being denied entry to the United States based on bringing something prohibited or restricted. Here is a list of items not to bring to the United States. For example, certain items like fruits, vegetables, plants, or dangerous items are on a ban list.

Remember: You have six months from the time you receive your Visa to immigrate to the U.S. You must enter the United States no later than the visa expiration date printed on your visa. The immigrant visa is usually valid for up to six months from the date of issuance unless your medical examination expires sooner, which may make your visa valid for less than six months.

Go to the Next Phase:

Port of Entry (IR-1/CR-1)