IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa USCIS Phase Summary
To start the IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa USCIS Phase application process, you first need to submit a petition to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For this purpose, this page outlines the process with advice on how submit your IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa application petition to USCIS.
The IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa USCIS Phase process includes:
- Completing Forms
- Paying Fee
- Gathering and Submitting Supporting Documentation
- Mailing the Completed USCIS Petition Package
- USCIS Processing
Also, this section outlines the process of the IR-1/CR-1 Spouse Visa USCIS Phase for any unmarried children (IR-2/CR-2) under the age of 21 of the spouse.
The following forms need to be completed as part of the IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa USCIS Phase:
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Spouse: The I-130, Petition for Alien Spouse needs to be completed. Also, a separate I-130 needs to be completed for any children of the Beneficiary if you are intending an IR-2/CR-2 Visa for them. The petitioner (U.S. citizen) signs this form.
- Form I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary: Specifically, this form is for supplemental information about the beneficiary spouse. Your beneficiary spouse must sign this form.
- G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance-(optional)- Specifically, this form is for the Petitioner or applicant in order to receive an electronic notification (email) that USCIS has received the application. Thus, this is a good thing to do as it gives you your USCIS number. Also, a separate G-1145 needs to be completed for any children of the Beneficiary if you are intending an IR-2/CR-2 Visa for them.
Always check the USCIS site and get your forms from there so that you know that they are the most current.
The forms are downloaded using the links above, printed out on a computer printer and filled in. Fill them out with a pen in black ink if your hand writing is neat and legible. On the contrary, if your handwriting is not neat or legible, fill them out electronically using PDF writing type software.
Amazon has several free PDF editor software available:
Read and following the USCIS instructions for each of the forms in the IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa USCIS Phase:
Always check the USCIS site and get your instructions from there so that you know that they are the most current. USCIS also has a checklist to follow on the I-130 webpage.
Therefore,go to USCIS’s webpage for the I-130, Petition for Alien Spouse for forms, instructions, and checklist.
In addition, go to USCIS’ “Tips for filing forms with USCIS“.
If this process seems too difficult for you, we recommend that you use a visa/immigration consultant for your IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa application. For this purpose, we recommend using Rapid Visa.
If you are able to do the application on your own and our site has been a great help to you, please consider donating to our site using the donate feature in the upper right. To this end, this helps us provide valuable content to you and others.
The fee for the IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa USCIS Phase is the USCIS Filing Fee of $535 (as of December 2016). For example, a check or money order payable to USCIS are both acceptable forms of payment.
Gather together and prepare the following supporting documentation to be submitted with your petition:
Your USCIS Filing Fee of $535 (as of December 2016). For example, a check or money order payable to USCIS are both acceptable forms of payment.
Proof Petitioner’s (U.S. Citizen) U.S. Citizenship
For this purpose, Proof of US Citizenship can include any one of the following:
- U.S. birth certificate that meets the following requirements:
- Issued by the city, county, or state of birth
- Lists applicant’s full name, date of birth, and place of birth
- Parent(s)’ full names
- Signature of the city, county, or state registrar
- Date filed with registrar’s office (must be within one year of birth)
- Seal of issuing authority
- Fully valid, undamaged U.S. passport (can be expired)
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Certificate of Citizenship
Proof of Legal Termination of All Prior Marriages
Submit proof of legal termination of all prior both the Petitioner and the Beneficiary, if applicable. For example, copy of divorce decree, annulment or death certificate are all acceptable.
Passport Type Photographs
Obtain and submit two passport type photographs (see photo specifications) of both the petitioner (U.S. Citizen) and the beneficiaries (Spouse and children, if applicable). Next, write the full name of the person on the back of each photo. Finally, place the photos in a zip lock bag and include in the submission package.
Obtain and submit a copy of your marriage certificate. Also, keep your original to bring later to your embassy interview.
Foreign Country Statistical Record of Marriage
Some countries keep a statistical database of marriages. If so, include a report of your marriage from the database. For example, my wife’s country of the Philippines keeps a nationwide statistical record of marriages. If from the Philippines, then include a copy of your CEMAR from NSO.
Other Bona Fide Marriage Evidence
In addition, include other evidence verifying a Bona Fide marriage. Specifically, see the I-130 Instructions to determine what pertains to you. If none of the additional items listed pertain to you, include a second evidence like a certified statement from a relative stating that they were at your wedding and have seen you living as a married couple. For example, see our blog post “Prove Bona Fide Marriage- Other Relevant Documents for USCIS I-130 Petition for Alien Spouse, IR-1 and CR-1 Spouse Visa“.
Include 9-12 photographs of you with your spouse. Don’t send USCIS a large photo album. Without doubt, USCIS returns any albums. On the other hand, a photo album is a perfect thing for the embassy interview. For example, the best way is to use a blank sheet of paper and tape 3 photos per page. In addition, below each photo, name each person in the photo, the place and date. Also, include photos of you and your spouse with some of your fiance(e)’s family as a bonus. Examples of photographs are also in the blog post “Prove Bona Fide Marriage- Other Relevant Documents for USCIS I-130 Petition for Alien Spouse, IR-1 and CR-1 Spouse Visa“.
Include evidence of how long you have known your spouse. For example, send copies of your beginning chats on email, Facebook, Skype or photos of you and your fiance(e) on a date, ect….
In addition, include evidence that your relationship is on-going. For example, this includes several copies of chats on email, Facebook or Skype throughout your relationship history up to date. However, only include a few. Don’t submit stacks of these. Quality is more important than quantity.
Other evidence include copies of airline tickets for your visits, hotel receipts, receipt for engagement ring, or anything else that shows proof that your relationship is true.
USCIS will do a background check of the Petitioner and the Beneficiaries. If you have a criminal record, it is best to disclose that at this point. If you do have a criminal record or any other legal issues, it is best to consult an immigration attorney.
For the purpose of helping assemble the package, see our blog post “IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa Application Assembling Tips- I-130, Petition for Alien Spouse“.
If doing yourself, also go to USCIS’ “General Tips on Assembling Applications for Mailing“.
If using a visa/immigration consultant, they can assist you in assembling your IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa USCIS Phase supporting documentation. For this purpose, we recommend using Rapid Visa for your IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa USCIS Phase.
For the purpose of a cover letter example, see our blog post, “USCIS cover letter I-130, Petition for Alien Spouse (IR-1 or CR-1 Spouse Visa)“.
Assemble all of the forms and the supporting documents into one package with a fastener or large binder clip. Hence, this is your Petition for IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa.
- Do not use binders or folders that cannot be easily disassembled. Use file folders with top fasteners.
- Use ACCO fasteners or binder clips to hold together thick or bulky applications or petitions. Two-hole punching the top of the material for easy placement in the file is appreciated.
- The use of tabs assist in locating items listed as attachments. The tabs should be placed on the bottom and not the side for ease in filing.
Very Important: Make a copy of everything that you have assembled and sent to USCIS.
Place the petition in a large envelope.
If our site has been a great help to you, please consider donating to our site using the donate feature in the upper right. In summary, this helps us provide valuable content to you and others.
Mailing the Package
The petition package needs to be mailed to either the Chicago or the Phoenix USCIS depending upon where you live. Click here for the USCIS web page that tells you were to send your package based on where you live.
USCIS Chicago Lockbox
For U.S. Postal Service:
P.O. Box 804625
Chicago, IL 60680-4107
For Express mail and courier deliveries:
131 South Dearborn-3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517
USCIS Phoenix Lockbox
For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) deliveries:
PO Box 21700
Phoenix, AZ 85036
For Express mail and courier deliveries:
1820 E. Sky Harbor Circle S
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Service Center Assignment and Receipt Number
If you included Form G-1145 in your petition, USCIS sends you an email confirm that they received your petition. At the same time, call to check and see if your petition has been received toll-free at 1-800-375-5283 or 1-800-767-1833 (TDD for the deaf or hard of hearing). Get your USCIS number from the email or by calling. For example, this number helps you track your petition at USCIS.
After the USCIS lock box receives your petition, they send your application to one of it’s Service Centers for processing. For example, below are the USCIS Service Centers:
- California Service Center (CSC) (WAC)
- Vermont Service Center (VSC) (EAC)
- Nebraska Service Center (NSC) (LIN)
- Potomac Service Center (PSC) (YSC)
- Texas Service Center (TSC) (SRC)
- National Benifits Center (NBC) (MSC)
The USCIS lock box sends your petition to a certain service center depending upon which service center is processing which type of visas and their current workload or availability. Subsequently, the processing service center receives your petition within 2-3 weeks.
USCIS Receipt Number
You are assigned a USCIS Receipt Number corresponding to the service center that your case is assigned to. Specifically, the receipt number consists of three letters (WAC, EAC, LIN, YSC, SRC or MSC) corresponding to the service centers above and 10 numbers corresponding to the year, computer workday and case number processed that day. Call USCIS (1-800-375-5283) to get your receipt number and write it down to remember it. For example, you need this number whenever you want to contact USCIS or to check the status of your case.
Sign up for USCIS Case Status On-line. You use this to identify and track your case. Firstly, enter your receipt number. Then, your case status is shown. If you get an error message, it probably means that your case has not been uploaded yet. Subsequently, wait a few days. Also, sign up for email and text notifications.
After the service center receives your petition, they mail the petitioner a notification called Notice of Action 1 (NOA1). Specifically, this notification indicates that the service center has received your petition and has opened it.
Processing Time Frame and What to Do Now
The IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa USCIS Phase is the most frustrating phase because it is the longest phase at 5-8 months or more duration for I-130 spouse visa. In order to check the current processing times for your service center, see our blog post, “Processing Times USCIS- Check the Service Centers“.
Another way of tracking your case status is to download an app called “Case Tracker & Searcher – for USCIS Immigration” with software written by Stephen Aldous. For this purpose, see our “Review of Case Tracker & Searcher – for USCIS Immigration”
The next phases (NVC and Embassy) go much faster, but there is a lot you need to do to prepare for these phases. If you want to shorten your overall time frame, the best thing to do while waiting on USCIS approval is to gather and prepare your supporting documents for the NVC and Embassy phases.
With this in mind, see our blog post on “Speed Up the NVC Process for U.S. IR-1 and CR-1 Spousal Visas by 5 Ways“.
USCIS Approval, RFE or Denial
If your petition is approved, USCIS issues an approval via a Notice of Action (NOA2). USCIS then sends your petition to the National Visa Center (NVC).
If USCIS deemed that it needs more information to approve your application, it sends the Petitioner a Request for Information (RFE) listing the items that it needs. Receiving an RFE could add time to your overall application by several weeks or months. For example, one way to reduce the likelihood of receiving an RFE is to use a visa/immigration professional like RapidVisa.
If USCIS denies your petition, it sends you a denial letter. In addition, they state the reasons why and explain your options for appeal.