The IR-1 or CR-1 Spousal Visa is an immigrant type visa. The spousal visa is issued to a foreign citizen (beneficiary) that is a spouse of a U.S. Citizen (Petitioner). The purpose of the spousal visa is to allow the foreign citizen entry into the United States to live and stay with his or her U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse. The IR and CR visas come with a permanent residency card (green card), unlike the K visas.
The IR-1 (Immediate Relative) type of spousal visa is for a couple that has been married for two years or longer. The IR-1 visa entitles the foreign spouse to receive a green card within the United States for a period of ten years. The green card can be renewed ninety days before the ten year period is up.
The CR-1 (Conditional Relative) type of spousal visa is for a couple that has been married for two years or less. The CR-1 visa entitles the foreign spouse to receive a conditional green card within the United States for a period of two years. Ninety days before the conditional green card expires, the foreign spouse can, through an adjustment of status process, apply to remove conditions and he or she will be issued a new ten year regular green card.
Unmarried children, who are under the age of 21, of the beneficiary may also apply for a visa (IR-2/CR-2) at the same time with the U.S. Citizen as the Petitioner.
The following are requirements of the IR-1 or CR-1 Spousal Visa:
- The IR-1/CR-1 spousal visa is specifically intended for use by U.S. citizens who are petitioning their foreign national spouse for immigration.
- The petitioning husband or wife must be a U.S. citizen and the beneficiary must be their spouse.
- Unmarried children, who are under the age of 21, of the beneficiary may also apply for a visa (IR-2/CR-2). This visa can be done at the same time with the U.S. Citizen husband or wife as the Petitioner.
- The marriage between the U.S. citizen and foreign national spouse must specifically be valid in the country or jurisdiction where they married.
- Just living together does not qualify a marriage for immigration.
- Common-law spouses may qualify as spouses for immigration purposes depending on the laws of the country where the common-law marriage occurs.
- In cases of polygamy, only the first spouse may qualify as a spouse for immigration.
- There is no minimum age for the to file a petition for a spouse. However, the petitioner must be at least 18 years of age. In addition, the petitioner must have a residence (domicile) in the U.S. before they can sign the Affidavit of Support form.
- The petitioner must maintain a principal residence (domicile) in the United States. By the same token, list in the application where you plan to live for the foreseeable future. In fact, living in the United States is required for a U.S. sponsor to file the Affidavit of Support, with few exceptions.
- The U.S. government does not discriminate against a petition of couple with same sex marriage.
- The U.S. government does not discriminate based on religion.
Phases and Timeline
Phases and Timeline
There are a several phases to the IR-1/CR-1 spousal visa process that spans an average of approximately 7 to 12 months from the start of the application to receiving the visa(s) in hand.
- United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Stage (4 to 7 months)
- National Visa Center (NVC) Stage (about 2 months)
- Embassy Stage (1 to 3 months)
- Point of Entry
- Things to do in the U.S.
These times can be shorter or longer depending on your situation.
Some of the factors that can affect your timeline are:
- Your foreign spouse’s country
- The current USCIS, NVC and Embassy workload
- The quality of your submission
- Whether you get an approval, Request for additional Evidence (RFE) or denial
- The quality of your submission
- Your ability to gather required documents in a timely fashion
- If you need to have documents transcribed from another language into English
- Other factors beyond your control
Spousal Visa Fees and Costs
The following are the government fees, as of December 2016, to obtain a IR-1/CR-1 spousal visa:
Filing Fee $535 (Paid by check and submitted with I-130 application)
Immigrant Fee $220 (Paid on-line after getting Visa, but before entering U.S. )
Immigrant Visa (IV) Fee $325 (Paid on-line)
Affidavit of Support (AOS) Fee* $120 (Paid on-line)
Total Government Fees $1,200
*If you are also applying for the IR-2/CR-2 spousal visa for the dependent(s) (under 21) of your spouse, the same fees apply to each application. One exception is that the AOS Fee is only typically charged for the initial spouse’s IR-1/CR-1 application. Therefore, the cost for IR-2/CR-2 spousal visa applications are $1,080 each if done at the same time as the spouse’s IR-1/CR-1 application.
The following variable costs depend upon on your circumstances:
- Application Preparer
- Self $0
- Visa Consultant $450 – $1,500
- Visa Attorney $1,500 – $3,000
- Medical Fee $60 – $300 (Depending on the country)
Other costs to consider include the following:
- Costs for obtaining evidence (birth certificates, marriage license, ect…)
- Passport size photos (Petitioner, Spouse and Children)
- Travel costs
- Specific requirements of the spouse’s foreign country
- Passports (for both beneficiaries and Petitioner)
- Visa, if applicable, for U.S. Citizen to enter the spouse’s foreign country
- Translation of documents into English, if necessary
The following forms are required to be completed in order to obtain a IR-1/CR-1 spousal visa:
- Form I-130. The I-130 needs to be completed for the Beneficiary. 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.
- Form I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary (PDF, 955 KB) Specifically, this form is for supplemental information about the beneficiary. Also, a separate I-130A needs to be completed for any children of the Beneficiary if you are intending an IR-2/CR-2 Visa for them.
- 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.
Refer to the USCIS Stage (IR-1/CR-1) page of our site for detailed information on when, where and how to submit these forms and supporting documentation.
- DS-261, Choice of Agent: Submitted on-line electronically to NVC through the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).
- DS-260, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration: Submitted on-line electronically to NVC through the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).
- The checklist form with supporting documentation mailed to NVC.
- Affidavit of Support (AOS) including an I-864EZ, I-864 and I-864A (if required) depending on your situation. This is explained further in the NVC Stage (IR-1/CR-1) Section. The original is sent to NVC with the checklist form and supporting financial documentation.
Refer to the NVC Stage (IR-1/CR-1) page of our site for detailed information on when, where and how to submit these forms and supporting documentation.
There are typically three sources to prepare the forms in order to obtain a IR-1/CR-1 spousal visa including:
- Self Preparation
- Visa/Immigration Consultant
- Visa/Immigration Attorney
Reasons to Self Prepare
The petitioner can self prepare and send all of the required forms, supporting documentation and fees on his/her own. This site is intended to give advice and help provide valuable information in self preparation. As shown in the cost section above, self preparing can save you $450 – $3,000 in application preparation fees depending whether you are using a Visa/Immigration Consultant or a Visa/Immigration Attorney.
If you are a well organized person, can research and learn the visa application process, are good at filling out forms both paper and on-line, then you may be able to self prepare the visa application for your beneficiaries.
When you self prepare your application, and you feel that this site has been very helpful to you, please consider donating to our site using the donation area of the upper left side bar. If this site has saved you $450 to $3,000 in consultant application preparation fees, please consider donating $25 to $50 to our site in order to help us pay our operating costs and continue to bring valuable and helpful content to you. Think of it this way- We helped you and your family, so please help us and our family. Please help us to continue to help you and others.
If you have any questions, please use the Questions page of the site, contact us by email, or ask a question on our Facebook Page, and we will do our best to answer any any questions to the best of our ability.
Reasons to be careful or not Self Prepare
If you decide to self prepare, please be very, very careful and double (no triple) check everything. Most of the delays, RFEs and denials of family based visa applicants are the result of one or more errors in paperwork and/or lack of all requirements being met. In researching through case statuses, I have seen many applications delayed by RFEs and even denied because of simple things like forgetting to sign in one section of a form, using an outdated form, and not submitting proper supporting documentation. If an application receives an RFE, it can delay the application and Visa by several weeks or even months.
If your application is denied, you have to start all over again from the beginning and could delay the visa approval by up to 5 months. You and your spouse are probable going through a tough time missing each other during the visa process. There is enough anxiety waiting the 7-12 month process that adding more time to see each other because of an RFE or denial can be very stressful.
Visa/Immigration consultants are professionals experienced in preparing visa petition applications and other immigration services for a fee. The consultant fee is on top of the U.S. government fees listed above. Although, there are many individuals and companies world wide that offer these services. We recommend using Rapid Visa.
About Rapid Visa
RapidVisa is one of the worlds top ranked Visa/Immigration Consulting companies. In fact, they can assist you in your IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa application for as low as $450. In addition, they have payment plans as low as $217/month. Moreover, RapidVisa is affordable considering that the government fees are around $1,200 per application.
They have over a 90% visa success rate. Furthermore, they have hundreds of testimonials. Even more, approvals are guaranteed or your money back.
RapidVisa can also prepare the following applications beside the IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa petition:
- K-1 Fiance Visa
- IR-5 Parent Visa
- Adjustment of Status
- Removal of Conditions
- U.S. Naturalization
Reasons for Choosing Rapid Visa
You may be thinking, “I can save $450 or more by self preparing.” There are so many reasons why you should not self prepare and choose RapidVisa. We believe that their low fee is a “Big Bang for the Buck” because:
- They do quality control checks on every application to make sure that the application is complete with over a 90% success rate.
- They have software that asks you easy questions instead of filling in forms. The software works almost like tax return software asking you simple questions and then the software fills in the government forms.
- The data entry is done on-line. As a result, the US citizen and the alien beneficiary can each login from their respective locations to fill out their sections.
- They have the fastest turn around. For example, after you enter information in the software, they can turn your application around in 4 hours or less.
- They have great customer service. When you call, no machine answers the phone. You talk to a real person that can assist you 7 days a week. They have an on-line chat feature on their website for customer service.
- They have offices in the U.S. and other countries. Their offices in other countries are strategically near the U.S. embassy for that country.
- Lowest Price: They claim that they are hundreds less than their competition and will beat any advertised price.
Our Experience with Rapid Visa
We used RapidVisa’s services for our CR-1 Spousal Visa application petition. In fact, our petition was approved with visa in hand in hand and we entered the U.S. within 7 months from the date of application submittal. In addition, we had no RFEs during any of the phases. If you do chose to create an account with RapidVisa, please use the links above.
We did not need a Visa/Immigration Attorney and did not use one because of the high costs. Therefore, we do not have any contacts for a Visa/Immigration Attorney. A Visa/Immigration Attorney may be recommended if you have previous legal issues or foresee legal issues in your petition. If you need an immigration attorney, we recommend that you use Legal Match to find an immigration attorney that is right for you. Click the link below to search Legal Match for a free search to find for an immigration attorney that suites you.
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Limitations/Restrictions of an IR-1/CR-1 Visa
There are not many restrictions of a IR-1/CR-1 Visa compared to the K-1.
USCIS Phase (IR-1/CR-1)