Port of Entry Phase for IR-1/CR-1 (Spousal) Visa

Immigration and Customs Inspector with a passport


SummaryA thumbs up filled in with American flag signifying visa approval and ready to go to the United States

If you are reading this, congratulations, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate has approved your IR-1 or Cr-1 Visa, you may have it in hand and you are ready to immigrate to the United.

Remember: You must enter the United States within six months of receiving your spousal visa.

You have one more step before you are officially a permanent resident of the United States. You now need to enter the United States and go through Immigration and Customs at the Port of Entry.

The port of entry is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility where you first fly, drive or sail into the United States.

The port of Entry phase for an IR-1/CR-1 (Spousal) Visa consists of the following steps:

  1. Travel to and enter the United States
  2. Stand in line for immigration interview
  3. CBP immigration officer interview
  4. Get your luggage (baggage claim)
  5. Customs Check
  6. Exit

If you have not yet paid your USCIS Immigrant Fee, make sure that you pay it after you get your visa, but before you travel to the US.  Click here to go back to the IR-1/CR-1 Embassy Phase Page to see how to pay the USCIS Immigrant Visa Fee.

Travel to and Enter The United StatesAir plane landing in the United States

Back your bags, get your tickets,and fly to the United States. Don’t forget your passport with Visa and your unopened visa envelope.

Don’t risk being denied entry to the United States based on bringing something prohibited or restricted. Click here to see what is prohibited or restricted to bring to the United States.

On your way, you may be given a Form 6059B Customs declaration form to fill out for each family for anything that you need to declare. Fill out this form before you arrive. When you enter the United States, you will be directed to the line for the immigration interview.


Stand in Line for Immigration Interview

At most facilities, you will be directed to a line for U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents or a line for non-U.S. Citizens.

If you are entering with your U.S. Citizen spouse, it is OK for you (and IR-2/CR-2s) to accompany your spouse the the U.S. Citizen line. If you are alone, you should go through the non-U.S. Citizen line.

In the future after you get your green card, you are a U.S. permanent resident and can go through the U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents line.

CBP Immigration Officer InterviewWoman handing passport documents to an immigrations officer during interview at airport

If your U.S. citizen spouse is with you, he/she needs to go through the immigration inspection before you and get his/her passport stamped.

The CBP immigration officer has the final say on whether or not you are allowed into the United States.

The immigration officer will check your passport and visa. The officer will open and examine the contents of your visa envelope. The officer will enter data into a computer.

Remember: DO NOT open the visa envelope before you reach this step.

The officer will ask you some questions.  Make sure that you answer these question truthfully and honestly.

The officer will take your (and any IR-2/CR-2s) picture and fingerprints.

The officer may search your person or belongings.

If all goes well, the officer will stamp your spousal visa in your passport. You are now a permanent resident of the United States. Congratulations!!!! The stamped visa served as your temporary green card until your real green card arrives.
Get Your Luggage (Baggage Claim)baggage claim carousel
After you exit the immigration interview area, you will be directed to the baggage claim area to retrieve your luggage.

After you get your luggage, you will be directed to another line for customs inspection.
Customs Inspection

At the customs inspection, there will be another CBP officer. You will hand the officer your Form 6059B Customs declaration form.

Note: You are not allowed to carry certain items like fruits, vegetables, plants, or dangerous items.

The officer may ask you if you have anything to declare.  The officer may ask you questions related to what you have brought to the United States.  The officer may search you or your belongings.
ExitBronze plaque of the Statue of Liberty welcoming people from all over the world
After customs inspection, you can exit the CBP area and into the United States. Congratulations!!!!!!

You are now free to travel to your new home.





Go to the next step:

Now That you are in the USA (IR-1/CR-1)