Now that You are in the USA IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa Summary
Now that you are in the USA IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa holders, what do you do next?
First of all, welcome to the USA IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa holders.!!!! When you entered the U.S. through the Port of Entry and got your immigrant visa (IR-1 or CR-1) stamped, you officially became a U.S. Conditional Permanent Resident (CR-1) or a Permanent Resident (IR-1). Congratulations!!!!
As a Conditional Permanent Resident (CR-1) or a Permanent Resident (IR-1), there are still some things that you still need to do, or may want to do, in the short term and long term including:
- Obtain a Social Security Card
- Get your Green Card
- Apply to Remove Conditions and Renew your Green Card
- Naturalize and become a U.S. Citizen
Obtain a Social Security Card
As a conditional or permanent resident, you are eligible to obtain a Social Security Card with your Social Security Number (SSN). The SSN helps you to work in the United States, obtain insurance, conduct business with a bank or financial institution, pay your taxes or to be listed as a dependent on a tax return, and for other purposes.
You do not have to wait for your Green Card to obtain your SSN. In fact, it is best to get your SSN, and for any children under an IR-1/CR-1 visa, as soon as possible.
Did Request a SSN When You Applied for Your Visa (Not Recommended)
If you requested a social security card when completing your visa application through NVC, U.S. Department of State (DOS), Form DS 230, “Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration” or the electronic Form DS 260, “Immigrant Visa Electronic Application”, the DOS and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will share with the Social Security Administration (SSA) the information needed to issue you a social security card. Therefore, you do not need to fill out an application or go to a Social Security office to get a social security card.
The SSA will assign you a SSN and Social Security card after you arrive in the United States. They will mail your Social Security card to the U.S. mailing address where the Department of Homeland Security will send your Green Card. If you change your address after moving to the U.S., call the SSA to update your address.
Important Note: The reason why we don’t recommend that you use this method in obtaining a social security card is that it can take up to 5-8 weeks to get your card, if you get it at all through this method. Many people in the past complain about this method. If you don’t get your Social Security Card in 5 weeks, call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213.
Did Not Request a SSN When You Applied for Your Visa (Recommended)
Go to your local Social Security office to apply for a SSN and card if you did not request a social security card as part of your visa application through NVC, Click here to find your nearest SSA office.
When you visit the local SSA office to apply for a Social Security card and SSN, bring the following required documents with you:
- Your and your children’s, if applicable, passport(s) with the Immigrant Visa stamp or Green Card if you have it already.
- your birth certificate and a birth certificate for each member of your family applying for a Social Security number.
A Social Security representative assists you in completing the application (Form SS-5). As a result, you receive your social security card within about 2 weeks after applying. However, if you did not receive your card in 3 weeks, call your local SSA office.
Get Your Green Card
If you have not yet paid your USCIS Immigrant Fee, make sure that you pay it as soon as possible. For this purpose go back to the bottom of our IR-1/CR-1 Embassy Phase Page to see how to pay the USCIS Immigrant Visa Fee on-line.
The green card for a spousal visa is issued automatically (3-6 weeks) after arriving in the U.S. It is sent to the address in the U.S. shown on your USCIS application. If your address changes after you arrive, contact USCIS to update them on your change of address.
Your Green Card provides proof that you are authorized to work legally in the United States.
Note: You can legally work in the U.S. as soon as you enter the POE and have your immigrant Visa stamped. The stamped immigrant visa allows you to legally work in the U.S. and serves as evidence until your green card arrives.
In addition, the Green Card is used to exit and re-enter the U.S. without the need to apply for further visas. By the same token, the Green Card is an official government issued ID.
If you do not get your Green Card within 5 weeks after you arrive in the United States, contact USCIS (1-800-375-5283) to check on the status.
In the meantime, track the status of your Green Card through the USCIS Case Status On-line. Use your new Case ID number for your green card that you obtained when you paid your Immigrant Visa Fee. For instance, the case number starts with the letters IOE. Also see our blog post, “Track Green Card Status for Fiance Visa and Spouse Visa“.
Removal of Conditions
Removal of Conditions Summary (Note: Only for CR-1 Visa Holders. IR-1 Visa holders do not need to do this.)
If you are a CR-1 Visa holder and have been married for less than two years when your foreign citizen spouse enters the United States on an immigrant visa, his or her permanent resident status is considered “conditional.”
You and your spouse must apply together to USCIS to remove the conditional status within the ninety days before the two-year anniversary of your spouse’s entry into the United States on his or her immigrant visa. Specifically, the two-year anniversary date of entry is the date of expiration on the alien registration card (green card). For example, if you do not file the petition to remove the conditions before your card expires, you may lose your permanent resident status.
The process to remove conditions is pretty simple to do on your own. If you need help, we recommend using a visa/immigration consultant like Rapid Visa.
To remove conditions, you and your spouse need to complete the following USCIS form:
Click here for instructions on completing Form I-751 and the petition to remove conditions.
There are two fees for the Petition to Remove Conditions including (as of December 2016):
- USCIS Filing Fee: $595 base fee
- USCIS Biometrics Fee: $85 for each applicant including children
For this purpose, include a check or a money order payable to USCIS in the application package.
The following supporting documentation, if applicable, are attachments to the application form:
- A copy of your, and children, if applicable, current green card including both front and back.
- Proof of a good faith marriage (see below).
- If you’re requesting a waiver of the joint filing requirement, provide documents supporting your request. This means that if you are no longer married or with your spouse. If this is the case, you may want to hire an immigration attorney to assist you.
- Have you undergone a legal name change? If so, submit a copy of the court order indicating the change.
- Do you have a criminal record or drug history? If so, include documents explaining. If this is the case, you may want to hire an immigration attorney to assist you as this may be a reason for being denied a green card.
Specifically, LoveVisaLife does not provide any legal advice. In fact, do not construe this site as an opinion for legal advice. Likewise, we are not a law firm nor lawyers. Hence, we only provide user advice based on our experiences. If you feel that you need expert legal advice, we recommend that you use find an immigration attorney.
Note: If any of your documents are in a foreign language, you must include an English translation of them.
Evidence of proof of a good faith marriage include:
- Copies of the birth certificates of any children born into your marriage.
- Documents showing joint ownership of assets or properties, such as a vehicle, home, insurance policies, tax returns, checking, savings, and investment accounts, and tax returns.
- Documents showing joint debts and liabilities, such as home loan, credit card, car loan, and utility bills.
- Apartment leases or home mortgages from places you have rented or owned as a couple.
- Affidavits from two people who know both you and your spouse personally and can affirm that your marriage is the real thing.
If you don’t have many of these, add whatever types of documents you think best supports your case.
Your petition is sent to the California or the Vermont Service Center. In fact, where you live is the deciding factor on your specific service center. Click here to specifically find which service center is the one for you.
California Service Center address:
USCIS California Service Center
P.O. Box 10751
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-1075
Vermont Service Center address:
USCIS Vermont Service Center
P.O. Box 200
St. Albans, VT 05479-0001
After USCIS receives your Petition, they mail you a receipt notice which will also states that “Your alien card is extended one year – employment and travel authorized”.
Following, your local USCIS office sends a letter with an appointment bio-metrics (photo and fingerprints). In addition, an interview request is possible. Track the status of your Green Card through the USCIS Case Status On-line. For this purpose, use the case number that comes with the letter.
Following, USCIS mails your new green card. In fact, the new green card is valid for 10 years. Subsequently, renewal of your green card is every 10 years, unless you become a U.S. citizen in between time.
Renewal of Green Card
As a matter of fact, renew your green card if you are a permanent resident with a green card valid for 10 years and the card is either expired or will expire within the next 6 months. Specifically, your Green card renewal is done by filing:
- Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card
Become a U.S. Citizen through Naturalization
Apply for US citizenship after 3 years with a valid Green Card. LoveVisaLife will be adding a page on Naturalization soon.