A Comprehensive Guide on obtaining a CR1 and IR1 Spouse Visa

Guide on obtaining a CR1 and IR1 Spouse Visa

Getting an Immigrant Visa for the U.S.A. is the dream of millions of individuals across the globe. The U.S. Government issues more than thousands of Immigrant Visas every year, including Immediate Relative Visas, allowing your loved ones to stay with you in the U.S.

If you are married to a U.S. Citizen or a Green Card Holder and looking to obtain a Marriage-Based Green Card while living abroad, then you need to apply for a CR-1 Visa or IR-1 Visa through Local Embassy or Consulate via Consular Processing.

Both Visas allow the married spouse to live & work legally in the U.S. In this blog, we will walk you through two Visas - CR1 & IR1 eligibility criteria, the application process, and the required procedure.

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What are CR1 and IR1 Spouse Visas?

Though CR-1 & IR-1 Visas provide similar rights & privileges to eligible spouses, both have different timelines.

CR-1 (Conditional Resident) Visas are issued to those applicants who have been married for less than two years and arrived in the U.S. with their Green Card. CR1 Visas are issued on a conditional basis.

Two years after the applicant's (spouse) arrival in the U.S., the spouse and their U.S. Citizen spouse must apply for removal of conditions from the applicant's Green Card. After that, they will receive an updated 10-year Permanent Resident Green Card.

On the other hand, IR-1 (Immediate Relative) Visas are issued to those applicants who have been married for more than two years after their Green Card is approved.

In this scenario, the IR-1 Visa Holder is not required to remove conditions as there are none. And they will have 10 years before they will be required to renew their Permanent Resident Green Card.

Requirements for obtaining CR1 & IR1 Visas

A CR1/IR1 Visa allows the foreign spouse of a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) to come and live in the U.S.

To obtain a CR1/IR1 Visa, you are required to apply for the Visa via Consular Processing. The following are the Visa Types that need Consular Processing:

  • CR1/IR1 Spouse & the accompanying CR2/IR2 child when the U.S. Citizen is the sponsor
  • F2A Category (F21 Spouse and F22 Child) when the Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) is the sponsor

Requirements for CR1 & IR1 Visa:

  • Sponsor must be a U.S. or Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder)
  • The couple must be lawfully married and must provide their official Marriage Certificate
  • Legitimacy of the marriage must be proven with evidence, such as photographs with each other, flight itineraries of visiting each other, or any other documents to show that the marriage was entered in good faith.
  • Sponsor must pledge to support their spouse financially & need to file an Affidavit of Support. Sponsor must have the means to support at 125% of the Federal Poverty Level. If the sponsor fails to meet the necessary income requirements, they may use a Joint Sponsor to meet the income requirements.
  • Sponsor must prove their domicile (legal resident of the U.S.) or that they plan to return to the U.S. with their Foreign Spouse.

Process for applying for CR1 & IR1 Visa

The process for applying for a CR1 & IR1 Visa is as follows:

Step 1: Ensure you are "actually" eligible to receive a Green Card. Principally, you must show that your marriage is authentic and that your foreign spouse is minimum 18 years old and domiciled in the U.S.

Step 2: The sponsoring U.S. Citizen spouse must file Form I-130.

Step 3: After filing Form I-130, you must wait until USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) approves it before you move to the next step.

Step 4: Once Form I-130 is approved, check the Visa Bulletin for Green Card availability. If you are married to a U.S. Citizen, you can skip this step, or you need to wait in the Visa Bulletin line.

Note: Post approval of Form I-130, the usual timeline for obtaining a CR1/IR1 Visa is four to six months approximately.

Step 5: Your petition will be processed by the U.S. Department of State National Visa Center (NVC). Here, your case will be entered for pre-processing.

Step 6: The NVC will notify you regarding the necessary fees and paperwork to be submitted. Here, you will be instructed by NVC to file Form DS-260, commonly known as Application for Immigrant Visa & Alien Registration, which is your actual Green Card Application. You must answer questions about yourself, your education, and your work history.

Step 7: After receiving your paperwork from the National Visa Center, your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate will send you a letter regarding the interview time & location.

Step 8: You must undergo Medical Examination with your Local U.S. Embassy or Consulate-approved physician before attending the interview. You can check for a list of approved physicians on your Local U.S. Embassy website.

Step 9: You must keep all the relevant documents and your passport ready for the interview. You can contact your local U.S. Embassy for the list of documents required for the interview. You will be asked questions about your application.

Step 10: If no further documents or evidence are required post-interview, you can expect a positive response from them. Once your application is approved, you will receive a visa inside your passport and a sealed envelope with your documents.

Note: Please don't unseal this envelope, as only the Immigration Officer at the border must open it.

Step 11: The Visa provided by the Consular or Local Embassy Officer will remain valid for at least 6 months post-interview. Once the Immigration Officer at the border admits you into the U.S. and pays the immigrant fee, you will receive a Green Card in the mail.

You can travel freely in & out of the country. You can expect to receive the Permanent Resident Green Card within 60 to 90 days.

Note: CR1 & IR1 Visas can be obtained via Consular Processing. However, if you live in the U.S., you must go through the AoS (Adjustment of Status) process.


After reading the blog, you will have clarity on what CR1 & IR1 Spouse Visas are, their requirements, and the steps for obtaining them. It is recommended to hire an Immigration Lawyer who will assist you through the entire process of getting the Visa.

Salinas Law Firm is one of the top Immigration Law Firms in Houston, Texas. We have assisted 1000s of individuals to obtain U.S. Immigrant Visa & Green Card. Contact us at 713.518.1711 for a consultation with our Immigration Attorney.

Read our blog on obtaining a K-1 Fiance Visa which may be helpful to you.