An IR1 visa is a great way for you and your spouse to live together in the United States legally on a permanent basis, assuming either you or your spouse is currently a U.S. citizen. The following is a detailed review of what the requirements are for an IR1 visa with insights into what you can expect throughout the IR1 visa application process.
What is an IR1 Visa?
An IR1 (Immediate Relative) Visa grants permanent resident status to the spouse of a U.S. citizen. To be eligible for an IR1 visa, you or your spouse must be a U.S. citizen, and you must already be married legally. This visa is designed for couples that have been married for at least two years.
IR1 Visa vs. CR1 Visa
A conditional residency (CR1) visa is very similar to an IR1 visa in the sense that they both require the couple to already be legally married, but there are notable differences. One of the primary differences between the two is duration. An IR1 visa is valid for 10 years, whereas a CR1 visa is only valid for 2 years. An IR1 visa also requires the married couple to have been married for at least two years, whereas a CR1 visa is for married couples that have been married for less than two years.
What Are The Requirements for an IR1 Visa?
The two primary requirements that you and your spouse must meet to be eligible for an IR1 visa are that you must be legally married and one of you is a U.S. citizen. It is also crucial to provide the proper documentation as it is requested by the consular’s office, which is why it is strongly advised to work with an immigration attorney that understands every detail of the IR1 visa application process.
Must Be Legally Married
The U.S. citizen and their spouse (the foreign national) must be legally married; simply living together with plans of getting married is not enough for the IR1 visa. You must also have been married to your spouse for two years before applying for an IR1 visa.
Married to a U.S. Citizen
At least one of the spouses should be a U.S. citizen. They do not have to currently reside in the United States, and they can be living abroad with their foreign spouse. The U.S. citizen will serve as the sponsor for the foreign national while the couple goes through the green card process.
Provide The Necessary Documents
The USCIS and other government agencies involved with the IR1 visa process may request certain documentation along the way. This may include documents that prove the legitimacy of the marriage and relationship, such as a marriage certificate. Ideally, it is best to obtain as many relevant documents as possible and organize them before applying for an IR1 visa.
The Application Process for an IR1 Visa
The application process for an IR1 visa involves filing a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) and Form DS-260, providing all requested documents, and attending an interview with the USCIS. The process is, on average, faster than similar visa types such as a K1 visa or a CR1 visa.
File a Petition With The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
The first step in the application process for an IR1 visa is to file a petition with the DHS. This should be submitted by the U.S.-based spouse rather than the one that is living abroad. A medical exam and vaccination may be required as well. In this case, the U.S. citizen serves as a sponsor for the foreign spouse. You can do this by submitting Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
You will need to submit Form DS-260 along with your petition. This is known as the Immigration Visa Electronic Application and is required for all foreign-based green cards (rather than temporary visas).
As mentioned, the USCIS may request documents either along with your application or in response to your application so that they can verify that you and your spouse qualify for an IR1 visa.
Interview With The USCIS
The last step before being granted an IR1 visa and allowed entry into the United States is the interview with the USCIS. This is simply a way for them to verify the legitimacy of the marriage one last time.
Get in Touch With Pride Immigration About The IR1 Visa Requirements
Pride Immigration can help you and your spouse (or future spouse) through the visa process, and we can help you determine if a CR1 visa or an IR1 visa is right for you. To learn more and to schedule a consultation with a licensed immigration lawyer, call us today at (571) 520-6116 or send us a message to schedule an appointment time.