A CR1 visa is a great way to enter the United States and live with your spouse who is a United States citizen. However, there are some conditions and limitations associated with the CR1 visa that are important for beneficiaries to understand before applying. This review discusses what a CR1 visa is exactly, what the conditions are with a CR1 visa (and how to remove them), eligibility requirements, and how the CR1 visa process works. We discuss the differences between the CR1 and IR1 visa for foreign spouses as well.

What Is A Conditional Resident (CR1) Visa?

A conditional resident visa is an immigration visa for foreign citizens that are married to a U.S. citizen. Specifically, a CR1 visa is for foreign nationals that have been married to their spouse (who is a U.S. citizen) for less than two years. The CR1 visa allows the foreign national to enter the United States to be with their spouse on a permanent basis. However, a CR1 visa is only valid for two years; they can apply for an IR1 visa after they are married for two years, and an IR1 visa lasts for 10 years.

What Conditions Are Placed On A CR1 Visa?

man holding passport with cr1 visa and airplane dummyAs mentioned, CR1 stands for conditional resident. This means the CR1 visa has special conditions placed upon them that most other visa types do not have. Primarily, a CR1 visa is limited in its duration, and it only lasts for two years (compared to 10 years for an IR1 visa).

Additionally, your visa is conditional based upon the confirmation of the legitimacy of your marriage, and getting divorced, not living with your spouse, etc. could raise red flags that compromise your ability to renew your CR1 visa.

How Do I Remove The Conditions Associated With My CR1 Visa?

You can remove the conditions associated with your CR1 visa by obtaining an IR1 visa or alternative green card that provides you with permanent resident status. As discussed, a CR1 visa is only valid for two years. At the end of the two years, you need to remove the conditions and be granted permanent resident status. To do so, you should file a petition for an IR1 (immediate relative) visa within 90 days prior to the expiration of your CR1 visa. As this process can be ambiguous and complex (as well as important), it is best to work directly with an immigration attorney.

Who Is Eligible For A CR1 Visa?

The CR1 visa program is for foreign nationals (meaning citizens of another country) that are married to a citizen of the United States. Specifically, it is for couples that have been married for less than two years; couples that are married for more than two years can skip the conditional resident visa and apply for the IR1 visa instead. Of course, the marriage must also be a legal marriage. There are income requirements for the petitioner (the U.S. citizen) as well.

How Can I Apply For A CR1 Visa?

You can apply for a CR1 visa by filing a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) with the USCIS. Keep in mind, the U.S. citizen spouse should submit this as a sponsor for the foreign national spouse, who is considered the “beneficiary.” There are certain requirements that must be met, and paperwork should be provided. To ensure all goes smoothly with the petition process, consider working directly with an immigration attorney.

What Happens If My Conditions Are Not Removed?

If your conditions are not removed (meaning you either do not file a petition for an IR1 visa or you are denied an IR1 visa), then you may be “out of status” once your CR1 visa expires. This means you could be placed into deportation proceedings.

CR1 Visa vs. IR1 Visa: What Is The Difference?

man holding bag looking at airplaneIn simplest terms, a CR1 visa is for couples that have been married for less than two years, and an IR1 visa is for couples that have been married for more than two years. A CR1 visa is only valid for two years after it is issued, whereas an IR1 visa only needs renewal every ten years. This is because the goal of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is to ensure the validity of the marriage, and a marriage that is more than two years old is generally seen as more legitimate than one that is less than two years.

Contact Pride Immigration To Schedule A Consultation

If you have questions about the CR1 visa process or eligibility requirements, contact our immigration law team online or over the phone at (571) 520-6116 today. We assist couples through the CR1 (and IR1) visa process, helping to ensure they are prepared every step of the way to avoid any setbacks and reduce the risk of being denied the visa.

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Beeraj Patel, Esq.

Partner at KPPB Law
Beeraj Patel's philosophy is simple - make it easy for talented and ambitious individuals to have access to immigration materials so that they can make the choice which is right for them.
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