An IR1 visa is an immigration visa that is issued to the spouse of a U.S. citizen. This allows the couple to be together in the United States if they choose not to live in another country.
While a great opportunity for those who qualify, the IR1 visa process can be tricky. It is best to work with an immigration lawyer to ensure the process goes smoothly.
This review offers a general overview of what the IR1 visa is, what the requirements are for the IR1 visa and how the IR1 visa process works.
How Does An IR1 Visa Work?
An IR1 (immediate relative) visa is issued to the spouse of a U.S. citizen who is currently living outside the United States. This pathway allows the spouse to live with their spouse who is a U.S. citizen.
The visa lasts for 10 years. During this time, the spouse can seek a green card to remain in the United States past the expiration of the IR1 visa.
IR1 visa holders can also work and attend school in the United States during the duration of the visa. They are also allowed to travel freely in and out of the country as well.
What Are The Requirements For An IR1 Visa?
There are certain requirements that applicants must meet before they are issued an IR1 visa. The applicant must be married to their spouse for no less than two years.
They must also be able to provide supporting evidence that the marriage is legitimate and the couple are not together for the purpose of obtaining a visa or green card. Other important requirements include:
- Married in accordance with the law (legally married)
- The spouse of the applicant must be a U.S. citizen
- All requested documents are provided to the USCIS
Marriage documents proving that the marriage is legal will be required. The spouse may also need to provide proof that they are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
You can read more about the application process and the necessary documents below. Proper planning and the help of an immigration lawyer can help ensure you do not miss any crucial steps in the process and put yourself in the right position to be approved for the IR1 visa.
How Does The IR1 Visa Process Work?
Of course, the first step in the IR1 visa process is to get married. You must also be married for two years or more before you can apply for the IR1 visa. The CR1 visa does not require you to be married for more than two years (see below).
To apply for the IR1 visa, you should submit the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Once you receive a Notice of Action after several weeks, then it takes approximately six to eight months to process. In some cases, it can take closer to a year for the USCIS to process and approve your application.
After approval, the National Visa Center will review your application and issue you a case number and a fee bill. This typically takes around a month.
From this point, the applicant (the foreign spouse known as the “beneficiary”), completes Form DS-260 and submits an affidavit of support signed by the spouse that is a U.S. citizen. This form is available for online submission.
The U.S. consulate then schedules a green card interview with the foreign spouse. In addition to the interview, the applicant must also complete a medical exam.
After approval of the interview and medical exam, the applicant is issued their green card and is free to enter the U.S. and live with their spouse.
What Are The Differences Between The IR1 And CR1 Visas?
An IR1 visa and CR1 visa are both for the spouse of a U.S. citizen. However, there are some notable differences between the two.
The primary difference between the IR1 and CR1 visas is the length. The CR1 visa (which stands for “conditional residency”) lasts for two years. The IR1 visa lasts for ten years.
In simplest terms, the CR1 visa is issued to non-immigrants that are married to a U.S. citizen for less than two years. The IR1 visa is issued to non-immigrants that are married to a U.S. citizen for more than two years.
This is to ensure that non-immigrants do not marry partly for the purpose of obtaining an IR1 visa and subsequent permanent resident status in the United States.
Speak With an Immigration Attorney About The IR1 Visa Process
Contact our immigration law team today to learn more about the IR1 visa. We can help you determine if you or your spouse are eligible for the IR1 visa, CR1 visa or other visa options. Here at Prime Immigration, we enjoy helping our clients through the often challenging visa process.