Both an IR1 visa and a CR1 visa provide a way for a foreign national who is married to a U.S. citizen to gain permanent resident status here in the United States. However, there are notable differences between the two visa options, and it is imperative to know which one you should apply for to avoid being denied.

What Is An IR1 Visa?

An immediate relative visa (IR1 visa) is issued to the spouse of a U.S. citizen. It provides the foreign national permanent resident status for 10 years (it is renewable after the 10 years expires).

Who Is Eligible For An IR1 Visa?

Foreign nationals that have been married to a U.S. citizen for more than two years are eligible for an IR1 visa. All applicants must also be legally married, and their spouse must be a U.S. citizen.

What Is The IR1 Visa Processing Time?

officer stamping passportThe IR1 visa processing time is anywhere from six months to fifteen months. Due to the length of time that it takes for the USCIS to process your application, it is imperative to get the application process right the first time to avoid any devastating setbacks in the visa process. The best way to help ensure no mistakes are made that lead to a setback is to work with an immigration attorney.

How Long Does An IR1 Visa Last?

As mentioned, an IR1 visa lasts for 10 years. This is because the couple has already been together as a married couple for more than two years, which is viewed as a lower risk of fraud. While the visa expires after 10 years, they can simply apply to have the visa renewed once it is set to expire.

What Is A CR1 Visa?

A conditional residency visa (CR1 visa), much like an IR1 visa, gives the foreign national permanent resident status inside of the United States. However, a CR1 visa is only valid for a two-year period.

Who Is Eligible For A CR1 Visa?

The CR1 visa program is for foreign nationals that have been married to a U.S. citizen for less than two years. They can apply for a CR1 visa at any time during the first two years of their marriage, and they can apply for an IR1 visa once their CR1 visa is set to expire within a two-year timeframe. Applicants must also have proof the marriage is legal, and the spouse must be a citizen of the United States.

What Is The CR1 Visa Processing Time?

The CR1 processing time is similar to that of the IR1 processing time, which is between six and fifteen months (the average is between nine and twelve months). The pandemic may affect processing times as well, so it is important to ensure your application is properly submitted in a timely fashion.

How Long Does A CR1 Visa Last?

A CR1 visa only lasts for two years. This is because the couple has not been married long, so there is generally a higher risk of fraud in order to obtain permanent resident status. However, the foreign national can simply apply for an IR1 visa, which lasts 10 years, once they have been married for two years or more.

What Is The IR1 And CR1 Visa Process?

passport with flight logsThe first step for submitting an IR1 or CR1 visa application is to fill out the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and submit it with the USCIS; the U.S. citizen (who serves as a sponsor in this case) should be the one to fill out the form and submit it. It can take six months to a year for the application to be processed.

Form DS-260 will then need to be submitted by the beneficiary (the foreign spouse). A green card interview is typically scheduled at this point with the beneficiary at an embassy that is closest to them. Once the interview process is complete, they are issued their visa and allowed to enter the United States.

Is An IR1 Visa Or A CR1 Visa Right For Me?

As discussed, an IR1 visa is for foreign nationals that have been married to a U.S. citizen for two years or more; a CR1 visa is more appropriate if you have been married to a U.S. citizen for less than two years. For those who have not yet married their spouse who is a U.S. citizen, a K1 (fiancé) visa may be a preferable route.

Contact Pride Immigration For Assistance With The Visa Process

Here at Pride Immigration, we can help you and your spouse through the visa process, helping you decide between an IR1 and CR1 visa, assisting you with the submission of necessary documentation, and more. Call us or send us a message today to get started.

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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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