An IR1 visa provides a pathway to citizenship for the spouse of a U.S. citizen. This may be necessary if you and your spouse married in another country but intend to live in the United States on a permanent basis.
Many foreign nationals that are interested and eligible for an IR1 visa have questions in regard to the processing time. On average, the IR1 visa processing time takes between six and twelve months, although there are many factors that can affect how long it takes.
This review discusses the IR1 visa process, how long you can expect it to take and how to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
What Is An IR1 Visa?
The IR1 Visa (immediate relative visa) is issued to foreign nationals that are married to a U.S. citizen. It is particularly for foreign spouses that have been married for two or more years (see below). The IR1 visa is valid for ten years and provides permanent resident status and a pathway to a green card.
IR1 Visa vs. CR1 Visa
A CR1 visa is the second type of marriage-related visa provided to foreign spouses of a U.S. citizen. The primary difference between the two as it relates to the application process is that the CR1 visa is for foreign nationals that have been married to a U.S. citizen for less than two years, whereas the IR1 visa is for foreign spouses that have been married for more than two years. The duration of the IR1 visa is significantly longer than the CR1 visa, which remains valid for only two years.
What Are The Requirements For An IR1 Visa?
There are certain requirements that applicants must meet to obtain an IR1 visa. These requirements include:
- The applicant must be legally married.
- The spouse must be a U.S. citizen.
- The couple must be married for over two years.
The proper documentation to prove that the couple has been married for more than two years and that the spouse of the applicant is a U.S. citizen must be provided along with the application.
For example, the applicant (and their spouse) may need to provide a government-issued marriage certificate, photographs (or documentation) of the wedding and proof that the marriage is legitimate and not an effort of the applicant to obtain a green card.
What Is The IR1 Visa Process?
The process may look slightly different for every applicant. However, there are certain steps that are to be expected throughout the IR1 visa process. The primary steps that applicants should prepare for include:
- File a Petition With The Department of Homeland Security
- Apply for The IR1 Visa With The U.S. Embassy
- File Form DS-260 (Electronic Application)
- Complete Your Medical Exam and Vaccination(s)
- Collect All Necessary Documents
- Prepare For The Interview With The USCIS
- Travel to The United States After Receiving The IR1 Visa
There are fees associated with various steps of the IR1 visa process. The applicant is responsible for a $535 petition fee to begin the application process. There is also a $325 charge for the processing of the visa application and additional fees related to the processing of the application.
How Long Is The IR1 Visa Processing Time?
The IR1 visa processing time is between six and twelve months. The exact time depends on a range of factors, such as the number of applicants ahead of you in the process. Once the application (I-130 petition) is approved, then your case is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC).
The NVC typically takes approximately 30 days to review the case. They can then issue a case number and fee bill. Soon after, the visa holder can travel to the United States to live with their spouse.
Keep in mind, this is a general overview of the IR1 visa processing time. The IR1 visa processing time varies from applicant to applicant.
If the application lacks adequate documentation and is denied initially, then it can prolong the process. Subsequently, it is encouraged to work with an immigration lawyer to ensure all necessary materials are included with the first application.
Obtaining A Green Card After The IR1 Visa Process
The applicant can start the green card process after receiving their IR1 visa by filing a petition with the USCIS. Specifically, they should file Form I-485, Application to Register or Adjust Status. The application can take several months to process. Once approved, the IR1 visa holder can receive their green card.
Consult With The Immigration Lawyers At Pride Immigration
If you still have questions about the IR1 visa or desire assistance throughout the application process, then contact our immigration law team at Pride Immigration. We pride ourselves in helping our clients through the visa and green card processes.
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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