Providing an Option for Newly Married Couples
Getting married is a major milestone, but for international couples, it can be difficult, as immigration laws can make things a bit more complicated. Just getting legally married doesn’t automatically give a foreign spouse the right to enter the United States, let alone live there permanently and establish a life. The CR1 visa is one of the marriage visas offered and is specifically for couples who have been married for less than 2 years. Find out more about this visa option, what is required, and how an immigration attorney can help you.
The immigration process is complex, but it’s important to follow all of the rules and procedures exactly if you want to be successful. One way to increase the chances that your visa will be accepted is to work with a qualified immigration attorney like the team at Badmus & Associates. Call our office to get more details on the CR1 visa and assistance with your application.
What Is a CR1 Visa?
A CR1 visa is a marriage-based immigration visa. It is for foreign spouses of U.S. citizens who have not been married long enough to qualify for the IR1 visa. The CR in the visa name stands for Conditional Resident, which indicates that those with the visa have not yet achieved permanent resident status. After you have successfully held a CR1 visa for at least 2 years, you will be able to apply for permanent resident status as long as you are still married and meet the eligibility requirements.
Who Is Eligible for a CR1 Visa?
To be eligible for a CR1 visa, you must be in a legitimate marriage that is not just for immigration purposes with a U.S. citizen. This is referred to as a bona fide marriage. Your spouse must also be at least 18 years old. If you were married in another country, you will need to provide documentation that you fulfilled the requirements to be married in that country. You must also generally be eligible for admission to the United States. This usually means that you don’t have any criminal convictions that could keep you from being allowed into the country and that you are in good physical health.
There are also some requirements for the sponsor. In addition to being at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen, they need to have an income of at least 125% of the U.S. federal poverty level and be willing to provide financial support for the foreign spouse. The sponsor is also required to have a legal permanent address in the United States where they are planning to eventually live with their spouse.
What Is the Process for Applying for a CR1 Visa?
The first step in applying for a CR1 visa is to file Form I-130 — also known as the Petition for Alien Relative form. You will need to complete basic information for both parties that establishes the identity of both people and the legitimacy of the marriage. This will include providing documentation such as a marriage certificate and proof of the relationship.
What counts as proof can vary by situation, but in general, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office wants to see documented evidence that the two parties are living life as a married couple. This commonly includes living together, combining finances, having children, or spending vacations and holidays together.
Once you have provided all of the documentation, you will submit the petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field office if the foreign spouse is in the United States or the consulate in their country if they are not. There will be a biometrics appointment and an interview to determine if the marriage is legitimate. The interviewer will ask you questions about your spouse and the marriage in an effort to determine if the relationship is real. Assuming all goes well, you will receive your notice of approval and your visa.
What’s the Average Processing Time for a CR1 Visa?
The average processing time for a CR1 visa can range from a few months to well over a year. It’s not unusual for the immigration office to get a backlog of visa applications. If they get behind on processing those applications, it can stretch your wait time out by several months. In some cases, there is also a lengthy wait time to be able to schedule your interview. You should be able to check the status of your visa application online once it has been entered into the system.
How Long Is a CR1 Visa Good For?
A CR1 visa is good for 2 years. This is the conditional period that is imposed on marriage visas for couples who have been married for less than 2 years. Once that waiting period has passed, you will be a permanent resident. This status then has to be renewed every 10 years, unless and until the person applies to go through the process to become a naturalized citizen. Keep in mind that if you get divorced during the 2-year conditional period, you will lose your status and potentially face removal proceedings.
Getting a CR1 visa can be a first step for those who want to come to the United States to be with their spouses, but it’s just the beginning of the journey. Get help achieving your immigration goals, whether that’s permanent resident status or naturalized citizenship, when you work with the team at Badmus & Associates. Get started by calling our Dallas office at 214-393-4917. We can talk with you about your goals and needs and set up an appointment to discuss your next steps.