IR1 visas are a type of immigrant visa issued to foreign spouses of U.S. citizens. Many couples choose to apply for an IR1 visa rather than live in a foreign country. However, this requires the foreign spouse to meet certain qualifications to obtain a green card. Aliens who meet the criteria and wish to enter the U.S. to live with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse have the right to submit an IR1 visa application.
With a green card, the foreign spouse will have the opportunity to go to school and work in the United States. The foreign spouse is also allowed to travel in and out of the U.S. for specific periods of time, obtain a driver’s license, and acquire other important U.S. documents.
There are a number of requirements for acquiring permanent residency status in the U.S. with an IR1 visa. These requirements include the following for the U.S. spouse and the foreign spouse:
- Be legally married. Fraudulent marriages for the purpose of obtaining a green card are not permitted. In addition, the couple must be legally married in accordance with law and cannot merely live together.
- The U.S. spouse must be a U.S. citizen. The U.S. citizen spouse can petition for an IR1 visa for their foreign spouse. Further, the U.S. citizen spouse must have a valid U.S. address and have the ability to provide financial support to his or her foreign spouse once in the United States.
- Submit the proper documents. You will also need to provide certain documentation that demonstrates your relationship to your foreign spouse. In addition, you will need a valid passport for your foreign spouse,, a signed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support by the U.S. spouse, Form DS-260, documentation of medical health and vaccinations, two photographs based on U.S. visa photo requirements, criminal and court records, and any military records, if applicable.
IR1 Visa vs. CR1 Visa
Both IR1 and CR1 visas are immigrant visas issued to foreign spouses of U.S. citizens. However, there are some distinct differences between the two. In an IR1 visa, the IR stands for “Immediate Relative.” This type of visa allows the holder to receive permanent residency in the U.S. for a period of ten years. In a CR1 visa, the CR stands for “Conditional Residency.” This type of visa allows the holder to receive conditional permanent residency in the U.S. for a period of two years.
The IR1 Visa Process
The IR1 visa process begins with the submission of Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to the USCIS. Once received, it will take about a couple of weeks get a Notice of Action back in the mail. At this point in the process, it is a waiting game. It will usually take between 6-12 months to have your I-130 petition approved. Once this happens, your case is sent to the National Visa Center. This can take an additional 30 days. The NVC will issue a case number and issue a fee bill.
The foreign spouse, who is known as the beneficiary, will then need to complete Form DS-260, which is the immigrant visa application, as well as and submit an affidavit of support, which is signed by the U.S. citizen spouse. DS-260 will also need to be completed by the beneficiary but this form can be conveniently completed online. Next, the NVC will transfer the case to the U.S. consulate. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. consulate will schedule an interview that the foreign spouse must attend. The beneficiary will also need to schedule a medical exam and complete the interview process. If the interview goes well and the visa is approved, the foreign spouse will then be able to legally enter the U.S. at any port of entry.
Where to Learn More
If you live in your home country but have a spouse that is a U.S. citizen living in the United States, you may be wondering how you can acquire a green card and the best way to do it. A IR1 visa can be an effective way to legally obtain an immigrant visa and gain opportunities that are only available to permanent residents. The process is relatively quick compared to other types of visas but problems can occur. That is why many couples depend on the guidance of an immigration attorney. For more information about IR1 visas or for assistance with the application process, contact the immigration attorneys at Johnson & Masumi PC.