Those individuals married to a green card holder or US citizen, who lives abroad, may be looking into a marriage-based green card. To start the ball rolling, you must visit the closest US Consulate or Embassy. There you can apply for a CR1 or IR1 visa. But they have important differences. A full-service immigration agency like Voloshen can review your circumstances and see which is right for you.
Understanding CR1 and IR1 Visas
Both these visas allow a person to work and live in the US but under different stipulations. The main thing that sets the two apart is that the CR1 lasts only 2 years, as it’s conditional. The CR2 is valid for 10 years.
CR1 & CR2 Visa
CR means conditional resident. If an applicant has only been married for two or fewer years, they can apply for the CR1. After the individual remains married, they and their spouse can apply to remove the conditional status. At that point, they receive the IR1 permanent resident card. The CR2 is for an accompanying child.
IR1 & IR2 Visa
IR means immediate relative. The IR1 Visas focus on individuals who have been married for over two years. When approved, they will not have to renew their resident status for ten years. The IR2 is for a child sponsored by a US citizen.
Before You Apply
Save yourself time and frustration. Ensure you’re eligible to get a green card. If so, you’ll need to be able to authenticate the marriage, and your spouse must be over the age of 18. Also, review the specifications your sponsor must meet before they apply for a Petition For Alien Relative. It can take up to a year before that petition moves forward so you can take the next steps.
There is a fair amount of paperwork involved in the application. Once you apply, there is an interview. You must take your passport and an Embassy-approved doctor for a medical exam (they will supply you with a list).
Of course, the sponsor of an individual seeking either of these Visas must meet certain specifications:
- The sponsor needs legal permanent residence or is a US citizen
- The sponsor must profess under oat their ability to support their spouse financially. If the sponsor’s income doesn’t exceed 125% of the federal poverty level, they will need a co-sponsor.
- The sponsor can provide a valid marriage certificate along with photographs and other evidence of authenticity. Voloshen’s team of experienced lawyers will provide you with a list of acceptable proof
- The sponsor must prove they have a US domicile.
While the prices may change, the cost for a CR! And IR1 is $535 for filing and $325 for processing. The applicant must also manage any fees for obtaining a birth certificate, medical exam, and travel expenses.
How Long Does it Take to Obtain CR1 and IR1 Visas?
A lot depends on which service center you’re using. The average time currently is 18 months, but when immigration gets backed up, it can be longer. You can go to the USCIS website for a time estimate. These estimates will be updated regularly.
At Voloshen Law immigration is our specialty. The requirements for obtaining a CR1 or CR2 can, and do, change. It is our job to keep up with those amendments as we help you through the process. If you’d like more information use our online contact form, or call our Huntingdon Valley, PA office at 215-437-7854.