How to File for a IR-1 / CR-1 Spouse Visa for a Foreign Spouse Complete Guide

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A step-by-step guide for filing a IR-1 / CR-1 spousal visa for a foreign spouse


What is a IR-1 / CR-1 spouse Visa?

These visas are considered immigrant visas which is issued to foreign spouses of US citizens. When are US citizen spouse is approved the proper petition with the USCIS, the foreign spouse is going to complete the entire Visa process outside of the US. upon the approval and issuance of the Visa the foreign spouse is then able to enter the US with their Visa passing through an arrival Port of Entry, at which time they will become a permanent resident immediately. the Visa holder and now permanent resident will receive a green card also known as a permanent resident card In the mail up their US address within a few weeks.


Who’s eligible to file?

Only a US citizen who is legally married to a foreign National is able to petition for an IR-1 / CR-1 Visa. If the length of the marriage is less than 2 years the constellate will issue a cr1 Visa but if longer than 2 years a IR-1 Visa will be issued. The difference between the two Visas is the cr1 Visa will result in a conditional permanent residency which requires a petition to be filed later to lift this conditional status opposed to the ir-1 Visa which result in full permanent residency upon arrival to the US for the foreign spouse.



The forms needed to file and ir-1 cr1 spouse visa:

  1. I-130
  2. I-130A
  3. G-1145

all the above forms can be filled out and print it on your computer. Make sure to sign and date all of them as required. Anything you can’t fit in by typing you need to hand write very neatly and black ink in the blank instead. You’ll always need to verify the current forms at www.uscis.gov.


Assemble the i-130 package:  checklist

This is the assembly instructions including forms and documentation needed make sure all supporting documents are in English or translated. Keep in mind a small statement must be included with the translation verifying the person who translated it there qualifications for translating and a statement verifying that everything they translated is accurate.

  1. Your payment is required by the USCIS. It’s best to use a personal check so you can track the payment. however money orders are also accepted.
  2. A cover letter. It should include a description of what you’re petitioning (i-130), a complete table of contents. If you’ll be needing additional room to explain your case just attach a separate piece of paper. Make sure to list those additional sheets on the table of contents. Also sign and date that cover sheet along with those extra sheets
  3. Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative
  4. A copy of the full birth certificate of the US citizen front and back. Or you can provide all the pages from your US citizens passport, this is to you be used in establishing your citizenship.
  5. a copy of the petitioners proof of naturalization if applicable.
  6. A copy of petitioner’s proof of permanent residency if applicable.
  7. A copy of your marriage certificate. if marriage certificate is not an English provided translation.
  8. If either spouse have been previously married they need to submit copies of documents which show all previous marriages were legally terminated. Court certified copies of the petitioner and or the intending immigrant’s divorce documents.
  9. If marriage has been terminated due to death the prior spouse’s death certificate is required.
  10. Two passport type photos are needed from the petitioner. Write the petitioners full name on the back of each photo. Place this in a plastic bag, label the bag photo with person’s name. Attach the bag to a sheet of paper and place that behind the corresponding i-130
  11. Do the same as step number 10 but place this sheet of paper behind the foreign spouse is i-130
  12. Provide evidence of a bona fide marriage see the note below for more information.
  13. Form I-130A which is the supplemental information for the spouse beneficiary


Note: Evidence of a bona fide marriage.

For USCIS is now requiring that you include evidence of a bona fide marriage when filing for an i-130. Acceptable examples Is evidence such as:

  1. Documentation of joint property ownership or
  2. Lease and Rental documents showing joint tenancy of a common residence or
  3. documentation which proves commingling of financial  resources or
  4. Birth certificates Of children born  to the petitioner and the foreign spouse together or
  5. Affidavit before sworn to or affirmed by Third parties which have personal knowledge of the bona fide marital relationship. remember each affidavit must contain the full name address date and place of burst of the person making the affidavit along with their contact information which also include detailed information explaining how that person acquired his or her knowledge of your marriage or
  6. other relevant documentation which establishes evidence of the ongoing marital Union.


Attaching your e-notification form

Clip a completed g-1145 notification application to the first page of your application on top of the cover page. By completing this form USCIS will send you an email and or text message to alert you when your application has been received.


Mail the i-130 package to the USCIS

you should mail the completed forms to the proper USCIS lockbox. package with return receipt requested or delivery confirmation. Send by USPS. Make sure to check the link above to find the proper USCIS lockbox.




You should make two copies of the entire package before you send it. The entire package along with copies of the money orders as well this way you have two exact copies besides the original forms you are sending in. Remember the forms you are sending must be the originals with the signatures on them. Only send copies of your supporting documents and make sure you keep the originals in case of an RFE. If you do get an RFE follow the directions EXACTLY. Make sure to have copies of the follow up documents that they request. During any in-person interviews make sure to bring your copies as well as your original supporting documents which may need to be inspected.



what happens after you’ve mailed your i-130 out?

A few weeks after sending out your i-130 petition to the USCIS you’re going to receive a notice of action also known as a NOA Which indicates that begin processing your i-130 application. You’re going to be able to check the status of your application as well as other processing information here.


When your r130 petition has finally been approved the service center  which process the petition is going to send another notice of action letter which indicates their approval, and a forwarding of your approved petition over to the National visa center in Portsmouth New Hampshire. They’re also going to send along the phone number that you need to contact in DC with. Your case will now only be dealt with by the NVC, the service center that you filed with will have no more knowledge of the status of your petition or case.


A few weeks after you received your final notice of action indicating the approval and the forwarding of your i-130 application over to the NBC, then VC is going to send your relative a packet of form that you and your relatives must fill out before your relatives can be given an interview date Liz a consulate abroad. This pocket is most likely going to contain an O f-169 form, and an OF-230 part one and two forms which need to be filled out by the intending immigrant. An I-864  formers also included that’s going to be need to be filled out by the petitioner was living in the US. The i-864 form is the Affidavit of Support form that requires copies of the petitioners past 3 us tax returns or you can provide the tax transcripts which are free from the IRS. you also need to include as many bank or financial records available. the petitioner is required to make at least hundred and 25% above the US federal poverty guideline for your household which indicates that the intending immigrant will not become a federal burden when he or she arrives in the US. If the u.s. petition or can’t meet these requirements the petition Is still required to fill out the I-864 As well as find a joint sponsor who can meet the requirements on his or her own. in the case that a joint sponsor is needed proof of their US citizenship or permanent residency is also required, an example of this is their birth certificate or immigration status documentation. The Joint sponsor must also be residing in the US and also submit his or her past three years of us tax returns along with any and all Banking and Financial records they have available. The Joint sponsor must also submit a I-864  form to accompany the petitioner’s I-864 form.



Forms that may be sent back to be kept for the interview or forms and documents that need to be gathered before an interview date with the consulate is set are as follows:

Pre-interview forms and items:

  1. complete and sign OF-169.
  2. complete and sign Of-230 Part 1 and 2 forms.
  3. I-864  Affidavit of Support form along with the past 3 years u.s. tax returns or transcripts and then the other financial documents required
  4. A  Copy of intending immigrant bio page of passport including expiration date.
  5. Original or certified long birth certificate.
  6. Original adoption decree if applicable.
  7. Marriage certificate if applicable.
  8. Divorce decrees or death certificates if applicable.
  9. Police certificates.
  10. Court prison record if applicable.
  11. Custody records if applicable.
  12. Military records if applicable.

Interview forms and items:

  1. A valid passport.
  2. Original or certified long birth certificate
  3. Original adoption decree if applicable
  4. Original or certified copy of a marriage certificate if applicable
  5. Original death certificate if applicable
  6. Original divorce decree of applicable
  7. Police certificate.
  8. Court records if applicable.
  9. I-864  Affidavit of Support form along with the past three years of years tax returns are transcripts and any other financial documents required.
  10. Court in prison records of applicable.
  11. Medical examination information.
  12. Two passport photos of the spouse & beneficiary.


Interviews to last for as little as 10 minutes or up to an hour depending on your specific case. Your relative will take an oath under us law which requires him or her to tell the truth, it is very important that your relative answer every question is truthfully as possible. In general it’s a good idea that your relative bring documentation to prove some ties and a relationship with you the petitioner. Examples our phone bills letters and any other type of electronic communication. If the  constellate approves your relatives Visa application, your relative is going to be issued an immigrant Visa which is going to allow that relative to become a US permanent resident. The moment your form relative enters the US he or she will become a US permanent resident at the Port of Entry. Until this time he or she only has an immigrant Visa which is valid up to six months for the interview date. If your relative cannot immigrate to the US within those 6 months then his or her immigrant Visa is going to expire and the I-130  process is going to have to start all over again.


At the bottom of the cr1 or ir-1 spouse visa is the following sentence “ Upon Endorsement Serves As Temporary I-551 Valid For One Year.” This acts as a temporary green card before an actual Green Card arrives in the mail. If the Visa cr1 the green card will only be valid for two years. 90 days leading up to the expiration you’ll have to file an I-751  form to remove its conditional status.

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Alex Mooney

The internet is my playground. I conduct all my business online. I started out as a dental student, went rogue and became a serial entrepreneur specializing in online business. I love the nature of online businesses & I'm getting into writing autobiographically. Love helping others along the way. I was born and raised in Washington but spent 10 years in the Philippines where I started my family while going to dental school. I'm back in the US for the moment but we never know where life might take us. The Philippines will always be my home and it's just a matter of time before I go back permanently. I know a lot regarding the Philippine culture so I have experience being on both sides of the fence. The big secret is both sides are green, it's your perception that needs training.

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