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IR1 and CR1 Visa: How to Get Marriage Green Card

A legal marriage with any US citizen will pre-qualify you for CR1 Visa and also IR1 Visa. A CR1 Visa is a United States immigrant visa that allows a spouse of a US citizen to enter America as a Conditional Permanent Resident, often denoted with the abbreviation CR.

Moreover, the IR1/CR1 Visa, called Marriage Green Card, is a US Family Based Green Card in the immediate relative category. It is also known as the Spouse Green Card. The IR1/CR1 Visa enables the spouse of a US citizen to join their partner in the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

Therefore, For the foreign spouse to get a Green Card through marriage and immigrate to the US, they need a spouse visa known as CR1 Visa.

So this article will guide you through how to apply for this visa and inform you about the visa eligibility, requirements, and other necessary information regarding CR1 and IR1 visas.

Meaning of CR1 Visa – Spouse Green Card

The CR1 Visa is a US spouse Visa that allows a person from a foreign country married to a US citizen to move to the US and live there permanently.

Moreover, the CR1 Visa is a Conditional Resident visa that grants a foreign spouse conditional permanent residency in the US. Foreign spouses that receive a CR1 visa can typically work in the US within a matter of months as soon as they receive their green card.

Types of Marriage Green Cards

Since many people want to move to the US permanently for employment reasons, some marriages happen only to get immigrant status. These Green Card marriages are not allowed and are discouraged by the US government.

However, to be able to prevent couples from marrying only for one person to get a Green Card, the US government has come up with two types of marriage Green Cards:

  • Conditional Resident Spouse Visa (CR1).
  • Immediate Relative Spouse Visa (IR1).

#1. Conditional Resident Spouse Visa (CR1)

If the couple has just been married and the foreign spouse is applying for a spouse Green Card, then they will have to apply for the Conditional Resident Spouse Visa or CR1. This visa allows the foreign spouse to move to the US on an immigrant status with a Green Card on the condition that the couple stays married for at least two years.

#2. Immediate Relative Spouse Visa (IR1)

After two years of marriage, the foreign spouse can then transition to an Immediate Relative Spouse Visa or IR1, which then gives them more permanent status and does not have a validity period of only two years. However, if the couple gets a divorce or breaks up before the two years on the CR1 visa are completed, the foreign spouse will be returned to their home country since their status will no longer be valid.

Requirements for the American IR1 Visa

There are various requirements for the couple applying for the IR1 visa. The spouse from a foreign country must meet these requirements to be allowed to apply for an IR1 visa. These requirements are categorized into two which are:

#1. Be legally married

The main one is that the couple must be legally married. This is required for fake marriages just because a Green Card cannot get an IR1 visa. Additionally, if the couple only lives together, it is not considered a marriage under US laws and regulations.

#2. Be a US citizen

The other requirement is that one of the spouses must be a US citizen with a valid address within the US and can support the spouse from a foreign country until both have the financial means to support themselves.

Differences Between the CR1 and IR1

The CR1 and IR1 visas provide similar rights and privileges to beneficiaries, but they both have differences which are:

  • CR1 (or Conditional Resident) visas are given to applicants who, when arriving in the United States with their green card, have been married for less than two years. These visas are granted on a “conditional” basis. Two years after their arrival in the United States, the beneficiary and their US citizen spouse must apply to remove the conditions from the green card. At this point, they will receive an updated 10-year permanent resident card. While
  • IR1 (or Immediate Relative) visas, on the other hand, are given to beneficiaries who have been married for more than two years when their green card is approved. In this case, the IR1 holder doesn’t need to remove conditions (as there are none) and will have ten years before renewing their permanent resident card.

Note: there are other spouse visas, like K3 Visa, and family-based visas, like IR2 Visa, which you can check out.

Requirements for CR1 and IR1 Visa

To obtain a CR1/IR1 visa, you must apply via a “consular processing.” Here are the visa types that use consular processing:

  • CR1/IR1 spouse and the accompanying.
  • CR2/IR2 child when the sponsor is a US citizen.
  • F2A category (F21 spouse; F22 child) when the sponsor is a legal permanent resident (aka green card holder).
  • A CR1/IR1 visa allows a US citizen or legal permanent resident (green card holder) to sponsor their foreign spouse to come to the United States.

Specific requirements include:

  • The sponsor must be a US citizen or legal permanent resident.
  • The couple must be lawfully married and provide a valid marriage certificate.
  • The authenticity of the marriage must be proven with evidence, for example, photographs, flight itineraries, etc.
  • The sponsor must pledge to support their spouse and file an affidavit of support financially.
  • They must have the means to support their household at 125% of the federal poverty level. They can use a joint sponsor if the sponsor doesn’t meet the income requirements.
  • The sponsor must have a US domicile, meaning they either live in the United States or prove they plan to return to the United States with their foreign spouse.

Required Documents to Apply for a Green Card through Marriage

The supporting documents must be sent to the NVC, and the file must contain the following:

  • Your valid passport for more than six months after your planned entry into the US.
  • A signed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support from the US petitioner (applicant’s spouse).
  • Form DS-260 confirmation page.
  • Medical examination and vaccination documents.
  • Proof of marriage documents. This could be:
  • A certificate that proves the marriage is genuine
  • Wedding albums
  • Honeymoon destinations
  • Receipts from their wedding party and organization, etc.
  • Two photographs per individual according to the US Visa Photo Requirements.
  • Court and criminal records and police certificate.
  • If you served in the military, you must bring your military records.

Steps to Apply for an IR1 Visa

The application process for the IR1 visa follows similar patterns to other family-based visas, such as IR5 Visa. So these steps are:

This shows that the application procedure must start within the US, with the US citizen petitioning the authorities. The petition must be approved. Otherwise, the spouse cannot begin applying to the US Embassy for their visa.

Step 1 Application procedures

#1. Filing the Petition

The petition can be done by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relatives. The US citizen must file this petition in all the necessary sections and then submitted to USCIS. There is also a fee that the US citizen must pay to process the petition.

#2. Receive approval or denial notifications

The petition will go through the Department of Homeland Security and be processed within a few months. The US citizen will be notified about the status when the processing is complete. If the petition is denied, USCIS will let you know the reasons for the denial. If the petition is approved, it will go to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will then be your main contact for the IR1 visa.

#3. NVC packet

The NVC will send a package with information and instructions to the applicant in the foreign country. The package will also include the case number and invoice ID number, which will be used to start the application from the US Embassy or Consulate in the foreign country.

Step 2 applications process

Since the Immediate Relative Visas are fine with the number issued each year, applicants do not need to wait for their priority dates to become current. Instead, immediately after USCIS approves the petition, applicants in the foreign country can begin their application. This is done at a US Embassy or Consulate.

#1. File Form DS-260

Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application, is the form that all applicants for immigrant visas must submit. The application can be accessed using the NVC case number, which links it to your case and the approved petition. The IR1 visa applicant or someone helping them must fill out all the necessary sections, which will have questions related to the applicant’s information, background, and purpose of immigrating to the US. When you submit the DS-260 form, you will get a confirmation page and number, which you must attach to your supporting documents.

#2. Complete medical examination and vaccination

The US has certain medical and vaccination requirements which its citizens and immigrants must fulfill. Therefore, anyone who wants to immigrate to the US must get the necessary medical check-ups and vaccines. The NVC package that the applicant receives after the petition’s approval will specify what medical procedures the applicant must complete and the vaccines they need to get. The documents and the check-ups must be completed by a licensed doctor who will sign them. These documents will be attached to your supporting file, which you will then send to the NVC.

#3. Compile documents file

Besides the application form, you must also attach various supporting documents to give NVC a better reason why you should be allowed to immigrate to the US with an IR1 visa.

#4. Attend interview

Every immigrant applicant for the US must attend an interview at the US Embassy or Consulate where they are applying. The NVC will first ensure that you have submitted all the necessary documents and then schedule the interview.

#5. Receive the NVC packet and travel to the US.

If the IR1 visa is approved, the spouse from a foreign country can travel to the US freely. However, the visa will be stamped on their passport, and the Embassy will give them a package they must bring to the US when they first enter the country. This package must not be opened under any circumstances. Only the US immigrant officials at any US point of entry are allowed to open it and decide whether the applicant is allowed to enter the country.


Can you work on CR1?

Yes, the CR-1 Visa Spouse will be able to work upon entry into the United States. This is because their stamped passport acts as a temporary “green card” until a permanent one is issued 2-3 months later.

What are the IR1 Visa Fees?

The fees that the IR1 applicant must pay are as follows:

  • $535 for the petition.
  • $325 for the visa application (Form DS-260 fees).
  • The fees for the supporting documents and translation.

How long is the IR1 visa processing time?

Since the IR1 visa does not have annual caps, the processing times are much shorter than the Family Preference Visas. The processing time can take 8 to 10 months, depending on the circumstances.

How do I get a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status with IR1 Visa?

After you have gotten your IR1 visa, you will become a Lawful Permanent Resident of the US. This is usually known as getting a Green Card. To change your status from your immigrant visa to an LPR, you must first have an approved petition from USCIS and the visa and life in the US.

What is the difference between CR1 and IR1?

The difference between a CR1 visa and an IR1 visa is pretty simple. If the couple has been married for less than two years, the foreign spouse will receive a CR1 visa. If the couple has been married for more than two years, the foreign spouse will receive an IR1 visa.

How long is an IR1 visa good for?

Ten years. The IR1 visa is valid for ten years and provides permanent resident status and a pathway to a green card.

When can CR1 apply for citizenship?

You may file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, 90 calendar days before you complete your permanent residence requirement if your eligibility for naturalization is based upon being a: Permanent resident for at least five years; or. Permanent resident for at least three years if you are married to a US citizen.


You now completely understand how to get your CR1 Visa and IR1 Visa. Remember to contact us at workstudyvisa.com for more information about other US visas like F1 VisaL1 VisaE2 Visa, and others.

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