I-130 IR-1/CR-1 Spouse of U.S. Citizen

The CR1/IR1 Visa is issued to the Spouse of a U.S. Citizen who wishes to enter and remain in the U.S. permanently with their U.S. citizen spouse. The CR-1 category applies specifically to someone who has recently been married (less than 2 years), and allows the foreign spouse to obtain a Conditional Permanent Resident card. The IR-1 category applies after two years of marriage when the foreign spouse will then be considered an “Immediate Relative” and will be granted a Permanent Resident Card.

At Tsang & Associates, we have a long history of helping thousands of clients successfully file for an CR1/IR1 Visa and will help our clients complete that process from beginning to end.

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LEGAL FEE

Our fee structure is unique to us as we strive to tailor our services for each client individually. We adapt price standards that are capable of fluctuating for each client depending on their unique needs. 

Our typical fee for a standard CR-1/IR-1 Visa case is $1500, not including governmental fee and third-party extensions. We are happy to customize a proposal for yours during a consultation. Please see below information.

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CASE PROCESSING OVERVIEW

Step 1: Strategy Session for the CR1/IR1 Visa

This is the most crucial step for your entire CR1/IR1 Visa. We will review all of the supporting documents to create a strategy, a customized checklist, and a timeline to serve as the guiding foundation for the entire case preparation. The steps may vary depending on your situation:

A. We will submit the petition and then continue with the Consular Processing; or

B. We will submit the petition and apply for Adjustment of Status with USCIS.

Step 2: Prepare and Submit the I-130 Application to USCIS

Our team will complete all forms, package supporting documents, and assemble all documents and information into the proper application format to enhance your chances of getting approved.

Step 3: Biometrics Appointment *This step only applies to Adjustment of Status Cases

You will need to attend a biometrics appointment most commonly known as the fingerprinting appointment. USCIS will conduct a mandatory criminal background check and verify your identity. The process itself does not take long and our office will assist you during this process.

Step 4A: Await Approval and Submit Required Documentation to the National Visa Center (NVC)

Once the I-130 Petition is approved by USCIS, the case will subsequently be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing. Our team will guide you throughout this process and ensure that the NVC has all the documentation needed to continue to process your case in a timely manner.

Step 4B: Await Approval by USCIS *This step only applies to Adjustment of Status Cases

Since you most likely submitted an I-765 Employment Authorization and an I-131 Travel Document with the I-130 and adjustment of status application, therefore while you wait for USCIS to review the I-130 petition and adjustment of status, you will most likely receive the Employment Authorization Card and Travel Document in mail. An Employment Authorization Card allows you to work and a Travel Document allows you to travel during this period of wait time.

Step 5: Prepare the client for Interview with the US Embassy/Consulate or with USCIS

We will help guide the client in his/her preparation for the interview with the US Embassy/ Consulate or with USCIS by simulating the interview and ensuring the client is well-versed in the application material. Our services include a comprehensive strategy for answering inquiries posed, practice questions, thorough feedback, and other tools to help clients succeed during the interview. If your interview is at the US Embassy, you will attend it by yourself per Embassy rules. If your interview is with USCIS you can attend the interview by yourself or inquire about our attorney appearance service at an additional cost.

Step 6: Respond to additional Consulate or USCIS Requests/ Administrative Processing /Status Checks/ Fraud Alerts

After the interview, we will review with you the possible responses from the US Embassy or USCIS. From additional document requests to continuance notices and fraud alerts. 

Step 7: Approval is Only The Beginning

A. Once you obtain an CR1/IR1 Visa, you will be allowed to travel to the U.S. and after paying the USCIS Immigrant Fee, you will receive your Permanent Resident Card.

B. After USCIS approves your Adjustment of Status you will become a Permanent Resident and will be issued a Green Card.

Our Team will help prepare a plan for future goals, such as petitioning family members or becoming a U.S. Citizen.

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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Checklist of Required Evidence

In general, the following documents are required:

  • Passport(s) valid for six months beyond the intended date of entry into the United States, unless longer validity is specifically requested by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your country. Please review the instructions for guidance.
  • Affidavit of Support (I-864I-864AI-864 EZ, or I-864W, as appropriate) from the petitioner/U.S. sponsor.
  • Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application.
    • Preview a sample DS-260 (6.4MB).
  • Two (2) 2×2 photographs. See the required photo format explained in Photograph Requirements.
  • Civil Documents for the applicant. See Documents the Applicant Must Submit for more specific information about documentation requirements, including information on which documents may need to be translated. The consular officer may ask for more information during your visa interview. Bring your original civil documents (or certified copies) such as birth and marriage certificates, as well as legible photocopies all original civil documents, and any required translations to your immigrant visa interview. 
  • Completed Medical Examination Forms – These are provided by the panel physician after you have completed your medical examination and vaccinations

Filing Fee

The updated filing fee for Form I-130 can be found using here. The filing fee for this petition cannot be waived.

NOTE: The filing fee is not refundable, regardless of any action USCIS takes on this petition. DO NOT MAIL CASH. You must submit all fees in the exact amounts.

When You Have Your Immigrant CR1/IR1 Visa - What You Should Know

If you are issued an immigrant CR1 or IR1 visa, the consular officer will give you your passport containing the immigrant visa and a sealed packet containing the documents which you provided. It is important that you do not open the sealed packet. Only the U.S. immigration official should open this packet when you enter the United States. You are required to enter the United States before the expiration date printed on your visa. When traveling, the primary (or principal) applicant must enter the United States before or at the same time as family members holding visas.

If you receive your immigrant visa on or after February 1, 2013, you must pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) after you receive your CR1/IR1 visa and before you travel to the United States. Only children who enter the United States under the Orphan or Hague adoption programs, Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants, returning residents (SB-1s), and those issued K visas are exempt from this fee. Select USCIS Immigrant Fee on the USCIS website for more information.

Important Notice: USCIS will not issue a Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551 or Green Card) until you have paid the fee.

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    SAMPLE & TEMPLATES

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    Attorney Brief:  [coming soon] We will provide an attorney brief sample for the I-130 petition.

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    Cover Letter: [coming soon] We will also provide a cover letter sample for the I-130 petition.

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    Sample Request for Evidence: [coming soon] Requests for evidence can be used to strengthen the case.

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    Forms: Here is a list of the forms that are needed by USCIS.

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    Sample Checklist: [coming soon] We look at the client’s unique situation and create customized checklists to strengthen their cases.

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    USCIS Fee Calculator: This is to help calculate how much the filing fee will be.

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    USCIS Mailing Address: This address is where it is mailed to USCIS.

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    USCIS Processing Timetable: This will help you figure out how long it will take to process.

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    ASC Field Offices: Listed are the addresses of the field offices for the bio-metrics.

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    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    How long will it take to bring my spouse to the US?

    Approximately 6-8 months from initial cR1/IR1 visa filing to arrival in the U.S.

    What are the Income Requirements?

    To qualify as a sponsor, you must demonstrate that your income is at least 125 percent of the current Federal poverty guideline for your household size.

    The Federal poverty line is updated annually and can be found on Form I-864P.

    If you are on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard, and you are sponsoring your spouse, you only need to have an income of 100 percent of the Federal poverty line for your household size.

    This provision does not apply to joint or substitute sponsors.

    Is there a U.S. Sponsor Minimum Age Requirement?

    There is no minimum age for a U.S. sponsor (petitioner) to file a petition for a spouse. However, you must be at least 18 years of age and have a residence (domicile) in the U.S. before you can sign the Affidavit of Support (Form I-864 or I-864EZ). This form is required for an immigrant cR1/IR1 visa for a spouse and other relatives of U.S. sponsors.

    Is Residence in the U.S. Required for the U.S. Sponsor?

    Yes. As a U.S. sponsor/petitioner, you must maintain your principal residence (also called domicile) in the United States, which is where you plan to live for the foreseeable future. Living in the United States is required for a U.S. sponsor to file the Affidavit of Support, with few exceptions. To learn more, review the Affidavit of Support (I-864 or I-864EZ) Instructions.

    What if I was an LPR and am now a U.S. Citizen: Upgrading a Petition?

    If you filed a petition for your spouse when you were a lawful permanent resident (LPR), and you are now a U.S. citizen, you must upgrade the petition from family second preference (F2) to immediate relative (IR). You can do this by sending proof of your U.S. citizenship to the National Visa Center (NVC). You should send:

    • A copy of the biodata page of your U.S. passport; or
    • A copy of your certificate of naturalization

    Does the CR1/IR1 Visa apply for spouses of US Citizens in same-sex (LGBTQ) marriages or only heterosexual marriages?

    On June 27, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States finally ruled that same-sex couples can register to marry in all 50 states of the United States. Foreign spouses of same-sex marriages, like foreign spouses of heterosexual marriages, can obtain green card visas to enter the United States through relative immigration and enjoy the treatment of permanent residents. After meeting the corresponding conditions, they can apply for naturalization and become American citizens, enjoying the same benefits as American citizens.

    The IR-1/CR-1 visa is issued to foreign spouses of U.S. citizens to reunite in the U.S. and to stay in the U.S. for a long time. Among them, the CR-1 category is issued to foreign spouses who have been married to U.S. citizens for less than two years, that is, the Conditional Resident Card, commonly known as “temporary green card”; the IR-1 category is issued to foreign spouses who have been married to U.S. citizens for two years. For foreign spouses who have been married to a U.S. citizen for two years, the U.S. immigration law recognizes foreign spouses who have been married to U.S. citizens for two years as “immediate relatives” and will issue a permanent resident card, commonly known as a “permanent green card.”

    Since the legalization of same-sex marriage, our Tsang & Associates law firm has provided same-sex marriage immigrant visa services for many US citizens/permanent residents and their foreign spouses, building bridges and helping clients end their days of looking at each other.

    I am a U.S. citizen/lawful permanent resident in a legal marriage to a foreign national of the same sex. Can I apply for an immigrant visa for a same-sex couple?

    Yes. You can file an I-130 application to apply for an IR-1/CR-1 or F-2A visa for a same-sex partner; after that, the final approval of the immigrant visa or adjustment of status application depends on whether you and your same-sex partner qualify for the immigration visa. Requests are not denied because you are in a same-sex marriage.

    Can I only apply for adjustment of status if the immigrant petition filed by a U.S. citizen for a same-sex spouse is approved?

    No. U.S. citizens can apply directly for same-sex spouses at the same time (Concurrent Filing), that is, submit immigration and adjustment of status applications at the same time.

    I am a US citizen and I am engaged but not yet married to a same-sex partner and we intend to get married in the US, can I apply for a green card?

    You cannot directly apply for a green card. Only US citizens can submit the I-129F form for foreign same-sex couples to apply for a K-1 visa. Foreign same-sex couples can enter the United States after obtaining a K-1 visa and marry a U.S. citizen within 90 days of entering the United States. Only then can U.S. citizens apply for green cards for foreign same-sex spouses.

    I am a U.S. citizen who has filed an I-130 petition for a same-sex spouse, but they are now outside the United States. Can a same-sex spouse come to live in the U.S. while the I-130 petition is pending?

    Yes. Once the U.S. citizen submits the I-130 application, the foreign spouse can apply for a non-immigrant K-3 visa. After obtaining the K-3 visa, the foreign spouse can live and work in the United States. It should be noted that the K-3 visa is only a method to allow foreign spouses to enter the United States faster, not an immigrant visa. 

    What steps will the USCIS take if they suspect that a foreigner is marrying for the purpose of immigrating? What are the penalties for fake marriages?

    The US Customs and Immigration Services may go to the residence to investigate, ask the neighbors about the marriage, and also has the right to investigate the visa application to verify the authenticity of the marriage. Both spouses may also be asked to attend the interview together. It is also possible to question both persons separately in order to discover contradictions in the statements. Fake marriages in order to meet immigration conditions are subject to a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both.

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    SCHEDULE A SESSION

    Call or email us to set up your 1-hour consultation. Easily pay the $250 consultation fee over the phone or through our email link. If you would like to have a quick chat with our team before setting up the consultation, feel free to use the calendar on the right to book your 10 minute call.

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