IR1/CR1 Visas are immigrant visas issued to foreign spouses of U.S. Citizens.
IR1 (IR stands for “Immediate Relative”) Visas entitle their holder to receive Permanent Residency within the United States for a period of 10 years (may be renewed)
CR1 (CR stands for “Conditional Residency”) Visas entitle their holder to receive “Conditional” Permanent Residency within the United States for a period of 2 years
To obtain either visa, you must meet the following requirements:
• You must be legally married. Living together does not qualify as a marriage for immigration purposes. Unmarried partners are ineligible to sponsor visas to the United States.
• You must be 18 years old before you can sign the Affidavit of Support, which is a form that will be required later in the process.
The spouse in the U.S is the Petitioner and the spouse in the foreign country is the Beneficiary.
If you follow this process, the foreign spouse will complete the visa process completely outside the US, and then arrive in the US and become a Permanent Resident immediately. Once the immigrant visa holder enters through a US Port of Entry, he or she will receive a Green Card in the mail (at their US address) within a few weeks.
The deciding factor on which visa an applicant is issued (IR1 versus CR1 visa) is the amount of time that they have been married at the time the visa is issued. If an applicant has been married to their US Citizen spouse for a period of two years or greater they will be issued an IR1 Visa. If they have been married less than two years they will be issued a CR1 Visa. A CR1 Visa will result in the applicant obtaining “conditional” permanent residency within the US and after a period of two years the applicant can apply to “Remove Conditions” 90 days before the conditional permanent resident card expires and they will be issued a regular 10 year green card.