IR-1/CR-1 Spousal Visa

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.

This chart compares the main features of the K-1, fiance/fiancée and spousal IR-1/CR-1 visas.

IR-1 / CR-1 Spouse Visa

IR-1 / CR-1 Spouse Visa

Visa typeNon-ImmigrantImmigrant
Approximate total processing time3-6 months5-10 months
Where do I file the petition?Only in U.S.May file abroad
What petition form do I file?I-129F onlyI-130 only
Are there any major restrictions I should know about?Single entry. Valid for 90 days; to marry petitioner within 90 days of entry to the United States and must adjust status.LPR status. Processing for green card begins on entry.
Can my fiancée/fiancé or spouse take her/his children?Single entry. Valid for 90 days; to marry petitioner within 90 days of entry to the United States and must adjust status.Yes. Only unmarried children under 21 but must be issued K-2 visa within one year of the K-1 issuance.
Is an interview required?YesYes
Which Affidavit of Support do I use?I-134I-864
Does the Embassy need the original petition & documents from USCIS?YesYes