What is a Spouse (Marriage) Green Card?

The IR1/CR1 Visa, also known as the Spouse Green Card, is categorised under Family-Based Green Cards for immediate relatives. It allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen to become a lawful permanent resident in the United States when the spouse resides outside of the United States.

To be eligible for this visa, you need to prove three main things:

  1. Your husband or wife must be a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident (Green Card holder).
  2. Your marriage is legally valid in the country where it took place.
  3. Your relationship is genuine and not just for obtaining immigration benefits.

At Blue Lake Law, our seasoned U.S. immigration attorneys have helped numerous spouses successfully reunite with their husbands and wives in America. With our bespoke support, you can navigate every step of the CR1/IR1 Visa application process confidently.

Types of Spouse Green Cards

CR1 Visa

The Conditional Resident Spouse Visa (CR1) is issued to newly married foreign spouses. It provides them with conditional permanent residency and a Green Card in the U.S., on the condition that the marriage was entered into in good faith.

IR1 Visa

After two years of marriage, the foreign husband or wife would apply for the Immediate Relative Spouse Visa (IR1).

This visa offers unconditional permanent residency. The IR1 Visa is valid for 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely or until the spouse decides to apply for U.S. citizenship.

If the marriage ends before the two-year mark, the foreign spouse risks losing their residency and may need to return to their home country.

CR1 / IR1 Requirements

Legal Marriage

Applicants must prove that their marriage to their U.S. citizen partner is legally recognised, usually through a marriage certificate. Living together does not qualify as a legal marriage under U.S. laws.

Eligibility of the U.S. Sponsor

The U.S. spouse must confirm their citizenship with appropriate documents.

Proof of Genuine Relationship

Applicants need to prove their marriage is authentic. This could be through photos, joint bank statements, birth certificates of children born to the relationship or other evidence that they share a life.

Financial Requirements

The sponsor must meet certain income requirements to support their CR1/IR1 spouse financially.

Medical Examination

Under immigration law, foreign nationals seeking a U.S.CR1/ IR1 Visa must undergo a medical evaluation and receive required vaccinations before travelling to the United States.

In some cases, vaccine waivers are available for those who cannot receive certain vaccinations due to medical, religious, or moral reasons. These waivers must be applied for and approved as part of the CR1/IR1 Visa application process.

If you need to apply for a vaccine waiver, the Blue Lake Law team can help. Get in touch, and let’s talk about what we can do for you.

Background Checks

The immigrant spouse is required to complete background checks to verify they do not pose a threat to national security. This is partially achieved by applying for criminal background checks for all countries lived in since the age of 16.

CR1 / IR1 Application Process

You need to go through consular processing to obtain a CR1 or IR1 Visa. Here’s how Blue Lake Law can support you through your journey to US residency with your husband or wife.

Petition Filing

We complete forms I-130 and I-130A for you and your U.S. citizen spouse and file the petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We prepare all paperwork and documents to make sure your petition is accurate and complete.

Approval and Transfer

Once the form is approved, the USCIS transfers the case to the National Visa Centre (NVC). The NVC will then send you a package with instructions on the next steps of the application process.

We help you understand and follow the instructions in the package, including completing Form DS-260 (Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration). This is your actual Green Card application, where you detail your work and education history. We also prepare form I-864, Affidavit of Support, on your behalf.

Document Submission

We thoroughly review and submit all required civil documents and financial affidavits to the NVC for minimal risk of delays or rejections.

Medical Examination

Before your interview, you must get a medical examination from an Embassy-approved physician. We can find a list of acceptable doctors and schedule an appointment at your convenience.

Visa Interview

Once the National Visa Center (NVC) processes your documents, your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate will send you a letter with the details of your interview.

During the interview, you’ll be expected to answer questions about your application under oath. We help you prepare by providing tips on how to effectively present your case, as well as gather all the relevant documentation you’ll need to bring with you.

Visa Issuance

Unless there’s a need for any additional information, you can expect to hear back either immediately or within about a week after your interview.

If approved, you will receive a Visa stamped inside your passport and in some cases, a sealed envelope with your documents. Do not open this envelope. The immigration officer at the border should be the only one to unseal it.

How We Can Help You

Applying for an IR1/CR1 Visa can be daunting, but at Blue Lake Law, we’re here to make it easier for you. Our team, led by our founder and managing attorney George Lake, is committed to providing a personalised experience that supports you throughout your journey.

Here’s how we can help:

  • Accurately complete and file the I-130 petition with all necessary documentation.
  • Thoroughly review your documents to minimise delays and rejections.
  • Offer regular updates and prompt answers.
  • Guide you through post-approval steps.