September 23, 2021. 
Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

U.S. Spouse Visa: Frequently Asked Questions

Before you start your spouse visa application, you might want to understand the basics first. You may be wondering whether you and your spouse are eligible, if you have sufficient financial means, and how long it will take so you can finally apply for a green card and make the U.S. your new home. Below, you’ll find a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding the IR1/CR1 visa. If your question is not in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and we’ll get back to you shortly.

1. What is a spouse visa?

The IR1/CR1 Spouse visa is a U.S. immigrant visa intended for the foreign spouses of U.S. citizens who want to obtain their green card and live in the United States. This visa falls into the category of immediate relative visas, which means that there are certain benefits that come with it. Unlike the family preference visa category, immediate relative visas are a priority. Additionally, there’s an unlimited number of visas and there’s no waiting line for the applicants in this visa category.

2. What’s the difference between an IR1 and a CR1 visa?

The main difference between an IR1 (Immediate Relative) visa and a CR1 (Conditional Resident) visa is that the IR1 visa is intended for the spouses who have been married for over two years, whereas the CR1 visa is intended for the spouses who have been married for less than two years.

3. How long is the IR1/CR1 visa valid for?

All immigrant visas are typically valid up to six months, spouse visa being no exception.

4. How long does it take to process the spouse visa application?

The spouse visa application processing typically takes from three to five months.

5. How can I get an IR1/CR1 spouse visa?

In order to obtain a spouse visa, you will have to file the petition, complete the DS-260 form, pay the fees, submit supporting documentation, and lastly, your spouse will need to attend an interview. In the article How to obtain a U.S. Spouse visa + Useful tips, we explain how you can apply both from the U.S. and outside the U.S., and we give you some useful tips that you should keep in mind when gathering your supporting documentation.

6. Is my spouse eligible to apply for an IR1/CR1 visa?

The eligibility for a spouse visa is determined by observing both yours and your spouse’s background, citizenship status, and your relationship. Check your eligibility right away and see if you qualify.

7. Can I, as the U.S. petitioner, start the visa application for my spouse outside the U.S.?

Yes, you can start the petition either from the United States or from a different country. In case you’re a U.S. citizen living abroad, you and your spouse may start the spouse visa application process outside the U.S.

8. Can my spouse visit me in the U.S.?

Yes, your spouse can visit you on a B2 tourist visa or with an ESTA. However, it can be difficult to prove to the Consular Officer that they intend to visit only for a short period of time, considering the nature of your relationship. Even if you’ve already started the petition on behalf of your spouse, and they want to visit the U.S. on a tourist visa, it still involves some risk. It is best to focus on the spouse visa and start the petition as soon as possible, so you don’t have to worry about the restrictions. Schedule your online visa consultation with VisaExpress today, and see what is the most appropriate course of action for your situation.

9. Can my spouse apply if they’re already in the United States?

In case your spouse is already in the United States, they can apply for the Adjustment of Status and in that way obtain their green card. The form required in this case is Form I-485.

Note: If your spouse has traveled to the U.S. on a tourist visa, it might involve some risk to apply for the adjustment of status. The reason for this is that a tourist visa is a nonimmigrant visa intended for short visits only. However, in case your spouse can prove that they did not have the preconceived intent to immigrate to the U.S., did not willfully misinterpret the intention of visiting, and a change in circumstances requires them to stay with you in the U.S., the case most likely won’t be dismissed.

10. How do I prove that our marriage is legitimate?

In order to prove that you and your spouse have a strong relationship and you haven’t married for the immigration purposes, it will be necessary to gather the evidence over the course of months or even years. The evidence includes photos you took together, chat logs, calls, joint bank accounts, mortgage or lease.

11. Can I petition both for my spouse and children?

Yes, you can petition for several family members, but keep in mind that each applicant needs a separate Form I-130.

12. I was a lawful permanent resident (LRP) when I filed the petition for my spouse, but now I have U.S. citizenship, what do I do?

A different type of immigrant visa is needed in these two cases. When you’re an LRP and you file an immigrant petition for your spouse, the appropriate visa category is F2A, which is a family second preference. On the other hand, as a U.S. citizen, you will have to start the IR1 visa petition. In case your status has changed, you will need to notify the National Visa Center and submit the proof of citizenship. If the F2A petition included children as well, you’ll need separate applications for each family member since the spouse visa does not include derivative applicants.

13. Do I meet the income requirements to sponsor my spouse?

Whether or not you’re eligible to sponsor your spouse depends on factors such as your annual income, the state where you reside, and the number of people in your household. Access an income calculator tool and determine if you meet the financial requirements.

14. What can I do if I don’t meet the income requirement?

In case you don’t meet the income requirement, you can have either a joint sponsor (someone who doesn’t need to be related to you and doesn’t share the same household) or a household member who has the financial means to support you. In the first case, you need the Form I-864 in addition to the primary affidavit, whereas in the second case, you would need the Form I-864A.

15. How much does the spouse visa cost?

Spouse visa cost includes government fees, immigration attorney or a third-party company such as VisaExpress (in case you decide to ask for help with your petition), and medical examination fees. If your spouse is already in the U.S. and they need to file for the adjustment of status, that will include an additional fee.

16. How much is the spouse visa processing fee?

The application processing fee is $325 for all immigrant visas, including spouse visa.

17. Is there an interview for a spouse visa?

Yes, an Embassy interview is required for a spouse visa. The Consular Officer will inquire about your marriage in order to confirm that the information you’ve provided on your application matches the answers you give.

18. When will my spouse receive a green card?

Once the visa is issued, your spouse will have six months to move to the United States. The Customs and Border Protection officials will review the documentation once again. If approved, your spouse will be allowed entry into the U.S., and they can apply for a Green Card right away.

19. Can a spouse visa be denied?

Spouse visa denials can occur under certain circumstances, depending on the U.S. sponsor’s financial situation, the relationship between the spouses, provided documentation, and various other factors. In Top Reasons for Spouse Visa Denial, we discuss top reasons for a spouse visa denial, and if you’re curious and want to learn more, make sure to check it out. After visa denial, each time you apply, you’ll have to pay the visa processing fee again, and no one wants that. VisaExpress helps you with filing your petition and we review it thoroughly to avoid any oversight errors which may delay your immigration process.

20. Is there a way to expedite the process?

If your spouse needs to come to the U.S. urgently, you can expedite the process by reaching out to the NVC. It is important to note that in order to expedite the processing of your spouse visa, there has to be a life-or-death medical emergency, when, for instance, you need to take care of your spouse and they have no other family members in the U.S.

21. My spouse visa was issued over six months ago and it’s now expired. What should I do?

In case your visa has expired, you will need to contact the Embassy or Consulate that issued your visa, so they can give you the instructions on how to proceed. In most cases, you will need to submit a new visa application and pay the processing fee. If necessary, the additional documentation will have to be provided.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]If you have any additional questions regarding the IR1/CR1 visa process, you can count on our help. We understand that each case is specific and that everyone has a different situation, which is why we provide help tailored to your personal story. Get in touch with one of our visa consultants, get professional advice, and successfully unite with your spouse in the United States.

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