What is the difference between a CR1 visa and an IR1 visa?


When a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States wants to bring their spouse into the country to come and live with them, they will need to apply for a visa in order to do so. Now, there are two types of spousal visas that are issued, a CR1 visa and an IR1 visa. While both are very similar, there are a few differences which we will explain below.


What is a CR1 visa?


A CR1 visa, also referred to as a “conditional” resident visa, is issued to the spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who has been married for a period of under two years. Your spouse must be someone whom you are legally wedded to and you must have permanent residency in the U.S. in order to apply. The reason this visa is considered “conditional” is because the two of you have been married under two years and the visa is only valid up until the time you reach your two-year anniversary. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does require that you and your spouse together apply to get this condition removed within ninety days before you celebrate your two-year anniversary. Once you do this, your spouse’s CR1 visa will be replaced with an IR1 visa.


What is an IR1 visa?


The process to obtain an IR1 visa is the same as a CR1 visa. The only difference between a CR1 visa and an IR1 visa is:

  1. A CR1 visa is issued to a couple that has been married under two years and the condition must be removed before your two-year anniversary.
  2. An IR1 visa is issued to a couple that has been married for more than two years and the visa is valid for 10 years.

[Source: U.S. Department of State].


How do I apply for a CR1 visa?


In order to apply for a CR1 visa, you must submit Form I-130 along with Form I-130A. There is a $535 application fee that Form I-130 carries along with it and your fees will increase in the event more forms must be submitted. USCIS will ask that you pay these fees at the time your application is filed.

Now, just because you meet the criteria required to file an application for a CR1 visa doesn’t mean USCIS will automatically issue your spouse theirs. It is at the discretion of the USCIS agent handling your application who determines whether they approve it and move it along to the next stage of the process or deny it. If it is approved, your spouse may be asked to attend an interview.

Now, something you need to be mindful of is that a couple who has been married under two years might find that they are required to provide more evidence that proves their marriage is a bona fide marriage, meaning it is legitimate, than a couple who has been together longer than two years. The reason being is that many individuals will often pay a U.S. citizen to marry them until they can obtain their visa and then get divorced. However, USCIS is working to weed these couples out of the system before issuing a visa to a spouse who claims they want to live in the U.S. with their partner.

Therefore, don’t be surprised if you and/or your spouse are asked a significant amount of questions during your interview as the officer conducting it is not only trying to confirm certain information but also to ensure your relationship isn’t an act of fraud.


How long does my spouse have to enter into the U.S. before his/her CR1 visa expires?


Once a CR1 visa is issued to your spouse, it is valid for six months from the issuance date. That means they have six months to come and live in the U.S. If they fail to do so, their visa will expire and they will be required to go through the process again.

Now, if you have more questions pertaining to applying for a CR1 visa or need assistance with the process, our immigration and visa lawyers are more than qualified to help you. The truth is, some of the forms that must be submitted are confusing and you might need a CR1 visa attorney to help clarify what information it is you need to provide to ensure your application is approved.

Therefore, if you would like to be connected with an immigration lawyer who can assist you with this, contact USAttorneys.com today.