If you live in the U.S. as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and are wanting to bring your spouse into the country to live with you, you will need to file form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative in attempt to get them an IR1 spousal visa. You will also be required to complete and sign Form I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary. In the event your spouse is living overseas at the time of filing, they are not required to sign Form I-130A, although it must be submitted together with Form I-130.

Now, to be clear, it is important that you understand what USCIS constitutes as a spouse before going forward and filing the corresponding paperwork.

What Is a “Spouse”?

USCIS considers a spouse to be a legally wedded husband or wife. However, you should also be mindful of the following:

  • A couple that lives together but has not been legally wedded will not qualify to apply for the IR1 visa.
  • Common-law spouses, however, “may qualify as spouses for immigration purposes depending on the laws of the country where the common-law marriage occurs. “A common-law marriage is defined as “an agreement between a man and woman to enter into marriage without a civil or religious ceremony.”
  • “In cases of polygamy, only the first spouse may qualify as a spouse for immigration.”


Now, in order to qualify for an IR1 visa, you must have been married to your spouse for more than two years. And if you go through the process, fill out all the necessary forms, and your spouse passes his/her interview, he/she will be issued a green card that permits them to live in the U.S. for 10 years. However, if you haven’t been married for at least two years, then your spouse would receive a CR1 visa, which only gives them temporary admittance into the U.S.

While the process might seem easy enough, you need to keep in mind that USCIS won’t just approve your IRA visa application right away. They want to be sure your marriage is a bona fide marriage and may require you to submit forms of proof indicating your marriage isn’t just an attempt to get another foreign individual a ticket to live inside the U.S. legally.

Now, once you submit Forms I-130 and I-130A, USCIS may request additional information from you and you will want to provide this to them in a timely manner. You are also required to pay a filing fee of $535 at the time your application is submitted. It is important for you to understand that there may be additional filing fees you must pay if USCIS determines other forms are required to be filled out and filed.


Do I need an IR1 visa attorney to help me file Form I-130?

While it is not required of you to retain an immigration and visa attorney to file an application for an IR1 spousal visa, they can help make the process easier for you and your spouse to get through. The fact is, you are going to be asked many different questions on your application and if you make a mistake in answering any of them, you risk having your application denied. On top of that, if your application is pushed through and your spouse is asked to complete their interview, you will want a legal professional to help prep you and your spouse for the questions you will be asked.

At USAttorneys.com, we understand how difficult it might be for you to live hundreds or even thousands of miles away from your partner and we want to help your spouse obtain their IR1 visa so that they can live in the U.S. with you and the two of you can build your lives together. So, if you are interested in receiving some additional help with the application process or simply have a question regarding how to file an application for an IRA visa, contact us today and will connect you with an immigration and visa lawyer who can assist you.