Interracial couple outdoors smiling - for information on spouse visas from Raleigh, North Carolina immigration attorney Lisa Wogwu

Spousal Visas - CR1

At Wogwu Law, we understand the emotional and legal complexities of uniting families across borders. The CR1 spousal visa is a path for U.S. citizens to bring their foreign spouses to the United States, fostering a life together on American soil. We aim to simplify this journey for you, providing clear guidance and compassionate support at every step.

What is a CR1 Spousal Visa?

The CR1 (Conditional Resident) spousal visa is a type of family-based immigrant visa in the United States. It is specifically designed for the foreign national spouses of U.S. citizens. The CR1 visa differs from nonimmigrant visas in that it is intended for individuals seeking to live permanently in the U.S. rather than for a temporary stay. When a foreign national spouse is granted a CR1 visa, they can enter the United States and obtain conditional permanent resident status. This status is "conditional" because it is initially valid for only two years. The dependent aspect of this visa is put in place to ensure that the marriage is genuine and not solely to obtain immigration benefits.

During the two-year period of conditional residency, the couple must remain married and demonstrate the authenticity of their marriage. Towards the end of the two years, the couple must jointly file a petition (using Form I-751) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to remove the conditions on the foreign national spouse's residency. If approved, the conditions are removed, and the spouse becomes a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States, commonly referred to as a green card holder, without any conditions attached to their status.

Eligibility Criteria for a CR1 Visa

To be eligible for a CR1 (Conditional Resident) visa, certain specific criteria must be met by both the U.S. citizen petitioner and their foreign national spouse. These requirements are designed to ensure that the marriage is genuine and that the visa is used for family reunification. Here are the key eligibility criteria for a CR1 visa:

  • Valid Marriage: The U.S. citizen and the foreign national must be legally married. The marriage must be valid where it took place and should be recognized as a legitimate marriage under U.S. law. This means that all legal formalities required in the country where the marriage occurred must have been followed.
  • Proof of Bona Fide Marriage: The couple must demonstrate that their marriage is genuine and not entered into solely for immigration benefits. This involves providing evidence of a bona fide relationship, such as joint financial records, photographs together, joint property ownership, evidence of shared life experiences, affidavits from friends and family, and any other documents that prove the authenticity of the marital relationship.
  • U.S. Citizenship of the Petitioner: The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen. Permanent residents (green card holders) are not eligible to petition for a CR1 visa but can petition for a different type of spousal visa.
  • Financial Support: The U.S. citizen petitioner must demonstrate the ability to financially support their foreign spouse. This is typically done through an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864), which shows that the petitioner's income is at or above 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. This requirement ensures that the foreign spouse will not become a public charge.
  • No Legal Impediments to Marriage: Both the U.S. citizen and the foreign spouse must be legally free to marry. This means that any previous marriages for either party must have been legally terminated through divorce, death, or annulment.
  • Meeting in Person: Generally, the couple must have met in person at least once within two years prior to filing the visa petition. Exceptions to this requirement are rare and are typically based on extreme hardship or if meeting in person would violate strict and long-established customs of the foreign national's culture or social practice.
Closeup Hispanic couple smiling - for spousal visa information from Raleigh, North Carolina attorney Lisa Wogwu

The Application Process

The CR1 visa application process involves several steps, starting with filing a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We will guide you through each phase, including gathering documents, attending interviews, and preparing for the consulate processing. Our approach is to make this process as smooth and stress-free as possible for you and your spouse.

Adjusting to Life in the U.S. After Visa Approval

Once the CR1 visa is approved, your spouse can legally enter the U.S. and start their new life with you. We provide guidance on the next steps, including applying for a Social Security Number, adjusting to a new culture, and eventually applying to remove the conditions on their residency.

Contact an Experienced Immigration Attorney

Embarking on the CR1 visa journey can be daunting, but with the right legal partner, it becomes a manageable and hopeful journey. Call us at Wogwu Law today at 919-964-5472 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a dedicated immigration lawyer serving clients worldwide. We are committed to guiding you through each step of the process, ensuring that you and your spouse can start your new life together in the United States with confidence and peace of mind.

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