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Spouse (CR1/IR1) Visa

The spouse (CR1/1R2) visa allows US citizens (USC) or Legal Permanent Residents (green card holders) to bring his or her spouse and their minor, unmarried children below 21 yrs. old to the US.

Eligibility
Eligibility Requirements

  1. Both the Petitioner and the Beneficiary spouse must have been legally married before the filing of the spouse visa. If previously married, proof of legal termination of previous marriages (e.g., divorce, death, annulment, etc.) must be provided.

NOTE:

  • On wedding location. It does not matter where the marriage ceremony was celebrated. For as long as the marriage is valid
    where celebrated, it will be valid for US immigration purposes.
  • Petitioner is previously married in the Philippines. If the Petitioner is previously married in the Philippines, he/she must be ready to provide proof that the marriage in PH was legally terminated (e.g., annulment, death, nullity of marriage). If marriage was terminated through foreign divorce, proof that the foreign divorce was recognized in the PH.
NOTES on Marriages
  1. Sharia Divorces. If previous marriage was obtained through Sharia courts, proof must be presented that the former couples were Muslims before the wedding and were married through Muslim rites.
  2. Proxy marriages. Generally, is not allowed except for some members of the military. Only few states in the US allow proxy marriages. In addition, the marriage must be consummated after the proxy wedding and before the embassy interview.
  3. Online marriages. With the pandemic, some states and US cities allow online marriage. The agency must be able to issue certification that these marriages are allowed in their state when filing for spouse visa.
Derivative Children

Derivative Children. The most important question when dealing with children is Does the child need a separate petition to migrate to the US? If the petitioner is:

 

  1. US Citizen
    • Every child needs a separate petition to migrate to the US
    • If the petition was filed before the child’s 21st birthday, he or she will never age out
  2. Green Card Holder
    • Every derivative child is deemed included in the petition (without need of a separate petition filed on their behalf)
    • Only unmarried children below 21 yrs. old will be considered derivatives
    • The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) may be availed of if they pass 21 while their case is pending at the NVC or at the time of the interview

NOTE:

  • Step children: If the Petitioner and the biological parent of the step child married before the 18th birthday of the step child, the Petitioner may file a petition for the step child, else, the biological parent needs to file a petition for his/her own child when he or she becomes a green card holder or US citizen.
  • Children turning 21 yrs. old. in the next 6 months: You may be able to request for an expedited processing if your child will be turning 21 in the next 6 months.
Processing Time

Processing Time. Processing times of spouse visa petitions are primarily affected by the immigration status of the Petitioners. USCIS generally publishes processing times on their website every month. Generally, if the Petitioner is a:

  • US citizen. If the Petitioner is a US citizen.
    • USCIS. Spouse petition is generally approved at around nine (9) months from filing.
    • National Visa Center (NVC). Takes about 3-4 months for the NVC to review required documents
    • US Embassies. Given priority at the US embassy for interview scheduling specially at this time of the pandemic
  • Green Card Holder. If the Petitioner is a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) or green card holder
    • USCIS. Spouse petition is generally approved between 12-18 months from filing. However, even if the petitioner is earlier approved, the case will not be forwarded to the NVC until the visa number becomes available.
    • National Visa Center (NVC). Takes about 3-4 months for the NVC to review required documents
    • US Embassies. At this time of the pandemic, spouse visa petitions by LPRs are not given the same priority as those filed by US citizens

NOTE: If you are a green card holder and will be eligible for citizenship in a year, it is still advisable to file your spouse visa petition anytime, then upgrade your petition from that of a spouse of an LPR to spouse of a US citizen after you take your oath ceremony as a US citizen. To save time.

Fiancée vs. Spouse visa – Which one if better?
The decision to go for fiancé(e) or spouse visa depends on your personal objective. What is more important to you? Is it:

  1. Your ability to bring to the US your aging derivative children?
  2. To bring your loved ones faster to the US?
  3. For your spouse and derivative children to be able to work?
  4. For your spouse and derivative children to obtain their green cards?
  5. Which one is least expensive?

LEARN MORE. Watch this Facebook Live from Immigration Attorney Nick Caraquel https://youtu.be/gPjUywEjeK8

To assess your initial eligibility, both the USC Petitioner and Beneficiary may complete these questionnaires.

1. Do you have previous marriages?

If yes, do you have documentation to prove that ALL those previous marriages have been legally terminated (e.g., divorce, annulment, death, etc.,)?

2. Do you have criminal records?

3. Have you filed another fiancée (K1) or spouse (CR1) visa in the last two years?

4. Did you obtain your green card or citizenship through marriage to a US citizen?

If one or more of your previous marriage(s) have been terminated through Sharia divorce, please answer these questions. Were you and your ex-spouse.,

5. Muslims at the time of marriage?

6. Married through the Muslim wedding traditions?

1. Do you have previous marriages?

If yes, do you have documentation to prove that ALL those previous marriages have been legally terminated (e.g., divorce, annulment, death, etc.,)?

2. Do you have criminal records?

3. Have you been a beneficiary of another fiancée (K1) or spouse (CR1) visa in the past?

4. Have you lived in another country (abroad) for at least six months?

5. Have you been denied a US visa?

6. Have you been refused entry to the US (e.g., airport-to-airport)?

7. Do you have minor, unmarried children who will be migrating with you to the US?

If Yes, how many?

If one or more of your previous marriage(s) have been terminated through Sharia divorce, please answer these questions. Were you and your ex-spouse.,

8. Muslims at the time of marriage?

9. Married through the Muslim wedding traditions?

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