We have 11 years of experience in successfully CR-1 Marriage visas. The process in involved, highly technical, and ever-changing. Indeed, marriage visas are more difficult to obtain from a technical standpoint than fiance visas. Below is a description of the marriage visa and the procedure to obtain it.
The marriage visa, also known as a CR-1 visa, is the appropriate visa for the spouse of an American citizen. The spouse of an American citizen is ineligible for a fiance visa because one of the main conditions of the fiance visa is that both parties be unmarried – not already married to each other.
Please note: If your wife wants to bring her children, you will need to file separate petitions for each one of them. Please call us at 952-544-6804 for more information about this.
Definition of Marriage and Spouse
The State Department Foreign Affairs Manual provides that marriage is defined as “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”
Generally both parties to the marriage must both be present at the marriage ceremony, however a proxy marriage is valid for immigration purposes if it is consummated after the marriage ceremony.
The First Step – the USCIS Petition
The first step toward obtaining a marriage visa for your foreign spouse is filing an I-130 petition with the USCIS. This petition must be supported by the following documentation:
1. Proof that the petitioner is a U.S. citizen;
2. Proof that the parties were free to marry at the time of their marriage (widowed, divorced
or never married). This can be documented with divorce decrees or death certificates (of
former spouse) as applicable;
3. Proof of valid marriage between the petitioner and the beneficiary;
4. Proof that the marriage is based on good-faith and legitimate romance and love (not
entered into for purposes of immigration).
The Second Step – NVC processing
After the USCIS approves your I-130 petition, it sends the petition to the National visa Center. The NVC sends out a fee invoice which must be paid to commence NVC processing. The following documents and completed forms need to be submitted to the NVC:
1. Affidavit of Support (I-864, I-864A, I-864 EZ, or I-864W, as appropriate) from the petitioner/U.S. sponsor;
2. Supporting financial documentation from the sponsor including tax returns, pay stubs and employer letter;
3. Application for Immigrant visa and Alien Registration, Form DS-230, both Part I and Part II, or Online Immigrant visa Application and Registration, Form DS-260 (NOTE: Form DS-260 is a new online application form. It is currently in use for immigrant visa applicants whose cases meet certain criteria. Review Online Immigrant visa Forms to learn whether you must complete the online DS-260 form.)
4. Copy of applicant’s valid passport biographic data page;
5. Applicant’s birth certificate;
6. Marriage certificate;
7. Proof of termination of marriage for Applicant’s previous marriage(s);
8. Applicant’s police certificate;
9. Two (2) 2×2 photographs. See the required photo format explained in Photograph Requirements;
10. Completed Medical Examination Forms – These are provided by the panel physician after you have completed your medical examination and vaccinations.
Once the NVC receives all of the above documentation, it schedules your wife’s interview and forwards the file to the American consulate in her home country.
The Third and Final Step – the Consular Interview
This step is the consular interview. At the interview the consular officer will make a final determination of eligibility for the marriage visa. The interviewer will ask your wife about your relationship and she will need to establish that the relationship is romantic and loving. We prepare all of our clients for the interview to ensure success. After the interview the visa will be issued immediately or within 7 – 14 days.
For a free evaluation of your case please call us at: (952) 544-6804