- The IR1 visa
- The CR1 visa
- The K-3 visa
- If you have kids
- Necessary documents and interview for Spouse visa
The USA is a huge and beautiful country with a stable high standard of living, and a developed economy. Centers for the development of education and culture, science and technology, tourism and business – all of them are largely concentrated in the US. Given this, for many years the US of America is one of the most popular countries, both for travel and for immigration.
At the same time, the visa and immigration laws of the US are quite complex, and often very different from the usual continental system.
Family ties are one of the most frequent reasons for immigration. In this case, spouse visas are received by close family members of a US citizen or PR. These include spouses, minor kids and parents.
Even a legalized marriage with a US citizen doesn’t give you the right to enter the country without relevant documents. For the visit, you must first open an American visa for your wife or husband by contacting the embassy. But first you need to decide on its type. For spouses exist a few — immigration and nonimmigrant. You can collect all the documents and prepare for the interview yourself.
Anyway, the registration process suppose start for six months before the planned departure date in order to avoid undue haste and in time get the desired stamp in the passport.
In the US, US immigration law provides for two types of visas for spouses of US citizens:
- Immigration visa of the spouse IR1 or CR1;
- Nonimmigrant visa category K3.
The IR1 visa is an immigrant spouse visa that can be issued to the spouse of a US citizen if their marriage exists more than two years. The advantage of this visa is that you arrive in the US as a permanent resident of the US. This means that you will be granted a wide range of rights, including the right to freely entry / exit from the US at will, the right to work without obtaining a special permit and much more.
The main drawback of visa in this category is the period of consideration of the petition (from 6 to 12 months) during which you, as a rule, have no right to obtain a visa of a different category and enter to the territory of the US.
The CR1 visa is an analogue of the IR1 visa, which can be issued to the spouse of a US citizen if their marriage exists less than two years.
The main difference between a CR1 visa from IR1 is that you arrive in the US as a conditionally permanent resident of the US.
This means that if within two years of your arrival in the country your marriage breaks up, you will be required to leave the territory of the US and return to your homeland (although there are exceptions to this rule).
IR1 / CR1 visa is an immigrant visa. This means that you come to the country as a full-fledged immigrant-permanent resident of the US. You have practically all the rights granted to US citizens, with the exception of voting and some others. You don’t need to apply for a status change, get a work permit, you can freely enter and leave the US.
The K-3 visa appeared in the US recently, which is issued to foreign wives or grooms of American citizens. This visa is not immigration and allows wives or grooms of US citizens to reunite with their spouses, and immigrant status is obtained later in the US. Thus, the K3 visa in the US significantly simplified the procedure for obtaining American citizenship to foreign spouses of American citizens.
Registration of a K3 visa in the US has some features that must be taken into account by applicants for its receipt. The most important rule: a visa K3 in the US is issued only in the country in which the marriage was made. For example, if a marriage was made in the Cayman Islands, the American’s spouse in order to obtain a K3 visa in the US should go to the Cayman Islands and cover the thresholds of the offices of local bureaucrats.
The validity of the K3 visa in the US is two years. During this time, the wife must have time to get immigration status. The visa gives the right to repeatedly enter the territory of the US and leave the country.
The main advantage of a K3 visa before an IR1 / CR1 visa is that a K3 visa allows the spouse of a citizen of the USA to come to the US before the immigrant visa is issued. Despite the fact that the visa category K3 is called ” spouse visa “, it is considered a nonimmigrant visa. This means that upon arrival in the US you will need to change your status from a person temporarily located in the US to permanent resident status.
Before your entered the US for a K3 visa, you need file a petition with the USCIS to change your status to PR status in the USA, or apply for an immigrant visa to the US consulate in the country where your marriage was concluded. If, at the time of the approval of the petition for a change in status, less than two years have passed since you get marriage, the owners of K3 / K4 category visas receive the status of a conditionally permanent resident of the US.
This means that if you dissolve the marriage before the expiration of the two-year period, you will be required to leave the territory of the USA, but there are a number of exceptions to this rule. After two years from the moment you receive the status of a conditionally permanent resident of the US, you have the right to file a petition for the removal of the conditional status.
After a special approval issued by the Naturalization and Immigration Service, the owner of the K3 visa is entitled to work. You can also travel outside the US.
Since the visa of category K3 is multiple, you don’t need a special permit from the Naturalization and Immigration Service for departures from the country.
If you have kids
If you have received a spouse’s visa (K3 or IR1 / CR1), your minor kids under the age of 21 and unmarried automatically receive a K4 or IR2 / CR2 visa if a petition for this was claimed. This is a significant advantage of the spouse’s visa, because before its introduction, the kids of an foreign spouse aged 18 to 21 years could expect a permanent residence permit in the US for many years.
Eventually, you need to know that, if your marriage with a US citizen is concluded after your kid reaches 18 y.o., he will be deprived of the right to change his status to permanent resident of the US with you. Thus, you will need to take care of your kid to stay in the US (for example, on a student visa).
If you receive a K4 or IR2 / CR2 visa for a kid, you need to know that if you are not the only legal guardian of the kid, you will need to provide a notarized application to the embassy with permission from the other parent to leave the kid in the US. Such permission is not required for kids who have reached the age of 18 years.
Necessary documents and interview for Spouse visa
Documents establishing the identity and citizenship of both spouses (passports, birth certificates), documents confirming the legitimacy of your marriage, the actual evidence of your relationship.
After the package of documents has been formed, it, together with the accompanying documents, is sent for consideration to the appropriate department of the USCIS. First, an application for a spouse visa is submitted to the USCIS.
If you have a kid, a separate application for an immigrant visa is submitted to him. After this application is submitted, a visa application for category K3 is submitted to the USCIS. If you have fulfilled all necessary conditions, USCIS either approves the K3 visa petition and informs the relevant US consular service, or requests additional information if you provided incomplete or inaccurate information.
The period for considering a petition for a K3 visa is 8-12 weeks. A petition for an immigrant visa is considered longer – usually from 6 months to 1 year. This is due to the fact that this visa gives the status of permanent resident of the US, and, therefore, requires more thorough verification and resolution of a number of administrative issues.
After the embassy has received information on the approval of your petition for issuing a K3 visa, you will be given the date of the interview. During this time, your petition for issuing an immigrant visa may be approved – in this case, if the interview is successful, you will be issued an immigrant visa of the category IR1 or CR1.
An additional package of documents need to be submitted for the interview, including:
- the results of a medical examination conducted in an accredited clinic;
- guarantee of material support from your spouse, a US citizen;
- documents that allow you to establish the level of his income and financial position, as well as a number of others.
Your spouse, a US citizen, as a sponsor, will need to prove that the amount of his annual income exceeds the statutory minimum amount of income and provide relevant documents (tax return, bank statements, letters of the employer, etc.).
To assign an interview date, you need to call the call center. To come to the consular department for an interview is possible only on the day that the call center appointed an interview. If during the visa interview Applicant is granted a visa, a passport with a visa and a package of accompanying documents are sent by courier mail within 10 working days from the date of the interview.
Therefore, don’t make final preparations for the trip, while you still don’t have a passport and accompanying package. In order to qualify for a visa IR1 or CR1, it is important to meet all the requirements for this category of visa by submitting to the US Embassy a properly prepared package of documents!
In most cases, the refusal to obtain a visa to the USA occurs due to the absence of any document from the Applicant, which would be very easy to obtain, but which the Applicant did not know about, or because of a simple unpreparedness for an interview with a consular officer at the embassy.
And further necessary appeal on this issue will lead to unnecessary considerable financial costs and time loss! Given all of the above, we recommend that you seek help from qualified professionals, and also give maximum attention to even small details when applying for a visa of the appropriate category, to exclude in the future unnecessary financial costs, as well as the loss of time that you could use for more best goals!