If youre currently married to a green card holder or US citizen and plan to get a marriage-based green card while residing overseas, you will have to apply at your local US Consulate or Embassy. Consular processing is a term referred to as the process that enables you to acquire either an IR1 or CR1 visa.

An IR1/CR1 Marriage Visa is a family-based green card that grants you permission to work and live in the United States, but on slightly different conditions and terms. You are eligible for this visa if you are a US green card holder or the spouse of a US citizen intending to settle in the US under the status of permanent residency. After three years of living in the country under this marriage-based green card visa, you (the spouse) will be qualified for US citizenship.

What is a Marriage-based Green Card?

A Marriage green card is an immigrant visa for US green card holders and legal spouses of US citizens that permits them to enter and settle in the United States legally. This is a type of family-based green card that falls under the immediate-relative classification and is hence not subjected to an annual cap. Moreover, its a spouse visa thats particularly designed for foreign nationals who are legally married to US green card holders and citizens and are planning to become permanent residents in the United States.

Difference between CR1 and IR1visa

Marriage green cards are divided into two categories: CR1 and IR1. Generally, the type of visa that a spouse is issued largely depends on the length of time with which the couple has been married. This means that while both the IR1 and CR1 visas offer similar privileges and rights to those who qualify, they still adhere to different timelines.

A Conditional Resident or CR1 visa is issued to applicants who have been married for less than two years upon their arrival to the US with their green card. Moreover, these visas are also given on a conditionalbasis, such that the visa is granted on the terms that the couple stays married for a minimum of two years. The US citizen spouse and the beneficiary must apply to remove their green card conditions two years after their arrival in the United States. In turn, they will be receiving an updated ten-year permanent resident card. After two years of being married, the spouse will now be qualified to apply for an IR1 visa.

On the other hand, an Immediate Relative or IR1 visa is given to beneficiaries who have already been married to their spouse for more than two years upon the approval ofo their green card. In this situation, the holder of the IR1 visa wont need to remove conditions since there are none. Furthermore, they will also have ten years before they are able to renew their permanent resident card.

What can you do with an IR1/CR1 visa?

Under this visa, foreign-born spouses are able to enjoy a status of permanent residency in the United States. They are also entitled to several privileges such as:

The ability to work legally in the US

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The capacity to travel in and out of the US

The ability to get a drivers license

The ability to study at educational programs or higher learning institutions

The ability to open a bank account


To obtain an ir1/cr1 marriage visa, you would need to apply through a process called consular processing. The couple must first have a legally recognized marriage, alongside a valid marriage certificate to be provided upon application for the IR1/CR1 visa. Moreover, the couple must also have a spouse who is a citizen of the United States or a green card holder that has a valid address within the country.

How to apply for the IR1/CR1 visa

To apply for this visa, the US spouse should first petition for sponsorship of their overseas partner. That said, the American spouse should primarily fill out and submit Form I-130, which is the Petition for Alien Relatives. Afterward, they must send it to the USCIS or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and wait until it gets processed. The length of processing usually takes place within a few months.

After a decision has been made, the USCIS will then inform the petitioner of the decision. If it has been rejected, the US spouse will be informed of the reasons behind the refusal. Depending on these reasons, you may be able to resubmit your petition after making the necessary changes or revisions.

Otherwise, if it has been approved, you will continue to the next stage of the application process. Instructions about the application process alongside the case and ID invoice number will be sent to the applicant or overseas spouse in a packet sent by the National Visa Center.