If you are a Vietnamese married to a United States citizen and want to live with your spouse. You can apply for a CR1 or IR1 visa, depending on how old your marriage is. The CR1/IR1 visa is an immigrant spousal visa, where CR1 is for marriages below two years old and IR1 is for older marriages.
Obtaining this visa will usually start with your citizen spouse petitioning the USCIS in the US by submitting Form I-130. After that, the rest of the application is on you, including the visa interview, which your spouse may or may not attend. Below, we have gathered important legal and practical information to help you during your spousal application process.
Understanding the CR1 and IR1 Spousal Visas
The US government provides immigrants with two types of marriage visas: the CR1 and IR1 visas. The CR1 is known as the Conditional Resident Spouse Visa while the IR1 is known as the Immediate Relative Spouse Visa.
You can apply for this visa if you have just got married to your United States citizen spouse. The visa allows you to move to the United States on immigrant status. It comes with a green card and a condition that you and your spouse must stay married for at least two years. If your marriage ends before these two years are up, your status will become invalid and you will return to Vietnam.
If your marriage is already more than two years, you can apply for this spousal visa directly. Or, if you entered the US with a CR-1 visa, you will transition to the IR-1 visa after two years. The IR-1 visa offers you a more permanent status, removing the two-year condition of CR-1.
Requirements for Obtaining a Spousal Visa in Vietnam
If you are looking to obtain a US spousal visa in Vietnam, there are certain requirements you must meet. Failure to meet these requirements will disbar you from applying for the visa at all much less acquiring it. To obtain a United States spousal visa in Vietnam, you must:
- Be legally married to a US citizen – that is, your marriage must be legal according to the laws of the country it was held in. For instance, merely cohabiting couples do not qualify for this visa.
- Your spouse must be a United States citizen; a green card holder or lawful permanent resident cannot sponsor this visa. The US citizen must have a valid address in the US and be able to support the spouse financially.
What Is the Application Process for a CR1/IR1 Visa in Vietnam?
The application process for a CR1/IR1 visa in Vietnam is divided into two parts: the visa petition and consular processing. First, the US citizen spouse will petition for their Vietnamese spouse with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. If and when the USCIS approves the petition, the Vietnamese spouse will start the consular processing in their home country. Essentially, the process must start within the US and be approved before the Vietnamese spouse can do anything.
After the citizen spouse files the petition, it will go through the Department of Homeland Security for processing. This can take a few months; the USCIS will notify the US citizen once the processing is complete.
If the USCIS approves the application, it will send the case to the National Visa, your main contact for the visa. Then, the Vietnamese spouse will get a package from the NVC, containing instructions on how to go about the consular processing.
The consular processing involves you going to the US embassy in Vietnam to apply for an IR1 (or CR1) visa. There is no cap on the number of IR1 visas issued annually, so you will not need to wait. Immediately the USCIS approves your spouse’s petition, you can begin your application at the US Embassy or Consulate in Vietnam. The process will include you filing Form DS-260, the main application, completing a medical examination, and attending your visa interview.
Do You Need a Lawyer for CR1/IR1 Visa Application in Vietnam?
You need experienced hands guiding you through your CR1/IR1 visa application in Vietnam, especially considering how complicated it can get. Herman Legal Group, led by Richard Herman, is an internationally-acclaimed law firm with vast experience in everything immigration. It has helped close the distance between couples separated by US immigration rules and regulations.
With our years of experience helping clients navigate the US immigration system, we can provide you with the best help possible. Thus, feel free to book us online for a consultation or call us at if you prefer direct consultation.
On a final note, obtaining a CR1/IR1 spousal visa in Vietnam starts with your citizen spouse in the US. They will petition the USCIS; the government body will review the petition and approve (or deny) it at its discretion. Once the USCIS has approved your spouse’s petition, you can go ahead and apply for the visa. There are several US consulates spread across Vietnam, so ensure you go to the one you can easily access.