Are you Chinese, married to a US citizen or green card holder, and want to go live with them there? You may be eligible to apply for a marriage-based immigrant visa (CR-1 or IR-1). Every immigrant visa processing to the United States is done at the US Consulate in Guangzhou.

Although there is more than one US Consulate in China, only the US Consulate in Guangzhou handles immigrant visa applications.

To apply for a marriage-based visa, you must be sponsored by a US citizen or green card holder (Lawful Permanent Resident).

They will initiate the application by filing Form I-130 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Keep reading to find out more about applying for a US marriage-based immigrant visa.

Moving from China to the US Based on Marriage

Marriage-based visa applications in China are unlike in other countries in that the process is entirely done in the US. The Chinese government is not involved in the process at all and all the documents you will submit must be in English alone. Furthermore, Chinese companies do not have access to the US; thus, they cannot contact the embassy for or attend the interview with you.

This is mostly because Chinese-owned companies do not understand how the US government works and cannot help you when you leave China. If you employ the services of a Chinese-owned company and are unsatisfied, you may be left stranded.

Thus, it is best you deal with an American-owned company known internationally and with a physical office in the US. Meanwhile, working with a visa company, American-owned or otherwise, does not guarantee you will get the visa.

Steps for Applying for a US CR1/IR1 Visa

In this section, we will focus more on your part, which is the consular processing – that is, processing at the US Embassy in China. First, your US sponsor will submit a petition (Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative) with the USCIS. The USCIS will review and approve (or deny) the petition; if it approves, the National Visa Center takes over.

NVC Processing

The NVC will pre-process your case, starting with creating your case in their system. When they are done, you will get a Welcome Letter, which will contain information on the next steps to take. The letter will include fees to be paid, forms to fill out, and supporting documents to submit.

When your file is completed, the NVC will schedule your immigrant visa interview, based on what appointments are available at your local Consulate.

Pay the Fees

Immediately after you receive the welcome letter from NVC, you should pay your processing fees. These fees include the Affidavit of Support (I-864) Fee and Immigrant Visa Application Processing (DS-260). To pay these fees, you need a bank routing number and a US bank account number; then, visit the CAEC website to pay.

After you pay the fees, your US sponsor is expected to fill out the Affidavit of Support form. They will submit this along with financial documents and other supporting documents as evidence of their financial status.

Fill Out Form DS-260

The next step is to fill out the Immigrant Visa Application form you paid for (Form DS-260). To fill out the form, input your case number (it will be in the letter sent to you) in CAEC.

Fill out the form correctly and truthfully, and then submit; print the confirmation page you see (you should see a confirmation page). You don’t have to print this out immediately; you can print it out any time after completing your DS-260 application.

Preparing for Your Interview

Next, you will prepare for your visa interview, starting with completing a medical examination at the approved center. After this, you should start gathering the supporting documents you submitted to the NVC and others you will be instructed to bring.

These include civil documents, including all the certificates, forms, and other documents required by the NVC. Ensure all the documents are complete as incomplete documents can cause a delay in your application and visa issuance.

The Interview

Now, you are at the last stage of this visa application process: the immigrant visa interview. You will be given a date; go to the US Consulate on this date with your DS-260 confirmation page printout. You will be interviewed by a consular officer and evaluated to be eligible or ineligible for the visa.

Should You Get a Legal Representative at Herman Legal Group?

Herman Legal Group is an American-owned, Ohio-based law firm that specializes in immigrant and nonimmigrant visas alike. Our lawyers have over twenty years of experience helping immigrants obtain a visa to live permanently in the US. Considering how complicated the US immigration system can get, working with our experienced, multicultural, and multilingual team of lawyers is the best.

Therefore, if you are looking to go join your US citizen or permanent resident spouse in the US, feel free to reach out. You can book online for a consultation with us or just call us at +1-216-696-6170.


Obtaining a CR1 or IR1 visa allows you to move from China to the US to live there permanently. The CR1 (Conditional Resident Visa) is for those married for less than two years. Contrarily, the IR1 (Immediate Relative Visa) is for those married for longer than two years, and the sponsor must be a US citizen.

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