One of the top three countries to which Jamaicans immigrate is the US, Canada and the UK being the other two. Whether for work purposes or on a marriage basis, a great population of Jamaicans is in the United States of America.

While you can enter the United States using any type of immigrant and non-immigrant visa, marriage-based visas are the most common. Marriage to a US citizen or green card holder may make you eligible to apply for a marriage-based visa.

This article is particularly focused on Jamaicans married to US citizens; there are two marriage-based visa application options open to you.

The first is the Conditional Resident Visa (CR1), for which you are eligible if your marriage is less than two years. The second visa is the Immediate Relative Visa (IR1), which is only available to those who have been married longer. Below are things you need to know about applying for either of these two marriage-based immigrant visas.

Definition of a Spouse, According to the NVC

The National Visa Center (NVC) and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are in charge of immigration processes.

Although they are two different government bodies, both are governed by the US immigration system and laws.

Thus, according to the NVC and USCIS, a spouse is a legally married woman or man; “legally” means, their marriage is recognized. That means, merely cohabiting does not count as marriage and will not be accepted for immigration purposes.

Also, common-law spouses like same-sex couples may qualify, provided the laws in the country where the wedding occurred support it. For polygamous couples, the government will only accept the first spouse as a spouse and consider them for immigration.

Steps for Applying for a US Spousal Visa

The first step in the US spousal visa application is the filing of Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Your US-citizen spouse will file this form with the USCIS in his or her state in the United States.

If you are applying for this particular spousal visa (IR1 or CR1), your spouse must be domiciled in the US. Also, while there is no minimum age for the petitioner, they must be at least eighteen years old to sign Form I-864.

It is required that the petitioner (US citizen) maintains a principal residence in the US, which is where you intend to live.

Otherwise, they should at least have an intention of returning with you to live in the US permanently. Meanwhile, if you are applying for an IR1 or CR1 visa, your spouse must be a US citizen, not just a green card holder.

After filing Form I-130 and the USCIS approves it, your case is now in the hands of the National Visa Center. The NVC, once it receives your petition, will assign it a case number and send you a mail.

In the mail, you will be instructed to complete Form DS-261, Choice of Agent, which you won’t need if you have a lawyer already. The NVC will start pre-processing your case; the real processing starts when you pay the appropriate fees.

When you have paid the fees (to the US Embassy in Jamaica), the next step is to prepare for your interview. This preparation includes gathering the required documents, including passports that will remain valid for six months after you enter the US. Also, you will submit the appropriate Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, and DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application.

You will also come with civil documents, including birth certificate(s), adoption documents, where applicable, marriage certificates, and divorce decrees, where applicable.

The last stage is your visa interview, which the NVC will schedule once your file is complete with the required documents. The NVC will send your file with all the documents you submitted to the US Embassy in Jamaica.

Choose the Embassy carefully because this is where your interview will hold; you don’t want to have to travel miles to get there. You will come with all the documents listed in the instructions the NVC will send to you, for your interview.

Hiring a Good Lawyer: Herman Legal Group Can Help

Applying for a marriage-based immigrant visa involves a complicated process that you can go through alone, but shouldn’t. Herman Legal Group has helped thousands of immigrants from Jamaica and many other countries gain US visas. Whether you are looking to get the IR1 or CR1, our lawyers can guide you through. Our job is to ensure the process is as error-free, painless, and smooth as a visa application process can be.

Thus, if you are stuck, are yet to start, or have issues regarding your application. Feel free to call us at +1-216-696-6170 or, if you prefer, book online.


Before you start your application for a CR1/IR1 visa in Jamaica, ensure you meet all the eligibility requirements. First off, your spouse must be a US citizen, at least eighteen years old, and must be domiciled in the US.

You, the foreign national spouse, must have a legal, genuine marital relationship with them while not being married to anyone else.


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