If you are a citizen of the United Kingdom and married to a United States citizen but are living separately. If you want to go to the United States to live with your spouse permanently, there are provisions for that. You will need to petition a visa at the US Embassy or Consulate in the UK, a process known as consular processing. This process enables you to obtain a CR1 or IR1 visa, depending on how old your marriage is.

In this article, we will consider the major differences between the CR1 and IR1 visas and the requirements for obtaining them. Also, we will discuss how to apply, as well as how long it takes to get the visa.

CR-1 vs. IR-1

The CR-1 and IR-1 immigrant visas provide the same rights and privileges; the difference is in the timelines. Immediate Relative Visa (IR1) is for beneficiaries who have been married for over two years at the time the petition is approved. On the other hand, the Conditional Resident Visa (CR1) is for those whose marriage isn’t up to two years. The CR1 is valid for two years after which the beneficiary can apply to have the conditions removed.

After the conditions on the CR1 green card have been removed, the beneficiary will be granted a ten-year permanent resident card. For IR1 visa holders, there are no conditions to remove; they will get the ten-year permanent resident card straightaway. After the ten years, permanent resident card holders can either apply to renew their card or naturalize their status. Naturalization refers to the process of applying for United States citizenship; this is another topic on its own.

Requirements for Obtaining CR1/IR1 Visa

The application process for either visa starts with the US citizen spouse petitioning the USCIS in the United States. The visa types available for consular processing include CR1/IR1 for the spouse and CR2/IR2 for any child involved. Below are the basic requirements for applying for a US CR1/IR1 visa in the UK:

  • The sponsor must be a citizen of the United States and be legally married to a UK citizen;
  • They must prove the authenticity and validity of their marriage using documents such as family pictures and flight itineraries, among others;
  • The sponsor must be financially stable and able to support the UK spouse when he or she enters the United States;
  • The sponsor (US citizen) must live in the United States or plan to return with their UK spouse.

What Is the Process for Applying for CR1/IR1 Visa in the UK?

First, ensure you are eligible to receive this immigrant visa and can prove that your marriage is authentic. For instance, your US-citizen spouse must be eighteen years old at least and domiciled in the US. After your US citizen spouse has petitioned the USCIS with Form I-130 and the latter has approved the petition. It may take a couple of months or more than a year before the USCIS processes the Form I-130

You cannot proceed with the consular processing (application at your local US Embassy) unless the USCIS has approved the form. If the USCIS approves the form, the National Visa Center will take over the case. The NVC will officially enter your record into the system and notify you about the required fees and documents you’ll submit. Part of these is Form DS-260, which is the actual immigrant visa application form.

The NVC will then send your approved paperwork to you, which you will take to your local US Consulate. Meanwhile, the US Consulate in your locality will send you a letter informing you of when to come for your interview. You will get medically examined at the approved medical center before you interview, and come with relevant documentation to the interview.

How Long Does CR1/IR1 Visa Application Take?

Between the approval of Form I-130 and when you get the visa, it takes about eight to ten months. What can cause a delay is the actual approval of Form I-130 and if the documentation you submitted isn’t sufficient.

Can Herman Legal Group Help You Get a CR1/IR1 Visa in the UK?

Herman Legal Group is based in Ohio, but it serves clients around the world, including in the UK. Therefore, if you need an experienced legal attorney to help you with your immigration case, you can reach out. We have a team of dogmatic, diversified, and professional immigration attorneys who can assist you through the process.

It is important that you start the legal procedures on time for better chances of getting your petition approved. You can call +1-216-696-6170 to consult with immigration attorney Richard Herman or book online.


Remember that the IR-1/CR-1 visa application process starts with your US citizen spouse petitioning the USCIS by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. It is only after the USCIS has approved this petition that you can proceed with consular processing in the UK. Considering how complex the process can get, you might want to get a good lawyer to assist with the legal procedures.

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