As you know, the CR1 visa, or conditional resident visa, is for immigrant spouses who have been married for less than two years when they enter the United States with their visa. With this status, the spouse can move to the United States on a “conditional” basis. During this time, the expectation is that the couple will stay married for at least two years. After this period, the couple can jointly file to remove conditions from the visa holder’s permanent resident card. The visa holder will then receive the IR-1 visa (or the permanent green card), which lasts for 10 years.
Here are some things you should know about CR-1 Visa:
USCIS Processing vs. Consular Processing
There are two options to process your case which includes filing inside the U.S. as an adjustment of status or filing outside of the U.S. through consular processing. The difference in which processing you should choose will depend on the physical location of your spouse.
Evidence of the “Bona-Fide” Marriage
Before you are deemed eligible to petition an immediate relative for a green card, the petitioner must prove that their marriage is true. USCIS requires that the marriage take place for love, though exceptions can apply for certain cultures where arranged marriages are more prevalent, and not to obtain an immigration benefit. If it is determined by USCIS that the case is being filed for the sole purpose to obtain an immigration benefit, the case will be denied and both the U.S. citizen and foreign spouse could be subject to steep fines or jail time.
The Sponsor Must Meet 125% Of Poverty Guidelines
As part of the application process, the U.S. petitioner has to prove that, according to the numbers set forth within the U.S. Poverty Guidelines, the U.S. sponsor’s household income is high enough to support the immigrating family members at 125% or more of U.S. poverty line levels. If the sponsor does not meet this, then a joint sponsor can be included in the application.
You Can Use Your Assets Instead of Income For I-864
If you are having trouble meeting the income requirement through liquid cash, you can use or supplement the liquid cash amount with your assets. Using assets requires more value than liquid income. To determine the value of assets required to qualify, you must first understand the value of your asset. To do so, you must subtract any liens or liabilities from that asset to understand its true value per immigration requirements. You must then subtract your household income from the minimum income requirement (125% of the poverty level for your family size) to determine how much the asset needs to cover. Then, you must prove that the cash value of your assets is worth five times this difference. All assets must be able to become liquid or convertible to cash within 12 months if needed.
You Can Use a Joint Sponsor
If the petitioner does not meet the income requirements, a joint sponsor may be added to the petition. A joint sponsor can be a friend or family member with U.S. domicile and must be either a U.S. citizen or green card holder, and willing to vouch for your petition financially.
The Public Charge Rule
Public charge basically means that an immigrant is at a higher risk of becoming financially dependent on the government for their wellbeing. To avoid being labelled as a public charge, you must then prove that the U.S. sponsor can financially support you or has the cash reserve to pay for your living expenses if they do not work.
Interview for the Conditional Green Card
The visa interview is important to obtaining the visa. This is where you get to show that you are not only eligible for the visa but also qualify to immigrate to the U.S. Being nervous about the interview is normal but being prepared for the interview can mitigate some of the nervousness you might feel. If you’d like to know what to expect during the green card interview, you can always schedule a consultation with me at the link below.
Remove Conditions After Receiving the CR-1 Visa
After you obtain the CR-1 visa, the conditional green card will be valid for 2 years. Prior to the expiration of the green card, you will need to “remove the conditions” to the green card by filing Form I-751. The expectation is that you will still be married by the time this is required. However, if a separation or divorce occurred prior to filing, there are other options available.
As promised, here’s some bonus information that you may not know about:
Be honest and open during the interview. Think of the interview as an opportunity to give the officer a window into your life as a couple, not as an obligation to portray the ideal marriage. Every couple experience marital difficulties, and you shouldn’t be penalized for admitting your own. Being authentic to your own experiences is very important when obtaining a marriage-based green card.
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