There are several different options when it comes to emigrating to the USA but we felt the CR1 Spousal Visa was the best for our situation. The rules and laws are constantly changing (we’ve already been caught up in one law change!), but this is our visa journey, true as of 2015/2016 onwards…because lets face it, it’s an on going process that doesn’t stop the day you enter America!
As a long distance couple we had to pick one country or the other. As I didn’t earn enough to be a UK visa sponsor, I had no choice but to be the one to make the move to America. Because of this we decided it was only fair to get married in the UK so at least my whole family could witness it.
My partner entered the UK on a UK Marriage Visitor Visa to give Notice and then again later in the year, for the wedding.
Once we were married we could then truly begin our visa journey so I could legally live in the USA. This is a detailed version of some of the things you can expect from the visa process, including tips and advice on some of the forms you may encounter. Please be aware that I am NOT an immigration lawyer. The following information is an account of my successful CR1 Spousal Visa Application.
Our Visa Journey: The CR1 Visa Process
As I am a Brit, married to a USA citizen. We used the I 130 petition for a spousal visa.
I used this book: Guide Book for Completing the USA Marriage & Fiancé Visa I highly recommend it! It helped me out so much during the process.
Before You Start The Process
Here are a couple of helpful resources in deciding if the CR1 is right for you, including the total cost of the process, how long it could potentially take with the visa processing times and whether you may prefer to enter on a Fiancé visa instead of a Spouse visa!
This part of the visa journey takes the longest. It’s the part where they decide whether or not you entered the marriage for the right reasons and not purely just to get an American visa.
18/9/15 – I-130 Visa forms sent
Once USCIS have approved the marriage as such, the application then gets sent the National Visa Centre. This part is processed faster than the USCIS stage and is where you’ll have to prove that the American sponsor earns enough to support the intending immigrant and the immigrant has to fill in a giant in depth form about their background, how often they’ve travelled to the States in the past etc. All the official stuff!
For me, coming from the UK, the final stage of this part of the visa journey was dealt with in London. This is the first time ‘America’ will see you as a real person. You have to pass an in-depth medical and then have a face to face interview at the embassy…which really isn’t that bad, they mainly just want to see all the originals of the documents that were sent as copies during the application.
Point of Entry USA
This is my experience on entering the USA for the very first time on a Permanent Resident Visa…if it’s anything like mine, you will be pulled into a backroom for ‘processing’!
ARRIVED IN AMERICA: 11th August 2016 (total CR1 visa processing time = 11 MONTHS)
Settling in to the USA
More resources on settling into the USA as a new immigrant such as receiving your Social Security Number, passing an American driving test and travelling internationally using a Green Card (hint…never travel without it!!!)
Removing 2 Year Green Card Conditions
If you’ve been married for less that 2 years when you first apply for a Green Card, you are only given 2 years once you are granted entry. 3 months before the expiration date on the card, you have to fill out the I-751 to remove the 2 year conditions on the Green Card.
After 4 year living in the USA, I decided to repatriate back to the UK. For me it was the right decision and I’m happy to be home!