Helping Your Spouse Get a Green Card
A U.S. citizen or permanent resident can help a spouse get an immigrant visa (green card). Here's how to start the process and get the quickest processing.
A “spouse visa” in this article is a term to refer to an immigrant visa (green card) for spouses. The U.S. government may issue a spouse visa to the foreign national spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. For couples who have been married more than two years, the U.S. Department of State will issue an “IR1” visa. On the other hand, spouses who have been married less than two years get a “CR1” visa. This code indicates that the new permanent resident (green card holder) is a conditional resident. In fact, most spouse visa beneficiaries are approved as conditional residents.
Immigration officials, from the U.S. Department of State and also U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), scrutinize spouse relationships more than other types of immigrant visa applications. That’s because there’s been an historically high rate of visa fraud for marriages as compared to other relationships. Therefore, immigration officials want reassurance that the marriage is legitimate and that the foreign spouse is obtaining a green card based on a genuine relationship.
Requesting the Spouse Visa
To start the process of applying for the spouse visa, you have to submit some forms. In other words, all of the forms are not filed together. Initially, the U.S. citizen or permanent resident files Form I-130 and I-130A with USCIS. Form I-130 is a request by the U.S. citizen or permanent resident to make a visa available to a foreign national spouse.
It’s extremely important to prepare a complete I-130 petition package with all of the necessary supporting documents when filing for a spouse visa. USCIS may send a Request for Evidence (RFE) if any information is missing. This additional step will delay the case and increase the time it takes to approve the petition. The typical I-130 petition package.