I will write a series of articles on that visa, to detail the different stages.
If you meet the requirements for a cr-1/ir-1 visa, start by gathering some proofs of your relationship, and follow these steps.
First step: USCIS
- The US citizen completes and files a “Petition for Alien Relative”, form I-130.
Send it along with your file (proofs of relationships) to the USCIS center you depend on (depending on where you live, you can check and find the addresses here).
- Pay the fees, send them with your petition (we paid $420 but they now amount to $535 and increase each year – see here).
- There are no “rules” regarding the documents that you must attach to your petition, but it is advisable to include some proofs of authenticity and duration of your relationship such as epistolary or telephone exchanges, some photos and possible testimonials from friends.
To give you an idea, I will list exactly everything we included in ours:
- form G-28 because we were represented by a lawyer.
- form I-130
- form G-325A (Biographic Information) x 2 (one form each spouse) – a summary of the latest work places and housing of both spouses.
- 3 testimonies (my mother-in-law – who also announced her intention to be co-sponsor, my mother and my best friend, who had both made the trip to the USA for our wedding), signed in front of a notary, with presentation of a ID.
- our wedding certificate
- our birth certificates (+ certified English translation for mine)
- ten photos
- letters from him and from me (8-10 each) that shows a continuous relationship and its evolution (the least funny part because you expose your intimacy). Be careful not to include letters with inappropriate language or sexual content, and avoid sending letters that are too long.
If you have completed everything correctly and sent a check in the correct amount, you will receive your NO1 – Notice of Action – in a few days, which confirms receipt of your file and announces your “Priority Date” (the date your file arrived and not the one of the notice).
You can also follow the evolution on the USCIS website.
From there… you have to be patient! Your NO1 will tell you which center your file will be treated at, and apart from constantly monitoring the progress of the files of this center via mobile applications and community sites on immigration (like visajourney.com, a mine of info), there is nothing to do ! The official deadlines generally announce a wait of 4 or 5 months for this stage, some centers respect them, others don’t. In our case, we found ourselves in a completely overwhelmed center, which transferred a large part of his cases, late, including ours, to another center, when we had just reached 5 months of waiting . As a result, we got our NO2 after 7 months!
And at some point (when you’re at the end of life, slouching on your couch and too discouraged to look what has just beeped your phone):
You will also receive your NO2 by mail. Nothing more to do at that moment, you have to wait (between 2 weeks and a month) that your file is sent to the NVC for the next step.