How long does it take to get a CR1 visa?

In 2023, obtaining a CR-1 spouse visa takes approximately 17 months or more from the initial application to the moment your visa is granted. It's important to note that this timeline is an estimate, and the actual timeframe can vary based on individual circumstances. While we provide this estimate based on current trends, we cannot guarantee your specific timeline. Still, we aim to offer you a general idea to help manage your expectations.

Several factors can influence the duration of your CR-1 spouse visa process, including:

  1. Foreign Spouse's Home Country: The country in which your foreign spouse resides can impact the processing time due to varying embassy workloads, local conditions, and potential unexpected delays.
  1. Sponsor's Status: Whether the sponsoring spouse is a U.S. citizen or a green card holder can affect the timeline, as U.S. citizens generally experience faster processing times.
  1. USCIS and NVC Workload: The workload and efficiency of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the National Visa Center (NVC) at the time of your application can influence the overall timeline.
  1. Quality of Your Petition: The completeness and accuracy of your submitted petition play a significant role. Professionally assembled petitions are more likely to progress smoothly and receive faster approval.
  1. Policy Changes: Changes in immigration policies or processes can introduce unexpected delays or alterations to the processing timeline.
  1. Natural Disasters, War, Terrorism: Events such as natural disasters, conflicts, or acts of terrorism that are beyond your control, may lead to unforeseen disruptions in the visa processing timeline.

Let's break down the stages of a CR-1 Spouse Visa application:

1. Notice of Action 1 (NOA1): 1-2 Weeks

Shortly after filing Form I-130 ("Petition for Alien Relative"), you will receive a notification confirming that USCIS has received your application.

2. Notice of Action 2 (NOA2): 17 Months (May vary depending on your situation)

This phase, spanning from USCIS receipt to approval, can be one of the most challenging periods during the process.

3. National Visa Center (NVC) Notice: 3-6 Weeks

Your case transitions to the National Visa Center during this stage.

4. Embassy Phase: 1-3 Months

Your case is transferred to the local U.S. Embassy for further processing.

5. Visa Granted: 2-10 Days

The period following visa approval, leading up to the moment you have the visa in your hands.

6. Green Card: 2-6 Weeks

After entering the U.S., you can expect to receive your green card within this timeframe.

Please remember that the originating country, the quality of your petition, requests for evidence (RFEs), USCIS workload, policy changes, and unforeseen events such as natural disasters or conflicts can all impact your timeline. While challenges may arise, staying informed and maintaining patience will help navigate this process more easily

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is faster: K-1 or CR-1? 

The CR-1 spousal visa has an average wait time of about seventeen (17) months. In comparison, the K-1 fiancé visa has a wait time of approximately eight (8) months. Therefore, as of 2023, the wait time for K-1 is shorter than CR-1. Note that the average wait time can vary depending on many factors, including the service center, whether you are married to a U.S. citizen or a green card holder, and your unique conditions.

What is the process for obtaining a CR1 visa?

To obtain a CR1 visa, the steps typically include:

  • The U.S. citizen spouse files a Form I-130 petition with USCIS.
  • USCIS processes the petition and, if approved, forwards it to the National Visa Center (NVC).
  • The NVC processes the case and forwards it to the U.S. embassy or consulate in the foreign spouse's home country.
  • The foreign spouse attends an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate and, if approved, receives the CR1 visa.

How can I check my CR-1 visa status?

To check your CR-1 spousal visa application status, you may visit the government website at least three business days after your visa interview appointment.

How do I know if my CR-1 visa is approved?

To find out if your CR-1 visa is approved, check your email and look for a message saying that your passport is ready for pick-up at the location indicated in your profile.

Are there any additional factors that could delay the processing time?

Yes, there can be delays due to administrative processing, security checks, incomplete documentation, or additional requests for evidence. It's crucial to ensure that your application is complete and accurate to minimize potential delays.

Can the processing time for a CR1 visa be expedited?

In some cases, you can expedite the processing of your CR1 visa for urgent reasons, such as a medical emergency or immediate travel. You would need to provide evidence of the urgency, ultimately at the discretion of USCIS and the embassy or consulate.

Can I visit the U.S. while waiting for my CR1 visa?

Visiting the U.S. on a tourist visa while your CR1 visa is pending is generally not advisable because it could raise questions about your immigrant intent. It's best to wait for the CR1 visa approval and enter as a conditional permanent resident.

Can I work or travel while my CR1 visa is being processed?

Once you receive your CR1 visa and enter the U.S., you can work and travel without additional restrictions. However, while your petition is pending, your ability to work or travel may be limited.

How long does it take to remove conditions on the CR1 green card?

The processing time for removing conditions on a CR1 green card takes 18-24 months, on average.