CR1 Visa Requirements
Are you a United States citizen with a Thai spouse? Or did you get married in Thailand? Would you like to move back to the United States together? The CR-1 visa application process allows an American citizen to sponsor their foreign born spouse for permanent residency.
The “CR” of CR-1 stands for “Conditional Resident.” If you and your spouse have been married for less than 2 years, you can apply for a CR-1 visa. Your spouse will be a “conditional permanent resident” for two years. At of the end of the two years you must file another petition to remove the conditions and your spouse will become a permanent resident. Speak to an immigration lawyer in Thailand for more assistance.
If your spouse is a Thai citizen or if you got married in Thailand, your spouse will apply for the visa from Thailand. The application process takes approximately six months to a year from start to finish. Once the visa is approved, your spouse can enter the United States and is free to work or study. The green card will arrive in the mail after a few months.
If your spouse has children, they will be able to immigrate with your spouse by applying for a CR-2 visa. Any of your biological children may be U.S. citizens already. To confirm the child’s citizenship and apply for a passport, register their birth at a U.S. Embassy.
Should We Apply for a K3 Visa or CR-1 Visa?
If you would like to bring your spouse to the United States as soon as possible, you should apply for a K3 visa instead of a CR-1 or IR-1. K3 visa applications are usually processed about two months faster than CR-1 applications.
But a K3 visa has downsides. Your spouse will have to apply for work authorization before they can get a job. Once your spouse arrives in the United States, you will need to apply for “adjustment of status” to get your spouse a green card.
If you choose to apply for a K3 visa instead of a CR-1 or IR-1, your spouse may be able to enter the United States a little sooner, but the overall immigration process will be longer and more expensive. However, in some cases a K3 visa application will be converted to a CR-1 application during processing.
You must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years of age to sponsor your spouse for a CR-1 visa. U.S. permanent residents must use a F2 visa to sponsor their spouse.
Your spouse will be ineligible for any type of visa if they have ever lied on an immigration application, if they have a serious criminal record, or if they have a severe communicable disease. In some cases there may be a waiver to allow your spouse to obtain a visa even with an ineligibility.
To show that your Thai spouse will not require welfare once they arrive in the United States, you must demonstrate that your annual household income is at least 125% of the poverty line. If you are member of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty, the requirement is that your income be 100% of the poverty line. If you and your spouse will be living in the 48 contiguous states and your household will consist of only the two of you, the minimum annual income (as of 2011) is $18,388. The more members of your household, the higher the minimum requirement will be. If you will live in Alaska or Hawaii, the required annual income is slightly higher.
If you make less than the required minimum income, you can make up the difference by demonstrating assets (real estate, stocks, bonds, bank accounts) that are at least 5 times the difference between the income required and your annual income. If you have an annual income of $17,288, for example, you can satisfy an $18,388 income requirement by showing that you have $5,500 ($1,100 x 5) in the bank.
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Siam Legal is a full service law firm but it has an extensive range of immigration, corporate, and real estate experience accessible to clients both domestically and internationally. It has offices strategically located throughout the major cities in Thailand including Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Samui and Phuket along with international representative offices in Australia, London and Las Vegas.