For this article, we will be discussing about the opportunities one can have when they are married to a U.S. Citizen. For Americans legally married to their Thai wives with the intention to move permanently to the United States of America, good news because your Thai Wife is eligible to apply for a U.S Spouse Visa or Marriage Visa, we can also refer to this type of visa as “CR-1 Visa”.
If you are someone who is planning to bring your wife to the United States, this article will give you a detailed information and steps on how to acquire the correct visa for your Thai wife in order to stay without worries in the US.
However, the applicants for this visa must first understand the application method and qualifications required for the Thai applicants and the US citizen.
Because of the fact that the Thai wife can move from Thailand to the U.S to live with their American spouse in the US, we highly encourage you to read this article carefully as one of the most important thing you need to do is you must first get permission from the immigration agency so that your Thai wife can live legally in the United States.
Many foreign couples have to stay away from their lovers because moving from one country to live with a foreign spouse requires tedious process and permission from the Immigration Agency of that country in order for them to live permanently together.
As what we know in Thailand, that requires a lot of process and documentation at the respective embassy. For the Thais who are married to an American Citizen, this type of visa is called CR-1 and IR-1.
Do not get confused as we will discuss the key points of this visa and the difference between the two.
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Table of Contents (Click to read)
- What is a U.S. Spouse Visa or CR1 Visa?
- How difference between CR1 and IR1 Visa?
- Requirements for applicants and sponsors of U.S. Spouse Visa/CR1
- Fees for getting a U.S. Spouse visa or CR1 Visa from Thailand
- List of documents for apply U.S. Spouse visa or CR1 Visa from Thailand
- Process to apply the U.S. Spouse visa or CR1 Visa from Thailand
- What do I need to do after getting a CR1 visa?
- Timeframe for applying for a U.S Spouse visa from Thailand
- FAQ about CR-1 Visa
- U.S. Spouse Visa/CR1 Visa services
What is a U.S. Spouse Visa or CR1 Visa?
The U.S. Spouse Visa or CR1 Visa is a visa that allows American citizens to apply for their foreign spouses to be able to live with them in the United States.
When the visa holders enter the United States, they will receive a Permanent Resident Card or famously known as the “Green Card”, allowing them to stay in the US with their spouse indefinitely and have the right to apply for American citizenship.
In case you are not registered marriage yet, we also suggest you to read this article too: Marriage Registration in Thailand.
How difference between CR1 and IR1 Visa?
CR1, or the Conditional Resident, is a visa for Thais who have American spouses with a period of less than 2 years of marriage registration. ‘Conditional green card’ that is valid for 2 years, then within 90 days before the 2-year green card expires, a removal request must be made to request for a 10-year green card. (Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence)
IR1 or Immediate Relative is a visa for Thais who have US spouses with a period of 2 years or more of their marriage registration. At the visa application process, it is not clearly stated whether the visa is CR1 or IR1. Applicants and sponsors may have been married for less than 2 years as of the date of application. But because the waiting period for a visa takes several months. May make the marriage period more than 2 years, the applicant may also be approved as an IR1 visa.
The main difference is just the consideration based on how long the couple have been married.
Requirements for applicants and sponsors of U.S. Spouse Visa/CR1
If you as an American Sponsor and your Thai spouse meet all of the requirements listed below when apply from Thailand then getting a spouse visa/CR1 is no longer a concern.
Registered a marriage and can prove that this marriage is legally valid marriage.
|Able to show evidence of tax filing for the past 3 years||Good health according to the specified criteria|
|The latest tax year income meets the required criteria
*(I-864P: HHS Poverty Guidelines for Affidavit of Support)
|Never have a history of working illegally|
|Never been convicted of a serious crime or a history of duplicate offenses.||Never been convicted of a serious crime or a history of duplicate offenses.|
* In the event that the sponsor’s last year’s income does not meet the required minimum, the sponsor may be able to provide people with U.S. citizenship or those who are U.S. Permanent Resident with income qualifying to apply for Joint Sponsor.
If you or your spouse do not meet all of the above qualifications, you can seek further advice from our company’s experts in order for us to help take care of and make your visa application work as well.
Fees for getting a U.S. Spouse visa or CR1 Visa from Thailand
Here are the fees and expenses that you need to prepare when applying for a U.S. Spouse visa or CR1 Visa from Thailand:
- I-130 petition fee 535 $ or approximately 16,100
- Immigration visa application fee (IV Fee) 325 $ or about 8,250 baht.
- Affidavit of Support submission fee 120 $ or about 3,600 baht.
- Green card fee 220 $ or about 6,600 baht.
- Application fee for a police certificate 100 baht
- The medical examination fee is approximately 6,000 – 12,000
[Information as of January 7, 2021]
List of documents for apply U.S. Spouse visa or CR1 Visa from Thailand
The main documents for applying a U.S. Spouse visa or CR1 Visa from Thailand are as follows.
- Online Application for Spouse Visa for the American sponsor (I-130)
- Spouse visa application form for Spouse of American Sponsor (I-130A)
- Letter of guarantee from the sponsor or main sponsor (I-864)
- Applicant’s personal documents with English translation and stamps certifying translations such as passport, birth certificate, name-surname change, divorce registration (if divorced), etc.
- Sponsor’s personal documents such as birth certificates, passports Naturalization certificate, driver’s license, name change certificate, divorce certificate (if divorced before), etc.
- Sponsored US residence documents such as lease agreements, land and home ownership documents Evidence of payment for home payments or mortgage statements, bills of water and electricity bills, etc.
- Sponsor’s employment and income documents, such as the latest year’s income tax document or the latest Tax Return Transcript. Work certificate etc.
- Conduct certificate from the applicant’s police department
- 8 photographs of 2×2 inches in color with a white background of the applicant.
- One 2×2 inch color photograph taken with a white background of the sponsor.
- Evidence of relationship
- Health examination results of applicants
In the event that there is a joint sponsor or a Joint Sponsor
- Letter of guarantee from co-sponsor (I-864)
- Proof that the co-sponsor is a US citizen or permanent resident of the United States, such as a green card passport.
- Work documents and income of co-sponsors such as the latest year’s income tax documents or the latest tax return transcript, job certificates, etc.
- In the event that the sponsor co-fils taxes with the spouse and uses their income to certify the applicant, the primary Joint Sponsor’s spouse must also submit a marriage certificate and Form I-864
All documents must be scanned in color from the original documents to be uploaded into the online application system. The original documents of the applicant and a copy of the main sponsor and co-sponsor must be presented to the embassy staff on the interview date.
Process to apply the U.S. Spouse visa or CR1 Visa from Thailand
For a clearer picture, the U.S. Spouse Visa or CR1 / IR1 visa application process will be divided into 5 main steps as follows.
STEP 1: Complete the I-130 online application form, upload the personal documents of the applicant and sponsor and then pay the I-130 petition fee via myUSCIS
1.1 Sponsor of U.S citizens are required to create an account in myUSCIS for completing the application and paying the visa application fee at this link. https://myaccount.uscis.gov/ Click on the link and sign up to create a user account. After creating an account, select File a Form Online, then select Petition for Alien Relative (I-130) and start filling out the application form.
USCIS website page, press Sign up and fill in the information required by the website to create an account.
After creating an account, click on the topic File a Form Online And select the form called Petition for Alien Relative (I-130)
1.2 In the process of completing the application, the Sponsor’s information must be entered or in this petition it is called the petitioner and the applicant or also this petition is called the beneficiary (Beneficiary) Starting with the sponsor’s information, from the date of birth, place of birth, residential information, and job information for the past 5years including marriage data.
After that, it will fill in the applicant’s information which is similar to that of the sponsor. Therefore, you should first check what information you are filling out.
1.3 When filling out all information in the request form the system will attach documents of both the sponsor and the applicant, with the system clearly stating which documents are required.
If you want to submit additional documents, you can attach them under Additional Documents, but the system will allow you to do so after the fee has been paid.
The document to be attached should be a clear scanned documents from the original document. If it is a colored document, the color must be scanned and the size should not over 6 MB.
You may compress the file but make sure it retains the good quality.
One of the required documents to be uploaded into the spouse visa applicant system is the I-130A Petition Form, in which the applicant must complete his / her personal information including address and past work history.
It is important to make sure that the request is completely attached on all pages and that the request has been signed with a black pen.
This form can be downloaded at https://www.uscis.gov/i-130 Do not forget to check whether the application is the current version or not.
1.4 After submitting all documents, the sponsor is required to pay an online fee of $ 535. This fee is not refundable.
The Sponsor will receive a Receipt Notice via myUSCIS account and email to confirm that USCIS has received the request and documents within approximately 7 business days of payment.
The application status will say “We received your Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and mailed you a receipt notice. After that, it will enter the process of waiting for approval.
The duration is approximately 6 to 11 months, depending on where your application falls (either IR-1 or CR-1).
You can look at the bottom left-hand box in the Receipt Notice. You can check the consideration period for each center at https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/
In the meantime, USCIS may request additional information or documents.
The Sponsor may submit additional documents via myUSCIS, so it is important to regularly check your email and USCIS account so that the deliberation period will not be too long.
When the USCIS approves the petition, the Sponsor will receive an Approval Notice, USCIS will attach this document to your myUSCIS account and the case status will be changed to Your case for your Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative was approved.
After that, within 45 working days. It will change to Case Was Sent To The Department of State, which means that our case will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for the next step.
However, if the due date has not changed or has not been contacted by NVC, sponsor or applicant can contact NVC directly at https://nvc.state.gov/inquiry.
The appearance of a Receipt Notice and an Approval Notice is similar. Notice the box on the right-hand side, as indicated by the circle in the picture, and make sure to read the text below completely.
STEP 2 Complete the DS-260 application form and submit the Financial Guarantee to NVC online.
After the USCIS approves the application and submits the subsequent case to the NVC (National Visa Center). The sponsor will receive an e-mail from NVC confirming that the NVC has received the case and inform the NVC Case Number and Invoice ID Number for fee payment information and complete an application form. What do you need to do for the next step? Let’s go and see.
2.1 Visit website https://ceac.state.gov/IV/Login.aspx then fill in the NVC Case Number and Invoice ID Number received by e-mail to log in and the screen will appear as shown.
Applicants or sponsors are required to pay Affidavit of Support submission fee of $ 120 and immigration visa submission fee (IV Fee) $ 325 by clicking on the word ‘Pay Now’. With bank accounts in the US only.
After completing the payment, you will have to wait for the NVC to approve the payment for approximately not less than 14 days.
When the NVC approves, the payment status will change from ‘Pay Now’ to ‘Paid’ so that an application can be started and attach the documents.
2.2 In the process of filling out the application and attaching documents, it will be divided into 2 parts: the part of the sponsor and the co-sponsor (Affidavit of Support) and the applicant information part, we will start with the part of the sponsor. Firstly, please refer to the section Affidavit of Support (AOS).
In this section, the sponsor’s documents must be enclosed in a fully completed and signed financial guarantee (I-864) and the Federal Income Tax Return tax document or the latest Tax Return Transcript, both of these are required documents to be submitted to the NVC, but we recommend that the additional sponsored documents are submitted, such as a birth certificate, passport, work certificate, Tax documents for the past 3 years, Home documents, etc.
Although we have initially attached them to your myUSCIS account.
But to prevent any delays caused by requesting additional documents we insist that these documents should be attached to the NVC as well.
In the event that the sponsor fails to meet the income criteria set out in the I-864P, 2020 HHS Poverty Guidelines for Affidavit of Support, the Sponsor is required to find a Joint Sponsor who is an American person with a qualifying income.
The co-sponsor is required to sign one additional financial guarantee (I-864) along with attaching the page of the US passport and the most recent year tax document showing that income is eligible.
If the co-sponsor has a marital status and files taxes with the spouse and uses both their income to meet the criteria.
The co-sponsor’s spouse must submit a form I-864A Along with the passport page and marriage documents
Sponsor must add Joint Sponsor Name and Upload Joint Sponsor documents by clicking on Add Joint Sponsor and add Sponsor’s Spouse to Add Household Member (if applicable).
2.3 The next step is the applicant’s part. In this section, the applicant’s information must be filled in the online form DS-260 by referring to the Applicant Information section and hit Start Now in the IV application field to start the application.
The DS-260 form is similar to the DS-16O that we find most often for tourist or K-1 visas.
However, on this DS-260 form, applicants are required to provide some detailed information such as their historical address from age 16 to present.
Therefore, information should be prepared before starting the application.
After filling in all correct information, Submit Application.
After submitting the DS-260 form, the applicant’s documents can be attached.
It will all be personal documents of the applicant, such as a passport, birth certificate, name-last name change certificate, marriage registration document, divorce document, visa photo, etc., as well as a certificate of conduct from the Royal Thai Police.
When all documents are complete, do not forget to press Submit Document to confirm for the NVC to review our documents.
The NVC takes about 1-1.5 months to review the case and verify the documents.
In the meantime, if the NVC requires additional documentation or updates to the case status, it will take approximately 1-1.5 months to review the case.
The sponsor or applicant will receive a notification email to check in the system where we upload documents and fill out the DS-260 form.
When we log in again, we will find that the Message box on the right-hand side that the numbers are displayed Press View Message to view the messages from NVC.
After NVC approves the case, applicants will receive an email informing them that the case has been approved and will be sent to the US Embassy in Thailand for an interview.
Applicants will normally receive an email informing you of the interview date approximately 1 month after receiving an email from NVC.
Step 3 Health check for U.S. Spouse Visa
After the applicant receives an email informing the interview appointment date from the US Embassy.
Applicants must make an appointment with the hospital that is accredited by the embassy.
It is then that a health check can be performed for visa applications such as Bumrungrad Hospital, BNH Hospital.
At this stage, if the doctor sees an abnormality in the body and determines that additional testing is required this may ultimately result in a delay in the visa application process as well.
Because the embassy will not allow applicants to attend interviews without the medical examination results to show to the staff.
However, the health check results are valid for only 6 months, so going to have a health examination before an interview appointment date is not recommended. Because it may result in duplicate costs.
The documents that must be prepared on the day of the health check are as follows.
- Current passport (original one)
- Case number and email confirmation letter of interview appointment date
- 4 photos of the same size as the person applying for a US visa
- Vaccination history (if any)
Step 4: Prepare interview documents
This is another important step for a spouse visa (CR1 / IR1). Applicants must hold all original personal documents previously attached to the online application, including the results of medical examination.
To show to the staff on the day of the interview Sponsor’s personal documents and joint sponsors can be used as copies.
Except financial guarantees (I-864 / I-864A) that must be used only.
In addition, the sponsor and co-sponsor’s indispensable documents are the three previous years’ tax returns: Tax Return Transcript, Federal Income Tax Return and W-2
Another important document are relationship documents such as photographs, and conversation history.
Evidence of financial support or any evidence that your relationship with the sponsor is ongoing.
If you are unable to prepare complete documents there may be a delay in visa approval by at least 10-15 working days.
At the interview, staff will provide 1 sheet of documents detailing the required additional documents.
We call a case like this as 221 (g) stick case.
The applicant must submit the documents requested by the embassy within 1 year otherwise your visa application will be automatically canceled.
Step 5 Interview
Many applicants are very concerned about the interview. But we want your Thai Wife to feel reassured that interviews are not scary.
Before the interview date, we will advise your Thai Wife to make sure the documents are complete and review her personal information and you as the sponsor’s information in preparation for answering questions.
On the day of the interview, the staff will review all documents and interview the applicant.
Questions are usually about the relationship between the applicant and the sponsor or questions about the sponsor, this is mainly to check if your relationship is true or not and they may have questions about the applicant such as work history, history of traveling abroad, etc.
Usually the staff will proceed with the interview in communication level. If your Thai wife can speak to you in English, it shouldn’t be too difficult for her to speak in English during the Interview. However, if she is too nervous to be able to respond in English, she can inform the staff for an interview in Thai as well.
After completing all steps, if the visa is approved, the staff will keep your Thai wife’s passport and will return it with the visa page by post within 7 working days after the interview date. If the visa application is rejected, in some cases they will return the passport immediately after the interview but in most cases they will also take the passport and send it back by post to inform about the reason for the rejection of the application.
What do I need to do after getting a CR1 visa?
After your Thai wife receive the CR1 Visa, you should ask her to check the validity on the visa page.
If there is any error, you must immediately contact the embassy to fix it.
In addition to the passport and visa page, the Applicants will receive documents from the embassy informing them to pay the green card fee of $ 220before entering the United States.
Where applicants can go to pay at https://my.uscis.gov/uscis-immigrant-fee
Timeframe for applying for a U.S Spouse visa from Thailand
As you read above, the process quite complicated and has many requirements. So, we are breakdown the timeframe for applying for a U.S Spouse visa from Thailand as below:
- Waiting time for I-130 applications is approximately 6 to 11 months from the date USCIS receives the request, based on the date of receipt of the receipt notice, depending on the location of our application.
- The period for issuing a case number or case number is approximately 45 days from the date the application is approved.
- The waiting period for DS-260 application is approximately 1-1.5 months after submit and complete all documents.
- The waiting period for the interview from the embassy is about 1-1.5 months after receiving NVC approval.
- The waiting period for the passport and visa page is approximately 7 working days from the interview.
* Overall, the process is an average of between 8-12 months, however, in the current situation that the world is facing due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the time may be extended to 1 – 1.5 years.
FAQ about CR-1 Visa
We have received a lot question in regard with US CR1 Visa. Here is some Frequent ask question about this visa:
Can make a request, but you should have more evidence to verify that the relationship between the two of you is real.
In most cases, a history of travel visa rejection does not affect the consideration of a spouse visa. Actually, the applicant should provide a history of visa rejection on the Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160).
Can apply, you must find a Joint Sponsor who is an American citizen also or a green card holder and who meets the required income criteria. The main sponsor and co-sponsor are required to present tax documents for the past three years to verify their income.
- The applicant’s health examination results do not meet the criteria.
- Criminal history, various cases of applicants and sponsors
- The applicant’s illegal work history
- The income of the sponsor or co-sponsor does not meet the minimum requirement.
- Cannot prove to be related or to have an authentic relationship.
U.S. Spouse Visa/CR1 Visa services
If you and your Thai Wife meet all the qualifications that we have listed above then her chances of getting that visa are within reach.
Knowledge of the process, the methods and complete documentation required will make the application for a visa a worry-free one, however if you or your Thai wife does not qualify for any of these qualifications, both of you do not have to worry that her visa application will be denied.
We encourage you to reach out to our team to discuss any issues and concerns in order to find solutions together.
The U.S. Spouse Visa/CR1 services that your Thai wife will receive from our team are as follows.
- Assess the likelihood and risk factors of obtaining a visa for each client.
- Consultation at every step
- Provide the list of documents required for customers and sponsors.
- Fill in the relevant application forms for customers and sponsors.
- Complete the I-130 online application and attach customer and sponsor documents in myUSCIS for submission to USCIS.
- Complete the DS-260 Online Application and attach customer and sponsor documents for submission to NVC.
- Translate and certify documents
- Provide documents for both the applicant and the sponsor.
- Contact help in obtaining a police clearance certificate
- Make an appointment with the hospital and take care of the customers on the day of the health check.
- Prepare interview questions and practice interviews.
- Check and update results for the applicants.
Applying for a US Spouse visa can take many steps and can be very difficult for those who are not good at using technology to fill out an application and attach their documents.
At present, approximately 8-12 months in some cases where there is a mistake in the process of writing a request or submitting incomplete documents.
This may lead to a long-considered period to be prolonged. Therefore, having a person to guide and assist you in every step of the way will make the visa application a smooth process and less problematic.
Siam Attorney International Company Limited is not just a company who focuses on providing Legal Service, we also have a very competent visa and immigration team which have a great track record and history of successful applications for more than 10 years, we are ready to be your consultant and take good care of you in every step of the visa application process.
You can contact us for further inquiries about visas and our services by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 02-258-1763 or 095 750 0888.
The key criteria for obtaining a spouse visa are: Both of you will have to prove that your relationship is true and not just for any other reason. You as the Sponsor and your co-sponsor can provide proof of tax payment to certify that your income meets the certain criteria for the visa application.
Including you and your Thai wife can prove that both of you have never had a record of serious or heinous crimes.
And, your Thai wife must meet the required health criteria.
If both of you meet all the requirements above, then applying for a US Spouse visa is not a concern at all.
Providing information and documents for visa applications is also important. We urge you and your Thai Wife to read the questions thoroughly and provide accurate information.
Including submitting all documents in full and in accordance with the information reported.
We sincerely hope that the information we provide will give you a clear idea of the procedure and visibility.
Methods and procedures can be complex and somewhat complicated. But you can trust that you will not regret the time and effort spent waiting for a visa to legally live with your partner in America.