The US IR-1 Visa is for US nationals who have two ways of bringing their Thai wives to live in the United States, and that is by: Sponsoring their spouse’s immigrant visa for entry to the United States through the US IR-1 or US CR-1 visas. An IR-1 stands for Immediate Relative, which is a type of visa granted to foreign spouses which have been married to US nationals for more than two years allowing them to immigrate to the United States permanently.
Obtaining a US IR-1 Visa for your Thai spouse
The CR-1 visa, which stands for Conditional Residency, is awarded to those who have been married for less than two years, and is considered conditional within that period. That makes IR-1 with an advantage entering as an Immediate Relative without a conditional status.
You will need to submit an Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) and Form I-130A from the beneficiary (the applicant), which is your spouse. After processing your requirements and submitting your petition at the USCIS, you will be notified once received, and will be advised once petition been approved, it will then be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) and the US Embassy in Bangkok will be the one who will be completing the necessary administrative processing for the Thai spouse’s visa.
Eligibility requirements for obtaining the US IR-1 Visa are as follows:
- Both the Thai and US national should be legally married for more than 2 years. Unmarried partners are ineligible to sponsor for this type of visa, and living together does not qualify as marriage for immigration purposes.
- For most cases, the US national should have a residence in the United States in order to qualify as a sponsor. If you live outside the United States and you want to bring your Thai spouse to the country, you should submit a visa petition (Form I-130 and I-130A) to the USCIS Office in Bangkok, or wherever your foreign spouse resides.
- US national should be at least 18 years old before signing the Affidavit of Support.
THE PROCESS: Once the visa petition for your Thai spouse is approved, she will receive a letter from the USCIS noting to wait for at least a month as your petition packet has been forwarded to the NVC, once NVC has evaluated your documents, the NVC will provide you a letter containing information regarding the document requirements which should be submitted on the next packet.
This will be then forwarded to the US Embassy, and US embassy provides you appointment interview. Packet instruction for the final step shall be provided which will be presented at the interview. It contains documents which requests biographic data to be completed, signed and forwarded to the US Embassy or Consulate in Thailand. The normal processing time until the visa is granted is within 10-12 months.
If you are planning to remain outside the United States indefinitely, it is not recommended to apply for a US Green Card. There is a possibility that your Green Card would be cancelled at the Port of Entry to the United States if you are found to have spent more than six months outside of the country. The Immigration Officer at the Port of Entry will be interviewing you to determine whether the United States is your main home or not. so now you will know that the US IR-1 visa for your Thai spouse entails.