Consular Marriage-based Green Card Processing: The Basics


When a spouse is consular processing a green card application for a foreign spouse, they are actually requesting a CR-1 Immigrant Visa or an IR-1 Immigrant Visa. The difference between CR-1 and IR-1 is whether the visa is issued before or after the couple’s second year anniversary.

Once the Immigrant Visa is issued, the spouse would then be able to legally enter the United States and, by virtue of the Immigrant Visa, the spouse becomes a Lawful Permanent Resident or Green Card Holder upon admission into the United States.

The process for marriage-based consular processing is a two-step one.

First, the Spouse in the United States must petition the “Alien Relative” spouse in the I-130 USCIS Form. Then, the petition must be processed and approved, which may take up to a year or more.

Second, once approved, the foreign spouse must apply for the Green Card through the National Visa Center, follow local rules on delivery of supporting documents and completion of medical evaluations,  and attend an interview at that local U.S. Consulate. If the consulate officer approves the application, then the foreign spouse may enter the United States on the above referenced Immigrant Visas.

If you have any concerns, you should speak with a local Immigration Attorney. Additionally, you may call Fickey Martinez Law Firm, P.L.L.C. at (910) 526-0066 or email at


US Consulate Immigrant Visa Instructions: Western Hemisphere

How do I check USCIS processing times?

Parole in Place: Immigration Option For An Illegal Spouse, Child, Or Parent Of A Military Member

Two-Year, Conditional Green Card: Now What?



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