Immediate Relatives: IR/CR Visa


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The Immigration and Nationality Act allows immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to immigrate to the United States. Immediate relatives include:

  • Spouse of a U.S. citizen (IR-1 / CR-1)
  • Unmarried children under age 21 of a U.S. citizen (IR-2 / CR-2)
  • Parents of a U.S. citizen who is 21 or older (IR-5)

U.S. citizens who plan to petition for immigrant visas for their alien relatives based on family relationship must complete a Form I-130, Immigrant Petition for Relative.

Step 1: File the Immigrant Visa Petition
If the petitioner resides in South Korea If the petitioner resides in the U.S.
Form I-130 may be filed directly with the USCIS field office in Seoul or through the USCIS Chicago Lockbox at one of the below addresses. Petitioners whom the USCIS defines as residents of Korea may file petitions at USCIS Seoul. USCIS makes the final decision about where you are resident on a case-by-case basis. Generally, American citizens are considered to be residents of Korea if they show to USCIS Seoul one of the following items of evidence of resident status:


    • Military orders to Korea for U.S. Forces Korea active duty military and civilian U.S. Government employees
    • A Korean alien registration card or long-term Korean visa for U.S. citizens employed, living or studying in a private capacity

Click here for more information on filing your petition in Seoul. For additional information about how to file a Form I-130 with the USCIS Chicago lockbox, visit the USCIS website or contact USCIS by telephone in the United States at 1-800-375-5283.

File I-130 petitions at the USCIS service center in the United States having jurisdiction over their place of residence. A list of service centers is included in the instructions with downloadable Form I-130.
Step 2: Gather the Required Documents and Prepare for the Immigrant Visa Interview
If the I-130 was filed in Seoul If the I-130 was filed in the U.S.
Once the approved petition has been received at the immigrant visa unit from the USCIS, you will receive the Instruction Package with the cover letter, with a list of the documents the intending immigrant must present at the immigrant visa interview. You must then schedule your immigrant visa appointment once you have obtained all the necessary documents listed in the Instruction Package.


When the petition is approved by USCIS in the United States, USCIS will send you a notice of approval, Form I-797. At the same time they will also forward the approved petition to the National Visa Center (NVC), which will contact your relative who is the intending immigrant with further information. The National Visa Center will process the case from fee collection to document gathering and will schedule an appointment for your relative. Your relative will be notified of his or her appointment date from NVC. NVC will then forward the approved petition to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul for the visa interview and adjudication. File I-130 petitions at the USCIS service center in the United States having jurisdiction over their place of residence. Click here for a list of service centers and instructions included with Form I-130.
Step 3: The Immigrant Visa Interview
On the interview date, a consular officer will adjudicate the application based on the visa interview and documents submitted at the interview by the applicant. Whether to issue the immigrant visa is up to the discretion of the interviewing officer.


Due to the limited space in our interview waiting room, only beneficiaries may enter; the petitioner may accompany the applicant. Other accompanying parties including friends, employees, or attorneys, must wait outside. Children under 18 years old may be accompanied by one parent or guardian to the interview.

Beneficiaries are strongly advised not to finalize travel arrangements, dispose of their property, or give up their jobs until after they have been issued visas. Quitting a job, leaving school, selling property and/or closing bank accounts prior to visa issuance may be risky, as in certain cases visa issuance may be delayed for some time.

Important: If at the time of admission to the United States, you will have not celebrated the second anniversary of your marriage, which is the basis of your CR immigrant status, you are subject to the provisions of section 216 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Under these provisions, you will be granted conditional permanent residence by an officer of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at the time of your admission to the United States. You and your spouse will be required to file a joint petition (Form I-751) with the DHS to have the conditional basis of your status removed. This petition must be filed within the ninety-day period immediately preceding the second anniversary of the date you were granted conditional permanent resident status. If a petition to remove the conditional basis of your status is not filed within this period, your conditional permanent status will be terminated automatically and you will be subject to deportation from the United States. You will be provided with written information about this status when your visa is approved and issued, which you should retain and use as a reference.