Immediate Relatives: IR/CR Visa

FAQ

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Overview

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.

U.S. citizen petitioners residing in Korea must file the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, by mail with the USCIS Dallas Lockbox facility or online at https://www.uscis.gov/i-130.

Please visit USCIS website for details.

In certain limited circumstances, consular officers at the U.S. Embassy Seoul may accept filing of the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative under two circumstances. First, petitions may be filed by qualified U.S. military service members for any immediate relative case, when the active duty military service member is stationed at a military base in Korea.  This exception does not apply to service members assigned to non-military bases, such as embassies or civilian institutions. Second, U.S. Embassy Seoul may accept filing of the Form I-130 for petitioners who believe they have exceptional situations that would merit an exception from filing to the USCIS. 

For qualified U.S. military service members please schedule your appointment online by clicking here.

If you believe that your situation merits an exception, please click here to request an exception and explain your circumstances in detail.

For more information on filing I-130 petition with U.S. Embassy, Seoul please visit our Embassy website

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.

If the petition is filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States, the case will be processed through the National Visa Center (NVC) in New Hampshire.  To apply for an immediate relative or family preference immigrant visa, follow the steps on the Immigrant Visa Process on travel.state.gov. Once you have completed those steps, review the instructions given to you by the NVC, along with the information presented on this website, for further guidance and instructions.
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.
If the petition is filed and approved by the Immigrant Visa Unit, U.S. Embassy, Seoul, you will receive the Instruction Package via email from the Immigrant Visa Unit.  You must schedule your appointment through the U.S. Visa Information Service online at www.ustraveldocs.com/kr or by calling the call center representative.  You must submit the Online Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online before the visa interview, and bring the forms and documents listed in the Instruction Package to the visa interview.  At the interview, you will also need to pay the immigrant visa application processing fee, which is a separate fee from the I-130 petition filing fee that you paid when you filed the I-130 petition.  You can learn more about the Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee on travel.state.gov.

 

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.
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.