Integrity Legal

15th March 2009

The CR-1 Visa is one of, if not the, most common US Visa sought for Thai Loved ones seeking to journey to the USA (The K1 Fiance Visa from Thailand is another widely used US Immigration tool from Thailand, please see Fiance Visa Thailand for more details). The reason for this is likely due to the fact that many Thai-American couple’s situation fits the criteria of a CR-1 Visa.

CR-1 stands for “conditional resident 1,” in practical terms this means that a person in the US on a CR-1 Visa has conditional permanent residence. In practical terms, the difference between conditional permanent residence and unconditional permanent residence is that a conditional permanent resident could lose their permanent residence status. A situation in which one might lose their permanent residence would be where a Thai/American married couple obtains a Cr-1 Visa on behalf of the Thai wife. Subsequent to obtaining the CR-1 Visa and entering the US, the couple divorces, but not before they file for a “lift of conditionality.” (A lift of conditions of a CR-1 Visa is generally filed by the American Citizen spouse at the 2 year anniversary of the permanent resident’s entry into the USA) If the lift of conditions has not been granted and the couple has divorced, then the condition upon which the visa was granted has ceased to exist and therefore the visa should be revoked. There are exceptions that allow for a Cr-1 visa to have the conditions lifted without the US Citizen Spouse’s consent (Most notably the violence against women act), but these situations are limited.

An IR1 visa does not have these conditions. In order to apply for this visa, the Thai-American couple must have been married for at least 2 years. If they meet this requirement then after obtaining the visa at the US Embassy in Thailand, then the Thai spouse will enter the US on an Ir-1 Visa which confers unconditional permanent residence from the moment the Thai spouse enters the United States.

The form necessary to obtain a CR-1 Visa is the I-130 petition. It should be filed with the USCIS office having jurisdiction over the area in which the US Citizen spouse resides. One of the reasons why a CR-1 Visa is sought over a K-3 in Thailand Visa is the fact that a K-3 Visa requires Adjustment of Status for a Thai wife. A Thai wife entering on a CR-1 Visa does not need to adjust her status in the USA, only obtain a lift of conditionality.

As with all US Immigration matters it is always wise to obtain the advice of a duly licensed US Immigration Attorney with experience dealing with US Immigration Law. Integrity Legal’s Managing Director is a licensed US Attorney and member of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association. When seeking licensed a Immigration Lawyer AILA can be an invaluable resource.


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