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Port of Entry Experience and CR1/IR1 issue - JFK Sept 2019

Port of Entry Experience and CR1/IR1 issue - JFK Sept 2019

Old Sep 29th 2019, 11:20 pm
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Default Port of Entry Experience and CR1/IR1 issue - JFK Sept 2019

I finally made it to the US!

Firstly, I'd like to thank this forum once more for all the help and advice. Also, just as a bit of background, when I applied for the spousal visa my wife and I had been married less than 2 years and so my case was marked CR1 however when I entered the US on Friday our two-year anniversary had passed.

I entered the US on the 27th of September at JFK airport in New York. After a pleasant flight we - my wife (USC) and I - asked what line we had to be in and were directed to the visitors/first time ESTA queue. Our timing was pretty poor as the line was huge, we waited around an hour and a half to get in front of the CBP officer.

After approaching the officer and him commenting that we were his third permanent resident visa in a row, we exchanged some pleasantries and he opened the sealed visa package. I asked if I could quickly interrupt and informed the CBP officer that the second anniversary of my marriage had passed and that I would be eligible for IR1 status, I had our marriage certificate in my hand ready to show the officer. Unfortunately, the officer said he was unable to change the status of my application and informed me I would have to get in touch with USCIS. I told the officer calmly and politely that I thought this was wrong as I’d been told by multiple sources that the officer has the power to change the status at entry. He assured me this was not the case and that I definitely had to contact USCIS… He continued his work and stamped my passport with the CR1 status. I don't know if I should have pressured him more but he was really stern and didn't like the fact I questioned him the first time.

Not the end of the world but really annoying. I’ve used the MyUSCIS service to send a message basically outlining the above to see what my next step should be - if I don’t get a reply soon I’ll try to call and talk to a real person.

If anyone has any advice or experience rectifying this issue I’d really appreciate your help. I imagine it’s best to move quickly and try to get the status changed before the green card is issued.

Cheers, Steve

Last edited by mrchips; Sep 29th 2019 at 11:38 pm. Reason: Add some background info
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Old Sep 30th 2019, 1:58 am
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Default Re: Port of Entry Experience and CR1/IR1 issue - JFK Sept 2019

It can be fixed. I think you have to go in person to a CBP office, which might be at the airport.

Rene
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Old Sep 30th 2019, 7:13 pm
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Default Re: Port of Entry Experience and CR1/IR1 issue - JFK Sept 2019

Hi Rene, thanks for the reply.

I just had a lengthy call with a representative from USCIS who has informed me that the CR1/IR1 status is assigned when the visa is first filled and cannot be changed at Port of Entry (consistent with what the CBP officer stated). They informed me I'll have to continue with my CR1 and apply for the removal of restrictions (I-751) 90 days before my second anniversary as a conditional resident.

I'm really confused as the information I've found online seems to suggest otherwise but I'm posting exactly what I've been told by both USCIS and the CBP officer in case anyone else in my situation finds it useful. I'll continue researching the rules and I'm considering consulting an immigration lawyer.

Cheers, Stephen
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Old Sep 30th 2019, 7:34 pm
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Default Re: Port of Entry Experience and CR1/IR1 issue - JFK Sept 2019

I believe both USCIS and the CBP officer are wrong. Others in your situation have been admitted as IR-1 with no problem. Try going back in person and speaking to a supervisor. And yes, a consultation with an immigrating lawyer could be helpful.

Rene
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Old Sep 30th 2019, 7:58 pm
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Default Re: Port of Entry Experience and CR1/IR1 issue - JFK Sept 2019

I agree, Rene. It clearly states on the government website:

If you have been married for less than two years when your foreign citizen spouse enters the United States on an immigrant visa, his or her permanent resident status is considered “conditional.” The immigrant visa is a conditional resident (CR) visa, not an immediate relative (IR) visa.
I'm going to call again tomorrow and ask for an appointment at the USCIS district office to talk to someone in person. If that doesn't work I'll consult a lawyer. Off to a great start

Cheers, Stephen
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Old Sep 30th 2019, 8:19 pm
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Default Re: Port of Entry Experience and CR1/IR1 issue - JFK Sept 2019

If it makes you feel any better, at my POE (also JFK) they entered my name into the system as BenjaminJohn, so that took some hassle to get it fixed to my actual first name which is just Benjamin...
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Old Sep 30th 2019, 8:29 pm
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Default Re: Port of Entry Experience and CR1/IR1 issue - JFK Sept 2019

Hey Benjamin, thanks for that - the sentiment is much appreciated!

Can I ask, did you have to go to a district office/back to an airport to get it fixed or was the issue rectified over the phone?

Cheers, Stephen
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Old Sep 30th 2019, 8:42 pm
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Default Re: Port of Entry Experience and CR1/IR1 issue - JFK Sept 2019

Originally Posted by mrchips View Post
Hey Benjamin, thanks for that - the sentiment is much appreciated!

Can I ask, did you have to go to a district office/back to an airport to get it fixed or was the issue rectified over the phone?

Cheers, Stephen
If I remember rightly, they took care of it at the Social Security office. I could be wrong but, after I mentioned it to them they were able to change it in their system so my card would be FirstName MiddleName Lastname and not FirstNameMiddleName like the JFK POE humans put it in.
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Old Oct 25th 2019, 1:26 am
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Default Re: Port of Entry Experience and CR1/IR1 issue - JFK Sept 2019

Just a quick update in case it helps anyone (regarding my situation - see first post above).

Today, only three and a half weeks after entering the US, I received my Permanent Resident Card! Now for the interesting part... it's category IR1 (valid for 10 years)!!!

So, moral of the story, even if the officer at the port of entry says they can't change the status from CR1 to IR1, and even if you call USCIS and they say the status is determined at time of filing and that there is nothing they can do, someone somewhere (or likely some line of code in a computer system) is checking the dates and issuing the correct status!

Hilarious P.S - I now have a Permanent Resident Card but still no SSN. I know this is a common problem so I'm off to the Social Security Administration building in downtown manhattan tomorrow.

Woohoo, Steve.
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Old Oct 25th 2019, 12:03 pm
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Default Re: Port of Entry Experience and CR1/IR1 issue - JFK Sept 2019

Originally Posted by mrchips View Post
Just a quick update in case it helps anyone (regarding my situation - see first post above).

Today, only three and a half weeks after entering the US, I received my Permanent Resident Card! Now for the interesting part... it's category IR1 (valid for 10 years)!!!

So, moral of the story, even if the officer at the port of entry says they can't change the status from CR1 to IR1, and even if you call USCIS and they say the status is determined at time of filing and that there is nothing they can do, someone somewhere (or likely some line of code in a computer system) is checking the dates and issuing the correct status!

Hilarious P.S - I now have a Permanent Resident Card but still no SSN. I know this is a common problem so I'm off to the Social Security Administration building in downtown manhattan tomorrow.

Woohoo, Steve.
glad to hear it all worked out for you !
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Old Oct 25th 2019, 12:22 pm
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Default Re: Port of Entry Experience and CR1/IR1 issue - JFK Sept 2019

Thanks a lot, Zoe!
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Old Dec 13th 2019, 2:16 am
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Default Re: Port of Entry Experience and CR1/IR1 issue - JFK Sept 2019

I had the same situation when I entered. Applied as a CR-1 but arrived after 2 year anniversary. I too brought it to the CBP officer’s attention. She told me that it couldn’t be changed but she went off to double check and returned to say that yes, I was entitled to have IR-1 status.

When my PR card arrived, it was a CR-1 so I contacted USCIS. I had to fill out an online form and explain my situation. In the end I had to send the PR card back, go to my nearest USCIS office, and have my biometrics taken again. They sent me an IR-1 card a few weeks later.
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