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CR-1 is the immigrant and/or Permanent Resident classification for the spouse of a US Citizen when the marriage is less than two years old. You will find information on this topic referring to an Immigrant Visa, CR-1/IR-1 or (erroneously) "I-130". You will find most "proper" information by using "Immigrant Visa"; that is the term used by the USCIS/United States Citizenship & Immigration Service and the DOS/Department of State.

Applying for an Immigrant Visa is a two-step process:-

  • First, a petition must be approved on your behalf by a USCIS Adjudicating Officer (usually inside the US).
  • Second, a visa application must be approved by a Consular Officer at an Immigrant Visa issuing post outside the US ("the Embassy").

Please begin here: Green Card for an Immediate Relative of a U.S. Citizen
If you are the spouse of a USC, you do not need a Preference Category or Priority Date; a visa number is immediately available to you (this does not mean that a visa is immediately issued to you).

Expect a petition I-130 to take 3-6 months for approval, based on Service Center workload.

Approved I-130 petitions are sent to the NVC/National Visa Center, a State Department office that prescreens and begins Immigrant Visa applications. There are several steps to be completed here, and expected processing time is 2-5 months.

NVC-pre-cleared visa applications are forwarded to the visa-issuing post abroad. An interview date is assigned. After a successful interview, expect a delay of one week-several months for the visa to be issued. Normal cases without any additional security checks see the visa delivered within a week.

Immigration cases are notoriously individual; what worked for your friend or anyone else will not necessarily apply to you. US immigration procedures can change quickly and with little notice. It is important that you stay alert for changes and pay attention to your own case. USCIS will not give specific notice to you about what you need to do in most cases and information/answers from their 1-800 telephone number and offices is often incorrect. You are advised to confirm all steps before filing anything. It should be noted that the US Supreme Court has held [in other contexts] that the US Government is not bound by any incorrect "advice" given by an agency employee.

Permanent Resident status can also be achieved through Adjustment of Status after a non-immigrant entry, in some cases. For more information, please begin at this page: How Do I Become a Lawful Permanent Resident While In The United States?

A Sample NVC Timeline

User wario75 posted this detail of his NVC timeline for your general reference. His original post is here

This is my timeline from the point our application was transferred to NVC -

27-Jul-10 Notification from USCIS case has been transferred to NVC Letter dated July 27

10-Aug-10 Case received notification from NVC and case number assigned

24-Aug-10 Payment made online for Affidavit of Support

25-Aug-10 Mailed off DS-3032

30-Aug-10 Mailed off AOS (I-864EZ) packet

15-Sep-10 Received email notice from NVC to pay Immigrant Visa (IV) Fee

16-Sep-10 Made IV payment

20-Sep-10 Sent out application to ACRO for Police Certificate

28-Sep-10 Received request from NVC for DS-230

04-Oct-10 Mailed off IV package to NVC

30-Oct-10 Received information request from NVC Passport bio page requested. Received at NVC Nov 5.

10-Dec-10 Received email notice from NVC with interview date Interview scheduled for Jan 18, medical scheduled for Jan 4. Sent request to have interview rescheduled.

04-Jan-11 Medical

10-Feb-11 Interview at US embassy (originally scheduled for 18 Jan)

It's probably fair to say my interview could have happened earlier had the NVC not come back with a request for the missing info!

Hope this helps