US CR1 & IR1 Marriage Visa: For Thai and Americans Couples

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You’ve never been more excited for what the future holds. You and your spouse are about to embark on a big, life-changing move—you plan to start a new life together in America. The CR1/IR1 visa is your ticket home. 

With the marriage visa stamped into your spouse’s passport, the United States truly becomes the land of opportunity. Your spouse can apply for permanent residency and a green card. And you both can pursue your careers, buy a home together, and create the ideal life you dream of. What’s more, your spouse will be able to travel freely between the US and Thailand, without having to worry about expiring visas or renewals. 

However, you’re a bit nervous about the application process and interview. Getting the CR1/IR1 marriage visa seems like a monumental task. Not to fear. This post will help calm your nerves and provide a quick overview of two of the most overwhelming parts of the application process: the application and the US spouse visa interview. 

How the application process works

From the day your spouse submits the application, it can take a year to a year and a half to get the CR1/IR1 visa. Below is an overview of the process: 

  1. Submit the application to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

    The USCIS will review the application to see if your Thai spouse is eligible for the visa and if either of you have a criminal background. 

  1. Get your application reviewed at the National Visa Center (NVC)

    Once approved by the USCIS, the application is sent to the NVC where your spouse’s background, your relationship, and your ability to financially support your spouse is reviewed

  1. Interview in Bangkok

    After the application passes the NVC, it is sent to the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, where your spouse will be interviewed. The interview is typically the last step of the application process. 

  1. Receive the CR1/IR1 visa

    The visa is issued two to seven business days after your spouse successfully passes the interview. We recommend that your spouse flies to the US as soon as possible afterwards. 

img-headshot-noina Laddawan Hanchanameechai “Noina”

Want to know more about the CR1/IR1 visa application and interview process?

Noina is a partner at Baan Thai Solutions and has helped hundreds of couples through the CR1/IR1 visa process for more than 17 years. She can help your Thai spouse prepare for the interview and guide you through the application process, ensuring you have to do as little work as possible.

Schedule a free consultation

How to prepare for the US spouse visa interview

If you know what to expect in the interview, your spouse can prepare properly and is more likely to pass. Here are three things to know ahead of time:

The mindset of the immigration officer

As you may know, immigration officers can have a serious, intimidating demeanor. This, however, has nothing to do with your spouse. The immigration officer’s goal isn’t to interrogate your spouse, but rather to verify that their feelings for you are genuine. Marriage visa fraud is incredibly common in the US, and the immigration officer is trying to identify potential culprits. Don’t take it personally. Your spouse has done nothing wrong and has no reason to feel rattled. 

How to answer the questions

Your spouse’s answers should be truthful, confident, and complete. That said, there’s no need to provide excessive information. Doing so could cause the immigration officer to probe deeper and ask for unnecessary clarification. The goal is for your relationship to be presented in the best possible light, so be concise and focus on the positive. 

What to do on interview day

Think of the marriage visa interview as a job interview. Your spouse should dress to impress. Avoid shorts, tee shirts, or any outfit that could communicate a lack of respect towards the process. An example of suitable attire is a long skirt and blouse for women, and pants and a collared shirt for men. Your spouse should bring all supporting documentation to the interview and arrive at the US Embassy 30 minutes before the interview. 

Cheat sheet: The most commonly asked interview questions

What if you and your spouse could know the interview questions beforehand? It would be like having a cheat sheet that could significantly improve your spouse’s chance of passing. That’s what’s included in our CR1 & IR1 Marriage Visa Interview Guide. 

You’ll get a list of the 64 most commonly asked questions in the CR1 & IR1 marriage visa interview. With these in hand, your spouse can walk into the interview confidently, prepared for nearly whatever the immigration officer may ask. 

Download your free interview guide 

BaanThai FB 03 Ebook US Spouse Interview Guide

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Mark Friedman

Managing Director of Baan Thai
Mark is a member of the California Bar and a 1987 graduate with honors from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

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