Monday, January 28, 2019

How to Manage Extensions For CR-1 Visas

The visa extension is a stamp on the passport that looks like this.
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There was a time when filing a petition to remove the conditional status of the CR-1 visa took between six months and one year. With changes at USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) and within immigration policy altogether under the new administration, the waiting time is now longer.

The CR-1 or  conditional resident immigrant visa is what Kira received when I petitioned her. Her residency was conditional because we weren’t  married for two years when we processed her visa application to the US. This visa is valid for two years and is eligible for renewal 90 days before its expiration.

I-751 processing time (source:
When we filed for the removal of conditional status by completing the I-751 form, she received a letter of extension that also served as her temporary visa and work permit valid for a year.  Since processing time for the removal of condition now takes between 15.5 and 21 months, we needed to apply to extend her letter of extension at the nearest USCIS to us. It’s a good thing we lived near a USCIS office but we had to figure out how to make an appointment.

Appointments at USCIS are done through their Infopass system. Here are the steps we took to set that appointment:

1. Visit the USCIS Infopass website. We tried booking in the evening but found that more slots open early in the morning.
2. Enter your zip code to find the USCIS office closest to you.
3. Select the USCIS field office you’d like to use.
4. If no appointment options are available at the office of your choice, you may need to call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283.
5. Select the appointment date and time slot.
6. Print the confirmation for appointment.

We both took a day off to process this extension but taking half day off would have sufficed. The USCIS officer assigned to us was very nice. She just asked for identification, passport, extension letter, and green card. We brought and printed our I-751 application along with supporting documents just in case they needed it.

The USCIS officer will review your paperwork, and if a visa extension is appropriate, they will stamp your passport that is valid for one year from the day you applied for extension. If you still don’t get your green card within the new extension period, all you have to do is repeat the same process.

As with all appointments with USCIS, be prepared to bring all relevant paperwork and be on time. It would also be a good idea to plan ahead with parking locations and walking distances, especially if you’re taking public transportation to an office located in a densely populated metropolitan area.#

Related Entries:

CLARIFY Your Case: Tips on Completing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
How Completing Our Visa Application on Our Own Paid Off 
CR-1 Immigrant Visa from USCIS to NVC 


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