The CR2 Visa for Stepchildren of U.S. Citizens: A Brief Guide

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What Is the CR2 Visa?

If you recently married a U.S. citizen (outside the U.S.) as a foreign national, you may be eligible for a CR1 visa. This immigrant visa would allow you to join your citizen spouse in the U.S. as a conditional resident or green card holder. You can proceed to become a lawful permanent resident after two years.

If you had kids before your marriage, you’d likely want them to go with you to the U.S., especially if they are still minors. In that case, you might be wondering whether they are also eligible for an immigrant visa. The short answer is yes. As the spouse of a U.S. citizen, your children are eligible for an immigrant visa and can accompany you to the U.S. Their eligibility is tied to yours. Since you are only qualified for a conditional resident visa because of the length of your marriage, the same thing applies to your children.

As the stepchildren of a U.S. citizen, they are eligible for a CR2 visa if they meet the other legal requirements. This visa would allow them to gain lawful entry into the U.S., where they’ll gain conditional permanent resident status. They can live, work or get an education in the U.S. while their conditional residency is valid. Just like you, they can become lawful permanent residents after two years, all things being equal.

The CR2 visa shares many similarities with other immigrant visas, such as the IR2 visa, which could lead to confusion and mistakes during the application process. This guide summarizes important aspects of the CR2 application process to keep you informed and help you avoid errors that could jeopardize the outcome. Read on to learn more.

How Is the CR2 Visa Different From the IR2 Visa?

The IR2 visa applies to natural-born or adopted unmarried children of U.S. citizens. It allows those who qualify to gain lawful permanent residence or citizenship upon their arrival in the U.S., depending on how old they are.

In contrast, the CR2 visa applies to the natural or adopted children of a CR1 beneficiary, that is, stepchildren of a U.S. citizen. One should not be mistaken for the other.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for a CR2 Visa?

To qualify for a CR2 visa, your child must meet the following primary requirements;

  • They must be unmarried 

  • They must be below 21 years old

  • Your US-citizen spouse must have filed an immigrant petition on their behalf and gotten approval

  • Your child must have been under 18 when you and your spouse married.

There may be other requirements your child may need to meet to qualify for this visa. You can speak with an immigration attorney in Texas to get information on the specific conditions they must fulfill to succeed.

The CR2 Visa Application Process

The CR2 visa application process is summarized as follows:

File Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative)

The petitioner here is your child’s step-parent, your U.S. citizen spouse. This form is used to establish their relationship with the applicant-your child. You’ll also need this form for your CR1 application so they may file both petitions with the USCIS simultaneously. 

This form is usually accompanied by supporting documents that serve as proof of the information included in the form. The nature of the documents required in each case may vary depending on the application. Because your child’s petition is based on a stepparent-stepchild relationship, their supporting documents would need to include the following:

  • A copy of your marriage certificate showing that the marriage took place before your child turned 18

  • A copy of your child’s birth certificate

  • Evidence that any prior marriages on your part or the part of your citizen spouse were legally terminated (If applicable).

You must ensure your spouse has all the necessary information to file your child’s petition. Failure to provide the required details or submit the documents needed could lead to processing delays or a denial.

File Form DS-260 -The Electronic Immigrant Visa Application

After the petition is approved, the case file will be moved to the National Visa Center for processing. Once you’re notified that this has happened, you must ensure that your child files Form DS-260, the online immigrant visa application. You must keep a copy of the confirmation page after submitting the form. Your child would need to present it to the immigration officers later.

Attend the Medical Examination and Vaccination

Your child is required to undergo medical examinations and vaccinations with an authorized physician before entering the United States. The physician will issue a signed medical report at the end of the process. 

Attend an Interview at the Consulate or Embassy in the Foreign Country

The National Visa Center will notify you/your child about their visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. At the interview, the consular officer will ask them questions concerning their relationship with the petitioner. They will also assess the legitimacy of the step-parent-child relationship. Ensure your child attends the interview with all the documents that prove their eligibility for the visa.

Supporting Documents Required 

Some of the documents your child would need to present to the visa officer at the interview include the following:

  • A confirmation page for Form DS-260 (Immigrant Visa Electronic Application)

  • A signed Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) from your citizen spouse 

  • Your marriage certificate

  • Their birth certificate

  • Adoption certificate (if applicable)

  • Proof of a successful medical examination and vaccination

  • A copy of the approved Form I-130

  • Two passport-style photographs ( according to U.S. visa requirements).

Approval of the Immigrant Visa Application

When the CR2 visa is granted, your child will receive a sealed package from the visa officials at the embassy. The package must remain unopened. They must bring the sealed package to the U.S. port of entry for investigation. It will be opened by the immigration officers who admit them to enter the U.S. as conditional permanent residents.

CR2 Visa Fees

There are several fees/costs associated with the CR2 visa application process. They include the following;

  • Form I-130 filing fee – $535

  • Form DS-260 processing fee – $325

  • Medical examination and vaccination fee (based on the applicant’s location and physician)

  • USCIS immigrant fee – $220 (if applicable).

These amounts could change anytime, so confirm how much each process costs before making payment.

Some fees can be paid after the immigrant visa is granted. But they must be paid up before your child travels to the U.S.; otherwise, they will be denied entry.

How the Immigration Lawyers at Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law Can Help

The CR2 application process could be overwhelming, especially since you might be dealing with your CR1 application at the same time. Getting an immigration lawyer to take some of the weight off you can make the process less stressful. 

Our skilled immigration attorneys can handle the application process on your behalf. We understand the factors that lead to visa denials or processing delays and will do all we can to help you avoid such scenarios.

At the appropriate time, you can also rely on our naturalization & citizenship lawyer to assist with your/your child’s transition to lawful permanent residence and, eventually, citizenship.

Contact us today to get started. We look forward to helping you begin your life in the U.S.