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CR2 Visa

The CR2 visa is an immigrant visa that allows a child of a U.S. citizen to immigrate to the United States as a lawful permanent resident on a conditional basis. Under the CR2 visa, a child is able to live, receive an education, and work in the United States. Children are issued the CR2 visa when their parents’ marriage is under two years old at the time of the visa application. After a CR2 visa is issued, the visa holder must take further steps in order to remove the conditions on the visa.

Who Qualifies for the CR2 Visa? 

In order to qualify for the CR2 visa, the child and his or her sponsor must meet the following criteria. 

Requirements for Child 

In order for a child to be eligible for the CR2 visa, he or she must: 

  • Be unmarried; 
  • Be under the age of 21.

Requirements for Sponsor

In order for a sponsor to be eligible to petition for the CR2 visa on behalf of a child, he or she must: 

  • Be a U.S. citizen; 
  • Have finalized adoption for the child before their 16th birthday, in cases of adoption; 
  • Be petitioning on behalf of the child as the child’s genetic parent (in or out of wedlock), step-parent, adoptive parent, or parent through the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART).

Examples of Eligible Children

Children in the following circumstances are deemed eligible for the CR2 visa: 

  • Adopted children who are under the age of 18 at the time of their adoption and who have lived with their adopted U.S. citizen parent for at least two years; 
  • Children who are naturally born to unmarried parents and at least one parent is a U.S. citizen;
    • U.S. citizen fathers must undergo a blood test to prove paternity when unmarried to the child’s mother. 
  • Children who are naturally born to married parents and at least one parent is a U.S. citizen; 
  • Stepchildren who were under the age of 18 at the time of their parents’ marriage. 

What Does it Mean to Have Conditions on a Green Card? 

Children who obtain a Green Card based on their parents’ marriage of under two years will have conditions put on their lawful permanent resident status that must be removed after two years of living in the United States. 

Conditional status is granted to children whose parents are in younger marriages in order to prevent fraud from individuals who enter into a marriage in order to circumvent the immigration process. The conditions will be removed after two years and once the CR2 visa holder’s parents prove the authenticity of their marriage. 

Can Green Card Holders Use the CR2 Visa for their Children? 

No. The CR2 visa is only available to the children of U.S. citizens. The children of green card holders are not eligible for the CR2 visa. 

How is the CR2 Visa Different From the IR2 Visa? 

The CR2 visa and the IR2 visa are substantially similar, but have one major difference between them. The IR2 visa is granted to the children of a U.S. citizen when the U.S. citizen and his or her spouse have been married for at least two years. The CR2 visa is granted to the children of a U.S. citizen as a “conditional” visa when the U.S. citizen and his or her spouse have been married for fewer than two years at the time the visa is issued. 

What is the Process for Obtaining a CR2 Visa? 

Unlike other visas, the CR2 visa is not subject to any caps on the number of Green Cards issued per year. Thus, the process to receive a CR2 visa is generally less lengthy than for other Green Card applicants. Generally, the CR2 visa is applied for and issued at the same time as the child’s parent receives a CR1 conditional visa. 

Individuals who are applying for the CR2 visa from outside the United States must use the Consular Processing steps outlined below, while applicants who are already in the United States must use the Adjustment of Status steps outlined below.

Consular Processing

Consular processing is available for applicants who are currently living outside of the United States. Under consular processing, applicants must follow the steps outlined below:

Step One: File an Immigrant Visa Petition 

In order to begin the process for consular processing, the applicant’s U.S. citizen parent will need to submit the applicant’s immigration petition Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

Step Two: File Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application 

After filing an immigrant visa petition, the visa applicant must file Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application by providing information regarding the applicant’s background, biographical information, and reason for immigrating to the United States. Included with Form DS-260, the child’s sponsor must prove their eligibility for the CR2 visa. 

When DS-260 is submitted, documentation must be included to prove the relationship between the sponsor and the child, as well as identifying information for both the sponsor and the child. The documents required to be submitted include: 

  • A passport for the immigrating child that is valid for more than 6 months after their planned entry into the United States; 
  • A signed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support from the child’s parent/sponsor; 
  • Form DS-260 confirmation page; 
  • Proof of medical examination and vaccinations; 
  • Two photographs that conform to visa photo requirements

Step Three: Attend Medical Examination and Receive Vaccines

In order to be eligible to enter the United States, the CR2 visa applicant must receive a medical examination and all required vaccines. After attending a medical examination and receiving required vaccines from an authorized physician, the CR2 visa applicant must present documentation signed by the physician that proves the applicant went through a medical exam and received required vaccines. 

Step Four: Attend Interview at Consulate or Embassy

After an applicant’s immigrant visa petition and electronic application are submitted, he or she will need to attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest to them where a U.S. official will ask questions relevant to the individual’s desire to live in the United States permanently. The consulate officer conducting the interview will likely inquire into the applicant’s relationship with the U.S. citizen and assess the legitimacy of the relationship.

Step Five: After Immigrant Visa is Granted

Once an applicant’s visa petition is approved and an immigrant visa is granted, he or she will receive a sealed Visa Packet that must be brought to a United States port of entry when the individual seeks entry into the United States, and must not be opened prior to arrival at the port of entry. The Visa Packet may be given to the applicant at the interview with a U.S. consulate officer. So long as the individual has paid all USCIS fees, the individual’s Green Card should arrive by mail to the individual’s United States address within 45 days of arrival in the United States. 

Adjusting Status

Individuals already living inside the United States can seek to change their status as a child of a United States citizen. Parents may adjustment their status by following the steps below:

Step One: File an Immigrant Visa Petition and Change of Status Petition 

Much like consular processing, an applicant seeking to change his or her status must have their U.S. citizen parent submit immigration petition Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative to the USCIS in order to stay permanently in the United States.

Unlike consular processing, Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status must also be filed after the immigrant visa petition is approved or at the same time as the immigrant visa petition. Only immediate relatives to U.S. citizens, including children, are permitted to submit Form I-485 at the same time as the immigration petition.  

Step Two: Submit Supporting and Identifying Documentation 

When submitting Form I-130 and Form I-485 to adjust status, the child must submit other supporting identifying documentation, including: 

  • Two passport-style photographs that conform to Department of State photo requirements; 
  • Copy of the Form I-797, Approval or Receipt Notice (for the Form I-130 petition filed on the applicant’s behalf) 
    • Note: Form I-797 does not need to be filed if Form I-130 and Form I-485 is filed together
  • Copy of applicant’s birth certificate; 
  • Copy of parents’ valid marriage certificate; 
  • Copy of parents’ valid divorce from any prior marriages; 
  • Documentation evidencing the parents’ marriage’s legitimacy; 
  • Copy of applicant’s passport page with non-immigrant visa; 
  • Copy of applicant’s passport page with admission or parole stamp issued by a U.S. immigration officer; 
  • Copy of government-issued ID with applicant’s photograph; 
  • Copy of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record or copy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) admission or parole stamp on the travel document 

Step Three: Attend an Application Support Center Appointment 

After Form I-485 is filed, an applicant will have to attend an appointment to provide fingerprints, photograph, a signature, and an acknowledgement that the applicant has provided true and accurate information. The applicant will receive a notice in the mail informing him or her of the appointment time, date, and location. 

Step Four: Attend an Interview 

Similar to consular processing, some applicants may have to attend an interview prior to receiving approval of their change of status application. However, an interview is not required for all applicants. Thus, an individual will receive a notice of the interview time, date, and location if one is necessary. 

Step Five: After Change of Status is Granted

How Long is the CR2 Visa Process? 

Generally, the process for obtaining a CR2 visa can take as long as one year, but may be completed in as soon as three months, depending on the circumstances of the particular applicant and sponsor. 

When is the CR2 Visa Issued for Adoptions? 

The CR2 visa is issued in cases of adoption if the child was formally adopted before his or her 16th birthday, or the child’s 18th birthday if the sibling exception applies. The CR2 visa is available in cases of adoption when the marriage between the adoptive parents is less than two years long at the time the visa is issued.

How to Remove Conditions from a CR2 Green Card? 

The requirements to remove conditions are fairly straightforward. The child with the CR2 visa must apply within 90 days before the two year anniversary of their entry into the United States. The two year anniversary marks the conditional Green Card’s expiration date, as shown on the Green Card identification document’s front side. Applications to remove conditions are submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Step One: File Form I-751 with Supporting Evidence

Within 90 days of the Green Card’s two-year expiration date, the married Green Card holder must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence jointly with his or her spouse and submit it to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), pay the filing fee, and provide all required evidence and supporting documentation. Children who need conditions removed based on the marriage of their parents can be included on the same Form I-751 with their parents if the children received their conditional status on the same day as their parent. 

Evidence is necessary to prove that the parent’s marriage is legitimate, and includes photos together, joint financial documentation, and other evidence typically accumulated after two years of marriage. 

Step Two: Attend Biometrics Services Appointment

After filing Form I-751, the Green Card holder may also be required to attend a Biometrics Services Appointment with the USCIS. At the Biometrics Services Appointment, the Green Card holder may be required to provide his or her fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature in order to verify the Green Card holder’s identity, obtain additional information, and conduct a background and security check. 

Step Three: Attend Interview 

Some Green Card holders may be required to attend an interview before conditions will be removed. However, an interview is not required for all applicants. Thus, an individual will receive a notice of the interview time, date, and location if one is necessary. 

Waivers for Joint Petition 

Under certain circumstances, a spouse or stepparent may not be available to jointly petition with their child to remove conditions. In such situations, the Green Card holder can request that the joint filing requirement be waived.

Some circumstances where a waiver may be necessary include: 

  • The sponsoring spouse or stepparent died subsequent to a good faith marriage; 
  • The sponsoring spouse or stepparent and the Green Card holder got divorced from a good faith marriage, and the Green Card holder is not at fault in failing to file a timely petition; 
  • The good faith marriage turned into an abusive situation where the Green Card holder or his or her child were subjected to abuse by the sponsoring spouse or stepparent.
  • The Green Card holder’ deportation or removal would result in extreme hardship.

What if a Green Card Holder Fails to Remove Conditions?

The failure to remove the conditions of permanent residency will cause the Green Card holder’s status to lapse as soon as the conditional Green Card expires. The Green Card holder would likely have to go through deportation proceedings. Prolonged presence in the United States with a lapsed status and expired Green Card could result in a bar on entry to the United States in the future. 

How Long Does a Green Card Last After Conditions are Removed? 

Once conditions are removed, the Green Card holder enters lawful permanent residence status, which does not lapse. However, after conditions are removed, lawful permanent residents must renew their Green Card identification document every 10 years according to the expiration date listed on the Green Card. 

Can CR2 Visa Holders Become U.S. Citizens? 

Yes. Because the CR2 visa is conditional, the child will initially be admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident with conditions attached. After the child and their parents have lived in the United States for two years under the conditional visa, they must apply to have the conditions removed in order to obtain lawful permanent residency without conditions.

Children with non-conditional lawful permanent resident status may pursue citizenship through the naturalization process. Upon admission to the United States using an CR2 visa, the child will receive a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) in the mail. The child may apply for a Certificate of Citizenship by filing Form N-600, Application for Certification of Citizenship online and paying the application fee. 

Can CR2 Visa Holders Work in the United States? 

Yes. Because the CR2 visa is a green card, these visa holders may work while living in the United States without first receiving an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

What is the Cost to Apply for the CR2 Visa? 

  • The cost to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative is $535.
  • The cost of the Biometrics Services Appointment is $85.
  • The processing fee for the Form DS-260 is $325. 
  • The processing fee for the Affidavit of Support is $120. 
  • Medical examination and vaccination fees vary. 
  • The USCIS Immigrant Fee is $220.00, which must be paid prior to entering the United States.

Sweta Khandelwal

Sweta completed her Masters in Law from the University of California, Los Angeles and her JD from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in India and has been practicing law for 15+ years getting visas, green cards, and citizenship for 1000+ clients, 100+ companies across 50+ nationalities.

Sweta has been recognized as a ” Super Lawyer, Rising Star,” and as amongst the ” Top 40 under 40″ immigration attorneys in California (American Society of Legal Advocates). She is also the recipient of the Advocacy Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Sweta is also a chartered accountant — the equivalent of a CPA. This makes her uniquely positioned to understand the immigration needs of her business clients in the broader context of their corporate objectives.

Sweta is actively involved with immigration issues and immigrant communities in various capacities. She has assumed key roles at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), both at the local and national level. She has been a past chair at the Santa Clara Valley Chapter at AILA and has also been involved in various practice area committees at AILA National. Sweta has addressed multiple conferences/forums in the United States and worldwide on immigration and business issues.