Immediate Relative Visas

Another category of visas for families in the US is the Immediate Relative Visas. Unlike Family-Based Immigration Visas, this type of visa is only intended for US citizens.

With this article, we will go beyond the details of what are US immediate relative visas, its types, and the processes of applications.

What are Immediate Relative Visas?

Immediate Relative Visas are for the citizens of the US to unit with their other family members who are living outside of the country. This is only limited to spouses, children, and parents. Other members of the family do not qualify and cannot apply for these visas-siblings, grandparents, or cousins.

If granted with an immediate relative visa, the family member will get a Green Card, meaning they can already move to the US for a permanent stay in the country. They are allowed also to enroll in an educational institution or find a job without needing an Employment Authorization Document. Moreover, they can also own a property in the U.S, get a driver’s license, and travel in and out of the country for short-time periods.

The immediate relative visas are a lot better than other visas in the US. The biggest benefit of the immediate relative visas is that they do not have a yearly limit, much convenient to a US citizen who wants to unite with his or her family member in the country.
What’s the good news? If you are a US citizen and will qualify for an immediate family visa, you don’t need to wait for your turn for the process. It is through the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) who will give as many visas as necessary for immediate family members without a yearly quota.

What are the Types of Immediate Relative Visas?

As with other categories of U.S immigrant visas, this visa category also has different types. The types of immediate relative visas are:

  • IR-1 visa for the spouse of a U.S citizen;
  • IR-2 visa for the unmarried children under 21 years old of a U.S citizen;
  • IR-3 visa for children adopted abroad by a U.S citizen;
  • IR-4 visa for children adopted within the U.S by a U.S citizen;
  • IR-5 visa for parents of a U.S citizen who is at least 21 years old.

What are the Requirements of Immediate Family Visas?

Each of the five visas above has its own requirements. Applicants must meet the list of the requirements, otherwise, the USCIS could get their visa denied.

IR-1 Visa Requirements

The requirements for the IR-1 visa are as follows:

  • The couple must be legally married and have a valid marriage certificate as proof;
  • The couple must have been married for at least 2 years (those who are married less than 2 years get a Conditional Residence Visa (CR-1); See: Green Card through Marriage);
  • The U.S citizen must have a valid U.S address;
  • The U.S citizen must be able to financially support the spouse until the spouse can find a job.

IR-2 Visa Requirements

The requirements for the IR-2 visa are as follows:

  • The U.S citizen must have a valid birth or adoption certificate for their child;
  • The U.S citizen must have a valid U.S address;
  • The U.S citizen must be able to financially support the child;
  • The child must be under 21 years old and unmarried.
  • If the U.S citizens have already adopted the child, they must have been living with the child in a foreign country for at least 2 years to qualify for this visa.

IR-3 and IR-4 Visa Requirements

The requirements for the IR-3 and IR-4 visas are as follows:

  • The child must be eligible for adoption under the U.S Immigration and Nationality Act (INA);
  • The child must be under 21 years old and unmarried;
  • The child must be from a Hague or Non-Hague Convention Country;
  • The U.S citizen parent must pass an eligibility test by USCIS;
  • The U.S citizen must plan to bring the child to live in the U.S;
  • The U.S citizen must have a valid U.S address.

More detailed information on the requirements of these visas can be found in their articles.

IR-5 Visa Requirements

The requirements for the IR-5 visa are as follows:

  • The U.S citizen must prove the relationship to their parent with a valid birth certificate;
  • The U.S citizen’s parent must be living in a foreign country;
  • The U.S citizen must be at least 21 years old;
  • The U.S citizen must be financially stable to support the parent until they find a job;
  • The U.S citizen must have a valid U.S address.

How to Apply for These Five Visas?

These five visas have different procedures of application. Nevertheless, they will still all start from the petition of the U.S citizen despite the differences in the procedures.

The applicant in the foreign country is unable to start applying on their own. Based on the five types of visas, there are two more similar application procedures. The process for IR-1, IR-2, and IR-5 visas is the same and the process for IR-3 and IR-4 visas are also similar. The outline below will go through the general overview of the processes.

Application Process for IR-1, IR-2, and IR-5 visas

This process has a few steps that applicants must follow for a successful application. Below are the steps to consider:

Step 1: Filing the Petition

The first step is for the U.S citizen to file a petition to USCIS for the family members- the spouse, the child, or the parent. They must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relatives to USCIS.

Processing of the application, as well as the approval, will be done by USCIS. If the application is approved, it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC), the one assigns a case number and an invoice ID number. Then the applicant will be sent a package with instructions. Moving forward, the application process begins.

Step 2: Filing DS-260 Form

The applicant who is the spouse, the child, or the parent must fill out Form DS-260 via online processing platform. If the child is a minor, there should someone at a higher age that will help them complete the form. The end process will be the applicant must have the confirmation page of the form.

Step 3: Completing Medical Exams and Vaccinations

The applicant must follow the NVC instructions on what medical exams and vaccines they need to have. Then they can go to a licensed doctor or hospital and complete them.

Step 4: Compiling Supporting Documents File

Applicants are also required to submit supporting documents to meet the complete requirements. These can include:

  • A valid passport for more than 6 months after entry in the U.S;
  • A signed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support from the U.S petitioner/citizen;
  • Form DS-260 confirmation page;
  • Medical examination and vaccination documents;
  • Two photographs per individual according to the Photograph Requirements;
  • Court and criminal records and/or police certificate;
  • Birth, adoption, or marriage certificate;
  • If the applicant served in the military, they must bring their military records.
Step 5: Attending the Interview

The U.S Embassy will invite the applicants for an interview after reviewing their cases. Questions that will be asked are more about the application and the background of the applicant. After this, the decision will be made by them whether to grant the visa or not to the applicant.

Step 6: Receiving NVC packet and Travel Grant to the US

If the Embassy approves the applied visa, the applicant will receive another package from the NVC. The applicant is advised not to open the package in any instance but they will bring this with them upon their travel to the U.S.

The official at the U.S port of entry will be the one to open it and decide whether to let the applicant enter the country or not.

Application Process for IR-3 and IR-4 visas

The application process for the IR-3 and IR-4 visas is more complicated since it would depend on whether the U.S citizen is adopting a child in a Hague or Non-Hague country. Furthermore, in starting the application process, USCIS must first approve the U.S citizen for adoption. `

When approved by the USCIS, the U.S citizen must submit Form DS-260 for the adopted child. If the form gets approval from the Embassy, the U.S citizen may adopt the child. For those adopting a foreign child outside the U.S, they are required to obtain an IR-3 visa. Adopting a foreign child within the U.S means that the child gets an IR-4 visa as well.

What are the Immediate Family Visa fees?

Since each of the visas application processes is different, the fees for immediate family visas are also different. The fees for the IR-1, IR-2, and IR-5 visas are as follows:

  • Form I-130 filing fee – $535;
  • Processing fee for the Form DS-260 – $230;
  • USCIS Immigrant Fee – $220;
  • Medical examination and vaccination fees;
  • Fees to get and translate all the supporting documents.

The fees for the IR-3 and IR-4 visas are:

  • Form I-800/I-800A filing fee – $775;
  • Form DS-260 processing fees – $230;
  • Form I-600/I-600A filing fee – $725;
  • Translation fees;
  • Fees to get supporting documents.

What Is the Processing Time for Immediate Family Visas?

The processing time is quite fast for immediate family visas since they do not have any limits per year. USCIS reviews the cases as they come, but does not take a long time for the decision to make. Below are the processing times for each one of the visas:

  • 8 to 10 months for the IR-1 visa;
  • 3 to 12 months for the IR-2 visa;
  • 6 months to 1 year for the IR-3, IR-4, and IR-5 visas.

Need to apply for a US Visa? Start now your application via the USA Visa team.

Have a safe travel!