The U.S immigrant visas have different kinds. One of them is the Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas. This kind of U.S. Visa benefits the immediate family members of a U.S. citizen who are living in a foreign country. U.S. Immigrant Visas denotes with the letters IR and it is classified into:

In non-technical language, immediate relatives would only be spouses, biological or adopted children, and parents. Grandparents, uncles, or aunts are already considered to be one’s extended family and therefore, do not qualify as immediate relatives.

This section will discuss the IR-5 U.S. visa, the information regarding processes such as application, requirements, and its important details.

What is the IR-5 visa?

Several factors make a U.S. citizen bring their immediate family members to the country. Some became a U.S. citizen because of their status in the country. For that reason, most of them may want to take their immediate family relatives to be with them. An IR-5 US Visa would give the opportunity for US citizens to take their parents from their homeland into the U.S.

The IR-5 visa enables parents of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old to live and immigrate into the U.S for lifelong. The visa grants them the opportunity to reside and work in the U.S. and reunite with their children as a family in the country. Parents can legally work without the need for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in the U.S. once granted with the IR-5 US Visa.

The advantage of having an IR-5 US Visa is that it does not have a yearly capacity or limit for the reason that it is an immediate family visa. This explains that whoever applies, meets the criteria, and has an authorized application, can obtain the US Visa without the need to wait for their arranged dates to become apparent.

What Are the Requirements for the IR-5 visa?

To be able to be qualified for the IR-5 visa, there are conditions that both the U.S. citizen and the parent of the U.S. citizen must comply with. These conditions are as follows:

  • The U.S citizen must be at least 21 years old
  • The U.S. citizen must be financially sound to be able to sustain his/her parent up until the parents started working
  • The U.S. citizen must be residing in the U.S. and has a valid U.S. address
  • Parent/s must be from a foreign country
  • The U.S. citizen and their parent must show a valid birth certificate to prove their relationship

Once both the parent and the U.S. citizen meet these conditions, then they are qualified to apply for the IR-5 visa to be able to immigrate to the U.S. and be with their child.

How to Apply for the IR-5 visa?


For the approval of the application of the IR-5 U.S. Visa, the process must include both the U.S. citizen and their parents to present documents and forms. The application process has two steps:

  • The U.S. citizen must submit a petition/appeal for their parents to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • If the petition’s approval is given, the parent can then apply to the U.S. Embassy in their home country

For this reason, the U.S citizen must first get the petition approved in order for the parents to proceed to the application process for a U.S. visa, as shown above.

Filing the Petition for the Parent

The U.S. citizen or the applicant’s child must file Form I-130, which is the Petition for Alien Relatives into the USCIS. The petition must be filled and completed with the attached necessary documents. In addition, a filing fee must be given by the U.S. citizen in order to process the petition.

The Department of Homeland Security is the one that will process the petition and it will take a few months to be processed. After the processing, the USCIS will notify the U.S. citizen if the petition has been approved or denied. If the petition was denied, the USCIS will tell the reasons why it was not approved and can then reapply for the petition. If the petition was approved, it will then proceed into the National Visa Center (NVC), which will take charge of the application process and will be the only contact if ever there are inquiries.

The NVC examines or evaluates the petition and then forwards a package with the information and instructions to the applicant. The certain package is contained with the applicant’s case number and the invoice ID number. Each of these numbers is unique for every applicant and used as their identification when applying for the IR-5 U.S. visa.

Applying for the IR-5 visa

As the IR-5 U.S. visa does not have a yearly capacity or priority dates, the applicant or the parent of the U.S. citizen can then begin the application after the petition is approved. The applicant shall apply the application for a U.S. visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. At this time, the U.S. citizen will not take part in works and it is up to the officials to examine and evaluate the case in the U.S. Embassy and will make the decision.

File Form DS-260

The Form DS-260 or Immigrant Visa Electronic Application is the standard form for all U.S immigrant visas. Using this, the parent of the U.S citizen or the applicant must put their case number and will be redirected to the pertinent sections. They must fill out the whole sections with exact data about the applicant’s background and other information. When finished, they will receive a confirmation page and number, which they will attach to the supporting documents.

Complete Medical Examination and Vaccination

The U.S. requires every applicant about his or her medical history and have a medical examination and vaccination in order to reside in the U.S. The NVC package includes instructions on tests they must conduct and what vaccines they must take. The applicant must then go to the licensed doctor to fulfill the requirements and have the doctor sign the documents proving that it is accomplished. These documents will then be attached to the supporting documents and will be sent to the NVC.

Compile Supporting Document File

For the application to be firm, the applicant or the parent of the U.S. citizen must attach some supporting documents, which will be sent to the NVC. These documents prove that the applicant accomplished all the requirements and is eligible to immigrate to the U.S with the IR-5 U.S. visa. The file must be contained with the following:

  • A signed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support from the U.S petitioner (applicant’s child)
  • Form DS-260 confirmation page
  • Medical examination and vaccination documents
  • Valid birth certificate proving the relationship of the U.S citizen and the applicant
  • Two photographs per individual according to the Photo Requirements
  • Court and criminal records and/or police certificate
  • If you served in the military, you must bring your military records

Attend the Visa Interview

After the documents have been sent, the applicant will be scheduled for an interview at the U.S Embassy where they are applying. The U.S. Embassy official will be the one to conduct the interview and ask about the applicant’s background and their intentions on moving into the U.S. The applicant must be honest and precise in answering every question that the interviewer asks.

Receive NVC Packet and Travel to the U.S.

After the interview, the U.S Embassy will send a notification to the applicant whether their visa has been approved or denied. If the applicant gets the IR-5 U.S. visa, the U.S. Embassy will provide them with a package, which they must carry whenever they will travel into the U.S. NOTE: Do not open the package. It is very important not to open the package because the only people who will open it are the U.S. immigration officials at the point of entry. The U.S. immigration officials will decide whether the applicant is authorized to enter the U.S. or not.

What are the IR-5 Visa Fees That Must Be Paid?

The petitioner and the applicant must pay several fees all through the processing of the application for IR-5 U.S. visa. The amounts differ and are fixed by the USCIS, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the applicant was applying. These are the main sections of fees that must be paid:

  • Form I-130 filing fee
  • Processing fee for the Form DS-260
  • Medical examination and vaccination fees
  • Fees to get and translate all the supporting documents
  • USCIS Immigrant Fee, which you must pay after you receive your visa and before you travel to the U.S. USCIS will not issue you a Green Card without you paying this fee.

How Long Is the IR-5 Visa Processing Time?

The application of U.S. visas for immediate relatives have various processing duration. How long to get the IR-5 U.S. visa depends on the duration of the processing of Form I-130 and other documents. Overall, it would take 6 months up to 1 year for the applicant or the parent to get the IR-5 U.S. visa and be granted to be reunited with their U.S. citizen child.