A Comprehensive Guide for obtaining an IR-5 Visa

It can be challenging for individuals to live far from their loved ones living & working in the U.S. while their family is in their home country. To bring your loved ones closer to you to live legally in the U.S., the U.S. government issues different types of visas, including an Immediate Relative Visa to bring your family, children, siblings, & relatives to live with you in the U.S. legally.

In this blog, we will discuss what an IR-5 Visa is, its benefits, eligibility criteria, the process for obtaining it, the interview process, and the processing time & fee.

What is an IR-5 Visa?

IR-5 Visa is a Family-based immigrant visa, also known as an Immediate Relative Visa (Green Card), allowing U.S. citizens' parents to become permanent U.S. residents. The sponsoring U.S. citizen must be at least 21 years of age.

IR-5 Visa allows the parents of U.S. citizens to lawfully live and work in the U.S. without an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

IR-5 Visa does not have an annual cap or limit, which means you don't have to wait for priority dates after applying. You can seamlessly get your IR-5 Visa provided you meet all the eligibility criteria and submit the required forms & evidence.

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Eligibility Criteria for an IR-5 Visa

To obtain an IR-5 Visa, the sponsoring U.S. Citizens and their parents both must fulfill the following eligibility criteria:

1. Parents

  • Must be foreign-born parents of the U.S. Citizen
  • Evidence of your relationship with the U.S. Citizen

2. Sponsoring U.S. Citizens

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Evidence of relationship with the parents (A copy of your birth certificate)
  • Must live in the U.S. and have a valid U.S. address
  • Must be financially able to support the parents.

IR-5 Visa Process

Once the sponsoring U.S. Citizen & their parents have met the eligibility criteria, you both have to follow specific steps to obtain an IR-5 Visa.

Step 1: Establishing the parent-child relationship by filing Form I-130

The first step to obtain an IR-5 Visa is to file Form I-130 with USCIS to establish the parent-child relationship. If you are filing the form from outside the U.S., your petition will be handled by the National Visa Center (NVC) and U.S. Embassy or Consulate and go through Consular Processing. If you are filing the form from within the U.S., the USCIS office will handle the application.

For Form I-130, the following documents are required-

  • $535 Government Filing Fee
  • Evidence that the sponsoring individual is a U.S. citizen (e.g. valid U.S. passport, naturalization certificate)
  • Evidence of the parent-child relationship (copy of child's birth certificate or adoption papers in case of adoption)

Once you submit the above-required documents, the USCIS office will review the documentation. Once they have approved the petition, it will be sent to the NVC and U.S. Embassy or Consulate, depending on from where you have filed the form I-130, for further processing.

If USCIS needs more evidence or information to process IR-5 Visa Application, they will send a Request for Evidence (RFE). Ensure to submit all the required documents and additional evidence that USCIS asks for to avoid delays in the IR-5 Visa Application Process.

Step 2: Apply for the Green Card

The government of the United States allows parents to apply for Green Cards from outside the U.S. and from within the U.S. Therefore, they follow two different processes for determining the parents’ eligibility for IR-5 Visa.

Scenario 1: If the parents are applying from outside the U.S.

Once the USCIS has approved the form I-130, the parents must file form DS-260, also known as the Immigration Visa Electronic Application. The form DS-260 must be submitted along with the required documents & evidence to the NVC for review & further processing.

Once the parents have submitted the form DS-260 along with the required documents & evidence, the NVC will review it and may ask you to send additional evidence or information by sending a Request for Evidence (RFE).

Once all the required documents & evidence have been reviewed successfully by the NVC, they send it to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate of the country where parents are residing.  The U.S. Embassy or Consulate will schedule an Interview with the U.S. citizen parents.

If the parents want to apply for Green Card from outside the U.S., they must follow these steps in order, which helps the U.S. State Department timely process the Green Card Application Process.

Scenario 2: If the parents are applying from within the U.S.

The sponsoring U.S. Citizen parent must first enter the U.S. lawfully, and then they can apply for a Green Card from within the U.S.

Once the parents arrive in the U.S., they may file Form I-485 to apply for the Green Card and submit it to USCIS.  Once USCIS has reviewed Form I-485, they will mail information regarding the date, time, & location for the biometrics appointment. The parents have to visit the location on the given date & time for their fingerprints & photo for the Green Card.

Once the parents & sponsoring U.S. citizen has submitted all the required documents & evidence, the USCIS office will review & process them.  Once approved, they will send the Green Card where the parents reside or schedule an interview.

Step 3: Medical Examination

Prior to the Interview, the parents must undergo a Medical Examination that approved doctor should perform. The parents must have taken an approved Covid-19 vaccination. The parents must undergo a medical check-up, and the medical examination must be sent to the appropriate office.

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Documents for an IR-5 Visa

There are numerous documents required to obtain an IR-5 Visa. Let us walk you through the list of documents that are generally needed.

  • Two colored passport photographs of each of the parents
  • Valid Passport of Parents, having a validity of six months after they arrive in the U.S.
  • Evidence of Birth Certificate to prove the parent-child relationship
  • Approved Form-130
  • Confirmation Page of Form DS-260
  • Signed Form I-864 or Affidavit of Support from the sponsoring U.S. citizen stating that he is financially able to support their parents
  • Medical Examination Report
  • Vaccination Documents
  • Military records, if any of the parents have served in the military
  • Marriage Certificate of the Parents
  • Adoption Documents if the sponsoring U.S. Citizen was adopted
  • Court or Police Records, if any

Interview Process for IR-5 Visa

The parents will receive mail from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate regarding the Interview time & date. On the Interview date, they must carry the following documents:

  • Appointment Letter
  • Valid Passport of both Parents that have a validity of six months after they arrive in the U.S.
  • Two Identical Colored Photographs of each of the Parents
  • If the parents have applied through Consular Processing, they must carry Original or Certified copies of all the Civil Documents that were uploaded into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC)
  • A copy of English Translations of Documents requiring translation

The parents are asked questions regarding their relationship with the sponsoring U.S. Citizen and related questions to evaluate their visa application eligibility.

The parents might be asked to submit additional evidence or information, which parents have to mail to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Ensure that all the required fees are paid, and if not, pay them during the Interview.

Once the Interview is successful and all the submitted documents & evidence are verified, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate mails a sealed packet to the parents that must not be opened.

Note: The Immigration official at the U.S. Port of Entry must only open the sealed packet. If the packet is opened before the U.S. Port of Entry, the parents will not be permitted to enter the U.S.

Once the parents have arrived in the U.S., and if they have applied for Green Card from outside the U.S., they will receive their Green Cards at the provided U.S. address. If they haven't applied, they can apply for the Green Card Application Process.

Processing Time & Fee for an IR-5 Visa

The processing time for an IR-5 Visa can average 9-24 months depending on the U.S. Embassy, which is quicker than other types of Visas issued by the U.S. Government. There are multiple processing fees associated with IR-5 Visa, which are as follows:

  • $535 Government Filing Fee for Form I-130
  • Processing Fee of $325 for Form DS-260
  • $120 Affidavit of Support fee
  • Medical Examination fees that the doctor will charge
  • USCIS Immigration $220 Fee
  • $1140 Fee for Form I-485 (Green Card Application) & $85 for Biometric Services Fee for Green Card


The process for obtaining an IR-5 Visa can be challenging. There are several steps and many documents & evidence required along with filling out different forms, making it confusing to most people. Hence, it is recommended to hire an Immigration Lawyer who will assist you throughout the entire process and simplify the process of obtaining an IR-5 Visa.

Salinas Law Firm is one of the Top 10 Immigration Lawyers in Houston, Texas. We have assisted more than hundreds of immigrants in obtaining Visas as per their requirements. We have helped individuals obtain Green Cards, IR-5 Visa, IR-2 Visa, E1 & E2 Visa, H1B Visa, and more.

Feel free to reach out to us to hire an immigration lawyer for obtaining U.S. Visa and other immigration matters. You can call us at 713.518.1711.