What is an IR-2 Visa? What are the eligibility criteria & procedure?
Many people across the globe seek to obtain a U.S. Visa to lawfully enter the U.S. for study, work, & business purposes. An individual can legally live in the U.S. by obtaining a visa from a list of Visas offered by the U.S. Government, depending on the purpose of the individual. The goal of certain U.S. immigration laws is to promote family unification. There are different types of Visas for bringing your loved ones to the U.S. to live with you legally. IR-2 Visa is one of them.
In this blog, we will walk you through - what is an IR-2 Visa, its benefits, eligibility criteria, and the process for obtaining it.
What is an IR-2 Visa?
IR-2 Visa is a part of the Immediate Relative Visa Category. It allows the child of a U.S. citizen living outside the U.S. to enter the U.S. legally for study, work, & business purposes. The child should be under 21 years of age & unmarried and must not be a green card holder or a U.S. citizen to be eligible for an IR-2 Visa.
If a U.S. Citizen has adopted a child outside the U.S., the child is eligible to apply for an IR-2 Visa, provided the eligibility criteria are met. IR-2 Visas are issued at the U.S. Embassy or at the consulate office of the foreign country where the adopted child is residing. To bring the adopted child to the U.S., the child needs an Immigrant Visa.
Eligibility Criteria for an IR-2 Visa
There are specific eligibility criteria that an individual needs to meet to obtain an IR-2 Visa. The eligibility criteria for an IR-2 Visa are as follows:
- Sponsoring individual must be a lawful U.S. citizen
- Sponsoring individual must have legal custody of the child residing abroad for a minimum of two years
- In the scenario of an adopted child, the adoption process must have been finalized before the 16th birthday of the child
- Sponsoring individual must have lived with the child for a minimum of two years before applying for an IR-2 Visa
- The child must be under 21 years of age & unmarried
- For stepchildren, both child's birth parent & step-parent must have married before 18 years of the child’s age
IR-2 Visa Process
There are mandatory steps that an individual must follow to obtain an IR-2 Visa conveniently. Let us walk you through the process of obtaining an IR-2 Visa.
Step 1: Establishing the parent-child relationship by filling out the form I-130
The first step is to file Form-130 with USCIS to establish the parent-child relationship. For Form I-130, the following documents are required-
- $535 Government Filing Fee
- Legal proof that the sponsoring individual is a U.S. citizen (valid U.S. passport, naturalization certificate)
- Legal proof of the parent-child relationship (copy of child's birth certification or adoption papers in case of adoption)
Once the above documents are ready, they must be mailed to the USCIS address, and within about two weeks, the sponsoring parent will receive a receipt notice via mail from USCIS.
If USCIS needs more evidence or information to process IR-2 Visa Application, they will send a Request for Evidence (RFE) via mail to the sponsoring parent within 2-6 months.
Step 2: Applying for the Green Card by filing form DS-260
Once Form I-130 is approved, the sponsoring parent must file Form DS-260, also known as an Immigrant Visa Application, with the National Visa Center (NVC). For this step, the following documents are required -
- $325 Government Filing Fee for the State Department Processing Fee
- A copy of Form DS-260 that you have filed online
- Legal proof of the sponsoring parent's income to financially support the child. Documents required are Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, and evidence of tax returns or work pay receipts (pay slips)
- Evidence of nationality of the child (a copy of birth certificate)
Mail or electronically file the above documents to the NVC address. The NVC reviews all the documents, and if any document is missing or requires more evidence or information, they will send a Request for Evidence (RFE).
Once the NVC has reviewed & received all the required & necessary documents & evidence, they will send them to the U.S. Embassy or consulate in the home country where the child is residing for an interview, also known as consular processing.
The U.S. Embassy or consulate will review the documents & evidence and will schedule an Interview for the sponsoring parent & the child.
Before the Interview, the child has to undergo a Medical Examination. Only an approved licensed doctor can perform the medical exam. The child must have taken an approved covid-19 vaccine.
Note: If the child is under 18 years of age when they enter the U.S. on IR-2 Visa, they will automatically acquire U.S. Citizenship provided they reside in the U.S. with their parents. If the child is above 18 years of age, they obtain permanent residence and receive a Green Card.
IR-2 Visa Interview
The child must attend an interview scheduled at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate of the city they reside in. A Guardian must accompany the child for the Interview. In general, the child has to carry the following documents for the Interview:
- Two Identical Color Photographs
- USCIS Interview Appointment Letter
- Unexpired Passport with validity for six months beyond the planned entry date in the U.S.
- If you have applied through Consular Processing, then the child is required to carry original or certified copies of the civil documents that were uploaded by the sponsoring parent in the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC)
- A copy of English Translations of the Documents requiring translations that weren't sent to the NVC.
You don't have to pay during the interview if the sponsoring parent has paid all the required fees (costs) at the NVC. However, if the sponsoring parent has yet to pay all the required fees, they must pay them at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate during the Interview.
Once the child has submitted the required documents during the interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, and the sponsoring parent has paid all the required fees, they send a packet to the child containing their IR-2 Visa & required documents for entering the U.S. You have to wait till your travel date to enter the U.S. legally.
Note: The packet shouldn't be open. It will only be opened at the U.S. Port of Entry by an Immigration official. If the packet is open, the child will not be permitted to enter the U.S.
“Welcome to the U.S.”
Processing Fee & Time for an IR-2 Visa
Once you have met the eligibility criteria, it is vital to understand the processing fee & time for an IR-2 Visa. There are considerable costs involved in the process of obtaining an IR-2 Visa which is as follows:
- Filing Fee of $535 for Form I-130
- Processing Fee of $325 for Form DS-260
- Affidavit of Support fee of $120
- Medical Examination fees that the doctor will charge
- USCIS Immigration $220 Fee. Note: You must pay this fee once your child receives their IR-2 Visa and before they travel to the U.S. USCIS doesn’t issue a Green Card to the child if this fee is not paid.
The processing time for an IR-Visa may vary between 12-24 months, depending on the processing time and the waiting list.
The best option is to hire an immigration lawyer. If you are looking for an immigration lawyer in Houston, Texas, Salinas Law Firm is your one-stop destination. Our Immigration Lawyers are experienced in helping individuals obtain a U.S. Visa for study, work, business, & leisure purposes. Our Immigration Lawyers assist you in preparing the required paperwork so that you are all set to enter the U.S. lawfully.
Obtaining an IR-2 Visa might sound challenging, but we recommend hiring an immigration lawyer to make the process smoother and avoid delays.
Salinas Law Firm is an Immigration Law Firm based in Houston, Texas. We have helped hundreds of individuals obtain a visa to work, study, & live in the U.S. legally.
Contact us to get a consultation with our Immigration Lawyer to obtain a U.S. Visa & other legal matters related to Immigration.
You can reach out to us via phone at 713.518.1711.