USA and the UK
What is the IR2 Visa?
The IR2 Visa will award the applicant with a Green Card, which enables the child to live in the United States and continue in education. They will also be able to enter into employment, without the need to acquire an Employment Authorization Document in the future.
As with all Immediate Relative visas, there is no annual cap imposed on the number of IR2 Visas which can be issued. As a result, the application waiting times are far less in comparison to Preference Relative visas.
Am I Eligible for the IR2 Visa?
The applicant must be under 21-years-old and be living in a foreign country.
An individual is eligible for an IR2 Visa/Green card if they fall under one of the following categories:
- Natural-born child to married parents (at least one of those must be a U.S. citizen)
- Natural-born child to unmarried parents (if the father is the U.S. sponsor, he must undergo a blood test to prove his paternity)
- Stepchild who was under the age of 18 when their parents got married
- Adopted child who was under the age of 18 at the time of the adoption. (Must have lived with their adoptive U.S. citizen/parent for at least two years
What is the IR2 Green Card Application Process?
There are two main stages to the IR2 Green Card application process.
Firstly, the U.S. citizen needs to complete a petition for their child to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the petition is approved, the child then begins the IR2 Visa application process.
Whilst these are the two main stages in the application, the full application process is as follows:
- Sponsor completes petition form and sends it to the USCIS
- Department of Homeland Security processes petition
- If the petition is approved, National Visa Center (NVC) will send a package of information with instructions on the next steps to take
- Applicant fills in form DS-260. It is possible for the form to be completed by someone else if the applicant is a minor
- Child takes all necessary medical examinations and vaccinations
- All required documents are collected to form a portfolio of evidence
- Applicant attends an interview at a U.S. embassy
- Child travels to the U.S. to begin their American journey
What Happens During the Petition Stage?
The petition stage is the first step in the IR2 Visa application process.
The petition must be completed by the U.S. citizen, and submitted to the USCIS. Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relatives is the form which must be completed.
The petition is sent to the Department of Homeland Security and is usually processed within a few months. If the petition is rejected, a refusal letter will be sent to the sponsor in the United States explaining the reason/s for the rejection.
If the petition is successful, the application will move to the NVC. The NVC will send a package with detailed information, including the next steps in the IR2 Green Card application process.
IR2 Visa Application Process
Once the petition has been accepted, and the applicant has received their package, the official application process can begin.
As mentioned above, there is no annual cap on Immediate Relative visa applications. This means that the foreign national doesn’t need to wait for their application to become current before beginning the application – it can start as soon as they receive the package from the NVC.
The form which needs to be completed is Form DS-260, which is the form that all applicants for U.S. immigrant visas must submit. The form asks questions related to the applicant’s background and the purpose for their desire to immigrate to the United States.
If the child is a minor, it is possible for an adult to help them with their application.
At the end of the application, a confirmation sheet will be displayed. It is vital that you print this page out and include it in your bundle of documents to send to the NVC.
The IAS can help if you have any questions about the IR2 Green Card application process. Our expert immigration attorneys have unrivalled expertise having dealt with numerous Green Card applications. Call us now on +1 844 290 6312 to find out more.
Medical Examination and Vaccinations
Anyone who wishes to immigrate to the United States must complete a medical examination and vaccinations. The specific ones which the applicant needs to take will be shown on the package which they receive from the NVC after the petition.
The applicant must receive a signed document from their medical professional detailing the medical examination/s they have received and the vaccinations they have taken.
Which Documents do I Need to Include in an IR2 Visa Application?
The applicant will need to send a number of documents to the NVC as part of the IR2 Visa application. All applications must include the following documents:
- This must be valid for more than six months after your planned entry to the U.S.
- Signed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support from the U.S. petitioner/sponsor
- Confirmation page of Form DS-260
- Signed documents showing medical examinations and vaccinations
- Any court and criminal records
- Two photographs in accordance with U.S. photo requirements
Any documents which are not in English must be translated by an official, accredited translator.
Also, applicants need to be aware that they may need to provide further documentation, depending on their circumstances.
Once all the required documents have been gathered together, the applicant needs to send their bundle of documents to the NVC.
The NVC will determine whether you have provided sufficient documentary evidence. If the NVC is satisfied, an immigration interview will be scheduled.
What is the Immigration Interview?
The immigration interview is the final major step in the IR2 Green Card application process. The interview will take place at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your country of residence. The minor (applicant) must be accompanied by a caretaker at the interview.
An immigration official will interview the attendees, asking questions based on the information provided.
If the interview is successful, your passport will be stamped with the IR2 Visa. You will now be free to travel to the United States.
You will also receive a sealed packet which you must take with you when you travel to the United States. You must not open this packet.
When you arrive in the United States, you need to give the sealed packet to a U.S. immigration official. They will open the packet and decide whether the applicant can enter into the United States.
How much does the IR2 Visa cost?
With any U.S. immigration application there are a number of costs to bear in mind, including:
- Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relatives. (Currently $535)
- Form DS-260 for visa application (Currently $325)
- Medical examination and vaccinations fees
- USCIS Immigrant fee, which must be paid before you travel to the U.S.
- Fees for the translation of documents
How Long Does it Take for an IR2 Visa to be Processed?
The IR2 Visa is an Immediate Relative visa/Green Card without any annual caps on the number of people who can receive the visa. This means that the waiting times for this visa are far less than Preference Relative visa/ Green Cards.
The processing times vary depending on the individual case. However, generally, you can expect an IR2 Visa application to be processed within 3 to 12 months.
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As a general rule, each eligible son and daughter of a U.S. citizen can apply for an IR2 Visa. This means that the following categories may meet the legal definition of “children” if they are under the age of 21 and unmarried:
- Natural-born children to married parents (at least one of those must be a U.S. citizen);
- Natural-born children to unmarried parents (if the father is the U.S. sponsor, he must undergo a blood test to prove his paternity);
- Stepchildren who were under the age of 18 when their parents got married;
- Adopted children who were under the age of 18 at the time of the adoption.
To be eligible for the IR2 Visa category, your children must:
- Be under the age of 21;
- Be unmarried and not living an independent life;
- Be living in a foreign country at the time of their application;
- Have been living with one U.S. citizen parent for at least two years.
Another critical requirement for the IR2 Visa category is that your children must not be married. If your child is under the age of 21 but gets married before the visa is issued, he or she automatically loses his or her status.
In other words, your married children under the age of 21 will no longer be considered for first preference visas. At this point, they can file a separate I-130 Form for their petition for a third preference Green Card (for married children of any age).
It must be noted that only first preference visa applicant can get their permit as soon as their petition is approved. Married or adult children need to wait until a visa become available for their category. This can take from a few months to several years.
To begin your IR2 Visa application process, you must file a Form I-130. Only your unmarried children under the age of 21 can be included in your petition. Other relatives can submit their own form and must follow different immigration paths.
Each child eligible for an IR2 Visa must complete a medical examination by an accredited doctor. After this step, he or she will be finally summoned for an interview. If you wish to provide further supporting documentation to your petition, it is a good idea to bring them with you at this time.
Typically, children who are eligible for the IR2 Visa category do not have to wait long to get their permit.
It usually takes no more than two weeks to receive a letter from the USCIS. However, if your petition is incomplete or if you fail to submit adequate documentation, your application will be delayed. You may also receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) detailing the reasons why your request cannot be processed or approved.
If you have already filed your Form I-130, your children may enter the U.S. while you wait for a response from the USCIS.
If you and your partner are married, your children may be eligible for a K4 Dependent Visa. Similarly, if you are still planning to get married, you can seek a K2 Visa for Dependent Children of Fiancé(e)s. To get one of these permits, you must file a Form I-129F.
As a general rule, children who get an IR2 Visa may get U.S. Citizenship.
If your child is under the age of 18 when his or her visa is granted, he or she will automatically obtain citizen status after entering the U.S.
On the other hand, eligible applicants who are already over the age of 18 will get permanent resident status. If they wish to become citizens of the U.S., they must apply separately and meet specific criteria.
Petitions for the IR2 category are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. In other words, you must complete your forms to the highest standard to ensure that your application is successful. If you fail to submit the required documents, your petition may be delayed or rejected.
To make sure your Green Card for Children is processed quickly, and without mistakes, you should seek the advice of an expert. At IAS, our immigration attorneys are qualified to provide expert guidance and will help you maximize your chances of success.
Get in touch today to learn more about our immigration advice service. Your dedicated lawyer will:
- Review your case to assess your eligibility;
- Liaise with your family living abroad;
- Check your supporting documentation;
- Liaise with the USCIS.
Get in touch with our staff or ask for a free call back from our immigration experts.