What is the IR2 Visa?
The IR2 Visa is designed for Canadian children and minors under 21 years of age, to immigrate to the US with their families. To be eligible for this visa, the child must have at least one US citizen parent. This family-based green card allows the children lawful permanent residency (or in some cases, immediate US citizenship) in the United States, where they can continue their education, live with their families, and work without needing an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
If a child is under the age of 18 years old when they enter the US with an IR2 Visa, they will have the opportunity to immediately gain US citizenship. Those who are over 18 years old (but under 21 years old) when they receive their IR2 Visa will get permanent resident status instead, also known as a green card. They can then apply for US citizenship after five years of living in the US continuously.
The IR2 Visa is an immediate relative visa, which means that there is no annual cap or limits to the number of visas issued by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). Therefore, if the child or minor meets the conditions and requirements of the visa, they will be able to get an IR2 visa without too much delay.
Who is Eligible for the IR2 Visa?
To be eligible for an IR2 visa, the following requirements must be met:
- If the applicant is a natural-born child to married parents, one of them must be a US citizen
- If the applicant is a natural-born child to unmarried parents and the father is the US citizen, he may have to undergo a paternity test
- A step-child who was under the age of 18 years old when their parents were married
- If the applicant is an adopted child, they must have been under the age of 18 years old at the time of adoption, and have lived with their adoptive US citizen parent for at least two years.
What is the Application Process for the IR2 Visa?
The IR2 visa follows the same application process as other family-based green cards. In order to begin the process for the visa, the US sponsor must first file a petition with the USCIS on behalf of their child. Once the petition is approved, the parent or guardian can then begin the visa application process. Generally, the entire IR2 visa application process is as follows:
- The first step in applying for a children’s visa is the petition stage. At this stage, the US citizen parent will petition for green card sponsorship of their Canadian child. To do this, they must complete Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relatives, and submit it to the USCIS, who will then process the petition within a few months.
- Once a decision has been made regarding the petition, the USCIS will then inform the petitioner of their decision. If the request is denied, the petitioner will be informed of the reasons why it was refused, and what options you have moving forward. Usually, if the petition was denied due to a minor mistake that can easily be fixed, the petition can be resubmitted after making necessary changes, and potentially providing further or missing documentation. Of course, this will depend on the circumstances and the reason for rejection.
- If the petition is approved, however, the Canadian child can then start the IR2 Visa application process. Instructions for how to begin this process will be sent to the parents in an informational packet from the National Visa Center (NVC). Along with the instructions and information provided, the packet will contain a case number and ID invoice number for the visa application.
Required documents for an IR2 Visa application
An IR2 Visa application must contain the following documentation:
- A valid passport for each family member applying. These must all be valid for more than six months after your planned entry date into the US
- Medical examination and vaccination documentation, signed by a licensed practitioner
- A signed affidavit of support from the US sponsor, Form I-864
- Two photos for each applicant that abides by US immigration standards
- Form DS-260 confirmation page
- Birth certificates or adoption documents for all children applying
- Any court or criminal record documentation, and/or police certificate from Canada
If any documents are not in English, they will not be accepted, and you must provide translated documents. These must be signed by an accredited translator.
What happens during the visa interview?
Once the NVC is satisfied with your application, you will be required to attend a visa interview. You can schedule an appointment for the interview, which will take place at the US Embassy or Consulate in Canada. The visa interview is the last stage of the application process.
At this interview, you will be asked a number of questions regarding your background, the information provided in the application, and your relationship with your parents. As a general rule, children under the age of 14 will not need to attend an interview.
Once approved, your passport will be stamped with your accepted visa, and you will be advised of the timeframes that are associated with the visa. You will be given a sealed packet that contains documents important to your green card, and must remain unopened until it is given to an immigration officer at the US port of entry. It will then be opened and inspected by a border control official.
What are the fees for the IR2 Visa?
The entire application process will require fees at different stages, which are non-refundable if the application is rejected, and which must be paid for to process the petition. All fees may vary, and are set by the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, and the US Embassy or Consulate in Canada. A rough breakdown of the required fees are as follows:
- Form I-130 filing fee – Usually $535
- Form DS-260 processing fee – usually $445
- USCIS Immigrant fee – Usually $220
- The sponsor may need to pay for the affidavit of support – Usually $120
- Vaccination and medical examination fees – Variable costs
- USCIS immigrant fees, which must be paid upon receiving the visa and before
- traveling to the US – Variable costs
- Fees for obtaining and translating all supporting documents – Variable costs
- Moving and transport fees – Variable costs
How Total Law can help with your visa application
Hiring the services of specialized immigration lawyers when it comes to moving to the US from Canada (even temporarily) has the potential to save you a lot of time and money. Understanding all the ins and outs of US immigration law can be a challenge, and can lead to delays or rejection of your visa application. Total Law immigration lawyers can ensure your visa petition and application are watertight and contain everything you need to maximize your chances of success.
The team at Total Law understands that there is much at stake with an IR2 visa application, and your future and livelihood may depend on an approved application. We will work with you at every stage of the process. Regardless of the type of visa you select for your circumstances, the best step is to get in touch with the team at Total Law, so you know that you are guaranteed the right path, and stand for a much higher success rate for your immigration application. You can contact us seven days a week, either on the phone or by using the online chat function to speak with one of our client care agents.
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Once the sponsorship petition is approved by the NVC, the Canadian child can then start the application process. As a general rule, the applicant must complete the following steps:
- Complete Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application
- Undergo a medical examination and receive any required vaccinations
- Collect the necessary documents complete with certified English translations (when applicable) and compile them into a portfolio of evidence
- Schedule an appointment and attend a visa interview at their local US Embassy or Consulate in Canada
The DS-260, Immigrant Visa Application Form, can be completed online. This form will ask a series of questions related to the applicant’s background, their nature and history, and the reasons why they are seeking relocation to the United States. Once this form is completed and submitted, you will receive a confirmation page and number. It is important to print out this confirmation page and include it in your portfolio of evidence that you will later send to the NVC. You should do the same thing when you pay your fees, as the receipt will also be requested amongst this documentation.
To be approved for an immigrant visa, applicants must complete a medical evaluation proving that they are healthy enough to enter and live in the United States permanently.
You must also be able to provide evidence that you have received all of the required vaccinations. Instructions for the medical examination and required vaccinations will be sent to you in the first NVC packet.
All medical forms must be signed by a licensed doctor, and will be included with all the other documentation.
The IR2 Visas are usually completed within 3-12 months. The length of time it will take to receive a visa will depend on the speed at which the NVC processes them, and whether or not there is a large backlog to compete with. If there were any mistakes in the application or requests for more information are required, this will add time to the application process.
The visa processing time for an IR2 Visa is much shorter in comparison to other visas such as the preference relative F2A Visa, which is subject to a yearly cap. There are no yearly limits for IR2 Visa, which means that the application can begin as soon as the petition starts.