- What is the IR2 Visa (Children’s Green Card)?
- Who is Eligible for the IR2 Visa?
- What is the Application Process for the IR2 visa?
- The IR2 Petition Stage
- The IR2 Visa Application Process
- Medical Examination and Vaccinations
- What are the required documents for the IR2 Visa Application?
- The Immigration Interview
- How much does the IR2 Visa cost?
- IR2 visa processing time
What is the IR2 Visa (Children’s Green Card)?
The IR2 Visa is an immediate relative visa which means that there is no annual cap or limits to visas issued. Therefore, if the child or minor meets the conditions and requirements of the visa, then they can get an IR2 visa without too much delay.
Unmarried children or minors under the age of 21 who are granted this visa, can live and continue their education in the U.S. with their parents or guardians. Under this visa, they will be granted the benefit of permanent resident status. This status will allow them to stay in the U.S. indefinitely and later work without needing an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
If a child or minor is under the age of 18 years old when they enter the U.S. with an IR2 visa, they will have the opportunity to immediately gain U.S. citizenship. Those who are over 18 years old but under 21 years old when they receive their IR2 Visa will get permanent resident status (also known as a green card). They can then apply for U.S. citizenship as soon as they become eligible to apply which is generally after 5 years of continuous residence in the United States.
Who is Eligible for the IR2 Visa?
To be eligible for an IR2 visa, the child or minor must be unmarried, under 21 years old, living in a foreign country, and has at least 1 U.S. citizen parent or guardian. A child is eligible for an IR2 visa if they are one of the following:
- A natural-born child to married parents (at least one of the parents must be a U.S. citizen)
- A natural-born child to unmarried parents (if the father is the U.S. sponsor then he must undergo a paternity test to prove that he is the father)
- A step-child who was under the age of 18 years old when their parents were married
- An adopted child who was under the age of 18 years old at the time of adoption and has lived with their adoptive U.S. citizen parent for at least 2 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 U.S. sponsor must first petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (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 U.S. citizen who is sponsoring the child completes the IR2 petition form and sends it to the USCIS
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) then processes the petition
- After approval, all of the information regarding your petition will then be sent over to the National Visa Center (NVC) who will then take over the application process. They will send a packet of information to you along with instructions on what to do next
- The visa applicant will then be instructed to fill in Form DS-260 (Immigrant Visa Electronic Application). This is done online and can be completed by a parent if the applicant is a minor
- The child will then undergo a medical examination and receive the required vaccinations
- All required documents and supporting documents are assembled into a portfolio of evidence which will later be submitted
- The visa applicant will then attend an immigrant visa interview at their local U.S. Embassy or Consulate
- After the interview, the applicant will receive a decision on whether or not the visa application is approved or not
- If approved, the child will then travel to the United States with their parent or guardian
The IR2 Petition Stage
The IR2 visa follows the process for all family-based green cards. In this process, the child must first be sponsored by their parent or guardian who will first file for a petition. To file a petition, the U.S. sponsor must first complete and submit Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) to the USCIS along with paying any fees associated with the filing.
The IR2 petition will then be sent to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) where it is usually processed within a few months. If your petition is refused, you will receive a rejection notice informing you of the reasons for refusal. If the petition is approved, it will then be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC) who will continue the process from there.
The NVC will then send an informational packet to the visa applicant along with instructions on the next steps of the visa application process. You will be given a case number and invoice ID number in this packet. These numbers are important and will be used throughout the rest of the visa application which will now be processed at your local U.S. Embassy or consulate (if you are abroad).
The IR2 Visa Application Process
Since the IR2 visa is a family-based green card with no annual caps to compete with, it can be processed quicker than other family visas. Therefore, the application process can begin as soon as the petition is approved and the NVC informational packet is sent out.
To start the application process, the visa applicant will then be asked to complete and submit Form DS-260 (Immigrant Visa Electronic Application). This form will ask questions about the applicant’s background and reasons why he or she would like to immigrate to the United States. The form can be completed by a parent if the visa applicant is a minor. It should be noted that this form can be completed online using your NVC case number.
A confirmation page and number will be shown on the screen after you have completed the DS-260 Form. It is important to print out this confirmation page and include it in your portfolio of evidence which will later be sent to NVC as part of your application package.
Medical Examination and Vaccinations
Any individual who wishes to immigrate to the United States must undergo a full medical evaluation. This is an important part of the visa application process that ensures the visa applicant is healthy enough to enter the U.S. and is not a medical danger to the general public.
In addition to a medical examination, all visa applicants must also receive the required vaccinations. Information about which particular vaccinations are needed will be communicated to you in the informational packet sent by the NVC.
All medical forms proving that you have met both the health and vaccination requirements must be signed by a licensed medical professional. These documents will then be included in your IR2 visa application package.
What are the required documents for the IR2 Visa Application?
Applicants will need to submit a variety of documents to the NVC as part of their IR2 visa application. Although the documents submitted in the application package will differ depending on each unique case, you will need to include the following:
- A valid passport 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/parent)
- page of Form DS-260
- Signed documents showing medical examinations and vaccinations
- Any court or criminal records
- Two photographs in accordance with U.S. photo requirements for visas
All documents which are written in a language other than English will need to be translated by an accredited translator. Depending on your case, you may need to include additional documents that are relevant to your application. It is best to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer if you are unsure about what documents to include.
After all of the documents have been gathered together, you can send your portfolio of evidence to the NVC who will then process your application and determine if you have enough evidence to support your IR2 application. If the NVC is satisfied with the evidence provided, they will then ask you to schedule an immigration interview. This interview will take place at your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate if you are abroad and is the last step in the visa application.
The Immigration Interview
The immigration interview is the final step of any immigrant visa application. This interview will take place at the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate if you are abroad. If you are in the United States, the interview will take place at a local USCIS office. Since the IR2 visa is for children, the parent or guardian of the child or minor will need to attend the interview as well.
At the interview, the immigration officer will ask both the applicant and their parent or guardian questions based on the information provided in their visa application as well as other questions about their background and why they are immigrating to the United States.
The visa will be approved after the interview if the immigration official is satisfied with your answers. When approved, the child’s passport will then be stamped with an IR2 visa and they will be allowed to travel to the U.S. In addition to this stamp, the parent and child will be given a sealed packet which they must take with them and present to the immigration control officials at a U.S. port of entry. The official will then open up the sealed packet and inspect it. If everything is in order, the IR2 visa recipient will be allowed entry.
It is very important that this packet remain sealed and unopened otherwise you may be denied entry into the country. Also, it is important to keep the packet on hand and with you while you travel so that you can properly submit it to immigration.
How much does the IR2 Visa cost?
The cost of the IR2 visa will vary based on where the application was filed and if additional documents are needed. However, the basic costs of an immigrant visa like the Children’s Green Card will include the following:
- Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relatives): $535
- Form DS-260 (Immigrant Visa Electronic Application): $445
- Medical examination and vaccinations fees: costs will vary
- USCIS Immigrant fee: $220
- Fees for the translation of documents: costs will vary
It should be noted that the USCIS immigrant visa fee should be paid for as soon as possible in order to avoid any delays in receiving your green card. USCIS will not issue a green card to you if you do not pay the immigrant fee.
IR2 visa processing time
Family-based green cards like the IR2 visa are processed quicker than other visas such as the Preference Relative Visa which have to wait for a spot to open up. As a result of this benefit, you should expect your Children’s Green Card to be processed within 3-12 months.
However, this will depend on each individual case and if there are any backlogs at the USCIS to compete with. For more information on how long your visa will take, consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can provide you with more information about the processing time.
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IR5 Visa (Green Card for Parents)
K1 Visa for Fiancé(e)
K-2 Visa for Dependent Children (Fiancé(e))
K3 Spouse Visa
K-4 Visa for Dependent Children (Spouse)
Unfortunately, only U.S. citizens can sponsor their child for an IR2 visa. Green cardholders who are looking to sponsor their children to come to the United States can do so with an F2A visa. To be eligible for this visa, the children must be under 21 years old and unmarried.
U.S. citizens who have adult children over 21 years old can sponsor their children for an F3 visa. This visa is for married adult children of U.S. citizens who are looking to resettle in the United States. Under this visa, F3 visa holders can also bring their spouse and children with them to the U.S.
U.S. green cardholders can also sponsor their unmarried adult children (over 21 years old) to come to the United States under an F2B visa.
If you adopted a child whilst abroad and have lived with them for at least 2 years, then you can apply for an IR2 visa.
If the adoption is relatively new and has been legally certified, you can apply for an IR3 visa for Children Adopted Abroad.
If you are in the midst of completing the adoption process, you can gain guardianship of the child and finish the process in the U.S. by securing an IR4 visa for Children Adopted in the U.S.