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IR2 Visa

The IR2 visa is an immigrant visa that allows a child of a U.S. citizen to immigrate to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. Under the IR2 visa, a child is able to live, receive an education, and work in the United States. Depending on the age and circumstances of the child, he or she may be able to receive U.S. citizenship upon issuance of the IR2 visa.

Who Qualifies for the IR2 Visa?

In order to qualify for the IR2 visa, the child and his or her sponsor must meet the following criteria.

Requirements for Child

In order for a child to be eligible for the IR2 visa, he or she must:

  • Be unmarried;
  • Be under the age of 21;
  • Have been living with the sponsor for at least two years outside the United States.

Requirements for Sponsor

In order for a sponsor to be eligible to petition for the IR2 visa on behalf of a child, he or she must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen;
  • Sponsor has had legal custody of the child for at least two years;
  • Have finalized adoption for the child before their 16th birthday, in cases of adoption;
  • Have lived with the child for two years before applying for the IR-2 visa (except in cases of adoption).

Examples of Eligible Children

Children in the following circumstances are deemed eligible for the IR2 visa:

  • Adopted children who are under the age of 18 at the time of their adoption and who have lived with their adopted U.S. citizen parent for at least two years;
  • Children who are naturally born to unmarried parents and at least one parent is a U.S. citizen;
    • U.S. citizen fathers must undergo a blood test to prove paternity when unmarried to the child’s mother.
  • Children who are naturally born to married parents and at least one parent is a U.S. citizen;
  • Stepchildren who were under the age of 18 at the time of their parents’ marriage.

Can Green Card Holders Use the IR2 Visa for their Children?

No. The IR2 visa is only available to the children of U.S. citizens. The children of green card holders are not eligible for the IR2 visa.

How is the IR2 Visa Different From the CR2 Visa?

The IR2 visa and the CR2 visa are substantially similar, but have one major difference between them. The IR2 visa is granted to the children of a U.S. citizen when the U.S. citizen and his or her spouse have been married for at least two years. The CR2 visa is granted to the children of a U.S. citizen as a “conditional” visa when the U.S. citizen and his or her spouse have been married for fewer than two years at the time the visa is issued.

What is the Process for Obtaining an IR2 Visa?

Unlike other visas, the IR2 visa is not subject to any caps on the number of Green Cards issued per year. Thus, the process to receive an IR2 visa is generally less lengthy than for other Green Card applicants.

Individuals who are applying for the IR2 visa from outside the United States must use the Consular Processing steps outlined below, while applicants who are already in the United States must use the Adjustment of Status steps outlined below.

Consular Processing

Consular processing is available for applicants who are currently living outside of the United States. Under consular processing, applicants must follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Step One: File an Immigrant Visa Petition

    In order to begin the process for consular processing, the applicant’s U.S. citizen parent will need to submit the applicant’s immigration petition Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

  2. Step Two: File Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application

    After filing an immigrant visa petition, the visa applicant must file Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application by providing information regarding the applicant’s background, biographical information, and reason for immigrating to the United States. Included with Form DS-260, the child’s sponsor must prove their eligibility for the IR2 visa, including that the sponsor and child have lived together continuously for two years outside the United States.

    When DS-260 is submitted, documentation must be included to prove the relationship between the sponsor and the child, as well as identifying information for both the sponsor and the child. The documents required to be submitted include:

    • A passport for the immigrating child that is valid for more than 6 months after their planned entry into the United States;
    • A signed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support from the child’s parent/sponsor;
    • Form DS-260 confirmation page;
    • Proof of medical examination and vaccinations;
    • Two photographs that conform to visa photo requirements.
  3. Step Three: Attend Medical Examination and Receive Vaccines

    In order to be eligible to enter the United States, the IR2 visa applicant must receive a medical examination and all required vaccines. After attending a medical examination and receiving required vaccines from an authorized physician, the IR2 visa applicant must present documentation signed by the physician that proves the applicant went through a medical exam and received required vaccines.

  4. Step Four: Attend Interview at Consulate or Embassy

    After an applicant’s immigrant visa petition and electronic application are submitted, he or she will need to attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest to them where a U.S. official will ask questions relevant to the individual’s desire to live in the United States permanently. The consulate officer conducting the interview will likely inquire into the applicant’s relationship with the U.S. citizen and assess the legitimacy of the relationship.

  5. Step Five: After Immigrant Visa is Granted

    Once an applicant’s visa petition is approved and an immigrant visa is granted, he or she will receive a sealed Visa Packet that must be brought to a United States port of entry when the individual seeks entry into the United States, and must not be opened prior to arrival at the port of entry. The Visa Packet may be given to the applicant at the interview with a U.S. consulate officer. So long as the individual has paid all USCIS fees, the individual’s Green Card should arrive by mail to the individual’s United States address within 45 days of arrival in the United States.

Adjusting Status

Individuals already living inside the United States can seek to change their status as a child of a United States citizen. Parents may adjustment their status by following the steps below:

  1. Step One: File an Immigrant Visa Petition and Change of Status Petition

    Much like consular processing, an applicant seeking to change his or her status must have their U.S. citizen parent submit immigration petition Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative to the USCIS in order to stay permanently in the United States.

    Unlike consular processing, Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status must also be filed after the immigrant visa petition is approved or at the same time as the immigrant visa petition. Only immediate relatives to U.S. citizens, including children, are permitted to submit Form I-485 at the same time as the immigration petition.

  2. Step Two: Submit Supporting and Identifying Documentation

    When submitting Form I-130 and Form I-485 to adjust status, the child must submit other supporting identifying documentation, including:

    • Two passport-style photographs that conform to Department of State photo requirements;
    • Copy of the Form I-797, Approval or Receipt Notice (for the Form I-130 petition filed on the applicant’s behalf)
      • Note: Form I-797 does not need to be filed if Form I-130 and Form I-485 is filed together
    • Copy of applicant’s birth certificate;
    • Copy of parents’ valid marriage certificate;
    • Copy of parents’ valid divorce from any prior marriages;
    • Documentation evidencing the parents’ marriage’s legitimacy;
    • Copy of applicant’s passport page with non-immigrant visa;
    • Copy of applicant’s passport page with admission or parole stamp issued by a U.S. immigration officer;
    • Copy of government-issued ID with applicant’s photograph;
    • Copy of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record or copy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) admission or parole stamp on the travel document
  3. Step Three: Attend an Application Support Center Appointment

    After Form I-485 is filed, an applicant will have to attend an appointment to provide fingerprints, photograph, a signature, and an acknowledgement that the applicant has provided true and accurate information. The applicant will receive a notice in the mail informing him or her of the appointment time, date, and location.

  4. Step Four: Attend an Interview

    Similar to consular processing, some applicants may have to attend an interview prior to receiving approval of their change of status application. However, an interview is not required for all applicants. Thus, an individual will receive a notice of the interview time, date, and location if one is necessary.

  5. Step Five: After Change of Status is Granted

    After an applicant’s change of status is approved, he or she will first receive a notice of approval. The applicant’s Green Card document will be sent soon thereafter.

How Long is the IR2 Visa Process?

Generally, the process for obtaining an IR2 visa can take as long as one year, but may be completed in as soon as three months, depending on the circumstances of the particular applicant and sponsor.

When is the IR2 Visa Issued for Adoptions?

The IR2 visa is issued in cases of adoption if the child was formally adopted before his or her 16th birthday, or the child’s 18th birthday if the sibling exception applies. Additionally, the sponsor or his or her spouse must have had legal custody of the child and resided with the child for at least two years prior to applying for the IR2 visa.

Can IR2 Visa Holders Become U.S. Citizens?

Yes. Children who hold an IR2 visa automatically become U.S. citizens after admission to the United States if they are under the age of 18 and reside in the United States with their parents. Children who are over the age of 18 become permanent residents and receive a Green Card, instead of becoming U.S. citizens.

If a child does not automatically qualify for U.S. citizenship they may pursue citizenship through the naturalization process. Upon admission to the United States using an IR2 visa, the child will receive a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) in the mail. The child may then apply for a Certificate of Citizenship by filing Form N-600, Application for Certification of Citizenship online and paying the application fee.

Can IR2 Visa Holders Work in the United States?

Yes. Because the IR2 visa is a green card, these visa holders may work while living in the United States without first receiving an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

What is the Cost to Apply for the IR2 Visa?

  • The cost to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative is $535.
  • The cost of the Biometrics Services Appointment is $85.
  • The processing fee for the Form DS-260 is $325.
  • The processing fee for the Affidavit of Support is $120.
  • Medical examination and vaccination fees vary.
  • The USCIS Immigrant Fee is $220.00, which must be paid prior to entering the United States.

Sweta Khandelwal

Sweta completed her Masters in Law from the University of California, Los Angeles and her JD from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in India and has been practicing law for 15+ years getting visas, green cards, and citizenship for 1000+ clients, 100+ companies across 50+ nationalities.

Sweta has been recognized as a ” Super Lawyer, Rising Star,” and as amongst the ” Top 40 under 40″ immigration attorneys in California (American Society of Legal Advocates). She is also the recipient of the Advocacy Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Sweta is also a chartered accountant — the equivalent of a CPA. This makes her uniquely positioned to understand the immigration needs of her business clients in the broader context of their corporate objectives.

Sweta is actively involved with immigration issues and immigrant communities in various capacities. She has assumed key roles at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), both at the local and national level. She has been a past chair at the Santa Clara Valley Chapter at AILA and has also been involved in various practice area committees at AILA National. Sweta has addressed multiple conferences/forums in the United States and worldwide on immigration and business issues.