You’ve recently gained American citizenship—congratulations.
If your parents still live in your country of birth, you’ll undoubtedly want them to join you in The Land of Opportunity. This can be done by obtaining an IR-5 visa. However, you’ll have multiple questions running through your mind.
What’s the IR-5 visa all about?
What are the eligibility criteria?
What documents do I need?
If you need answers to these and many other questions, our immigration attorneys are here to help. That said, here’s everything you need to know about the IR-5 visa:
What is the IR-5 Visa?
The IR-5 visa allows parents of American citizens to move to America. It’s available for all US citizens who wish to bring their foreign-born parents to America. After obtaining the visa, your parents can live and work in America since they will be Green Card holders. The IR-5 visa is categorized as a Family Immigration Visa.
The IR-5 visa is an immediate relative visa and doesn’t have an annual limit or cap. Any applicant who meets the eligibility criteria can obtain it without waiting for a priority date.
IR-5 Visa Requirements
These conditions must be met for your parents to qualify for the IR-5 visa:
- You must be older than 21 years.
- Proof of adequate finances to support your parents until they start working.
- You must be an American resident with a valid address.
- Your parents must be citizens of a foreign country.
- The relationship must be proved using a valid birth certificate.
IR-5 Visa Application Process
Applying for the IR-5 visa involves the American citizen and the parent(s) wishing to join them. The application process primarily has two phases:
- The US citizen submits a petition to the USCIS on behalf of their parents.
- If the petition gets approved, the parent must schedule a visa interview at an American consulate or embassy in their home country.
Since the procedure is two-faced, the parent can’t apply for the IR-5 visa before the petition gets approved.
When filing the petition, you must file Form I-130, attach all the required documents, and pay the filing fee. Processing the Petition for Alien Relatives is done by the Department of Homeland Security and can take months. If your petition gets denied, the USCIS will provide reasons for that, and you can reapply.
If the petition gets approved, it will proceed to the National Visa Center (NVC) for review. After that, it will send your parents a package containing their invoice ID number, case number, and visa application instructions. The IR-5 visa doesn’t have an annual limit, so your parents can start the visa application process as soon as the petition is approved.
The Visa Interview
Like any other visa process, obtaining the IR-5 visa requires attending an interview at a US embassy or consulate where your parents live. They must bring these documents with them during consular processing:
- The USCIS appointment letter.
- A valid passport.
- Two identical passport photographs.
- English translations of documents not written in English.
- Other supporting documents, including their marriage certificate and your birth certificate.
During the interview, they will be asked about their relationship with the sponsoring child. If successful, a visa will be granted, allowing them to emigrate to America. Once they relocate, the USCIS will mail their Green Card to their American address.
Immigration Attorneys Come in Handy
A lot comes into play when applying for the IR-5 visa. From filing the USCIS petition to medical examination and consular processing, the sponsoring child and their parents always have much to do. Often, applications get rejected due to avoidable technicalities rather than failure to meet visa requirements. When this happens, it will take longer for your parents to join you in the US.
You need an experienced California immigration attorney to ensure everything goes according to plan. Thanks to their experience, they can guide you through the IR-5 visa application process, assess your eligibility, help with filling out and submitting the various forms, and help you appeal if the application gets rejected. So, if you’re sponsoring your parents to emigrate to America, contact an immigration attorney from The Law Office of Lina Baroudi to get started.
IR-5 Visa FAQs
Can my parents apply for US citizenship after emigrating?
Yes. After five years, parents with the IR-5 visa can apply for American citizenship.
Are foster/step/adoptive parents eligible for the IR-5 visa?
If a sponsoring child has foster, step, or adoptive parents, they can still submit the IR-5 visa application. However, they’ll need to provide additional documentation, including the parent’s marriage certificate and proof that a financial or emotional bond existed between them and the parents before they reached age 21.
How long does it take to process the IR-5 visa?
Generally, it takes a couple of months to process the visa. Each petition is treated differently, so the processing times differ.
What costs will I incur?
When applying for the IR-5 visa, you must pay a $535 Form I-130 fee, a $325 Form DS-260 fee, and a $220 USCIS immigrant fee. You’ll also incur the cost of vaccinations, medical examinations, and document translation.