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The IR5 visa permits parents of U.S. citizens to live in the country as a family-sponsored immediate relative category. This visa is particularly developed for adult kids of United States residents above 21. Nevertheless, the official IR5 visa availability might differ, and visa applicants should follow the authorized policies and application guidelines to acquire this visa in one go. Once the applicant gets an IR5 visa, they can reside, pursue their career in the United States, and finally apply for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization procedure if eligible. This blog post will discuss the particulars of an IR5 visa and other key details.
Steps to Apply for an IR5 Visa
Below are the steps you must follow to apply for an IR5 visa.
Step 1: Confirming Eligibility for an IR5 Visa
The primary stage of the IR5 application procedure concerns defining the eligibility of both the U.S. national and the parent to be supported. Furthermore, the individual applying for the IR5 visa also fulfills the following criteria:
- The individual sponsor must be above 21 years of age.
- They should keep adequate savings and economic strength to support the parent until the parent can get employment.
- The sponsor either has a United States citizenship or maintains a U.S. address.
- Proof of the sponsor's and parent's connection is mandated, generally as a birth certificate.
The beneficiary eligibility depends on whether they apply for citizenship from within or outside the United States. If the beneficiary operates outside the country, they must give proof of their relationship to the sponsor and submit Form DS-260, the non-native visa application. For those applying from within the U.S., the adjustment of status procedure is employed.
Step 2: Verifying the Parent-Child Relationship
Once the sponsor and beneficiary eligibility is confirmed, the subsequent step is establishing the parent-child connection. For family-based visas, the sponsor must submit Form I-130 with the USCIS. Along with the I-130 form, the sponsor must submit supporting documents to substantiate their U.S. citizenship, age of 21 or older, and the legitimacy of the parent-child relationship. Generally, in addition to the completed I-130 form, the sponsor needs to include the following documents:
- Filing fees
- Two identical, passport-sized photos of both the sponsor/petitioner and beneficiary
- Copy of sponsor's naturalization certificate or birth certificate
- Sponsor's U.S. passport
- Evidence of any name changes
Once the I-130 is approved, and if the beneficiary is outside the United States, the USCIS will forward the application to the local U.S. embassy or consulate in their country for consular processing.
Step 3: Completing Forms DS-260 and DS-261
Following the approval of the I-130, the immigrant petition is transferred from the USCIS to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC initially provides a confirmation or receipt number. In the subsequent communication, they issue the immigrant visa number. Upon receiving this immigrant visa number, the beneficiary must complete Form DS-261 on the U.S. State Department’s Consular Electronic Application Center website, typically taking 2-3 weeks. Subsequently, a $445 filing fee is to be paid online.
Once the DS-261 is submitted, the beneficiary must complete Form DS-260, the green card application for consular processing. The form and accompanying evidence are sent to the National Visa Center (NVC), which handles the application. The NVC may request additional information from the beneficiary to ensure the relationship's legitimacy. After processing, the application is forwarded to the local U.S. embassy.
Step 4: Undergoing the Medical Examination
The next stage is the crucial medical examination conducted by a government-authorized physician. The parent beneficiary undergoes tests for various illnesses and diseases and a comprehensive mental and physical evaluation during this examination. The doctor reviews their medical history, immunization and vaccine records, and screens for drug and alcohol abuse. The cost of this examination can vary depending on the government-authorized doctor, ranging from $100 to $400. It's advisable to explore different options. To prepare for the medical examination, the beneficiary should bring:
- The green card interview letter from the NVC
- Vaccination records
- A copy of their medical history
- A letter from their regular doctor outlining treatment plans for any health problems
- A government-issued photo ID
- Payment for the medical exam fee
- If applicable, a health insurance card
Step 5: Providing Biometric Data
Following the medical examination, the beneficiary must schedule a biometrics appointment. This appointment involves capturing photos and collecting fingerprints. For applicants outside the United States, the appointment typically occurs at the U.S. consulate or embassy handling their application.
The biometrics appointment verifies the beneficiary's identity, assesses eligibility, and conducts background checks for past criminal or immigration violations through the FBI database. The process involves arriving early, waiting, and recording photo and fingerprint data. For the appointment, it is essential to have:
- The ASC biometric appointment notice (Form I-797C, Notice of Action)
- Government-issued photo IDs (e.g., driver's license or passport)
- Any additional documents noted in the appointment letter from USCIS
Step 6: Attending the Green Card Interview
The final step before obtaining a green card is the interview, which generally occurs 7 to 15 months after the initial filing. A USCIS officer conducts this interview, and the applicant must confirm the accuracy and validity of the information provided in their application. Also, the required documents for the interview include a valid birth certificate, among others.
Cost of Obtaining an IR5 Visa
Here are some costs associated with obtaining an IR5 visa:
- Petition Filing Fee: Initiating the IR5 visa process involves a U.S. national child presenting a petition (Form I-130) on behalf of their parent. Moreover, while the filing fee for Form I-130 usually ranges from $300 to $800, it is rational to consult the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for the existing cost updates, as these charges may undergo modifications.
- Document Translation and Certification: In numerous instances, documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and police clearances necessitate translation into English. These translations must also carry official certification. The expense for translation and certification can fluctuate substantially but range from approximately $50 to $200 or potentially more for each document, based upon the intricacy and the language involved.
- Medical Examination: Before the visa interview, the beneficiary (the parent) will be obliged to complete a medical examination by an authorized panel physician. The cost of the medical examination is subject to disparities based on the country and particular prerequisites but can range from $100 to $400 or more.
- Visa Application Fee: After the approval of Form I-130, the next phase involves the parent applying for an immigrant visa. The visa application fee for an immediate relative immigrant visa (IR) is generally about $300. However, this fee may undergo modifications, so validating the most up-to-date information from the U.S. Department of State website is essential.
- Miscellaneous Expenses: Other unforeseen expenditures should also be considered, including acquiring essential documents, passport fees, and any outlays related to obtaining police clearance certificates. These miscellaneous costs can range from $200 to $1000.
Key Terms for IR5 Visas
- U.S. Citizen Sponsor: The adult child (age 21 or older) who files the petition for their parent.
- Petition (Form I-130): The application filed with USCIS to sponsor a parent for an IR5 visa.
- Affidavit of Support: A financial commitment to support the sponsored parent financially.
- Conditional Permanent Residency: Initial IR5 visa recipients receive a two-year conditional green card.
- Inadmissibility Waivers: Certain grounds of inadmissibility can be waived in IR5 visa cases.
- Filing Fees: The costs of submitting the I-130 petition and the visa application.
- Derivative Beneficiaries: Unmarried children under 21 of the sponsored parent may also qualify.
- Conditional Resident Status Removal: The process to convert a conditional green card to permanent residency.
- Family Preference System: The IR5 visa falls under the family-based preference category for immediate relatives.
Final Thoughts on IR5 Visas
The IR5 Visa offers an ideal alternative for U.S. nationals to bring their parents to the country to reside collectively as a family. While obtaining an IR5 visa can be a complicated process, the perks of permanent citizenship and family reunification in the United States benefit many individuals. Therefore, for people considering sponsoring their parents, it's essential to research and submit the correct application to navigate the process successfully and enjoy the benefits of family unity in the United States.
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