Many US citizens want to bring their parents from a foreign country that they used to live into the U.S. This can be done by obtaining a US Visa for Parents.
What is the IR5 visa?
The IR5 visa is the US visa for parents US citizens who are at least 21 years old. It gives them the opportunity to live and work in the U.S and stay connected with their children as a family in one country. When they receive the IR5 visa, the parents can then work legally in the U.S without needing an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
The benefit of the IR5 visa is that because it is an immediate relative visa, it does not have an annual cap or limit. This means that any applicant who fulfills the criteria and has an approved application can get the visa without having to wait for their priority dates to become current.
What are the Eligibility Criteria for the IR5 visa?
To be eligible for the IR5 visa, there are some criteria which both the U.S citizen and their parent must fulfill, as below:
- Be at least 21 years old.
- Have financial stability to support their parent until they start working.
- Live in the U.S and have a valid U.S address.
- The parent must be from a foreign country.
- The U.S citizen and their parent must prove their relationship through a valid birth certificate.
How to Apply for the IR5 visa?
The process to apply for the IR5 visa includes both the U.S citizen and their parent who have to submit documents and forms. The application process has two parts:
- The U.S citizen petitions for the parent to U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- Upon approval of the petition, the parent must apply to a U.S Embassy or Consulate in their home country
Because of this procedure, the parent cannot actually apply for the USA parent visa before the child who is a U.S citizen gets the petition approved.
Filing the petition for the parent
The U.S citizen or the child of the applicant must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relatives to USCIS. The petition must be filled and any necessary documents must be attached in order for it to be complete. Additionally, the US citizen must also pay a filing fee.
The Department of Homeland Security processes petition and takes a few months. After the processing, the USCIS notifies the U.S citizen whether it has been approved or denied. If the petition is denied, USCIS will let you know of the reasons and you can then reapply. If the petition is approved, it will continue to the National Visa Center (NVC), which will then take over the application process and you will only contact them for any inquiries.
The NVC reviews the petition and then sends the parent or applicant in the foreign country a package with information and instructions. This package contains the applicant’s case number and invoice ID number. Each of these numbers is different for applicants so that they can be identified when the times comes to apply for the IR5 visa.
Applying for the IR5 visa
Since the IR5 visa does not have an annual cap or priority dates, the parent can start the application immediately after the petition is approved. The applicant should apply for US parents visa at the U.S Embassy or Consulate in their home country. In this stage, the U.S citizen will not have many duties and the decision will now be up to the officials who review the case in the U.S Embassy.
File Form DS-260
The parent or applicant will put in their case number and will be redirected to the appropriate sections. They must fill out all the sections with the correct information which are related to the applicant’s background and other details. At the end, they will get a confirmation page and number which they will attach to the supporting documents.
Complete medical examination and vaccination
The U.S has requirements regarding a person’s medical history and the vaccination that they must receive in order to live in the country. In the NVC package, the applicant will have instructions about what tests they must conduct and what vaccines they must take. The applicant must then go to a licensed doctor to complete the requirements and have the doctor sign the documents which prove that those requirements have been fulfilled. These documents will then be attached to the supporting ones to send to the NVC.
Compile the US visa for parents supporting document file
In order to strengthen the application, the parent must also attach some supporting documents to send to the NVC. These documents serve to prove that the parent fulfills all the requirements and is eligible to move to the U.S with an IR5 visa.
In addition to the standard required documents for a US visa, the US parents visa file must contain the following documents:
- Your valid passport for more than 6 months after your planned entry into the U.S
- A signed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support from the U.S petitioner (applicant’s child)
- Form DS-260 confirmation page
- Medical examination and vaccination documents
- Valid birth certificate proving the relationship of the U.S citizen and the applicant
- Two photographs per individual according to the US Visa Photograph Requirements
- Court and criminal records and/or police certificate
- If you served in the military, you must bring your military records
Once you collect all your required documents for IR5 visa, you can look at health insurance options for Lawful Permanent Residents in the United States.
Attend the visa interview
After the documents have been sent, the NVC will schedule an interview for the applicant at the U.S Embassy where they are applying. A US Embassy official will conduct the IR5 Visa interview. They will ask questions regarding the applicant’s background and their reasons for wanting to move to the U.S. It is important to answer all questions correctly and honestly.
Receive NVC packet and travel to the U.S.
The U.S Embassy will notify the applicant whether their visa has been approved after the interview. If the applicant gets the IR5 visa, the Embassy will give them a package which they must bring when they travel to the U.S. It is important to not open the package. The only people who will open it are the immigration officials at the U.S point of entry. This helps them decide whether you can enter the country.
What are the IR5 Visa fees that must be paid?
There are various fees that the petitioner and the applicant must pay throughout the application process for the IR5 visa. The main categories of fees that must be paid are as follows:
- Form I-130 filing fee.
- Processing fee for the Form DS-260.
- Medical examination and vaccination fees.
- Fees to get and translate all the supporting documents.
- USCIS Immigrant Fee. Which you must pay after you receive your visa and before you travel to the U.S. USCIS will not issue you a Green Card without you paying this fee.
How long is the IR5 visa processing time?
It will take from 6 months up to 1 year for the applicant or parent to receive the IR5 visa. How long it takes to get the IR5 visa depends on the length of time for processing of Form I-130 and other documents.
Do I Get Access to American Healthcare With an IR5 Visa?
Yes, you will have access to healthcare in the United States as an IR5 visa holder, however, the costs of getting medical treatment in the US are one of the highest in the world.
The treatment of a broken leg or broken arm will cost you $2,500, while staying at a US hospital may cost over $10,000, on average. You should pick a health insurance plan that fits you best, which overall is also affordable and covers your needs.
Other Types of Immediate Relative Visas
Besides the IR5 visa, there are also other types of IR visas, as follows: