As a parent, being separated from your children can be an unimaginably difficult situation. For families who are currently separated by citizenship and immigration status issues, reuniting in the United States may be a priority. Thankfully, immigration law provides different options for foreign-born family members of American citizens to immigrate to the United States. Navigating the immigration process, however, is easier said than done.
Experienced minor child visa attorneys at ZafiroLaw have the skill and knowledge necessary to help families successfully work through the immigration process. At the center of our practice are compassion and a desire to see families reunite and begin their lives together in the United States. If you are a parent of a non-citizen child and wish to help them immigrate to the United States, we are here to help. Consider contacting our Seattle office at (206) 547-9906 to get started with the IR-2 visa process today.
How Can I Help My Child Immigrate to the United States?
For parents of children who are not American citizens, it is not uncommon to wonder if it is possible to help the child immigrate to the United States on a permanent basis. Fortunately, United States immigration law does provide options for families of different backgrounds to reunite in the country. If you are the parent of a non-citizen child, the IR-2 minor child visa may be a valuable option to help your child immigrate to the United States.
What Is the IR-2 Visa?
The IR-2 visa allows the child of a United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident to enter and live in the United States as a permanent resident. The IR-2 visa is a type of immediate relative visa specifically for unmarried children under the age of 21. Using this visa option, the foreign-born child of a United States citizen is granted a Green Card to live and work in the country.
What Are the Requirements for the IR-2 Visa?
There are certain eligibility requirements that must be met in order to apply for, and successfully receive, an IR-2 visa. The following are the requirements for the IR-2 minor child visa:
- The parent (also known as the sponsor) is a United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident
- The sponsor has had legal custody of the child for a minimum of two years
- The sponsor has lived with the child for at least two years before applying for the IR-2 visa (in the case of adoption, this is not always possible. In these cases, the application process is a bit different. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services provides more information about adoption immigration here).
- The child is unmarried and under the age of 21
It should be noted that stepchildren may also qualify for the IR-2 visa, as long as the child’s birth parent and their stepparent married before the child was 18 years of age. A minor child visa attorney can provide more information regarding eligibility requirements.
What Is the Application Process for the IR-2 Visa?
The application process for the IR-2 visa will vary slightly from case to case but follow a general timeline. The steps of this visa application process include the following:
- Step 1: The United States citizen parent files Form I-130, which is officially known as the Petition for Alien Relative. This form is filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS will review the form and all relevant paperwork. If further documentation is required, a Request for Evidence will be sent.
- Step 2: If the USCIS approves the petition, the case will proceed to the National Visa Center. Here, the parent will submit Form DS-260. The National Visa Center will collect all the necessary information and make a decision regarding whether the child is ready for an interview at a United States Embassy or Consulate.
- Step 3: The embassy or consulate in the child’s city or country will set up an interview appointment. Before the interview, the child must receive a medical examination from an approved physician. Ensure that all the required documents, such as the USCIS interview appointment letter, passport, and photographs, are brought to the interview.
- Step 4: If the application is approved, the child will receive the IR-2 visa and will be permitted to immigrate to the United States.
The application process for the IR-2 minor child visa can be time-consuming and demanding. An experienced attorney can help you navigate this process as efficiently as possible by ensuring all forms are accurately completed and all documentation is compiled and submitted according to the standards of the USCIS and National Visa Center.
What Is the Processing Time for an IR-2 Visa?
The processing time for this visa depends on a range of factors, including the country in which your child lives and the overall strength of your application. On average, many families obtain the minor child visa within three months to a year after applying. Bear in mind that this is an estimated time frame. Every case is unique and processing times vary.
This visa type does not have annual caps, meaning that there is no limit to how many IR-2 visas can be granted each year. This means that the processing times are often shorter than those of other visa options, such as the family preference category. Ensuring that your application is as thorough and accurate as possible, however, can help to avoid lengthy delays or outright denials.
Begin the Process of Securing the IR-2 Minor Child Visa with ZafiroLaw Today
The IR-2 minor visa offers a valuable pathway for the foreign-born children of United States citizens to immigrate to the country. Unfortunately, United States immigration law is extremely complex and even the slightest error in the application process can prevent parents from reuniting with their children on American soil. Above all, we focus on helping families avoid these errors and secure their IR-2 minor child visas as efficiently as possible. To learn more about how we can help with your specific case, consider scheduling a consultation with our Seattle office at (206) 547-9906 today.