Immediate Relative Visas – IR-1, CR-1, IR-2 and More
Some relatives of United States citizens qualify for immediate relative visas.
These visas enable you to come to the U.S. and receive a green card without waiting for a visa to become available.
Once you have a green card, you are be a lawful permanent resident who will eventually be eligible to apply for citizenship.
What Are Immediate Relative Visas?
U.S. immigration law provides many family immigration paths. These paths are prioritized by the type of family relationship and whether or not the sponsor is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
The immediate family members of U.S. citizens have first priority and are eligible to apply for visas to come to the United States without having to wait for a visa to become available to them. Only some family relationships count, such as spouses, children, and parents.
Immediate relative visas that may be available to you include:
- IR-1 and CR-1
- IR-2 and CR-2
The family relationship you have with your U.S. citizen relative will determine which type of visa you qualify for; this guide explains.
Immediate Relative Visas for Spouses of U.S. Citizens: IR-1 and CR-1 Visas
If your spouse – that is, your legally wedded husband or wife – is a U.S. citizen, you can file a petition for an IR-1 or CR-1 visa. The difference between the two visas is the length of your marriage; if you’ve been married for fewer than two years, the foreign spouse applies for a CR-1 visa, and if you’ve been married for two or more years, the foreign spouse applies for the IR-1 visa.
Children and Immediate Relative Visas: IR-2 and CR-2 Visas
If you’re a U.S. citizen and have unmarried children under the age of 21 who live outside the United States, an IR-2 or CR-2 visa is likely the right choice for you. An IR-2 visa is for children whose parents have been married for more than two years (when one parent receives an IR-1 visa), while a CR-2 visa is for children whose parents have been married for fewer than two years.
Children Adopted Abroad: IR-3 Visa
If you are a U.S. citizen and have adopted a child who is outside of the U.S., they will need the IR-3 visa. The IR-3 visa is reserved specifically for adopted children of U.S. citizens where the adoption process took place in the child’s home country. The process to get an IR-3 visa differs depending on the child’s home country.
Children to Be Adopted in the U.S.: IR-4 Visa
The IR-4 visa allows U.S. citizens to obtain guardianship of the child they wish to adopt in the child’s home country and then bring them to the U.S. to complete the adoption process. The process of getting an IR-4 visa differs depending on the child’s home country.
Parents of U.S. Citizens: IR-5 Visa
The IR-5 Visa is reserved for parents of U.S. citizens. The U.S. citizen must be at least 21 years old and they must be able to prove the parental relationship through a valid birth certificate.
Immediate Relative Visas At a Glance
This table illustrates which types of visas are appropriate for immediate family members to come to the United States.
|Visa Type||Family Relationships||Conditions of Application|
|IR-1||Spouses of U.S. citizens||You have been married for more than two years.|
|CR-1||Spouses of U.S. citizens||You have been married for fewer than two years.|
|IR-2||U.S. citizens’ children who are unmarried and under the age of 21 and reside outside the United States||The non-citizen parent must have an IR-1 visa.|
|CR-2||U.S. citizens’ children who are unmarried and under the age of 21 and reside outside the United States||The non-citizen parent must have a CR-2 visa.
|IR-3||Children adopted abroad by U.S. Citizens||Child must be under 21 years old and unmarried.|
|IR-4||Children to be adopted in the U.S. by U.S. Citizens||Child must be under 21 years old and unmarried.|
|IR-5||Parents of U.S. Citizens||U.S. Citizen must be at least 21 years old.|
What About Family Members of Family Members?
If your spouse or parent qualifies for a immediate relative visa, you may be eligible for a visa, too. You get your authorization from that family member’s authorization.
For example, if your husband can apply for a IR-5 visa because he’s the father of a U.S. citizen, you can apply for a visa and green card, as well. You’ll need to provide all your own documentation and be admissible to the United States in your own right (which means you must meet all the same admissibility criteria as your spouse does).
This is called being a derivative applicant – and if you think you may qualify (or if you’re the applicant and you think that your other family members also qualify), you should speak to a Dallas immigration attorney to get some specifics on your case.
Related: Family Preference Visas: Visas for Extended Family Members
What Are Grounds of Inadmissibility?
In order to qualify for one of these visas and a green card, you must be admissible to the United States. That means you have to meet all the criteria that any other person must meet to enter the country (such as being a person of good moral character and not having certain communicable diseases). However, there are waivers available for inadmissibility. You should speak to an immigration attorney if you’re not sure whether you’re admissible to the United States.
How Do You Apply for an Immediate Relative Visa?
For many people, the easiest way to apply for an immediate relative visa is with an attorney’s help. If you’re the foreign relative, you cannot apply for yourself – the U.S. citizen must apply on your behalf, though you’ll have to cooperate and provide documentation as necessary.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Getting an Immediate Relative Visa?
If you’re a U.S. citizen, or if you’re an immediate relative with a family member who is ready to petition for you, we may be able to help you. Call our office today to schedule your consultation with an experienced attorney to get started on the process.