IR-5 Visa: Parent Pathway

Often referred to as the “Parent Visa,” the IR-5 Visa is a process that enables U.S. citizens to sponsor their parents for permanent residence. For many, securing an IR-5 Visa is not just a legal procedure but a deeply emotional milestone, marking an end to prolonged separations and the beginning of a new chapter of family togetherness in the United States.

Unlike other family-based visas, the IR-5 does not have an annual quota, which means that eligible applicants usually experience fewer delays in the adjudication process. However, the application process involves multiple steps, and ensuring you are following procedure to a ‘T’ is essential for securing your visa and reuniting with your parents.

At VisaNation Law Group, we actively engage in making your family reunification journey as smooth as possible. We guide you through each legal step, minimizing obstacles and maximizing efficiency, so you can soon welcome your parents to American soil as permanent residents. Just a 20-minute consultation can turn your aspirations for family unity into a reality, letting you focus on the heartfelt reunions and lasting memories yet to come.


What Visa Category is IR-5?

The IR-5 Visa operates under the “Immediate Relative” category in U.S. immigration, specifically targeting parents of U.S. citizens aged 21 or older. This visa allows U.S. citizens to sponsor their parents directly for permanent residence, bypassing the annual quotas that often slow down other visa categories. By doing so, the IR-5 Visa fast-tracks parents to lawful permanent residency, also known as green card status. This enables them to live, work, and participate fully in American life, all while staying close to their family.

Is the IR-5 Visa the Same as Green Card?

The IR-5 Visa and a green card are not the same thing, but it serves as a stepping stone to a green card for parents of U.S. citizens over 21. The IR-5 Visa allows parents to enter the United States. Once the IR-5 process is successfully completed and the parents arrive in the U.S., they are then granted Green Card status, which makes them lawful permanent residents.

Cost of IR-5

The IR-5 visa comes with multiple expenses throughout the application process, each associated with a different form or requirement. Here is a breakdown:

Form I-130: $535
DS-260 (if needed): $325
Form I-864: $120
Form I-485: $1,140
Biometrics Fees: $85
USCIS Immigrant Fee: $220

In addition to these set fees, you’ll also need to budget for medical examinations and mandatory vaccinations, though the costs for these can vary.

Additional expenditures could encompass translation services, photocopying, and acquiring official documentation such as birth certificates, passports, and police certificates. Don’t forget to factor in the travel costs for attending the visa interview.

All in all, the total cost for securing an IR-5 visa can add up to several thousand dollars. It’s crucial to be fully aware of all fees and to keep track of application deadlines to avoid any delays or rejections.

Eligibility Requirements for IR-5 Visa

Understanding eligibility criteria is a crucial first step in successfully sponsoring your parent for an IR-5 visa. To be eligible for an IR-5 visa, you’ll need to satisfy a set of specific requirements. Meeting these requirements is key to a successful IR-5 visa application and paves the way for family reunification in the United States.

  • Age of Sponsor – The U.S. citizen sponsoring their parent must be 21 years of age or older. This age requirement ensures that the sponsor is legally capable of taking on the responsibilities involved in bringing a parent to the U.S.
  • Financial Stability – The sponsoring U.S. citizen must have the financial means to support their parent until the parent can secure employment in the United States. This often involves submitting proof of income or financial assets to demonstrate the capability to maintain a household income that is at least 125% above the federal poverty line.
  • U.S. Residence – The sponsor must currently reside in the United States and be able to provide a U.S. address where the parent will live once they arrive. This is to ensure that the parent has a place to stay and is being sponsored by someone who is genuinely settled in the U.S.
  • Proof of Relationship – Establishing the biological or legal relationship between the sponsor and the parent is crucial. Therefore, the sponsor is required to include a copy of their birth certificate as part of the application process, to prove that the person being sponsored is indeed their parent.

Immigration Lawyers Pave the Way to Visa Approval

VisaNation Law Group has made assisting families and individuals the center of its philosophy for more than a decade. We understand the emotional weight and significance that come with the journey to family reunification in the U.S. To make your path easier, we have put in a concerted effort to streamline the immigration application process. Get started today and expedite your visa approval process.

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Parent Visa: Step-By-Step Process

Step 1: Petition Filing

Initiate the process by filing Form I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative. This step is pivotal as it establishes your intent to sponsor your parents and sets the stage for the rest of the application process. Along with the form, submit essential documents that prove your relationship with your parents. Additionally, a filing fee is required, the amount of which varies and is subject to change. It’s essential to check the most current fee before submitting your application.

Specific Documentation for IR-5

Step 2: Affidavit of Support

To successfully sponsor your parents for an IR-5 visa, you’ll need to file an Affidavit of Support using Form I-864. This crucial step acts as a formal, legally binding pledge, assuring the U.S. government that you have the financial means to support your parents after they arrive in the United States. By filing this form, you’re taking on the responsibility to maintain their financial well-being at a level above 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines until they either become U.S. citizens or gain employment. This measure is in place to ensure that your parents won’t become public charges, relying on government assistance for their livelihood.

Step 3: USCIS Review

Once you’ve submitted your petition, it enters the evaluation queue at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The processing time for this step can fluctuate based on a variety of factors, including application volume and administrative delays. During this period, you may be asked to furnish additional documents or clarify existing information, so it’s important to be on the lookout for any communication from USCIS. A Request for Evidence (RFE) may be issued if the agency requires more information to proceed with your application, which will extend the processing time.

Step 4: National Visa Center (NVC) Processing

Once the petition is approved, it moves to the NVC, where a visa number is assigned. Your parents will receive a packet of information to prepare for the consular interview.

Step 5: Medical Examination

Your parents need to undergo a medical examination by an approved panel physician in their home country. This is a crucial requirement to determine admissibility. The fees attached to the medical examination will vary.

Step 6: Consular Interview

The final hurdle is the visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The consular officer reviews the application and medical results before making a decision on the visa. The officer aims to confirm the legitimacy of your family relationship and ensure you meet all criteria. This interview is crucial: the officer’s final assessment will determine if you receive the visa. Therefore, make sure you come well-prepared and remain honest throughout the interview.

Step 7: Visa Issuance and Travel

Upon approval, a visa is stamped in your parents’ passports, allowing them to travel to the U.S. and gain admission as permanent residents. After their arrival, an immigrant fee must be paid online before the Green Card is mailed to your parents.

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