Immediate Relative visas are immigrant visas that allow US citizens to bring their family members, including spouses, children, parents, and even adopted children, to the United States. Holders of these visas have many benefits. For example, they can work without the need for an Employment Authorization Document. They can also go to school or continue their higher education. Fortunately, there is no limit to the annual issuance of this visa. Therefore, the processing time of these visas is not very long.
What is an IR3 visa?
US citizens may want to adopt a child from a foreign country and bring him/her to the United States to live together as a family. To do this, the child must obtain a valid visa to be able to enter the country. If the adoption process is completed in the child’s home country, the child will be eligible for a US IR3 visa.
With this visa, the children can come to the United States and live with their parents, go to school, continue their higher education, and work without an Employment Authorization Document. They can also apply to obtain US citizenship.
The categories of IR3 visas are:
- Hague country convention adoptions
- Non-Hague country adoptions
The types of IR3 visas are defined based on the country in which the child is adopted. The Hague Adoption Convention was concluded in 1993 and contained the rules of intercountry adoption. The visa application process varies depending on whether the adoption is done in the Hague Convention countries or the Non-Hague countries.
The Hague Convention countries
|Cyprus||Czech Republic||Denmark||Dominican Republic||Ecuador|
|Slovenia||South Africa||Spain||Sri Lanka||Sweden|
The below countries are also members of the Hague Convention, but for political reasons, US citizens cannot adopt children from them:
|Bolivia||Cambodia||Cape Verde||Cote d’Ivoire||Fiji|
It should be noted that the countries not listed in the table are not members of the Hague Convention.
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What are the requirements for an IR3 visa?
To receive an IR3 visa, a child and a US citizen must consider the following:
Requirements for child
- The child must be eligible under the US Immigration and Nationality Act.
- The child must be under 21 years old.
- He/she must be from the Hague or non-Hague Convention countries.
Requirements for US citizens
- A US citizen must be eager to have an adopted child and be able to pass the USCIS eligibility test.
- A US citizen must bring an adopted child to the United States to reside in this country.
If a US citizen lives abroad with his or her adopted child for two years, the child is eligible for an IR2 visa. For more information about children-related US visas, read our articles about IR4, F3, F2B, and F2A visas.
What is the process for applying for an IR3 visa?
Depending on the country where the adoption is being done, the application process for a US IR3 visa is as follows:
The application process for Hague Convention Countries
1. You must first select a suitable Adoption Service Provider that is approved by the United States.
2. You must then file Form I-800A, Determination on Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS. With this form and other checks, your eligibility to adopt a child will be assessed. If USCIS approves your petition, the number of children you can adopt and their age range will also be determined. It also specifies whether you can choose a child with special needs.
3. At this step, the adoption country authorities will check the USCIS approvals and other documents and find children who meet your requirements and eligibility. Referral documents will be sent to you when the children who fit your circumstances are found. These documents include information such as children’s backgrounds, family, and medical records, as well as their specific needs.
4. Another petition must be submitted to the USCIS. You must complete and submit Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. This will determine if the child is qualified for immigration. Keep in mind that you must prove that the child adoption process is not yet complete. If the USCIS approves your request, you can start the next step.
5. You need to file Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application, to the USCIS. Visit the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to download the form.
6. If the previous steps were done successfully, the US Embassy in the child’s country will issue an Article 5/17 Letter to you. This letter indicates that the child is eligible to immigrate. You will also receive a guardianship order.
7. You must now complete the IR3 visa application process. For this purpose, you must provide documents such as the child’s birth certificate and passport. It is also essential to schedule an interview and attend the interview.
The application process for Non-Hague Convention Countries
1. You must first select the adoption provider center in one of the non-Hague Convention countries.
2. You must then complete Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, and submit it to the USCIS. By submitting this petition, your eligibility to have a child will be determined. USCIS will conduct a fingerprint check, background check, and a home study to decide whether you are qualified to adopt children.
3. At this step, you must receive a guardianship order from the country’s authorities where you intend to adopt your child.
4. You must then submit Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative to the USCIS. This petition shows whether the child is eligible to immigrate to the United States. In addition to this form, you must also submit the following documents:
- Child’s birth certificate or any document that shows the age and identity of the child
- Evidence that the child’s parents or biological parents are unable to care for him or her. They have also consented to give custody of their child to someone else.
- Evidence that you intend to adopt the child.
5. USCIS or Consular Officer in the country where you adopt the child will complete Form I-604. If the appeal is approved, the National Visa Center or NVC will inform you of the rest of the visa application process.
6. If all steps go properly, you will need to complete Form DS-260 and schedule a visa interview appointment.
How much does it cost to apply for an IR3 visa?
You will have to pay different fees depending on the visa application process. The amount of this fee is variable and is determined by the USCIS. Therefore, it is not possible to provide an accurate estimate of costs. However, in general, you need to pay for each of the following actions or services:
- Filing Form I-800A and Form I-800
- Form DS-260 processing
- Filing Form I-600A and Form I-600
- Translation of documents into English
- Getting supporting documents
How much does it take to assess the submitted documents and issue this visa?
The exact time for processing the documents and issuing the IR3 visa is not very clear. It largely depends on the conditions and rules you have to follow and when you receive the adoption approvals. On average, you have to wait six months to more than a year until you can bring your child to the United States.
Let’s sum up…
In this blog, we have explained the application process for the IR3 visa, the requirements, costs, processing time, and so on. You can learn about other US visas as well as visas from different countries on the Visa Library website.
If you have experience obtaining a visa, write it in the comments section to help us and other readers make better decisions. In addition, we will be happy if you share your suggestions and questions with us. We will be responsive as soon as possible.