Steps to Obtain a Visa for Your Children: IR2 Visa Guide

Faraz Shaikh

Understanding the visa process for your children can be complex and difficult. This comprehensive guide provides detailed information on obtaining a visa, particularly the IR2 visa category. Whether you’re seeking a green card for a child under 18 or addressing specific requirements for a stepchild, understanding the details of the IR2 visa and related categories is important.

What is the IR2 Visa Category?

The IR2 visa category is designated for unmarried children under 21 years old of U.S. citizens. This includes stepchildren, adopted children, and biological children. The IR2 visa allows these children to immigrate to the United States as permanent residents, finally becoming eligible for U.S. citizenship.

Eligibility for the IR2 Visa

Eligibility for the IR2 Visa

To qualify for the IR2 visa, the child must be:

  1.     Unmarried and under 21 years old.
  2.     The biological, adopted, or stepchild of a U.S. citizen.
  3.     Able to explain a valid parent-child relationship.

Green Card for a Child Under 18

A green card for a child under 18 allows the child to live and work in the U.S. as a permanent resident. This can be achieved through the IR2 visa category, which is one of the most straightforward paths for minor children of U.S. citizens.

Steps to Obtain an IR2 Visa

  1.     File Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) The first step in the process is filing Form I-130, also known as the Petition for Alien Relative. This form establishes the parent-child relationship and must be submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  2.     Approval of Form I-130 Once Form I-130 is approved, the case is transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC), where it is processed further. The NVC will provide instructions on paying fees and submitting additional documentation.
  3.     Submit Form DS-260 (Immigrant Visa Application) The next step involves completing Form DS-260, the Immigrant Visa Application. This form is submitted online through the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).
  4.     Prepare for the Visa Interview Once the DS-260 is submitted and all required documents are provided, the child will be scheduled for an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Understanding IR2 visa interview questions is important for this step.

Common IR2 Visa Interview Questions

o          What is your relationship to the U.S. citizen parent?

o          Can you provide evidence of your relationship?

o          Have you lived with your U.S. citizen parent?

o          What are your plans once you arrive in the United States?

  1.     Medical Examination and Vaccinations Before the interview, the child must undergo a medical examination by an approved physician and receive the necessary vaccinations.
  2.     Attend the Visa Interview The child and parent must attend the visa interview at the designated U.S. embassy or consulate. It’s essential to bring all required documents, including the IR2 visa certificate of citizenship if applicable.

IR2 Visa Processing Time

IR2 Visa Processing Time

The IR2 visa processing time can vary but usually takes several months from the initial application to the final visa issuance. Delays may occur if additional documentation or administrative processing is required.

IR2 Visa for Stepchild

A stepchild can qualify for the IR2 visa if the marriage between the biological parent and the U.S. citizen occurred before the child’s 18th birthday. The same steps apply, including filing Form I-130 and attending the visa interview.

Can IR2 Visa Holder Apply for U.S. Passport?

Yes, an IR2 visa holder can apply for a U.S. passport once they become a U.S. citizen. This normally happens automatically if the child enters the U.S. before their 18th birthday and lives with the U.S. citizen parent.

IR2 Green Card Category

The IR2 green card category is designed for children of the U.S. allowing them the right to reside and work in the U.S. as permanent residents. This status provides a pathway to citizenship and access to various benefits and services.

Other Relevant Visa Categories

CR2 Visa

The CR2 visa is for children of U.S. individuals who are less than two years married. This visa grants conditional residency, which can be converted to permanent residency after two years.

F2 Visa

The F2 visa is for family members of lawful permanent residents, including spouses and unmarried children under 21. It is a different category from the IR2 visa and has its requirements and processing times.

IR5 Visa

The IR5 visa is for parents of U.S. citizens. While not directly related to children’s visas, it is essential to understand this category if you plan to sponsor your parents for a green card.

Key Considerations for Visa Applications

Proof of Relationship

Providing proof of the parent-child relationship is important for visa applications. This can include birth certificates, adoption papers, or marriage certificates for stepchildren.

Civil Documents

Civil documents such as passports, birth certificates, and marriage certificates must be submitted with the visa application. Verify that every document is certified and updated.

Age and Status of Marriage

The child’s age and marriage status play a valuable role in eligibility. The child must be under 21 and unmarried to qualify for the IR2 visa.

NVC Timeframes

The National Visa Center (NVC) plays an important role in processing visa applications. Understanding NVC timeframes and quickly responding to requests for additional information can help speed up the process.

Common Challenges and Solutions

Forgot to Mention Child to USCIS

If you forgot to mention your child to USCIS during your initial application, you might need to file a change or provide additional documentation to address the issues.

DNA Testing

In cases where documentation is insufficient, DNA testing may be required to prove the parent-child relationship. This is especially common in adoption or stepchild cases.

Adopting a Child Overseas

Adopting a child overseas can add complexity to the visa process. Ensure you comply with both U.S. immigration laws and the adoption laws of the child’s home country.

Permanent Resident Petition for Child Under 21

Lawful permanent residents can petition for their unmarried children under 21 using the F2 visa category. This process differs from the IR2 visa and requires understanding the specific requirements and processing times.

Tips for a Successful Application

Tips for a Successful Application

Stay Organized

Keep all documents organized and accessible. Use a checklist to ensure you have all necessary forms, certificates, and evidence before submitting your application.

Follow Instructions Carefully

Pay close attention to the instructions provided by USCIS, the NVC, and the U.S. embassy or consulate. Inaccurate or missing information may cause rejections or delays.

Respond Quickly

Timely responses to requests for additional information or documentation can speed up the process. Regularly check your email and mail for communication from immigration authorities.

Prepare Thoroughly for the Interview

Review common IR2 visa interview questions and gather all required documents well in advance. Practice answering questions clearly and confidently to reduce stress on the day of the interview.

Post-Arrival Considerations

Adjustment to U.S. Life

Adjustment to U.S. Life

Once your child arrives in the United States, helping them adjust to their new environment is necessary. This includes enrolling in school, accessing healthcare, and integrating into the community.

Citizenship Application

If your child is under 18 and enters the U.S. on an IR2 visa, they may automatically become a U.S. citizen upon entry. Verify their citizenship status and apply for a U.S. passport and a Certificate of Citizenship if applicable.

Legal Status Maintenance

Ensure that all legal documents, such as the green card and passport, are kept up-to-date. Be aware of renewal dates and required actions to maintain legal status.


Obtaining a visa for your children involves several steps, from understanding the IR2 visa category to preparing for the visa interview. By following this guide, you can understand the process more effectively, ensuring a smoother transition for your child to the United States.

For personalized assistance and expert advice on obtaining a visa for your children, visit Passage Law and schedule a consultation with our experienced immigration attorneys. Let us help you secure a brighter future for your family in the United States.

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