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Immediate Relative

United States citizens have the opportunity to petition for certain foreign relatives to come and permanently live in the U.S. Immediate relatives of U.S citizens take top priority in the immigration process. This means you will almost always be guaranteed a visa, granted you meet the necessary requirements.

All that said acquiring an immediate relative visa is still not a walk in the park. The United States immigration process is complex and will require the guidance of an attorney experienced with the country’s immigration laws.

Houston, TX Immigration Attorney

The Gonzalez Law Group wants to help you achieve your immigration goals. As immigrants ourselves, we understand how important it is to have your family with you in the United States. The American immigration process is not simple. One small mistake and your visa could be denied resulting in more time apart from your family.

Call The Gonzalez Law Group at (832) 530-4070 to schedule a free consultation. We will listen to your story and help you formulate a plan to achieve your immigration goals. The Gonzalez Law Group assist clients with immigration issues in communities across Harris County including Houston, Friendswood, Deer Park, League City and many others.


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Types of Immediate Relative Visas

An immediate relative visa (IR) is reserved for certain family members of United States citizens. The IR visa you qualify for is determined by the relationship you have with the United States citizen. To qualify for the visa you are first required to meet the definition of immediate relative in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

According to section 201 of the act, an immediate relative is the children, spouses, and parents of a citizen of the United States. In the case of foreign parents, the United States citizen must be at least 21 years old.

An IR visa has numerous categories within itself. These categories include the following:

  • IR-1: This visa is reserved for the spouses of U.S. citizens. When applying for the visa, you will be required to submit evidence that proves the marriage is valid. This evidence can include a wedding certificate, wedding photos or receipts from the wedding party.
  • IR-2: Unmarried children who are younger than 21 can petition for an IR-2 visa. With this visa, you can attend schools in the United States and work without an employment authorization document.
  • IR-3 and IR-4: Many U.S citizens adopt children from foreign countries. To do this, the adopted child will be required to have a valid IR-3 or IR-4 visa. An adoptive child is eligible for this visa once their adoptive parents have completed the adoption process in the child’s home country and the United States.
  • IR-5: Parents of United States citizens can migrate to the U.S with an IR-5 visa. This visa allows parents who are at least 21 years old the opportunity to permanently live in the U.S.

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Requirements for an Immediate Relative Visa

Certain requirements need to be met to be eligible for an IR visa. Aside from meeting the INA definition of immediate relative, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You filed form I-485
  • You were inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States
  • You were present in the U.S. when you filed your I-485
  • You are eligible for an immigration visa
  • The family relationship still exists between and the sponsoring relative
  • None of the bars to adjustment apply to you
  • The U.S considers you admissible for a green card or are eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility

There are many reasons why you would be considered inadmissible to the United States. A full list of reasons can be found in section 212 of the INA, but a few examples include having a contractible disease, you’ve been convicted of a crime or collected too much unlawful presence. Being labeled as inadmissible does not mean all hope is lost. You can petition the U.S government for forgiveness by filing a waiver.


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Immediate Relative Visa vs. Family Preference Visa

There are two types of family-based immigration: immediate relative and family preference. Both visas allow family members to be reunited in the United States, but there are a few factors that set them apart.

As the name implies, a family preference visa is reserved for family members. Unlike an IR visa, certain family members of U.S citizens and lawful permanent residences can use a family preference visa to migrate to the United States. Family members that qualify for a family preference visa include the following:

  • Unmarried children along with their children, if any
  • Spouses
  • Sibling, their spouses and unmarried children.

Another difference between an IR and family preference visa is the number of visas issued by the United States government each year. The immediate relatives of U.S citizens take top priority in the immigration process, so the U.S. government does not limit the number of IR visas they issue. Family preference visas, on the other hand, are limited based on the preference. This means you could be left waiting for several years if you wait too long to file a petition.


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Additional Resources for Immediate Relatives

Green Cards for Immediate Relatives– Visit the official website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to learn more about immediate relative visas. You can find out what needs to be submitted, grounds of inadmissibility and what is considered bars of adjustment.

Aliens Ineligible for Admission | Immigration and Nationality Act– Follow this link to read a comprehensive list of reasons you could be considered inadmissible to the United States. You can also learn about waivers of inadmissibility and visa waiver programs.


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Harris County Immigration Lawyer

If you or someone you love is seeking an immediate relative visa, contact The Gonzalez Law Group. Our immigration department will be with you every step of the way and make sure all the necessary steps are take to ensure the process goes as smooth as possible.

If you have any questions regarding the United States immigration process, call (832) 530-4070 or submit your information in the online contact form. The Gonzalez Law Group proudly serves clients in Harris County.


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