What is the IR3 visa?
The IR3 is a permanent US (immigrant) visa available to children of US citizens adopted from foreign countries. With the IR3 visa, an adopted child can become a green card holder with permanent resident status or even obtain U.S. citizenship.
They can attend school and work without needing an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This visa class has no limits, so you can apply and process it at any time.
Who is eligible for an IR3 visa?
The adopted kid must fulfill the following conditions in order to be qualified for IR3:
- The child must not be older than 21 years
- The child must meet the adoption standards of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.
- The US citizen sponsoring the visa must have a valid US address
- The child must live with U.S. citizen parents in the United States.
- The parent must give consent for the USCIS eligibility test.
- For US citizens who have lived abroad with their adopted child for more than two years, the child may apply for an IR2 visa.
The American government recognizes two forms of adoption:
- Adoptions of the Hague Convention
- Adoptions of the Convention by non-Hague countries
- Hague Convention adoptions refer to children adopted abroad from a Hague Convention country.
On the other hand, non-Hague Convention adoptions refer to children adopted from a non-Hague Convention country.
The application procedures for the adoption of the Hague Convention and for the adoption of the non-Hague Convention are different.
Documents required for IR3 visa:
You will need to provide the following documents if your child applies for the IR3 visa:
- Birth certificate of the child. Alternatively, you can provide a written explanation of the child’s date of birth and age
- Evidence of adoption or intent to adopt
- Proof that the child has no parents or that the child’s biological parents are unable to care for the child. For the latter, you will need to provide proof of consent from the biological parents.
- The above documents are the standard documents you need to provide. USCIS may, however, request several other documents unique to your case for your portfolio of evidence.
IR3 visa application process
Adoption of the Hague Convention:
This is based on the 1993 Hague Convention. You can check the Travel State website for the list of countries permitted by the Hague Convention to the United States. For political reasons, the United States government does not allow citizens of some Hague Convention countries to adopt.
The first step of applying is to choose a US-approved adoption service provider. Then, you must file Form I-800A – Determination of Eligibility to Adopt a Child from a Contracting Country. You will file it with USCIS and wait for approval.
USCIS will carefully process the Form I-800A. Specifically, they will perform a comprehensive background check and collect fingerprints. You can apply to adopt a child from a Hague Convention country once the form is approved.
Application with the country of the Hague Convention:
The Hague Convention country will review your application and present the child who best meets the adoption requirements. These requirements are different for each Hague Convention country. You should also consider the Hague Convention Preferred Country requirements before completing Form I-800A.
You will receive all the information you need to know about the child, including his or her history, family background, medical history and more.
If you have decided to adopt the child from the Hague Convention country, you must file Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. Basically, you are asking the child to obtain immigration permission.
You mainly need to prove that you have not already received approval to admit a child.
Form DS-260 is the online US immigrant visa application. Simply fill in the form with your child’s details and print the confirmation page.
The Hague Convention nation will give you the Article 5/17 letter once you have finished the aforementioned procedures. The letter proves that you are eligible and eligible to adopt a child from a foreign country. You will then be able to receive a final adoption or guardianship order.
The final step in the application process is the interview. You must collect and submit all supporting documents applicable to your application. The documents that prove that you are eligible to adopt the child are the most important.
The interviewer will determine whether or not your child can enter the United States. Therefore, it is important to provide authentic answers to all questions during the interview.
Adoption of the Non-Hague Convention:
The first step in adopting in a country not subject to the Hague Convention is choosing a preferred adoption center in the child’s country of residence. Then, you must file Form I-600A – Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with the USCIS.
USCIS will perform a comprehensive background check and collect fingerprints to determine if you are eligible to adopt. If they approve the petition, you will be able to receive an adoption order from the child’s country.
With the adoption order, you can file Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as Immediate Relative, with USCIS. You will file this form along with all required documents.
If USCIS approves Form I-604, a consular office in the child’s country of residence will complete Form I-604, Determining and Scheduling Immigrant Visa Appointments.
Processing the Form I-604 involves interviews, document analysis, and field investigations. It takes longer when applying for an IR3 visa via a non-Hague country. If the form is approved, you will receive a package from the NVC.
DS-260 Form and Interview:
As with the Hague Adoption Convention, the last step involves submitting the DS-260 form and attending the visa interview.
IR3 visa application fees
You will need to pay the following fees for your IR3 visa application:
- Form I-800A: $775 (for adoption into Hague Convention countries)
- Form I-800: Free for the first form along with Form I-800A. $775 for subsequent ones.
- DS-260 Module: $325
- Form I-600A and Form I-600: $775
- Biometric fee (if applicable): $85
In addition to the fees listed above, fees may apply for obtaining other supporting documents. Additionally, you may have to pay for translations of documents that are not in English.
IR3 Visa Processing Time
Applying for an IR3 visa involves many processes. Therefore, it has an average processing time of 6 months to a year.
The speed at which it is processed may depend on your level of preparation and accuracy in collecting evidence, completing forms, workload at the immigration office and some other circumstances.
Citizenship by IR3 visa:
The IR3 visa is a green card that gives your adopted child permanent resident status and not U.S. citizenship. However, your adopted child may qualify to be a U.S. citizen on an IR3 visa if he or she meets two important criteria:
- They must obtain the IR3 Visa green card before their 18th birthday
- Reside in the United States under the legal and physical custody of their U.S. citizen parent
- If your child is under 14, you may need to fill out some additional forms and pay fees to apply for U.S. citizenship. Specifically, you must file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, and pay the $1,170 filing fee.
Form N-600 takes approximately a year or more to process. However, if the child has not reached the age of 14, there is no need to submit any additional forms. USCIS will automatically send your child’s citizenship certificate to your address.
What requirements must parents meet to adopt a foreign child?
All prospective adoptive parents must be no younger than 25 years old for international adoption. At least one parent must be a citizen of the United States. Each adoptive parent must complete Form I-600 or I-800.
The citizen may also need to acquire state and FBI clearances for child abuse. In addition to these criteria, each country determines its own requirements, including marital status, income, age and others.
Can I adopt more than one child at the same time?
Only a few countries support the simultaneous adoption of two or more adopted children, whether related or not. Adopting a sibling group is much easier than adopting two unrelated children.
What is an International Home Study?
The home study begins with filling out paperwork, followed by an evaluation of you and your home, and finally, training on the adoption process.
The purpose of the Home Study is to ensure that you are qualified to be a foster parent and that you have a suitable home in which to raise a child.
Is a home study required in all international adoptions?
All foreign adoptions require a home study, valid for one year from the date of approval. If a year passes and you have yet to complete your adoption, your home study will be reviewed.
The home study begins immediately when you submit your intent to engage with an international adoption agency.