Who can apply for Immediate Relative (“IR”) Immigrant Visas?
If you share a close familial relationship with a US citizen, you may be eligible for an IR visa. There is no limit on the number of visas available each year but the relationships that qualify are limited to:
IR-1: Spouse of a US citizen
IR-2: Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a US Citizen
IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a US Citizen
IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the US by a US citizen
IR-5: Parent of a US Citizen who is at least 21 years old
What are the benefits of IR visas?
- There is no cap, or quota, on the number of visas available each year
- The processing time is generally shorter.
We are a same-sex couple – can we apply for IR-1 visas?
Yes. On June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court handed down a historic decision repealing Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), which irrationally forced the federal government to ignore legal marriages of same-sex couples and prevent them from accessing an array of federal benefits. Section 3 of the Act, which advocated marriage as being “one man to one woman”, was ruled unconstitutional – an enormous victory for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (“LGBTQ”) families and for equality. As a result of this decision, same-sex couples now share the rights of opposite-sex couples in pursuing immigrant and non-immigrant visas.