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Immediate Relative

IR category of immigration refers to the immediate relatives of US citizen. They are given special preferential treatment and are allowed to immigrate in an unlimited number. Thus, immediate relatives can receive the green card as soon as the paperwork is approved. The Petition for Immediate Relatives is filed for that relative only. The family members can't follow to join or get their green cards as derivative beneficiaries. US citizen's spouses, unmarried child under 21 and parents are all considered as immediate relatives. It can be divided into five categories further.

Spouses of US Citizens (IR-1)
The first immediate relative category refers to the spouses of US citizens. In order to immigrate as IR-1, the petitioner and the beneficiary should proof the bona fide relationship as wife and husband. Spouses who enter into the U.S. under IR-1 will receive his/her legal permanent resident status. If they married less than two years, the spouse will be issued a conditional Green Card, which is usually called as CR-1. The alien spouse with CR-1 is full permanent resident in all respects except the condition.

Within 90days before the second anniversary as a conditional resident, the alien spouse need to jointly petition to remove the conditions on the residency. Failure to do so will result in the termination of the alien spouse's conditional permanent residence.

Unmarried Children under 21 of US Citizens (IR-2)
The second immediate relative category refers to the unmarried children under 21 of US citizen, including children born in and out of wedlock, stepchildren and adoptive children.

One of the following requirements must be met if the father want to petition for his children born out of wedlock: a bona fide parent-child relationship is or has been established while the child is unmarried and under 21 years old, or the child has been "legitimated" under the law of the child's residence before the child's 18th birthday and the father has legal custody of the child.

And for the stepchildren, the marriage between the US citizen and the child's natural parent must occur before the child turns to 18.

Orphans Adopted Abroad (IR-3)

The IR-3 visa classification signifies that the orphan has been adopted abroad prior to the issuance of the immigrant visa. In order to issue an IR-3 visa, the adjudicating officer must be satisfied that the adoption was both legal in the country where it occurred and valid for U.S. immigration purposes. Children who enter the U.S. on an IR-3 visa are automatically granted U.S. citizenship, and under the new regulations, will be sent a Certificate of Citizenship within 45 days of their entry. Parents do not need to complete a separate application on behalf of their children for this document.

Orphans Adopted Domestically (IR-4)
The other international adoption visa category is the IR-4. This type of visa is given to a child who will undergo the adoption process in the US, rather than in his/her home country. This situation arises when the foreign country's laws only permit the adoptive parents to obtain guardianship of the child, rather than to fully adopt the child in that country, and/or the prospective adoptive parents did not see and observe the child prior to the adoption process.

Parents of US Citizen (IR-5)
Parents of U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for permanent resident status as immediate relatives, but only if the citizen is 21 years of age or older. These parents can be the US citizen's natural parents, adoptive parents, or stepparents, once they meet the similar requirements as for child. And stepparent must marry with the child's natural parent before the child turns to 18.

One thing to point out is that US citizen who is adopted by others cannot petition for immigration for his/her natural parents.

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