The Immediate Relative visa is one of the various categories within the US immigrant visas. The immediate relatives or families of US citizens who live out of the US are favored by this group of visas. These visa types can be identified by the use of the letters IR The following fall in the IR Visa Category:

As clearly depicted above, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings do not qualify as immediate relatives. It is only limited to the parents, the children and the spouse of the US citizen.


The IR3 visa is a US immigrant Visa that is given to a child that has been adopted by a US citizen outside of the States. With the IR3 Visa, the adopted child can move to the US with the parent or parents that adopted them and live together as a family.

Many people who are US citizens love to adopt children from countries abroad and bring them to the United States to live together as a family. To do so, the child must be allowed to enter the US by having a valid US visa. When the US citizen completes the adoption procedure outside of the US in the child’s home country, the child becomes eligible for an IR3 visa.

The Adopted child while living in the US has the rights and opportunities to attend school and if he/she decides to go further their education, they can actually go to higher institutions. Also, children adopted under the IR-Visa can work legally in the US without an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). And when its the right time they can obtain US citizenship.

Just like any other visa in the Immediate Relative Category, the IR3 visa has no annual cap. Therefore, any child eligible for an IR3 visa will be processed upon application and won’t have to wait for their priority date to become current.


The government of the United States recognizes only two types of adoption when a US citizen wants to avoid and they are both dependent on the country from which the child was adopted. These include

  • Hague country convention adoptions
  • Non-Hague country adoptions

In 1993, the Hague adoption convention was signed. Also, specific rules and regulations about intercountry adoption was set. The application procedure varies depending on whether the US citizen adopts the child from a Hague or non-Hague convention country.

The following table shows the Hague convention countries; However, due to other political reasons, US citizens are not allowed to adopt from the countries in bold.


Adopting from any country other than the above-mentioned means the US citizen is adopting outside the Hague convention rules. Therefore other regulations and application procedures will apply.

IR3 Visa Requirements

For the IR3 visa, there are a number of requirements that need to be met by both the child being adopted and the US citizen adopting the child. The eligibility of the child for the IR3 visa is determined by these requirements and they are as follows:

  • The child must be below 21 years old
  • The US citizen must have a valid address
  • The child must be eligible based on the US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
  • The US citizen parent must pass an eligibility test by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and must be willing to adopt the child.
  • The child that is to be adopted must be from either a Hague or non-Hague Convention country.
  • The US citizen adopting the child must show clear plans of wanting to bring the child to the US and live with them as a family.

If the child has already been adopted and resided with the US citizen for at least 2 years in a foreign country, then the child is eligible for an IR2 visa and doesn’t need to go through the process of applying for an IR3 Visa.

IR3 Visa Application Procedure?

Based on the country where the adoption application is taking place, there will be different steps for getting the IR3 visa. Below are the complete application steps and procedures to obtain the IR3 Visa for both Hague and Non-Hague country conventions.


  1. Choosing a preferred adoption service provider. The US government must approve it. This is to make sure that you respect the rules and that the adoption provider you chose is also within applicable laws and regulations.
  2. You should be approved for adoption eligibility. This must be done by Filing form I-800A, determination on suitability to adopt a child from a convention country to USCIS. To be able to file this form, you must have had a complete background check, fingerprint check as well as you should be eligible to adopt a child with special needs.
  3. Apply to adopt a child from your preferred Hague convention country. The authorities of the said country will review your file and approval from USCIS and find a child suitable for you to adopt. The requirements may vary according to Hague country so be sure to check what you need to submit. When the authorities find children who meet the eligibility criteria that country, they will send a referral documents to you. The document will contain the child’s background, family history, medical history and also any special needs. The file will also have the necessary signed consent by the required parties such as the biological parents, and the adoption center.
  4. To ensure that the child is eligible for immigration, the US citizen should file form I-800, petition to classify convention adoptee as an immediate relative to USCIS. You should be able to prove that you haven’t yet obtained the adoption or guardianship of the child in question. All of these steps must be completed. This is to prevent US citizens from adopting children who might not be eligible to immigrate to the United States due to some US laws. You may move on to the next step if USCIS approves your petition.
  5. Submit form DS-260, online immigrant visa application to the US embassy or consulate of the country in which the child is being adopted. This form requires information about the child’s background and other relevant details. You must obtain a confirmation letter after submitting this form online.
  6. If all these procedures re-approve and in order, a letter called article 5/17 shall be issued by the US embassy or consulate in the country from which the child is being adopted. It establishes that the child is eligible for immigration to the US. You can only obtain adoption or guardianship after receiving this letter.
  7. To complete the application process of the IR3 visa for your child, you need to submit supporting documents such as the child’s birth certificate and passport. Also, schedule an interview appointment with the US embassy in the country where the adoption is taking place and attend the interview. Be sure to submit your final adoption or guardianship order to the officials during this interview.


  1. Choose a preferred adoption center in your chosen adoption country.
  2. File form I-600A, application for advance processing of an orphan petition to USCIS to determine whether you are suitable to be an adoptive parent or not. USCIS will run a background check, fingerprint check and a home study to decide if you are qualified to adopt children. Unlike the adoption process of the Hague convention country, it will not evaluate the child’s classification as an orphan.
  3. Obtain a guardianship or adoption order from the country in which you intend to adopt the child.
  4. File form I-600 petition:  This classifies the orphan as an immediate relative to USCIS so that you can easily get approval on whether or not the child is eligible for immigration US laws. Attach supporting documents to the petition such as;
    • Child’s birth certificate or written explanation about the identity and age of the child in the absence of the birth certificate.
    • Evidence that the child’s biological parents are unable to provide for the child properly, and have consented to give the child up for adoption or that the child has no parents.
    • Evidence you intend to adopt the child or that the adoption has been completed.
    • When this has been completed, USCIS or a consular officer in the country you are adopting the child from will complete form I-604. If the form is approved, then the National Visa Center will update you on the next steps that should be taken.
    • You then submit the immigrant visa applications for the IR3 visa by filing the form DS-260 online. Also, make sure to schedule your visa interview with the US Embassy. Provide your complete file of documents for the child’s adoption at the interview.


There are different fees that are going to have to be paid when filing different forms but it all depends on the application procedures and steps involved. The amounts stated are determined only by USCIS. Below is the list of fees that have to be paid:

  • Form I-800A filing fee
  • Form I-800 filing fee
  • Form DS-260 processing fee
  • Form I-600A filing fee
  • Form I-600 filing fee
  • Translation fees
  • Fees to obtain supporting documents


The processing time for the IR3 visa varies depending on the situation at hand. The period you take to get adoption approval from the foreign countries, the rules and regulations you are following are all contributing factors to the IR3 visa processing time. It generally takes about 6 months to more than a year to bring your adopted child to the US.

How To Get An IR3 Visa Health Insurance

As an IR-4 visa holder, you will get access to American health care. But getting treated medically in a US hospital can be quite expensive and is probably one of the most expensive in the world.

Getting a broken leg or arm treated may cost you about $2500 in any other hospital in different countries while getting this same treatment in a US hospital will cost you about $10,000 on an average. So picking a good health insurance plan which suits you best, also affordable and covers all your needs is advisable.


There are so many private insurance companies on of which is VisitorsCoverage. They provide affordable health insurance plans for Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States.


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