IR-4 Visa Lawyers - Pennsylvania
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IR-4 Visa Attorneys in Pennsylvania Providing Information on Immigration Options for International Adoptions

Immediate relative visas are one way for U.S. citizens to sponsor their family members to come to the United States. This includes parents who are trying to adopt a child from a foreign country. These situations can get complicated quickly because of the different laws and procedures involved. If your goal is to bring your child to the United States to finish the adoption process, the IR-4 visa may be an option.

If you need help bringing your child home before the adoption has been completed, the legal team at The Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh can help you determine if you’re eligible for an IR-4 visa. You can speak to an immigration attorney about your situation and goals and learn what your next steps should be.

Who Is the IR-4 Visa For?

The IR-4 visa is for children who are being adopted by U.S. citizen parents from another country. This visa allows the adoptive parents to bring the child to the United States while the adoption process is being completed. Adopting from a foreign country can be a very long process, and having to wait for the adoption to be final to bring your child home can be especially difficult. The IR-4 visa lets you and your child start bonding as a family as soon as possible. There is no cap on IR-4 visas, which means you don’t have to worry about being waitlisted to apply, and this generally means the wait times for processing are faster than some other visa options.

What Are the Requirements for an IR-4 Visa?

To be eligible for an IR-4 visa, the child must meet all of the criteria for adoption under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act. The child must also be under the age of 21 and cannot be married. There are also specific eligibility requirements for the adoptive parents. These include passing the eligibility test from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office, having a valid address within the United States, and planning to bring the child to America to live with them. Parents also need to understand that the IR-4 visa process requires the parents to obtain guardianship of the child in their home country and then finish the adoption process in the United States.

Is a Home Study Required for an IR-4 Visa?

Yes, a home study is part of the requirements of applying for an IR-4 visa. The home study is conducted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offer and is to ensure that prospective adoptive parents are “suitable and eligible” to adopt a child from another country. The home study involves an interview with both parents and a review of the household to ensure it’s a suitable environment for children.

The caseworker assigned to the home study may ask you questions about how you plan to parent, where the child will go to school, and how your financial situation can support a child. The home study may also involve a review of your family, including any children already in the home. The caseworker may want to interview members of your family to get their perspective on your ability to be an adoptive parent and to find out if you will have a support system.

Will My Child Automatically Become a U.S. Citizen?

Children who are granted an IR-4 visa don’t automatically get citizenship when they come to the United States. The IR-4 visa grants them permanent lawful resident status until the adoption is finalized in the United States. Once the adoption is final, most children are automatically given citizenship as long as the adoption happens before the child turns 18. Children with IR-4 visas are able to live and work (if they are of age) while they are waiting for the adoption to go through. However, those who want to work will need to apply for an employment authorization document first. Once the adoption has gone through and your child gets their Certificate of Citizenship in the mail, they enjoy all of the rights and responsibilities of natural-born U.S. citizens.

What Is the Difference Between an IR-3 and IR-4 Visa?

Both IR-3 and IR-4 visas are for children who are being adopted through international adoption by parents who are U.S. citizens, but they are slightly different. With an IR-3 visa, the adoption is already finalized in the child’s home country before the application for the visa is complete. The IR-4 visa is for children who need to come to the United States before the adoption process is final.

Another major difference is in citizenship status. A child with an IR-3 visa automatically becomes U.S. citizens as soon as they arrive in the country as long as they are under the age of 18. A child with an IR-4 visa is a lawful permanent resident when they come into the country and don’t attain citizenship until the adoption process is complete.

There are also differences in the physical presence of the adoptive parents. An IR-3 visa requires that at least one adoptive parent has seen the child in the child’s country of origin either before or during the adoption process. This is not required for an IR-4 visa.

Adoption is a wonderful thing, but it’s also a challenging time with lots of change, and this is amplified even more when you’re dealing with an international adoption. If you need help getting a visa for your adopted — or soon-to-be adopted child — contact The Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh at 717-900-1818 to speak with a member of our team and schedule your consultation.

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