The “IR” Green Card: Your guide to US residency based on Marriage, Parents and Children
By: Harlan York
May 2, 2023

Looking to get your green card?

Or are you a U.S. citizen hoping to file for a parent, spouse or child?

For those who have (or are) foreign-born relatives of U.S. citizens, the IR Green Card process is one of the most typical paths to obtaining lawful permanent resident status (green card) in the United States.

There are no limits on how many IR applicants may receive green cards in a year, so the wait times are considerably shorter than most other categories.

What is an IR6 Green Card?

The IR6 green card is one of the two marriage-based green card categories. It is often confused with the IR1 green card category, but they are quite different. The IR1 applies to immigrants who are not legally residing in the United States at the time of the marriage, while the IR6 applies to immigrants who already had a legal presence in the US, such as on a non-immigrant visa, and who want to adjust their status to a marriage-based green card, because it is a faster path to becoming a permanent resident.

Who can apply for an IR Green Card?

The IR Green Card process is reserved for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Immediate relatives are defined as spouses, unmarried minor children (under the age of 21), and parents of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old. This includes spouses in same-sex marriages. 

Spouse of Citizen:

The IR Green Card process for spouses of U.S. citizens requires that the U.S. citizen petitioner must be at least 18 years old and have a valid marriage to the foreign national spouse. Additionally, the U.S. citizen petitioner must establish that the marriage is bona fide and not entered into for the purpose of evading immigration laws.

The foreign born spouse must also meet certain eligibility requirements, such as medical exam, undergoing a background check, and demonstrating that they are not inadmissible to the United States due to past criminal or immigration violations.

The U.S. citizen spouse petitioner must also establish that they have the financial means to support the beneficiary in the United States.

Adult Citizens Can File for their Parents:

Another category of immediate relatives eligible for the IR Green Card process are the parents of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old. The U.S. citizen petitioner must file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of their parent or parents as well as the affidavit of support.

Parents – like spouses – must be eligible (medical exam, background check, no inadmissibility).

Minor Children of US Citizen:

The final sub-category of immediate relatives eligible for the IR Green Card process are unmarried minor children (under age 21) of U.S. citizens.

The U.S. citizen petitioner must file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of their child.

This classification includes stepchildren as defined in immigration law:  if the U.S. citizen stepparent married the child’s birth parent before the child’s 18th birthday.

Like the other categories, children must go through the medical and background check, and show no inadmissibility.

The U.S. citizen petitioner must also establish that they have legal custody of the child and can provide financial support for the child.

REMINDER regarding inadmissibility: waivers may be available.

Quick guide on codes

  • IR2 Children, new arrivals
  • IR7 Children, adjustments
  • IR5 Parents of adult U.S. citizens, new arrivals
  • IR0 Parents of adult U.S. citizens, adjustments

How long is the IR green card good for?

IR family-based green card status is PERMANENT although the card may be valid for up to 10 years, or you can receive a conditional green card for only 2 years. 

Why does it say CR on my green card?

“CR” indicates you have a conditional green card based on marriage less than two (2) years in duration at time of approval.

If you have been given a conditional green card, then you will need to file a petition to remove the conditions of your residence before the card expires.

You may file this petition 90 days before your conditional green card expires.

If your petition is approved, you will be sent a new Permanent Resident Card valid for 10 years. MORE about marriage and family-based immigration here.

Can an IR green card be revoked?

Green cards are only the first step to citizenship and can indeed be revoked.

You can lose your green card if:

Your green card will not necessarily be revoked if you get divorced before receiving your citizenship, but you should be prepared to undergo more scrutiny.

When in doubt

The IR Green Card process is one of the most popular options for obtaining permanent residency in the United States for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens.

While the process can be complex and time-consuming, families can navigate requirements and work towards achieving their immigration goals with proper counsel.

If you or a loved one is interested in pursuing an IR Green Card, I encourage you to seek the guidance of an experienced immigration lawyer to assist you throughout the process.

About Harlan York

The first-ever attorney in New Jersey to win “Immigration Lawyer of the Year” from Best Lawyers, Harlan York is former immigration chair of the NJ State Bar Association and former co-chair for the NY State Bar Association CFLS Committee on Immigration. He currently serves on the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) National Practice Management Committee.

E-mail Us

Have a Question About Immigration?

Contact Harlan York with your questions. We answer emails within 24 hours or less.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Harlan York & Associates practices law in the areas of Immigration, Deportation Defense, Family Immigration, Corporate Immigration, Naturalization throughout Essex County – Hudson County – Morris County – Passaic County – Somerset County – Middlesex County – Bergen County – New Jersey -Immigration Lawyer – NJ Immigration Lawyer – Jersey City-Newark-Paterson Passaic Elizabeth Edison Woodbridge Toms River Hamilton Trenton Camden Clifton Passaic Garfield Wallington Cherry Hill East Orange Passaic Union City Bayonne Irvington Old Bridge Lakewood North Bergen Vineland Union Wayne Parsippany-Troy Hills New Brunswick Plainfield Bloomfield Perth Amboy East Brunswick West New York West Orange Hackensack Atlantic City Kearny Mount Laurel Montclair Essex Hoboken North Brunswick Belleville. In addition to serving clients in New York, Pennsylvania, the greater United States, and Internationally.

Contact Our Immigration Lawyers Now




Pay Invoice

Harlan York Has Been Featured On

Book A Consultation