IR-6 Visa Category: Eligibility, Benefits and Restrictions

As many may know, the IR-6 visa category permits the family members of U.S. citizens to live and work permanently in the United States. It is an ideal option for those who wish to reunite with their family members and work in the US indefinitely.

Eligibility Criteria

In order to apply for the IR-6 visa category, the applicant must be one of the following:

  • A parent of a US citizen who is at least 21 years old.
  • Married to a US citizen for at least two years and intending to live in the US permanently.

Additionally, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Pass a medical exam
  • Demonstrate that they will not become a public charge in the US

Benefits of the IR-6 Visa Category

Upon obtaining the IR-6 visa, the applicant can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Live and work permanently in the United States.
  • Travel outside the US and return without being denied entry.
  • Study in the US and apply for financial aid.
  • Sponsor their family members for a green card.

Apart from these benefits, the IR-6 visa provides a pathway to apply for U.S. citizenship, which can provide additional benefits like the ability to vote.

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Restrictions on the IR-6 Visa Category

While the IR-6 visa category provides various opportunities to the applicant, it also comes with certain restrictions:

  • The applicant is not allowed to vote in U.S. elections or serve on a jury.
  • If the applicant travels outside the US for more than six months at a stretch, they might lose their permanent resident status.
  • The applicant could face deportation in case of serious criminal convictions or being found guilty of fraud during the visa application process.

Unique Aspects of the IR-6 Visa Category

While there are other visa categories for family members of US citizens, the IR-6 visa category provides a unique advantage of being able to apply for U.S. citizenship after a certain period of time. This could be beneficial for those who wish to spend the rest of their lives in the US, and enjoy the full benefits of being a citizen.


Obtaining an IR-6 visa category is a great step towards achieving permanent residency in the US. Apart from the family reunification aspect, it opens doors to many opportunities for the applicant. However, it is important to keep in mind the eligibility criteria, restrictions, and unique aspects of this visa category before applying for it.


What is the processing time for the IR-6 visa?

The processing time for IR-6 can vary depending on the processing center, but it usually takes around 12-16 months.

Can an IR-6 visa holder sponsor their family members for a green card?

Yes, an IR-6 visa holder can sponsor their spouse, children or parents for a green card.

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Can an IR-6 visa holder apply for U.S. citizenship?

Yes, an IR-6 visa holder can apply for U.S. citizenship after spending a certain period of time in the US.

About the Author

Latasha W. Bolt

Latasha is a travel writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a degree in journalism and has been traveling the world since she was a teenager. Latasha is experienced in navigating the visa and passport application process and shares her knowledge and experiences on the blog. Her articles are personal and engaging, providing readers with a unique perspective on the joys and challenges of international travel.

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