A: You can call the Visa Services' Public Inquiries Branch at 202-663-1225. This number has recorded information with an option to speak with during most business hours. If you wish to inquire about an immigrant visa petition that has already been approved by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), you may wish to contact the National Visa Center (NVC) at 603-334-0700.
A: Visa Services does not exercise authority to change consular officers decision on visa applications, but they can assist in finding out the status of an application. They can also suggest several different methods for getting the information addresses for letters, telexes, faxes, and, in emergency situations, cables. If you have some facts on an individual case, they can frequently explain the legal grounds for refusal and any possible avenues of relief, for example. You can read about VISA DENIAL REASONS.
A: An immigrant visa is the visa issued to persons wishing to live permanently in the United States. A nonimmigrant visa is the visa issued to persons with permanent residence outside the U.S. but who wish to be in the U.S. on a temporary basis, for example, tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work, or study.
A: To become a legal permanent resident, an alien must first be admitted as an immigrant. There are two basic methods for obtaining an immigrant visa: 1) through family relationship with a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, or 2) through employment. Specific information is available from the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
A: An immediate relative petition can be filed by a U.S. citizen on behalf of a spouse, parent, or child. A preference petition is filed by a U.S. citizen on behalf of a son or daughter, by a legal permanent resident on behalf of a spouse, son or daughter, or child, or by an employer on behalf of an employee.
A: An alien must be sponsored by a relative or employer who files the appropriate petition with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). INS approves the petition, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The National Visa Center then informs the beneficiary that an approved petition has been received and provides instructions on next steps. As soon as a visa number is available on a preference petition or as soon as INS approves an immediate relative petition, the National Visa Center sends the beneficiary instructions on the next steps to take.
A: Requirements may differ slightly from post to post, but the basic requirements include: a passport, three photographs, birth and police certificates, marriage, divorce, or death certificates, proof of financial support, and medical examination. More detailed information would have to come from the National Visa Center or the processing post.
A: Persons from countries that do not have an American embassy or consulate are considered "homeless" because they cannot return to their home country to be interviewed for the immigrant visa. When the National Visa Center receives an immigrant visa approved petition on a "homeless" case, it assigns the case to an embassy or consulate that has been determined is capable of handling the additional workload. The petitioner or beneficiary will be informed by the National Visa Center of the post that was chosen.
A: Several factors influence how long the process may take. Immediate relative visas are not numerically limited by statute so, workload permitting, the post may begin processing the approved petition upon receipt. Preference visas are numerically limited; therefore, the post must wait until the priority date on the petition is available before starting to process the case. The major reason for lengthy waits, i.e. priority dates that are months or several years earlier than your inquiry, is the fact that each year many more people apply for immigrant visas than can be satisfied under the annual numerical limit set by law for preference cases. Certain categories, such as the family fourth preference, are heavily oversubscribed.
A: The priority date, in the case of a relative immigrant visa petition, is the date the petition was filed. In the case of an employer-sponsored petition, the priority date is the date the labor certification was filed with the Department of Labor. The Visa Bulletin -- under the Visa Services homepage -- gives the changes in availability of priority dates. (See question below for more information.)
A: The cost of an immigrant visa is $260 (U.S.) for application and $65 (U.S.) for issuance per person, regardless of age. There may also be fees to obtain required documents, for certifying or notarizing documents, and for the medical examination. The cost of the immigrant visa itself remains constant, but other fees vary from post to post. The applicant will be informed of fees by the processing post. The fees are payable in U.S. and equivalent local currency. Cash is acceptable at all posts; other methods of payment must be determined by the processing post.
A: The consul may issue an immigrant visa with a maximum validity of six months. If an applicant must delay travel to the U.S. beyond six months, he/she should contact the U.S. consulate and arrange to have the interview scheduled closer to his/her possible departure. If an immigrant visa has already been issued and circumstances force the alien to remain abroad longer, the applicant should contact the U.S. consulate and request an extension of the immigrant visas validity. If the validity of an immigrant visa expires, a new one may be issued upon payment of the statutory application and issuance fees (U.S. $325).
A: A child born abroad of legal permanent resident parents may enter the U.S. without a visa provided the child is accompanied by a parent upon that parents initial return to the U.S. within two years of the childs birth with documentation showing the parent-child relationship.
A: Authority to accept a petition rests solely with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). INS has determined that petitions must be filed in the petitioners place of residence. Therefore, if the petitioner resides in the U S., the petitioner must file at his/ her local INS office; if the petitioner resides abroad, the petitioner must file at the U.S. embassy or consulate that has jurisdiction.
A: A guest of a U.S. host can be helped by sending him/her a letter of invitation. The letter should include the invitees name, reason for visit, period of stay in the U.S., and method of payment of expenses. If the guest is paying his/her own expenses, he/she must be prepared to show the consular officer that sufficient funds are available for the trip. If the American host is paying the expenses, an affidavit of support may be included.
A: An applicant must have a passport, valid for six months beyond duration of the proposed visit, one passport-size photograph, and proof of social, economic, professional or other compelling ties to a residence outside the United States to which he/she will be expected to return after the visit. See further information on visitor visas under the Visa Services home page.
A: The requirements are generally the same as for a visitor visa. However, in addition to the passport, photo, and proof of ties abroad, the applicant must also have an I-20 form issued by the school he/she wishes too attend. The I-20 form is proof that the applicant has been accepted for a program of study at an accredited institution. See further information on student visas under the Visa Services home page.
A: In certain circumstances, yes. Visa Services does reissue A, E, G, H, L, and I visas, so long as there is the same type visa stamp already in the passport, and the date of expiration is not more than one year earlier. More information is available under the Visa Services home page.
A: The U.S. citizen must file a fiance(e) petition, Form I-129F, with the local Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The INS will forward the approved petition to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. The post will then contact the alien with information and eventually schedule an interview for a fiance(e) visa. The alien has 90 days from entry into the U.S. in which to marry the U.S. citizen.
A: No. After the marriage takes place, the U.S. citizen must contact Immigration and Naturalization Service to change the alien spouses status to legal permanent resident. This information is given to the alien fiance(e) upon his/her entry to the U.S.
A: An applicant is always told the reason for denial, orally or in writing. If an applicant does not understand the reason for denial, or wishes to offer further evidence to overcome the denial, he/she should contact the post where the application was made to determine that posts reapplication policy.
A: You should know that all denials are reviewed by a senior consular officer. There is no "appeal" process per se on visa denials, but an applicant can reapply for a nonimmigrant visa if he/she can present new evidence to overcome the previous grounds for refusal. Some high-volume posts require that a significant period of time (six months to one year) elapse before reapplication with new qualifying evidence.
A: From the embassy or consulate of the country you are planningto visit. The booklet, Foreign Entry Requirements has informationon visa/entry requirements, embassy and consulate addresses, andtelephone numbers for all foreign missions in the United States.(See the FAQ entitled "Other Subjects" for information on how toobtain a copy of Foreign Entry Requirement.)