Steps to Apply for an Immigrant Visa (2023)

Immigrant Visa Application Process

To apply for an immigrant visa, follow the steps below.

Use the accordion below and follow (in order) the steps that will guide you through the immigrant visa application process.

This information does not apply for category “K” Fiancé(e) Visa applications.

Remember: You must tell the truth during the entire visa application and interview process, and provide full and accurate information. Otherwise, your visa processing will take longer or it may be determined that you are ineligible for a visa.

Step by Step Process
Step 1 – File a Petition with USCIS

U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who wish to file a petition on behalf of a family member that wants to immigrate to the United States must file Form I-130 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Step 2 – Case Preparation by the National Visa Center

Once the petition is approved by USCIS, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC).

Petitions may stay at the NVC for several months or years, depending on the visa category applied for. The NVC will contact the petitioner or beneficiary regarding the submission of all civil documents, police records, financial support affidavit, and other key documents for the case. They will not schedule your interview until they have received all requested documents.

It is very important to keep the petitioner’s and beneficiary’s contact information up-to-date at the NVC. You may contact them using this form.

For more information on how the NVC prepares immigrant visa application cases, click here.

(Video) How to Apply for Immigrant Visa at US Embassy | Consular Processing Explained | National Visa Center
Step 3 – Visa Interview Scheduling by the National Visa Center (NVC)

Once the National Visa Center has received all necessary documents to complete its part in the immigrant visa application process, it will send the petitioner or beneficiary a letter indicating the date and time of the interview. This letter will also include instructions for the steps to follow before the interview.

(Video) U.S.A Immigrant Visa Process. Steps to Apply!

Once the interview is completed, the NVC will send all case documents to our Consular Section in the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo.

Additional Information

If you are unable to come to the interview at our Consular Section on the scheduled date, please contact us at, and we will send instructions for how to reschedule the interview. Rescheduling an interview may significantly delay your visa application process.

Step 4 – Medical Exam

All immigrant visa applicants must undergo a general medical exam at least two weeks before the scheduled interview date.

Please do not complete the medical examination before it is requested by the National Visa Center (NVC) or the Embassy’s Consular Section.

In Montevideo, the doctors approved by the Embassy bring the test results in person to the Embassy before each applicant’s scheduled interview date. If by any chance the doctors give you the test, please DO NOT OPEN the sealed envelope. If you do, you must reschedule an appointment with the doctor and pay again the test fees.

Click here for details about the medical examination.

Step 5 – The day of the interview

We ask you to arrive at the time indicated for your interview. Please remember to bring the requested documents.

Only the following people may accompany the visa applicant during the interview:

  • The petitioner
  • Visitors with special needs: Visa applicants may be accompanied in the case of elderly or disabled people, or minors.

If you have a special condition that requires a wheelchair or additional accommodation, please tell the staff members who welcome you at the entrance or the Embassy security guards when you are entering the building.

Every person entering the Embassy will need to undergo a security check similar to the one done at airports. The Embassy has limited space to store personal items. Access to the facilities will be denied to all people who refuse to follow security check procedures.

(Video) US Immigrant Visa Interview Experience and Tips 2023 | IR2 l Philippines
Step 6 – Visa Approval

If your visa is approved, you can pick up your passport approximately 10 days after your interview at the DHL office selected when you registered your interview in our system.

(Video) Marriage Green Cards USA Explained | From Inside or Outside of USA | A to Z Steps of The Process

In addition, at the end of your interview, you will receive information on how to pay the USCIS immigrant fee for your resident card to be processed. You will need to pay this fee before travelling to the United States with your immigrant visa.

If you are deemed ineligible for a visa, a letter will be issued indicating the reasons why you are ineligible. If a waiver is available to overcome your ineligibility, you will receive instructions on how to apply for it. Not all ineligibilities have a waiver available.

The officer may request additional documents in order to approve your visa. In these cases, the officer will give you a letter at the end of the interview indicating which documents are required and how/when to send them to the Embassy.

If your medical exam is not complete by the day of the interview, the consular officer will put your case on hold until the results are received.

Step 7 – After you receive your visa

At the end of your interview we will indicate how, where, and when you can pick up your visa and document packet. Your visa will be attached to your passport. Please check carefully the information in your visa and the cover page of your packet, which will be closed and sealed. If you find any mistakes, please contact us at

DO NOT OPEN the sealed document packet. You must give this packet unopened to an immigration official at the point of entry to the United States.

Before you travel to the United States, you must pay the USCIS immigrant fee for your resident card to be processed. For more information about this, visit the USCIS website.

Please check the expiration date of your immigrant visa. You must enter the United States within the timeframe indicated in your visa. At the point of entry to the United States, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official will stamp your passport and make a note certifying that you are registered to obtain a lawful permanent resident (LPR) card or “green card” (Form I-151 or I-551). At the point of entry you will have the opportunity to confirm the address where you wish to receive your LPR card.

(Video) Green Card for Parents of US Citizens | How to Sponsor your Parents in 2021

USCIS may take several months to process and send your LPR card to your U.S. address. While you don’t receive your resident card, you can travel to and from the United States using the immigrant visa and the CBP stamp. You can travel with these documents, instead of your original resident card, for up to a year from the date of your first entry to the United States.


What is the process for obtaining an immigrant visa? ›

Essential Steps to Get an Immigrant Visa
  • In most cases, someone must sponsor you or file an immigrant petition for you.
  • Wait until the petition is approved and a visa is available in your category. Then apply for an immigrant visa. ...
  • Get a medical examination.
  • Go to an interview.
  • Wait for a decision on your application.
Sep 15, 2022

How do you answer this question where did you apply for your immigrant visa or adjustment of status? ›

When you need to answer the question, “Where did you apply for your immigrant visa or adjustment of status?” you can list the city and country of the U.S. Embassy or consulate where you applied for your immigrant visa. This is the acceptable answer for someone in your situation.

What questions do they ask at immigrant visa interview? ›

Typical questions include:
  • What is your mother's maiden name?
  • -in-law or father-in-law's first name?
  • Is your mother or father a U.S. citizen?
  • How many children do you have?
  • Where were your children born?
  • Is your child your biological, adopted, or your spouse's?
Feb 15, 2023

How long does immigrant visa processing take? ›

Generally speaking, a fair timeframe is approximately 6-10 months from the filing of the immigrant petition to approval at the U.S. Consulate. Timeframes can vary depending on backlogs of cases at both the USCIS and the U.S. Consulate abroad.

What is the fastest way to get an immigrant visa? ›

Marriage to U.S. Citizen

This is the fastest way to immigrate. Typically, the process lasts from six to nine months, after which a temporary Green Card is received. Within the next two years, you must contact the USCIS again with proof of the validity of the marriage.

What is checklist for visa application? ›

Only the travel document will be returned.
  • Application. 1.1 A completed and signed Schengen visa application form. ...
  • Travel Documents. 2.1 A passport or other travel document. ...
  • Evidence of legal residence. ...
  • Photo. ...
  • Proof of travel. ...
  • Proof of financial means. ...
  • Proof of health insurance. ...
  • Visa.

How do I start the US visa process? ›

How to Apply
  1. Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.
  2. Pay the visa application fee.
  3. Schedule your appointment on this web page. You need three pieces of information in order to schedule your appointment: ...
  4. Visit the U.S. Embassy on the date and time of your visa interview.

What are the 4 types of visa application? ›

Visa and Consular
  • Types of visas and the fee charged.
  • Single Entry Visa.
  • Transit visa.
  • Courtesy Visa.
  • Multiple Entry Visa.
  • Referred Visa.
  • East Africa Tourist Visa.

Why should I grant you US visa What should I answer? ›

For 'why' you can answer as one of the following: I am passionate about that *subject* and want to gain more knowledge in it. There are not many experts in this *field* in India, The knowledge I gained while studying in *college name* will help me stand out once I return to India.

Do I have to answer immigration questions? ›

You do not have to answer questions asked by immigration officers if you do not want to answer them. This includes questions about your citizenship status, birthplace or place of residence. If you are asked about your immigration status and you wish to remain silent, you may say: “I have the right to remain silent.” 2.

How do I write an immigration statement? ›

Introduce yourself and provide your own citizenship/immigration status. Establish your relationship with the applicant. Describe the applicant's personality traits with supporting examples. Write in a narrative format to support the purpose of the letter.

What should you not say in an immigration interview? ›

DON'T joke around with the USCIS officer. In particular, avoid joking or sarcasm related to drug dealing, communicable diseases, bigamy, or smuggling people into the country. DON'T argue with your spouse or other family members in the middle of an interview.

What not to say in a visa interview? ›

Don'ts During the Visa Interview Process
  • 'Like, Umm, I guess' – Try to avoid using conversation fillers such as 'Like', 'Ummmm', or 'I guess' in a sentence when you are responding to a question. ...
  • 'Nervous Nancy' – We understand that the interview is important. ...
  • 'Do not chant' – Many interviewees mug up scripted lines.
Aug 30, 2022

How to pass the immigration interview? ›

Easy-to-follow Tips to Pass Philippine Immigration
  1. Be on Time. ...
  2. Dress Properly. ...
  3. Provide Sufficient Documents. ...
  4. Be consistent with your answers. ...
  5. Keep your answers short and simple. ...
  6. Accomplish Departure cards. ...
  7. Bring a pen and write legibly. ...
  8. Keep calm.
Nov 8, 2022

How long is the wait for immigrant visa interview? ›

All applicants can expect their immigrant visa interview process to last for two to five business days.

Can an immigrant visa be denied? ›

If you are applying for an immigrant visa (U.S. lawful permanent residence) and get denied, the consulate will tell you why. A common reason for denial is that your application was incomplete and that further documentation is required to make a favorable decision.

How much does an immigrant visa cost? ›

Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fees (non-refundable, per person)
Immediate relative and family preference applications (processed on the basis of an approved I-130, I-600 or I-800 petition)$325.00
Employment-based applications (processed on the basis of an approved I-140 or I-526 petition)$345.00
2 more rows

Why immigrant visa is taking so long? ›

USCIS now has a backlog of more than 5,000,000 petitions and applications to process. The processing times for many types of immigration cases have increased dramatically. A bright spot is that USCIS appears to be processing naturalization applications much more promptly in recent months than in the past few years.

What is the easiest U.S. visa to get? ›

For many, a "B" visitor visa is the easiest and most appropriate one to get.
In order to apply for this visa, you'll need to prepare or collect the following:
  • Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application.
  • Visa application fee.
  • Visa issuance fee.

What is the easiest way to immigrate to USA? ›

Immediate relatives are spouses of US citizens, parents of US citizens, and unmarried minor children of US citizens. There is no limit on the number of visas available each year for immediate relatives. Being a US citizen's spouse is the fastest, easiest way to immigrate to the US.

What all documents are required for visa to us? ›

Documents required for U.S D visa
  • Completed DS-160 application form.
  • Your passport with at least one blank page to be able to affix a visa.
  • One photograph fulfilling the requirements set by the U.S. authorities.
  • Proof of having paid transit visa fees.
  • Interview confirmation page and its copy.

Do you need an interview to get a visa? ›

Interviews are generally required for visa applicants with certain limited exceptions below. Consular officers may require an interview of any visa applicant. You should schedule an appointment for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live.

What questions do visa officers ask? ›

F1 Visa Interview Questions and Answers
  • Why are you going to the United States? ...
  • Where did you go to school now? ...
  • Why are you planning to continue your education? ...
  • How many colleges did you apply to? ...
  • Do you know your professors at that university? ...
  • Have you been to the United States before?

What is the visa process? ›

An applicant for a visa typically needs to complete an application form, which is usually available at the embassy website of the country to which they are traveling. You may be required to furnish the following information with your visa application form: Name of the applicant. Date of birth. Passport number.

What type of visa is immigrant visa? ›

Immigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals who intend to live permanently in the United States. Nonimmigrant visas are for foreign nationals wishing to enter the United States on a temporary basis - for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work, study, or other similar reasons.

What type of visa is US immigrant visa? ›

The type of visa is determined by the purpose of your travel to the United States. An immigrant visa (IV) is issued to a person wishing to live permanently in the United States.

How much does a U.S. immigrant visa cost? ›

Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fees (non-refundable, per person)
Immediate relative and family preference applications (processed on the basis of an approved I-130, I-600 or I-800 petition)$325.00
Employment-based applications (processed on the basis of an approved I-140 or I-526 petition)$345.00
2 more rows

What documents are needed for immigrant visa? ›

It is also your responsibility to ensure that the online DS-260 application for each immigrant visa case accurately reflects all these items as well.
  • PASSPORT. ...

How much does it cost to apply for U.S. immigrant visa? ›

The USCIS Immigrant Fee is $220.00.

What is the difference between an immigrant visa and a green card? ›

Immigrant visas can start the process for permanent resident status, but they do not provide resident status themselves. A green card is a physical card that represents the holder's right to permanently live and work within the United States. Green cards are only obtained after arrival within the United States.

Who pays immigrant visa fee? ›

Who Pays the Fee. We strongly encourage you to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee after you pick up your immigrant visa from the Department of State and before you depart for the United States. If you cannot pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee, a family member, friend, employer, attorney, or accredited representative can pay for you.

What documents do I need to invite someone to the USA? ›

What documents are needed for an Invitation Letter?
  • Scanned copy of host's ID or passport.
  • Evidence of means of financial subsistence.
  • Proof of homeownership or rental contract.
  • An itinerary of the planned visit.
  • Documentation of the host's time off from work for the visit.
Nov 15, 2022

How to sponsor an immigrant? ›

on a relative petition must have a financial sponsor.

If you choose to sponsor your relative's immigration by filing a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, you must agree to be the financial sponsor and file an affidavit of support when the time comes for actual immigration.

Who is eligible for U.S. immigrant visa? ›

To apply for an immigrant visa, a foreign citizen seeking to immigrate generally must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident immediate relative(s), or prospective U.S. employer, and have an approved petition before applying for an immigrant visa.

How much does it take to sponsor an immigrant? ›

Also, notice that the amounts are different for residents of Alaska and Hawaii. For example, in 2022, a sponsor in the U.S. mainland would need to have income (or assets) of at least $34,687 to cover a petitioner who lives alone and is sponsoring one immigrant and two children (that is, a total of four people).

Can I sponsor an immigrant that is a non family member? ›

Can a U.S. citizen sponsor a non-family member for immigration? Unfortunately, no, you can't petition for a foreign national's visa or green card if they aren't a family member.

How much does it cost to sponsor an immigrant work visa? ›

Currently (2023), there is no fee for filing the PERM application with the DOL. However, there is a substantial fee that employers are expected to pay when filing the I-140 petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It's presently set at $700 (2023 figure).

How long is an immigrant visa valid for? ›

You must arrive in and apply for admission to the United States no later than the visa expiration date printed on your visa. An immigrant visa is usually valid for up to six months from the date of issuance unless your medical examination expires sooner, which may make your visa valid for less than six months.

Does an immigrant visa allow you to work? ›

If you have the right combination of skills, education, and/or work experience, you may be able to live and work permanently in the United States by seeking an employment-based immigrant visa. The Permanent Workers webpage describes the five employment-based immigrant visa preferences (also called categories).


1. Tourist Visa to USA - Apply for Visitor Visa US - US Visa - B1/B2 Visa Step by Step - GrayLaw TV
(GrayLaw TV)
2. US Immigration: How to Immigrate to US in 2022 | 5 Fastest way to get Green Card
(US Immigration)
3. How to Fill Out Form DS- 160: USA Visa Application 2021 (STEP BY STEP)
(Crossing Paths)
4. Golden Opportunity to Get Visa 491 & 190 | Australia Immigration 2023
(Australian Immigration News)
5. US Immigration: How to Immigrate to US in 2023 | 5 Fastest way to get Green Card (Legally)
(US Immigration)
6. US immigrant visa application process step by step action owners
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Aron Pacocha

Last Updated: 15/07/2023

Views: 6321

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (68 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Aron Pacocha

Birthday: 1999-08-12

Address: 3808 Moen Corner, Gorczanyport, FL 67364-2074

Phone: +393457723392

Job: Retail Consultant

Hobby: Jewelry making, Cooking, Gaming, Reading, Juggling, Cabaret, Origami

Introduction: My name is Aron Pacocha, I am a happy, tasty, innocent, proud, talented, courageous, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.