Immigration

Immigrant Visa FAQ

Are you a citizen of a foreign country? Do you want to come to the US to live here permanently? You'll need a visa. The US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, provides information on its website about acquiring immigrant visas. You must pay close attention to all the various requirements. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about immigrant visas.


Q:

What type of visa do I need if I want to live permanently in the US?


  • A:You'll need an immigrant visa if you want to stay in the US permanently. You'll need a visitor visa if you're only planning a temporary visit.


Q:

How do I become eligible to apply for an immigrant visa?


  • A:

    You must be sponsored by a future employer, a relative who's a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the US.


Q:

What must my employer or relative do to sponsor me for an immigrant visa?



Q:

My younger sister wants to sponsor me for an immigrant visa. Is there an age requirement?


  • A:

    Your sister must be at least 18 years old and have a residence in the US.


Q:

My immigrant petition was approved by the USCIS. What happens next?


  • A:

    The petition is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, NH. It'll undergo immigrant visa pre-processing at the correct time.


Q:

Will my petition go through immigrant visa pre-processing by the NVC right away?


  • A:

    It'll depend on if your case is current or not. You visa case can't be processed until it's current. Your case is current if your priority date is before the cut-off date. Your priority date is usually the date the petition is filed. If you're coming to the US based on employment immigration, the priority date may be when the labor certification application is received by the US Department of Labor.


Q:

Why may I put on a waiting list before the processing of my immigrant visa can begin?


  • A:

    Employment and family preference visa categories have yearly numerical limits. Demand is usually higher than these limits. You may have to undergo a lengthy wait time based on your priority date. However, an immediate relative visa category is automatically current. This category normally includes the child, parent or spouse of a US citizen.


Q:

If my case isn't current, will the NVC expedite my visa processing in an emergency?


  • A:

    No, the NVC can't expedite the processing of non-current cases. It can expedite cases that are current for life or death medical emergencies.


Q:

Are there any fees to process my immigrant visa?


  • A:

    The NVC will send you an invoice for the immigrant visa processing fee. It'll also send an Affidavit of Support processing fee invoice to your sponsor. The Affidavit of Support is to make sure that the foreign applicant will have financial support and not become dependent on the government for the basic necessities of life.


Q:

What types of immigrants need an Affidavit of Support?


  • A:

    You'll usually need an Affidavit of Support if you're applying for a family-based immigrant visa. If a relative filed an employment-based visa for you or owns at least 5 percent of a business that filed the petition, you're also required to have an Affidavit of Support.


Q:

Am I required to undergo an interview to receive an immigrant visa?



Q:

Will I have to undergo a medical examination to receive an immigrant visa?


  • A:

    You're required to have a medical examination to receive a visa.

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