Immigrant Visa Interview Instructions (PDF 63 KB)
New Policy for Personal Electronic Device Access to Embassy
Starting on January 2, 2018, consular section visitors will no longer be permitted to bring personal electronic devices (PEDs) or liquids onto the Embassy compound. This policy will apply to both visa applicants and U.S. citizen visitors. PED storage will no longer be available at the Embassy. PEDs include computers, laptops, radios, cell phones, smart phones, MP3 players, iPads and other tablet devices, handheld gaming devices, smart watches, and wearable electronic fitness devices. Water fountains are available in the consular section waiting room.
A foreign citizen seeking to immigrate generally must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident immediate relative(s), and have an approved petition before applying for an immigrant visa.
For an overview of the types of immigrant visas available under U.S. immigration law, please see Visa Types for Immigrants. Your sponsoring relative and you, the intending immigrant, must successfully complete certain steps in the immigration process in order to come to the United States. Here are the key steps:
First, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must approve an immigrant visa petition, I-130 Petition for Alien Relative filed by your sponsoring relative for you. Next, most sponsors will need to demonstrate adequate income or assets to support the intending immigrant, and accept legal responsibility for financially supporting their family member, by completing and signing a document called an Affidavit of Support. Once this is complete, then the intending immigrant will apply for the immigrant visa. To start your immigrant visa application, click here.
Two groups of family based immigrant visa categories, including immediate relatives and family preference categories, exist under the provisions of United States immigration law, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas (Unlimited)
These visa types are based on a close family relationship with a United States (U.S.) citizen described as an Immediate Relative (IR). The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year. Immediate relative visa types include:
Family Preference Immigrant Visas (Limited)
These visa types are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). There are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants, shown at the end of each category. The family preference categories are:
- Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any. (23,400)
- Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of LPRs. At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children; the remainder is allocated to unmarried sons and daughters. (114,200)
- Family Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children. (23,400)
- Family Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age. (65,000)
Note: Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.
Spouse or Fiancé(e)
If you are a U.S. citizen you have two ways to bring your foreign spouse (husband or wife) to the United States to live. They are
- Immigrant visa for a spouse of a U.S. citizen (IR1 or CR1) – An immigrant Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130 is required. Learn more.
- Nonimmigrant visa for spouse (K-3) – It is important to note that an application for the nonimmigrant visa for the spouse (K-3) who married a U.S. citizen must be filed and the visa must be issued in the country where the marriage took place. After the visa process has been completed, and the visa is issued, the spouse can travel to the United States to wait for the processing of the immigrant visa case. Two petitions are required: Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130, and Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), Form I-129F. Learn more.
If you are a U.S. citizen, you may bring your fiancé(e) to the United States to marry and live here, with a nonimmigrant visa for a fiancé(e) (K-1). An I-129F fiancé(e) petition is required. Learn more.