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Family-Based Immigration
19 MINUTE READ

Overview

Two groups of family-based immigrant visa categories, immediate relatives and family preference, are provided under the provisions of U.S. immigration law, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  You may wish to review our Directory of Visa Categories steps on usvisas.state.gov to learn more about these two categories of immigrant visas, as well as other types of immigrant visas to the United States.

To apply for an immediate relative or family preference immigrant visa, follow the steps on the Immigrant Visa Process on usvisas.state.gov.  Once you have completed those steps, review the instructions given to you by the National Visa Center (NVC), along with the information presented on this website, for further guidance and instructions.

The Interview

After you have completed the steps on the Immigrant Visa Process on usvisas.state.gov, including paying the necessary fees and submitting the required immigrant visa application form (DS-260), Affidavit of Support, and supporting documents to the National Visa Center (NVC), they will review your file for completeness. Once your case becomes qualified for an interview, NVC will work with us to schedule an interview appointment for you.

You can learn more about the interview process on usvisas.state.gov.

 

BRING YOUR DOCUMENTS 

Every applicant must bring certain documents to the interview.  These include: 

  • Two visa photos taken within the last 6 months on white background. (Find photo instructions here) 
  • All original, government-registered civil documents, including: 
    • Birth Certificate 
    • Marriage Certificate 
    • Divorce Certificates 
    • Death Certificates of Spouses 
    • Valid Police Certificate  
  • Evidence of your relationship with the Petitioner, which can include, but is not limited to: 
    • Photographs 
    • Call or chat logs 
    • Remittance receipts 

FAILURE TO BRING YOUR REQUIRED DOCUMENTS MAY RESULT IN DELAYS AND YOUR VISA BEING DENIED UNDER SECTION 221(G) OF THE IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT UNTIL YOU PROVIDE THE APPROPRIATE DOCUMENTATION.

Case Status

At the end of your immigrant visa interview, the consular officer will inform you whether your visa application is approved or denied.

Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a consular officer. Applicants are advised of this requirement during their interview. When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on the individual circumstances of each case.  You can check the status of your visa application on ceac.state.gov.

If your visa has been denied, you may find useful information on Ineligibilities and Waivers on usvisas.state.gov.

After the Interview

If your visa has been approved, you will be informed how and when your passport and visa will be returned to you.  Carefully review After the Interview on usvisas.state.gov to learn what to do when you receive your visa, entering the United States, paying the USCIS immigrant fee for your Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) Card (aka “Green Card”).