A: You can call your lawyer first. If you don't have one, you may call the Government. there are several
service or offices to call. You can call the Visa Services Telephone Inquiries Branch. The number is (202) 663-1225. This
contains recorded information for visa applicants. After listening to one message, there is an option to speak to an officer
between 8:30 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. They can usually explain what aspects of immigration law and regulation are applicable in
certain cases. They can also check if a case has been returned to the State Department for an advisory opinion.
A: Once an individual is in the United States, they come under Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS) jurisdiction. You can call the INS toll free at 1-800-755-0777 or here in Washington at 202-307-1501 or 514-4330.
A: It is an opinion rendered by Visa Services when a post has a question
about the interpretation of immigration law and needs the State Department to make a determination on a point of that law.
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.
A: Visa Services may be able to suggest other channels.
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
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 in the U.S. by calling 202-514-4330.
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 U.S.C.I.S. (formerly I.N.S.) approves an immediate relative petition, the National Visa Center sends
the beneficiary a packet which includes, among other things: OF-l69 (the cover letter listing the documentation necessary
for the immigrant visa interview), OF-l79 (Biographic Data for Visa Purposes), and OF-l67 (Evidence Which May Be
Presented to Overcome the Public Charge Provisions of the Law). The packets are available only from the National Visa
Center or posts that process immigrant visas.
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 is a monthly publication which gives the changes
in availability of priority dates. (See question below for more information.) Visa Services also has a twenty-four hour recording
which gives the monthly priority dates. Dial (202) 663-1541.
A: The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs offers the
monthly Visa Bulletin on the Internet's World Wide Web. The Internet Web address to access the Bulletin is:
From the home page, select the Visa section which contains the Visa
In addition to the Internet, the Visa Bulletin can be accessed
and downloaded from the Consular Affairs electronic bulletin board. Those with a computer and modem should dial (301) 946-4400.
The login is travel and the password is info.
Individuals may also obtain the Visa Bulletin by fax. From
a fax phone, dial (202) 647-3000. Follow the prompts and enter in the code 1038 to have the Visa Bulletin faxed to
(The Department of State also has available a recorded message with
visa cut-off dates which can be heard at: (202) 663-1541. The recording is updated in the middle of each month with information
on cut-off dates for the following month.)
To be placed on the Department of State's Visa Bulletin mailing
list or to change an address, please write to:
Department of State
Only addresses within the U.S. postal system may be placed on the
mailing list. Please include a recent mailing label when reporting changes or corrections of address; the Postal Service does
NOT automatically notify the Visa Office of address changes. (Obtaining the Visa Bulletin by mail is a much slower
option than any of the alternatives mentioned above.)
The Visa Bulletin can also be contacted by E-mail at the following
(The Visa Bulletin is not distributed by E-mail, however.)
A: Each country has its own requirements for obtaining police certificates
or clearances. Specific information is available from the U.S. consulate processing the case.
A: The cost of an immigrant visa is $260 (U.S.) for application and
$65 (U.S.) for issuance per person, regardless of age (MAY BE CHANGED). 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
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 visa's 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. $260).
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 parent's initial return to the U.S. within
two years of the child's birth with documentation showing the parent-child relationship.
A: The child must have an immigrant visa to enter the U.S. The legal
permanent resident parent(s) must file a preference petition with the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
file apetition at any foreign service post for the immigration of
a relative? A:
Authority to accept a petition rests solely with U.S.C.I.S. (formerly I.N.S.). USCIS has determined that petitions must be
filed in the petitioner's place of residence. Therefore, if the petitioner resides in the U S., the petitioner must file at
his/ her local USCIS office; if the petitioner resides abroad, the petitioner must file at the U.S. embassy or consulate that
A: A guest of a U.S. host can be helped by sending him/her a letter
of invitation. The letter should include the invitee's 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, family, 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. It is
helpful for an applicant to have a letter of invitation and support, if he/she is visiting someone in the U.S.
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 to attend. The I-20 form is proof that the applicant has been accepted for a program of study at
an accredited institution.
A: USCIS, Immigration and Citizenship Service (INS) authorizes
changes of visa status when an alien is in the U.S. The local USCIS office should be contacted.
A: They should apply at the local USCIS office.
A: In certain circumstances, yes. VO 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. Journalists needing to renew their I visas may call 202-663-1213 between 2:00 P.M. and 4:00 P.M. eastern
A: The U.S. citizen must file a fiance(e) petition, Form I-129F,
with the local USCIS (Formerly INS). The USCIS 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 spouse's 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 post's 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. By law, the U.S. consul must be
persuaded that the applicant has a permanent residence abroad to which he or she intends to return after a temporary stay
in the U.S; otherwise, the consul must presume that the applicant is planning to remain here permanently. Since a nonimmigrant
visa is not intended for someone who plans to stay permanently, the consular officer must refuse the visa.
A: This is generally done by showing evidence of family, social,
employment, financial and other ties to the home country that will compel a return from the U.S. Having a permanent residence
abroad is a requirement for tourist, business, student, exchange visitor and some temporary worker visas.
A: Unfortunately, there is little a U.S. sponsor can do to help an
applicant qualify. The amount of money the U. S. sponsor has is not relevant; there is no way the U.S. sponsor can guarantee
that the applicant will leave the U.S. at the end of his or her stay. It is up to the applicant to show that he or she meets
A: If the form begins with the letter "I, or N, or G," it is an Immigration Service
(USCIS) form and you will need to call them. The number to call to get forms from the INS is 1-800-870-FORM or 1-800-870-3676.
If you are looking for a form OF-156 (Nonimmigrant Visa Application), the visa applicant should get it at a U.S. embassy or
consulate overseas. If you have questions about a Packet 3 or Packet 4, you need to call the National Visa Center at 603-334-0700.
A: The mail-in period for the 2000 Diversity Visa Lottery is
over. Winners will be notified by the National Visa Center. Those who are not notified can assume they were not selected and
can re-enter next year.
A: You need to call the USCIS about the examination and the naturalization
A: You need to call the USCIS who issues green cards to legal permanent
A: From the embassy or consulate of the country you are planning
to visit. The booklet, Foreign Entry Requirements has information on visa/entry requirements, embassy and consulate
addresses, and telephone numbers for all foreign missions in the United States. (See the FAQ entitled "Other Subjects" for
information on how to obtain a copy of Foreign Entry Requirements.)
Source: The Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs.