General Information

What is an Immigrant Visa?

An immigrant visa is a document issued by a U.S. consular officer abroad that allows you to travel to the United States and apply for admission as a lawful permanent resident (LPR).

In general, to apply for an immigrant visa, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen relative(s), U.S. lawful permanent resident, or by a prospective employer, and be the beneficiary of an approved petition. Therefore, a first step is filing a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For information on this step, visit the USCIS website.

Once you are admitted as an LPR, USCIS will mail your permanent resident card (often called a “green card”) to your new address in the United States, usually within three months of your entry into the United States. This card is proof of your right to live and work in the United States. You can learn more about the rights and responsibilities associated with being a LPR here.

Click here for a complete list of immigrant visa types.

Please read the important information regarding Rights and Protections for Foreign-Citizen Fiancé(e)s and Spouses of U.S. Citizens and Spouses of Lawful Permanent Residents.

Rescheduling an Appointment

We understand things happen and sometimes appointments need to be rescheduled. If you are unable to attend your scheduled appointment, please e-mail us at (make sure to include your Department of State case number and the applicant’s full name in the subject line of your e-mail). Upon receipt of your e-mail, we will send you instructions on how to reschedule your appointment.

Terminating a Petition

In some cases, a petitioner or beneficiary of a petition may decide that he/she no longer wishes to continue with the immigrant visa process. To request termination of a petition, the petitioner must:

  • write a letter requesting termination (which includes the Department of State case number and the applicant’s full name),
  • sign that letter,
  • scan that signed letter into an e-mail, and
  • e-mail the document to us at

Status Updates and Priority Dates

Given the large number of visa applicants and our limited staff resources, we have chosen to focus our efforts on interviewing visa applicants and approving visas. As a result, we are unable to provide regular status updates on applications that have not been scheduled for an interview.

In most cases, the National Visa Center will notify you once an appointment has been scheduled. Fiancee visa applicants will receive an e-mail directly from the Immigrant Visa unit once we receive your case from the NVC.

NOTE: Until USCIS has approved your petition and forwarded it to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC), neither NVC nor this embassy can take any action on your visa. To learn whether USCIS has approved your petition, please visit the USCIS webpage and use their “Case Status” tool. Once USCIS has approved a petition, it may take two-three months for USCIS to transfer the case file to NVC for initial processing.

If you are applying for an immediate or conditional relative visa (IR/CR as the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen, you should contact the National Visa Center if it has been three months since USCIS approved the petition and you have not yet heard from NVC.

If you are applying for a fiancée visa, you may contact if it has been two months since USCIS approved the petition and you have not yet heard from us. If we do not yet have your case file from USCIS, we will not respond to your e-mail. You should not schedule an appointment ahead of receiving the email packet with instructions.

If you are applying for a family (F1, F2, F3, o F4) or employment (E) immigrant visa, you should first check your priority date before contacting NVC. Your priority date is the date on USCIS received your petition.

The Department of State uses this date to determine when your petition is considered “current. The Immigrant Visa unit may not interview you until your priority date is current, so NVC will not schedule your interview until it is confident that your case will be current within the next two or three months.

Please click HERE to learn what priority date is current in your particular visa category. If your priority date is current or within six months of being current and you have not yet heard from NVC, you should contact the National Visa Center.

NOTE: You may locate your “priority date” via the following methods:

Refer to any correspondence received from the NVC. The priority date is provided in each letter the NVC sends out.

Refer to the I-797 you received from USCIS. USCIS assigned your immigrant visa petition a priority date when it was filed.

Contact NVC by email/phone/postal mail. You must supply the names and dates of birth for both petitioner and beneficiary in addition to the NVC case number/USCIS Receipt No. To see contact information click HERE.

Please review the list of items that cannot be brought into the Visa Waiting Area. (PDF – 110KB)