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The Immigrant Visa Process

Interview Preparation - Notices

Important Information

You should be aware of the following information prior to your visa interview:

  • Failure to complete the medical examination prior to the visa interview can lead to possible visa denial.
  • Failure to bring a copy of the appointment letter to the interview may delay the interview.
  • Advance assurance that a visa will be issued cannot be given. A consular officer can make a decision only after your formal application and documents are reviewed, and you are interviewed.
  • DO NOT make arrangements to travel to the United States, to dispose of property, or to resign employment until the visa has been issued.
  • An immigrant visa is usually valid for up to six months from the date of issuance unless your medical examination validity expires sooner, which may make your visa valid for less than six months. You must arrive and apply for admission in the United States before the visa expiration date.
  • The interviewing officer will try to conduct the visa interview quickly; however, several hours may pass before final action can be taken. If problems arise, you may not receive a visa on the day of the appointment and may have to visit the U.S. Embassy/Consulate again.
  • If you, your spouse and/or children who were previously issued J-1 visas, and were admitted to the United States under INA 101(a)(15)(J), and studied, worked, lived, or are now in the United States as exchange visitors, you and/or they may need to satisfy a two-year foreign residence and physical presence requirement.
  • An immigrant visa may not be issued to an applicant found to be ineligible under Section 212(e), the exchange visitor (J visa) two-year home-country physical presence (foreign residence) requirement. The consular officer will advise those affected by this requirement about how to become eligible.
  • Applicants whose 21st birthday is before the appointment date should immediately contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulatel where the interview will occur to request an earlier appointment. Failure to receive a visa before the applicant's 21st birthday may make the applicant ineligible for an immigrant visa at this time.

Failure to Appear

Intending immigrants have one year after notification of the visa interview appointment schedule from the NVC to pursue a visa or the visa application and any approved visa petition for the applicant will be cancelled.

Carry Immunization and Other Records to the United States

Immigrant children entering the United States must show a record of complete immunization to enroll in school. Therefore, the U.S. Public Health Services (USPHS) strongly recommends that children have evidence from a physician documenting immunity, or a record of immunizations. During the Medical Examination panel physicians will advise applicants of this recommendation and urge them to obtain evidence from a physician, local health department, or school prior to departure.

Who's Involved

U.S. Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy or Consulate, nearest your residence abroad, where you will apply and be interviewed for your U.S. visa.

Find a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your area