After your interview
If more information is needed
Sometimes a consular officer is unable to make a decision on a visa application because he/she needs to review additional documents, or the case needs further administrative processing. When additional documents are requested, the consular officer will give you a refusal letter asking to submit additional documents. The letter will include instructions on how to send those documents to the embassy.
Administrative processing takes additional time after the interview. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 working days. However, the timing varies based on the circumstances of each case. Before inquiring about the status of administrative processing, please wait at least 60 working days after your interview.
What happens after visa approval
Passport, Visa, and Sealed Immigrant Packet – You will find your immigrant visa on a page in your passport. Please review your visa to make sure there are no spelling errors. A very small subset of applicants will also receive a sealed envelope containing documents that you must give to U.S. immigration authorities when you arrive in the United States for the first time. Do not open this envelope. You must carry it with you; do not put it in your checked luggage. If you receive X-rays during your medical examination, carry those with you and give them to the U.S. immigration authorities, if required.
USCIS Immigrant Fee – All individuals who are issued immigrant visas overseas must pay an Immigrant Fee to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) prior to traveling to the United States. This fee is for processing your residency status and printing your Permanent Resident Card. The only people exempt from paying this fee are: children entering the United States under the Hague Process, returning residents, and people traveling on a fiancé(e) (K) visa.
When to Travel – You must enter the United States before the expiration date on your visa, which is usually six months from the date of your medical exam. Your visa cannot be extended and all fees are nonrefundable. The principal applicant must enter before or at the same time as other family members with visas. Unless they are eligible for benefits under the Child Status Protection Act, children who are issued a visa before turning 21 years of age must enter the United States before their 21st birthday to avoid losing their immigrant status.
Getting a Green Card – Your Form I-551 Permanent Resident Card (green card) will be automatically mailed to the address in the United States that you write in your visa application form. This is a very important document proving that you have permission to reside in the United States. If you plan to travel outside the U.S. before your green card arrives: Please consult USCIS’s and CBP’s websites for rules about what documents you need to re-enter the country. We also recommend you check with the airline to ensure you comply with their rules. Once your card is issued, you should not stay outside of the United States for more than one year. If you do, you will lose your status as a Lawful Permanent Resident.
Children’s Issues – In the United States, children are required to have certain vaccinations before they can enroll in school. We recommend that you bring your child’s complete vaccination records to the United States. If your child is adopted, or you have full custody as a result of a divorce, or you share custody with another parent, we suggest you bring a copy of all applicable adoption or custody papers issued by the competent authority in your country of residence. You will need these papers (translated into English) for issues such as school enrollment, medical care, and eventual citizenship.
Information for New Immigrants – Please visit the USCIS web page for helpful information on moving to the United States. You can read their online publication “Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants”
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