After Your Visa Interview
A Consular Officer can make a decision on a visa application only after reviewing the formal application and interviewing the applicant. There is no guarantee that you will receive a visa. Do not sell your house, car or property; resign from your job; or make non-refundable flight or other travel arrangements until you have received your immigrant visa.
If more information is needed
Sometimes a Consular Officer is unable to make a decision on a visa application because they need to review additional documents, or the case requires further administrative processing.
When administrative processing is required, the consular officer will inform the applicant at the end of the interview. The duration of the administrative processing will vary based on the individual circumstances of each case. Except in cases of emergency travel (i.e., serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family), before making inquires about status of administrative processing, applicants should wait at least 180 days from the date of interview or submission of supplemental documents, whichever is later.
What happens after visa approval
Passport and Visa
Your immigrant visa will be placed on a page in your passport. Please review the printed information right away to make sure there are no errors. If there are any spelling or biographical errors, contact the consulate immediately.
What do I need to do before I travel?
You must pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) after you receive your immigrant visa and before you travel to the United States. Only children who enter the United States under the Orphan or Hague adoption programs, Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants, returning residents (SB-1s), and those issued K visas are exempt from this fee. Please visit the USCIS website for more information and to pay the fee. Please Note: USCIS will not issue a Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551 or Green Card until you have paid the fee.
When should I travel?
You must arrive in and apply for admission to the United States no later than the visa expiration date printed on your visa. An immigrant visa is usually valid for up to six (6) months from the date of issuance unless your medical examination expires sooner, which may make your visa valid for less than six (6) months.
Entering the United States
When traveling to the United States, the primary (or principal) applicant must enter before or at the same time as derivative family members with visas. A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customers and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to grant or deny admission. Learn about admission and entry requirements on the CBP website. When you are admitted, you will enter as a Lawful Permanent Resident, also called a green card holder, and will be permitted to work and live in the United States.
Getting a Green Card – Your Form I-551 Permanent Resident Card, also known as a 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 that proves 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 are in compliance 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 with you to the United States. If your child is adopted, you have full custody as a result of a divorce, or you share custody with another parent, you should bring a copy of all applicable adoption or custody papers from the authoritative court in your home country. You will need these papers (translated into English) for issues such as school enrollment, medical care, and eventual citizenship.
When You are a Permanent Resident – Learn more about your status as a Lawful Permanent Resident. You may also wish to review Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants.
Social Security Number – To learn about the U.S. Social Security Administration benefits available to Legal Permanent Residents, and how to apply for a social security number card, visit the Social Security Administration website.
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