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U.S. Visas

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Diversity Visa - Prepare Supporting Documents

Prior to your interview with a consular officer, you must obtain all required documents, following the guidelines below. It is strongly recommended that you begin this process early.

The applicant and each family member who will accompany the applicant to the United States will need to submit original documents or certified copies of the documents listed below from an appropriate office, authority, or issuing entity in your country. You will also need to bring a photocopy of each document. You will be required to bring these documents to your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, along with any translations required.

Documents

Review the information below to determine which documents you will need to obtain. You will take the documents with you to your interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Do not send any of these documents to the Kentucky Consular Center. All paper documents or correspondence mailed to KCC will be destroyed. 

Translation Requirements

All documents not in English, or in the official language of the country in which application for a visa is being made, must be accompanied by certified translations. The translation must include a statement signed by the translator that states that the:

  • Translation is accurate, and,
  • Translator is competent to translate. 

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Required DV Qualifying Education or Work Experience

The principal diversity visa applicant must have a high school education, or its equivalent, OR two years of qualifying work experience in the last five years.

Education: Submit to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at your interview, a certificate of completion equivalent to a U.S. diploma, school transcripts, or other evidence issued by the person or organization responsible for maintaining records, which specifies the completed course of study. The diversity visa selectee must have completed a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education in the U.S. or a comparable course of study in another country, sufficient in itself to qualify a student to apply for college admission. The following are not acceptable:

  • Equivalency certificates (such as the G.E.D.) are not acceptable.
  • Vocational degrees that are not considered a basis for further academic study will not be considered equivalent to U.S. high school education.

Work Experience: Submit documentation to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at your interview demonstrating that you have two years of qualifying work experience in the last five years immediately prior to application. Qualifying work experience must be in an occupation that, by U.S. Department of Labor O*Net Online Database definitions, requires at least two years of training or experience that is designated as Job Zone 4 or 5, classified in a Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) rating of 7.0 or higher. (See the section on Confirm Your Qualifications for information about using O*Net Online.)

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Birth Certificates

Each applicant will need to obtain an original birth certificate issued by the official custodian of birth records in the country of birth, showing the date and place of birth and the parentage of the applicant, based upon the original registration of birth. Important Notice: You must submit a long form original birth certificate. Short form birth certificates will not be accepted.

 The certificate must contain the:

  • Person's date of birth;
  • Person's place of birth;
  • Names of both parents; and,
  • Annotation by the appropriate authority indicating that it is an extract from the official records.

Unobtainable birth certificates: Some birth records may not be obtainable if, for example:

  • The applicant's birth was never officially recorded.
  • The applicant's birth records have been destroyed.
  • The appropriate government authority will not issue one.

In these cases, please obtain a certified statement from the appropriate government authority stating the reason the applicant's birth record is not available. With the certified statement the applicant must submit secondary evidence. For example:

  • A baptismal certificate that contains the date and place of birth, as well as both parents' names (providing the baptism took place shortly after birth).
  • An adoption decree for an adopted child.
  • An affidavit from a close relative, preferably the applicant's mother, stating the date and place of birth, both parents names, and the mother's maiden name. Note: An affidavit must be executed before an official authorized to take oaths or affirmations. 
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Court and Prison Records

Applicants who have been convicted of a crime must obtain a certified copy of each court record and any prison record, regardless of the fact that he or she may have subsequently benefited from an amnesty, pardon or other act of clemency. Submit to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at your interview. Court records should include:

  • Complete information regarding the circumstance surrounding the crime of which the applicant was convicted
  • The disposition of the case, including sentence or other penalty or fine imposed. 
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Deportation Documentation

Applicants who have previously been deported or removed at government expense from the United States must obtain Form I-212, Permission to Reapply after Deportation, from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and follow the instructions included on that form.

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Marriage Certificate

Married applicants must obtain an original marriage certificate, or a certified copy, bearing the appropriate seal or stamp of the issuing authority.  

Note: Marriage certificates from certain countries are unavailable. More specific information is available online on our Reciprocity by Country webpage.

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Marriage Termination Documentation

Applicants who have been previously married must obtain evidence of the termination of EACH prior marriage. Evidence submitted to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate must be in the form of original documents issued by a competent authority, or certified copies bearing the appropriate seal or stamp of the issuing authority, such as:

  • Final divorce decree
  • Death certificate
  • Annulment papers 
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Military Records

Persons who have served in the military forces of any country must obtain a copy of their military record. Submit documentation to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at your interview.

Note: Military records from certain countries are unavailable. More specific information is available online on our Reciprocity by Country webpage.

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Police Records

Which Applicants Need to Submit a Police Certificate

Each applicant aged 16 years or older must submit all required police certificates to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at his or her interview.

What Does the Applicant Submit

The applicant must submit police certificates that meet the following guidelines. The police certificate must:

  • Cover the entire period of the applicant's residence in that area.
  • Be issued by the appropriate police authority.
  • Include all arrests, the reason for the arrest(s), and the disposition of each case of which there is a record.

How to obtain a police certificate

  • Determine from which countries an applicant is required to obtain police certificates. The table below will assist in determining from where an applicant must obtain police certificates. Note: Present and former residents of the United States should NOT obtain any police certificates covering their residence in the United States.
  • Contact the appropriate police authorities. Selecting the appropriate country from the Reciprocity by Country page will provide you with additional information on how to obtain a police certificate.

IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT POLICE CERTIFICATES: The Reciprocity by Country pages will indicate if a country's police authorities require the submission of a specific Police Certificate Request form. Some countries may require the submission of specific Police Certificate Request forms in order to properly request and obtain the applicable Police Certificate(s). Police certificates from certain countries are unavailable. More specific information is available online on our Reciprocity by Country webpage.

If you are 16 years of age or older, you must submit a photocopy of a police certificate from the following locations:

From ... AND... THEN the applicant needs a police certificate from...
the country of nationality if they resided there for more than 6 months is 16 years old or older the police authorities of that locality.
the country of current residence (if different from nationality) if they resided there for more than 6 months was 16 years or older at that time the police authorities of that locality.
any previous country or countries of residence if residing there for more than 12 months was 16 years or older at that time the police authorities of that locality.
any country where arrested for any reason, regardless of how long they lived there was any age at that time the police authorities from place of arrest.


Note: 
Present and former residents of the United States do NOT need to submit any U.S. police certificates.

ImportantPolice certificates expire after one year, unless the certificate was issued from your country of previous residence and you have not returned there since the police certificate was issued. If at the time of your interview the following three items are all true, you must bring a new police certificate to your visa interview:

  • You are more than 16 years old;
  • The police certificate submitted to NVC was obtained more than one year ago; and
  • You still live in the country that issued the certificate.

For country-specific guidelines on how to obtain a police certificate, review the Country Documents section at Reciprocity by Country.

Unobtainable police certificates

If your police certificate is unavailable per the country-specific guidelines above, you do not need to submit one to the NVC. If you cannot obtain a police certificate for another reason, please submit a written explanation when you submit your other documents.

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Custody Documentation

For adopted children, the adoptive parent must provide:

  • A certified copy of the adoption decree;
  • The legal custody decree, if custody occurred before the adoption;
  • A statement showing dates and places where child resided with the parents; and
  • If the child was adopted while aged 16 or 17 years, evidence that the child was adopted together with, or subsequent to the adoption of, a natural sibling under age 16 by the same adoptive parent(s).

Additional Embassy or Consulate Instructions

Civil and personal documents may differ from country to country, depending on availability. There may be either additional instructions for obtaining civil documents in a specific country or additional documents required, depending on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will apply. Select the embassy or consulate where you will apply to learn what additional requirements there are, if any. Please note that some of the information included in these instructions may apply to immigrant visa classifications other than diversity visas. If you have questions about the country-specific information included here, please contact the embassy or consulate where you will apply for your visa.

Please visit Supplements by Post to review Embassy/Consulate instructions.