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Scanning and Uploading Tips

Scanning and Submitting Documents

Once Once you have collected all your necessary documents, you must then scan and save documents.

The first step in this is to scan your documents. You must have access to a scanner and a computer with an Internet connection. If you do not have these at home, common places with this type of equipment are libraries, community centers, Internet cafés, and copy shops. You can also use a smart phone to scan.

Please do not mail any documents to the National Visa Center. If you do, you may delay the processing of your case and risk losing any documents you send.

In order to ensure your case does not experience delays in processing, follow these guidelines for when scanning your documents:

File Size and Type

Each individual file (scanned document) must be no larger than 2 MB (megabytes). Your scanned document should be in one file and not broken up into multiple files. If your scanned image is too large, compress it before uploading it. “Zipped” files or password-protected files will not be accepted.

Scan each document as a separate file. If a document contains multiple pages, scan all the pages together into a single file. If the document size is more than 2 MB, compress the file or attempt to scan again at a lower resolution.

Scans should be scanned at 150DPI. Acceptable file types include .jpg, .jpeg, and .pdf.

Compressing a File

Compression means saving your document in a smaller file size. This not only allows the file to take up less space on your hard drive but also means it can be uploaded or e-mailed much faster. However, not all file types are easily compressed. Most computer operating systems include an option to compress a file. This option is often found under “File” or “Save,” or appears when you right-click on a file name in a navigation screen. Look on the “Help” tool in your computer operating system for more information on what is available to you.

There is also third-party compression software available, both at no cost and for purchase. Please remember that at this time, the Department of State cannot accept files that have been “zipped.”

Image Quality

After you scan a document, make sure that all the information is easily seen and read, and no parts of the document are cut off or cannot be seen. Please also ensure that the document is correctly oriented so it can be read across the screen without the need to rotate the document. Most scanning programs offer a preview function so you can make sure the document is readable. If you cannot read the scanned document, re-scan it at a higher resolution. Keep in mind this means the saved file will be larger and you may need to compress the file before you upload it.

Use a pen to complete and sign forms that will be scanned to ensure the writing can be seen on your scan.

General Requirements

If any document is in color, please scan it in color rather than black and white.

Please scan both the front and back sides of any document that has stamps, seals, or writing on the back. (If the back of the document is blank, do not scan it.)

If you have a certified translation of your document, include a scan of the translation with the original (i.e. foreign language) document in a single file.