Step 12: After the Interview
If Your Visa is Approved
If your visa is approved, you will be informed how and when your passport and visa will be returned to you.
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 embassy or 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 months from the date of issuance unless your medical examination expires sooner, which may make your visa valid for less than six 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. Customs 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.
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.
If Your Visa is Denied
If your visa is denied, you will be informed by the consular officer why you are ineligible to receive a visa. Based on U.S. law, not everyone who applies is qualified or eligible for a visa to come to the United States. Under U.S. law, many factors could make an applicant ineligible to receive a visa. For more information, please refer to Ineligibilities for U.S. Visas. In some instances, the law might allow you to apply for a waiver of the ineligibility. If you are able to apply for such a waiver, the consular officer will advise you on the steps to take. Please review the Visa Denials webpage for more detailed information.
In some situations the consular officer does not have sufficient information needed to process your application to conclusion, or you may be missing some supporting documentation. The consular officer will inform you if information or documents are missing and how to provide it.
Some visa applications may require 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. At the conclusion of the administrative processing period, the consular officer might conclude that an applicant is now qualified for the visa for which he or she applied. The officer may also conclude that the applicant remains ineligible for a visa.
Except in cases of emergency travel (i.e. serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family), before making inquiries 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.