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The Immigrant Visa Process

Interview Preparation - Required Documents

Each applicant is required to bring the original version of all civil documents plus one photocopy of each document to the visa interview. You must also bring any required financial evidence provided by your petitioner.  Failure to bring all required original documents and photocopies to the interview may cause delay or denial of the visa.

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Exception for Derivative Applicants

Derivative applicants may not need to bring an originally signed Affidavit of Support form to the interview.  A derivative applicant is an immediate family member of the beneficiary of an immigrant petition.  The beneficiary is the principal applicant, and spouses and unmarried children under age 21 are called derivative applicants. This only applies to preference visa categories and not to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens.  See below for instructions on financial support documents for derivative applicants:

  • A derivative applicant traveling to the United States with the principal visa applicant only has to bring a photocopy of the principal applicant's Affidavit of Support and supporting financial evidence. 
  • A derivative applicant immigrating after the principal visa applicant (referred to as “follow-to-join”) must bring to the visa interview one complete set of the principal applicant's Affidavit of Support and supporting documents. The Affidavit of Support must be originally signed.
  • Any derivative applicant whose financial support is coming from a joint sponsor or household member who is not also sponsoring the principal applicant must bring to the interview an originally signed Affidavit of Support from that joint sponsor or household member.
Notes for Children of U.S. Citizens
  • Members of the same family who are immigrating on separate petitions must bring their own originally signed Affidavits of Support even if they are attending a visa interview together.
  • For example, if the petitioner is a U.S. citizen and has submitted individual petitions for a spouse and child(ren), each visa applicant will have their own case number. At the interview, each applicant needs to give the consular officer an originally signed I-864 from their petitioner and any other financial sponsors. These forms should list the visa applicant in Part 2 and not include additional applicants or family members.

Bring the Following Items to Your Visa Interview

  • Interview appointment letter from the National Visa Center (NVC).
  • Unexpired passport valid for six months beyond your intended date of entry into the United States and a photocopy of the biographic page (where your name and photo are located).
  • Two color passport photographs measuring 2 inches by 2 inches (5 cm by 5 cm) with a white background.
  • Required civil documents on the list below (the original version and a photocopy), even if you submitted a photocopy to NVC. You may need to get an updated police certificate.
  • Translations of any document not written in either English or the official language of the country in which the interview will take place.  Translations must be certified by a competent translator.
  • Medical exam results if the physician gives you these results.  In that case, bring them to your interview in the envelope sealed by the medical office.  Do not open this envelope.
  • Confirmation page from Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application, that you submitted on
  • Family-based visa applications
    • An originally signed (in ink) Affidavit of Support from your petitioner and any additional financial sponsors who submitted a Form I-864 on behalf of your visa application.  This is required even if you sent an originally signed form to NVC.
    • Financial evidence showing your petitioner’s income, such as federal tax returns or forms W-2.  If you have any additional financial sponsors, you must bring the same type of financial evidence for them, along with proof of their legal status in the United States.
    • Proof of the U.S. petitioner’s status and domicile in the United States (photocopy of a U.S. passport, naturalization certificate, or legal permanent resident card).
  • Employment-based visa applications: A letter from your U.S. employer dated less than one month ago confirming the essential elements of the job offer.
  • Any additional documents listed in the U.S. Embassy or Consulate interview guidelines in

List of Required Civil Documents

Information about how to obtain the below civil documents overseas is available in Reciprocity and Civil Documents by Country. This table, which is searchable by country, includes details on all of the below civil document types 

IF YOU (the visa applicant) ARE THE U.S.-BASED PETITIONER’S:
Child (under 21 & unmarried)
Adult child (over 21 & unmarried)
– or –
Married child of any age
Brother/ Sister
Child (under age 21 and unmarried)


if you are age 16 or older

if you are age 16 or older

if you are age 16 or older

if you are age 16 or older

if you are age 16 or older

Court records (if you have ever been convicted of a crime)

Military record (if applicable)

only for step-children (showing marriage to biological parent)
Petitioner’s marriage termination record (divorce decree or death certificate)

Important Notice: All documents not written in English or in the official language of the country in which the interview takes place MUST be accompanied by a translation in English. Translations must be certified by a competent translator. Translations submitted to the NVC will be included in the applicant’s case file.