In general, to be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen relative(s), U.S. lawful permanent resident, or by a prospective employer, and be the beneficiary of an approved petition filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For petition information visit the USCIS website. For detailed information on immigrant visa categories, please visit Travel.State.Gov.
Learn about the different processes for the major immigrant categories, which are:
Children adopted from other countries must first obtain a U.S. visa before they can travel or move to the United States. Visas are issued at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the foreign country where a child resides. Since a child being adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen parent(s) will usually be brought to live in the United States, that child will need an immigrant visa.
To begin the immigrant visa process, prospective adoptive parents submit forms and documents to USCIS. After USCIS reviews the paperwork, a case is assigned to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where the child resides. All children adopted abroad require an immigrant visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before coming to reside permanently in the United States
The Department of State is committed to processing immigrant visas for adopted children expeditiously. Keep in mind, however, that the time required to issue your child’s visa will depend on the specific circumstances in his or her country of residence. To learn more about the immigrant visa process, review our How to Adopt web page and overviews of the Convention and Non-Convention visa processes.
For the application procedure please visit:http://adoption.state.gov/adoption_process/how.php
Lost/Stolen or Expired Green Cards
A Permanent Resident Card, commonly known as a “Green Card”, may be issued or replaced ONLY by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices in the United States. The Embassy has no authority to issue or replace Permanent Resident Cards.
If your Permanent Resident Card has been lost, stolen or expired, and if you have been out of U.S. for less than one year, the Embassy or Consulate may be able to issue you a “Boarding Foil” which would permit you to return to the United States. In order for the Embassy or Consulate to issue a “Boarding Foil”, a Consular Officer must first interview such applicants. The filing fee of an I-131A Application for Travel Document is $575, which applicants must pay through the USCIS online payment system (ELIS) before receiving an appointment confirmation from the consulate. Applicants must have their Alien number (A number / green card number) in order to pay the fee, which they may obtain from the nearest USCIS office. Please note that USCIS does not refund fees, regardless of any action we take on your application, petition, or request.
The information explains the steps to be taken in applying for “Boarding Foil” for Lost, Stolen or Expired Green Cards.
For more information, please visit our website.
Returning Residency DS 117
A permanent resident (called lawful permanent resident or LPR) or conditional resident (CR) who has remained outside the United States for longer than one year, or beyond the validity period of a Re-entry Permit, will require a new immigrant visa to enter the United States and resume permanent residence. You can learn more about Returning Resident Visas on usvisas.state.gov.
Following-to-Join Asylum Cases (Visas 92)
The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), section 208, provides that a person determined to be a refugee “may” be granted asylum, and that the spouse or child of an alien granted asylum “may” be granted the same status if accompanying, or following to join, the principal applicant (INA 208(b)(3)). The derivative family members are sometimes referred to as Visas 92 (V-92) beneficiaries.
The aforementioned section of law makes it clear that a spouse or child is not automatically entitled to the same status as the principal applicant, but that the grant of derivative status is discretionary.
A consular officer will determine a beneficiary’s eligibility to receive this benefit after interviewing each applicant. For more information on the subject please click here.
Following-to-join Refugee Cases (Visas 93)
Refugees admitted to the United States under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, section 207, may petition to have their spouses and unmarried children under age 21 to follow and join them in the United States . The petition submission should be within two years after the admission of the Refugee to the United States of America.
When refugees file Form I-730, “Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition” to have these family members join them, the derivative family members are sometimes referred to as Visas 93 (V-93) beneficiaries (also known as “following-to-join”).
A consular officer will determine a beneficiary’s eligibility to receive this benefit after interviewing each applicant.
Here is the process if you are the beneficiary of a V-93 petition:
- Upon receiving your file, the U.S. Embassy Consular Section will send you a notification e-mail asking for the required documents to be submitted at the time of the interview and informing you about your interview date and time.
- You will attend your interview at the American Embassy/ Consular Section/ Ankara.
- After the interview, if your visa is approved you will be required at this time to pass medical examinations, the cost of which will be covered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), at a clinic designated by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara.
All travel arrangements to the United States of America will be done by International Organization for Migration (IOM) after the visa is issued and handed to them.
Iraqi and Afghan Translators/Interpreters (SIV)
Iraqi and Afghan SIV Programs
This page describes one Special Immigrant Visa program available to persons who worked with the U.S. Armed Forces or under Chief of Mission authority as a translator or interpreter in Iraq or Afghanistan. This program, which offers visas to up to fifty persons a year, remains active.
The Department of State’s authority to issue Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) to Iraqi nationals under another program, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, was extended. As of January 1, 2014, 2,500 visas may be issued to principal applicants under that program, and the program will end when all visas have been issued. The deadline to apply for Chief of Mission approval was September 30, 2014.
The Department of State’s authority to issue Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) to Afghan nationals under section 602(b) of the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009, as amended, has been extended. The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2016 as signed by President Obama on November 25, 2015 allocates 3,000 additional visas for Afghan principal applicants, for a total of 7,000 since December 19, 2014. The Afghan SIV program will end when all 7,000 visas are issued. The deadline to apply for Chief of Mission approval is December 31, 2016.