How To: Apply for your Visa

Obtaining a visa to immigrate into the United States of America can be done but requires an application process that could take up to several months to complete.

Here are the steps you need to take in order to gain a U.S. Immigration Visa

  • Your sponsor (immediate family or prospective U.S. employer) must sign your petition in order to apply for an immigration visa.

>> For information on how to file immigrant petitions Outside the United States: limited

  • Within one year, the USCIS in the U.S. will determine approval and send the information to the National Visa Center or NVC to contact you and initiate pre-processing. That means collecting visa fees, forms and documents from your petitioners (sponsors).

After pre-processing

  1. Choose an Agent – someone to represent you for your visa processing (petitioners, friend, attorney, immigration professional, anybody you trust).
  2. Pay Fees – (2 fees) online at the Immigration Visa Invoice Payment Center with your bank account information.
    1. Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee
    2. Affidavit of Support Fee
    3. Submit visa application form – collect required documents and send to the NVC. Anyone migrating with you must complete the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration. (for a Form DS-260 example, click here).
  3. Complete the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration for anybody migrating with you. (Form DS-260 example, click here).
  4. Financial Sponsorship– if required for your visa type, NVC will contact petitioners to prove their abilities to support you financially in the United State. Typically, this includes family-based immigrant visas and certain orphans, and employment-based immigrant visas.
    1. Affidavit of Support form
    2. Obtain financial evidence
  5. Supporting Civil Documents- birth certificates, marriage certificates, military records, adopting documentation, etc… (click here for list)
  6. Submit all information in ONE PACKAGE and allow up to three weeks for NVC to review forms.
  7. Interview- once your case is qualified, NVC will work with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to schedule an appointment date and time for you.


What to know:

  • The number of approved immigrant visas every year, in varying categories, is limited by United States laws.
  • It is important to note that having a visa does not guarantee your entry into the U.S., it does solidify that a  consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad has deemed you eligible to enter for that specific purpose.
  • All documents not written in English, or in the official language of the country in which you are applying for a visa, must be verified by certified translators.
  • The method you use to submit documents to NVC depends on where you are interviewing and the letter you received from NVC (email or mail).
  • Find visa approval and denial information here.


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