Immigrant Visa

If you are a US citizen or legal permanent resident, you can submit petitions for your family members and loved ones to join you in the United States. One of the privileges of citizenship is the ability to petition for immediate relatives, like your spouse, unmarried children under 21 years of age, and parents without immigration quota limits. Legal permanent residents may also petition for their relatives, but they must wait for an immigrant visa to become available.

Immigrant Visa

Requirements to Apply

The requirements can easily vary depending on every individual case, but some of the general requirements are:

  • The petitioner must be a U.S. Citizen or legal permanent resident
  • The petitioner must live in United States (though it is possible for a U.S. citizen who lives abroad to file a petition)
  • U.S. Citizens can petition for the following relatives without immigration quotas:
    • Spouses;
    • Unmarried children under 21 years of age
    • Parents, if the U.S. citizen petitioner is at least 21 years old
  • U.S. Citizens can petition for the following relatives but must wait for an available visa:
    • Unmarried children over 21 years of age and their minor children
    • Married children and their spouses and children
    • Siblings, their spouses, and their minor child, if the U.S. citizen petitioner is at least 21 years old
  • Legal permanent residents (green card holders) can petition for the following relatives but must wait for an available immigrant visa:
    • Spouse;
    • Unmarried children under 21 years of age
    • Unmarried children over 21 years of age

Required Forms

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • Form I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary
  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA
  • Form DS-260

Required Government Filing Fees

  • $535 for Form I-130;
  • $445 for Consular Processing;
  • $220 for USCIS Immigrant Visa Fee;

Required Documentation

  • Evidence of Petitioner U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residency:
    • Passport or Birth Certificate of U.S. Citizen
    • Permanent Residence Card of Legal Permanent Resident
  • Evidence of legal relationship between Petitioner and Beneficiary
    • For spouse:
      • Divorce documents from prior marriages
      • Marriage Certificate or Marriage License
    • For child:
      • Birth Certificate with Petitioner’s name listed
      • Evidence of legal adoption
    • For parent:
      • Birth Certificate of Petitioner with Beneficiary’s name listed;
      • Marriage License/Certificate of Beneficiary
    • For sibling:
      • Birth Certificate of Petitioner and Beneficiary listing shared parent(s)
  • Evidence of genuine relationship if petitioning for spouse:
    • Photographs of the Beneficiary and Petitioner together with family and friends;
    • Tickets, itineraries, and other travel evidence;
    • Correspondence between Beneficiary and Petitioner;
    • Joint accounts, memberships, bills, assets, etc.
    • Sworn declarations from family and friends who can attest to a genuine relationship;
  • Passport that will remain valid for at least 60 day beyond the expiration date of the immigrant visa
  • Police Certificates (see Department of State guidance here.)
  • Military records, if any
  • Court and criminal records, if any;
  • Medical Examination;
  • 2 passport photos of Petitioner and Beneficiary required if petitioning for a spouse;

The Process

  1. Submit your petition
  2. Receive receipt notice from government
  3. Receive approval notice from USCIS
  4. Receive notice that case has been transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC)
  5. Submit supporting documents to the NVC and submit the online Form DS-260
  6. Receive interview notice from NVC
  7. Prepare for consular interview and complete medical examination
  8. Consular interview at the Embassy
  9. If visa is approved, you must travel to the United States before the immigrant visa in your passport expires, usually within 6 months
  10. Legal permanent resident card is mailed to your US residence


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