Notice to all Visa Applicants
Please be advised that by applying for a U.S. visa you are providing the consulate AUTHORIZATION to verify the documents presented including bank statements. The Consulate will verify THE AUTHENTICITY of the said document(s) with the respective institutions that issued the document(s)
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
Family Based Immigrants
Tips for U.S. Visas
The Immigration and Nationality Act allows for the immigration of foreigners to the United States based on relationship to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. Family-based immigration falls under two basic categories: unlimited and limited.
Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens (IR): The spouse, widow(er) and unmarried children under 21 of a U.S. citizen, and the parent of a U.S. citizen who is 21 or older.
Returning Residents (SB): Immigrants who lived in the United States previously as lawful permanent residents and are returning to live in the U.S. after a temporary visit of more than one year abroad.
Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their children, if any. (23,400)
Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (over age 20) of lawful permanent residents. (114,200) At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children; the remainder will be allocated to unmarried sons and daughters.
Family Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and children. (23,400)
Family Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of United States citizens, and their spouses and children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age. (65,000)
Please follow the link to find out more about:
Processing Immigrant Visas (PDF 14.9KB)
Visa Ineligibility / Waiver
The immigration laws of the United States, in order to protect the health, welfare, and security of the United States, prohibit the issuance of a visa to certain applicants. Examples of applicants who must be refused visas are those who: have a communicable disease such as tuberculosis, have a dangerous physical or mental disorder, or are drug addicts; have committed serious criminal acts; are terrorists, subversives, members of a totalitarian party, or former Nazi war criminals; have used illegal means to enter the United States; or are ineligible for citizenship. Some former exchange visitors must live abroad two years. Physicians who intend to practice medicine must pass a qualifying exam before receiving immigrant visas. If found to be ineligible, the consular officer will then advise the applicant if the law provides for some form of waiver.
Note: Forms and fee amounts are listed for immigration petitions which are submitted to Department of State, either accepted at an Embassy or Consulate abroad, or within the U.S to the National Visa Center or Kentucky Consular Center. Other immigration related forms can only be approved by the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS). For other fees (relating to forms starting with an "I", select BCIS Forms and Fees for additional information.
Whenever there are more qualified applicants for a category than there are available numbers, the category will be considered oversubscribed, and immigrant visas will be issued in the chronological order in which the petitions were filed until the numerical limit for the category is reached. The filing date of a petition becomes the applicant's priority date. Immigrant visas cannot be issued until an applicant's priority date is reached. In certain heavily oversubscribed categories, there may be a waiting period of several years before a priority date is reached. Check the Visa Bulletin for the latest priority dates.
Since no advance assurances can be given that a visa will be issued, applicants are advised not to make any final travel arrangements, not to dispose of their property, and not to give up their jobs until visas have been issued to them. An immigrant visa can be valid for six months from date of issuance. With few exceptions, a person born in the United States has a claim to U.S. citizenship. Persons born in countries other than the U.S. may have a claim, under United States law, to U.S. nationality if: Either parent was born or naturalized in the U.S., or Either parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of applicant's birth. Any applicant believing he or she may have a claim to U.S. citizenship should not apply for a visa until his or her citizenship has been determined by the consular office.
Further information about the specific categories of immigrant visas listed above and which category a relative may fall under can be obtained from your local USCIS office. Questions on the visa application procedures at the American consular office overseas should be addressed to that consular office.
April 2005: General visa questions may be directed via e-mail by clicking here. Due to the volume of inquiries, Visa Services cannot promise an immediate reply to your inquiry. However, to serve you better, please indicate the subject of your inquiry on the subject line (e.g., student visa, visitor visa, worker visa, spouse visa, affidavit of support, etc.) Inquiries on visa cases in progress overseas should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate handling your case.