In 2018, there were over 44 million immigrants in the United States. If you are living outside the United States, you must first apply for an immigrant visa to become a PR. If you are already in the US, apply for permanent resident status through the “adjustment of status” process. Additionally, you may be able to become a naturalized citizen after living in the United States as a permanent resident for five years or more.
Applying for an Immigrant Visa In United States
If you are currently outside the US and wish to permanently come to the US, you must first get an immigrant visa. There are various types of immigrant visas, each with its application form and accompanying paperwork.
- The United States prioritizes immigration visas depending on the category. Priority is given to immigrants who already have family members in the US who are either US citizens or permanent residents. Immigrants who already have a job in the United States gets the greatest priority.
- You can apply for other types of visas, such as asylum visas. These visas are in restriction in terms of number. Depending on your present nation, the number of available visas may be much more limited. The waitlist for a visa in these categories might be years lengthy.
Choose someone to sponsor your visa application.
Your sponsor must complete the forms. And you can download the file from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. The forms come with instructions for filling them out and submitting them to USCIS.
- If a family member is sponsoring you, they will file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. If a potential employer is sponsoring you, they will file Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
Wait for a response from the National Visa Center (NVC), United States
If you receive grant for your petition, USCIS will forward it to the National Visa Center for processing. The NVC collects your visa application, payments, and supporting paperwork. Because there are a limited number of visas available in each category each year, you may have to wait months or even years before hearing from the NVC.
The NVC notice contains information on how to apply for an immigrant visa. If you don’t comprehend these instructions, get help from an immigration lawyer or a charity organization. Failure to follow the guidelines may cause your application delay.
- At this stage, you have the option of appointing an agent to receive NVC messages on your behalf. If you move frequently or do not have a solid permanent residence, this may be essential. You can also act as your own representative.
Submit your application, fees, and supporting documentation to the NVC
The application process for an immigrant visa is comprehensive and time-consuming. The majority of the material in your application must be backed by official documents. When you’ve finished your application and gathered all of the necessary documents, mail the entire package to the NVC. It’s a good idea to consult with an immigration lawyer before submitting your application and paperwork. You must pay fees over USD 1,000. If your application gets refusal, you will not receive any of your money back and will have to begin the procedure all over again.
- In certain countries, instead of mailing your application, fees, and papers, you will utilize the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). This method is more secure and time-saving.
Get a medical checkup
To establish if you are a hazard to public health, the USCIS demands a medical evaluation. You will get vaccination as needed and tested for infectious illnesses.
- The doctor must fill out Form I-693, which must be sealed in an envelope. Do not remove the form from the envelope.
- This medical examination is valid for six month. And it must be sent to the consular office in a sealed envelope on the day of your interview.
Attend your consular officer interview
Your interview will most likely occur in the United States embassy or consulate in your native country closest to where you live. During the interview, the officer will go over your supporting documentation and ask you questions regarding your application.
- If you are applying alongside a family member, they must usually accompany you to the interview.
- You will find out at the end of the interview if your visa has been approved. If the consular officer needs additional documents or information before they can support your visa, they’ll let you know. Get those documents to them as soon as possible.
- The consular officer may deny your visa application. There usually is no appeal from a denial. You may be able to get your application reconsidered by another officer. This process may require an additional interview.
Travel to the United States with your immigrant visa
Within a few days of your interview, your immigrant visa will be available. You can pick it up at the embassy or consular office along with your passport. Afterwards, you will travel to the US before the visa expires, which is usually six months (your medical examination is valid six months, so keep that in mind as well).
- You will also receive a sealed packet of documents to present to US customs officials at the port of entry. Do not open this sealed packet.