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In general, a person who wishes to immigrate to the United States must have a petition approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before applying for an immigrant visa. The application for an immigrant visa is not filed by the applicant in most cases but by the sponsor. The U.S immigrant visas are those that allow a person to stay permanently in the U.S where they can live and work.

Family-Based Immigration

A person who is a citizen of America or a permanent resident can sponsor visas for certain family members. A US citizen can sponsor his/ her spouse, children, sibling and parents who want to migrate to America. However, a permanent resident can only sponsor their spouse or unmarried dependent children.

Fiancé(e) Visa

A US citizen can sponsor his/ her fiancé’s application to migrate to America.  For this, he/she may apply for a K1 visa. This allows the person to move to America and live here legally for 90 days within which the couple must get married.

Employment-Based Immigration

US companies may sponsor employment visas for skilled workers to migrate to America under the Employment-Based Immigration category.

Returning Resident Visa

Once an immigrant gets a permanent resident status or green card, he or she can move in and out of the USA freely. However, if they stay outside the USA for more than one year at a stretch, a new immigrant visa will be needed to re-enter the USA. This is known as the SB1 visa.

Diversity Visas

America was envisioned as a country that had a diverse population. Some countries like India and China already have a very strong presence in the USA.

REQUIREMENTS OF US IMMIGRANT VISA

You must prepare the following documents and bring the original with you to your visa interview.

General required documents

  • Visa application form
  • Passport
  • Photographs
  • Appointment Letter and Courier Confirmation Page
  • Birth certificate;
  • Marriage certificate;
  • Adoption certificate;

Evidence of Support

After you submit your visa application, you may need to collect documents showing your petitioner has the ability to financially support you in the United States. You will submit these documents to NVC

  1. Financial Documents

IRS Tax Transcript or a copy of a tax return from the most recent tax year.

  • For those who are employed by an individual or company: submit a photocopy of an employment letter, pay stub, or pay advance.
  • For those who are self-employed, obtain a photocopy of one of the following: Your business license, A signed letter on business letterhead that was written within in the last three months, A contract between you as an independent contractor and a company.
  • For those who are unemployed or retired, submit a photocopy of ongoing income from other means, such as: retirement benefits; other household members’ income; or other significant assets.
  1. Proof of relationship

You can prove your relationship by submitting a photocopy of one of the documents below:

  • Birth certificate;
  • Marriage certificate;
  • Adoption certificate;
  • The petitioner or joint sponsor’s most recent Federal Income Tax Returns, if you are listed as a dependent; or
  • A signed, written statement describing the relationship.

PROCEDURE FOR US IMMIGRANT VISA

Step 1:  Submit a Petition

Step 2: Begin National Visa Center (NVC) Processing and pay fees

Step 3: Collect and Submit Forms and Documents to the NVC

Step 4: Interview

US IMMIGRANT FEES

The fees for the immigrant visas are for petitions as well as processing fees.

The fees for the petitions are as follows:

  • Form I-130, Immigrant Petition for Relative costs 535.00 USD
  • Form I-600 or Form I-800, Orphan Immediate Relative Petition costs 775.00 USD

As for processing fees, they depend on the type of visa which you are applying for, and are as follows:

  • Immediate Relative or Family Preference Immigration Applications cost 325.00 USD in addition to the petition
  • Employment Based Immigration Applications cost 345.00 USD in addition to the petition
  • Other immigration applications (such as self-petitioning) cost 205.00 USD
  • K visa for a fiancé or spouse of a U.S citizen costs 265.00 USD
  • Certain Afghan or Iraqi special immigrant applications have no fee

Another common fee for most immigrant visas is the Affidavit of Support, which costs 120.00 USD.

PROCESSING TIME OF US IMMIGRANT VISAS

Every immigrant visa case is different, so it is difficult to estimate how long the process will take for a specific individual. It will take approximately four to six weeks for USCIS to process the petition. After that, you will have to gather your documents and proceed with the application.