How to Start the Visa Process

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An immigrant visa is required of anyone who wishes to enter the United States to reside there permanently. U.S. immigration law provides for the issuance of immigrant visas in four general categories: immediate relative, family based, employment based, and the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, known as the “green card” lottery.

There are THREE steps involved in applying for an immigrant visa:

Step 1: File an immigrant visa petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Step 2: The National Visa Center (NVC) will process the immigrant visa application. Prepare the required documentation for submission to the NVC. Be aware that the consular officer may request more documents at your visa interview.

Step 3: Attend your medical examination and your immigrant visa interview.

In order to obtain the most accurate information regarding the required documents to be filed along with an I-130 petition form with DHS/USCIS, we recommend visiting the USCIS website at