How to Start the Visa Process

In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State has temporarily suspended routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates have canceled all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020. We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. Please visit the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website for notices which contain detailed information about the current status of visa services worldwide and visa restrictions related to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

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