More Immigrant Visa FAQs

Please read these Frequently Asked Questions carefully before contacting the U.S. Embassy.

If your questions are not answered by the above information, you may write to the Consular section here Contact Us.

When inquiring about a visa case, please provide the applicant’s complete case number to facilitate retrieval of the case. Due to privacy restrictions, we can only provide case status information to the visa applicant directly.

Immigrant Visa Interview Related FAQs

Applicants should arrive at the Embassy’s Consular Section at the time of their scheduled interview. Applicants who arrive late may miss their interview. Please do not bring any bags, briefcases, etc. with you when you come to the Embassy for your visa interviewas you will not be allowed to bring them into the building or store them on the premises during the interview.

Appointments are scheduled for 8:00AM. You should allow approximately two hours for the visa interview. In some cases you may need to wait for your interview until 12:00PM.

No. Due to the limited availability of certain types of visas, some applicants have been waiting more than 12 years since their petitions were first filed. In the interest of fairness, the Consular Section cannot entertain requests to expedite interview appointments. However, we will attempt to accommodate requests in life or death situations.

You may request to change or postpone your interview date by contacting us by our online system or by calling +971-4-376-8311, +971-2-447-6084, or from the US: 703-520-2509. Your new interview date will be set according to the Consular Section’s schedule.

Please note that in periods of high demand, this may be several months later.

No. If all the paperwork and administrative processing are complete at the time of the interview, preparing the immigrant visa and packet will take at least 3-4 workdays.

If additional administrative processing is needed after the interview, you should check our website for your case number/s. Once the number/s appears, then you may return to the Embassy with your passport any working Sunday or Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

In most cases, the priority date is the date the petition was filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Immediate Relative (IR and CR) and Fiancé (K-1) cases do not have priority dates since there are no numerical limits on these categories. Other categories have priority dates.

Current priority dates can be viewed here

Retrogression occurs only when the State Department has pushed back the monthly cutoff of priority dates (click on link for more information on priority dates) because the current demand has exceeded the visa numbers available for issuance.

Understandably, all applicants wish to obtain an immigrant visa as soon as possible, but U.S. immigration law requires that immigrant visa numbers be made available strictly in order of priority date.  The numerical limitation cannot be waived, regardless of the circumstances.

The Affidavit of Support is a contract between a sponsor and the applicant that is required for some immigrant visas. The sponsor agrees to provide financial support for the applicant until the applicant becomes an American citizen or can be credited with 40 quarters (ten years or more) of work. The sponsor must show that he/she has income equal to or greater than 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (PDF 6 KB) (click on link to access Guidelines) for his/her household size. Depending on the type of visa, either the Form I-864 (PDF 435 KB) or I-134 (PDF 113 KB)(click on links to access forms) will be required for this purpose.

Yes. All petitioners must accept legal responsibility for financially supporting the family members for which they petition.

In the case that the petitioner’s financial resources are insufficient to meet the necessary legal level to sponsor their beneficiary or beneficiaries, they will need to find one or more person/s willing to take on the same legal responsibility and file an affidavit of support for the beneficiary or beneficiaries in question. If an additional sponsor is a qualifying household member of the petitioner (a “co-sponsor”), then they must provide an I-864A Form(PDF 955 KB)(click on link to access form) as well as the necessary supporting documentation. In the case that the additional sponsor in question is not a qualified household member (a “joint sponsor”), then he/she must provide an I-864 Form (PDF 435 KB) (click on link to access form) and the necessary supporting documentation.

Accordding to U.S. law, a sponsor must be at least 18 years old and either an American citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). The sponsor must also have a domicile (residence) in the United States. Petitioners living abroad may still be eligible to be a sponsor if they can show that their residence abroad is temporary, and that they have maintained a domicile in the United States. For more information about domicile, you may follow this link:

  • Biological (natural-born) children of American citizens (IR-2 immigrant visa category) who will enter the United States before the age of eighteen will by law automatically acquire American citizenship.
  • Orphans adopted by an American citizen abroad (IR-3 immigrant visa category) where the adoption is full and final.
  • Self-petitioning widows or widowers of American citizens (IW immigrant visa category).
  • Immigrants who have already worked or can be credited with 40 qualifying quarters of work as defined in title II of the Social Security Act.

In order to protect the health, welfare, and security of the United States, certain applicants are ineligible for immigrant visas. There are several ineligibilities written into U.S. Immigration Laws, including: infection from certain communicable diseases; possessing a dangerous mental disorder; having committed serious criminal acts; being a terrorist; or having used illegal means to enter or remain in the U.S. beyond the permitted period of time. If you are found to have one of these ineligibilities, the Consular Section will advise you whether a waiver of the ineligibility is possible. For more detailed information about ineligibilities, please see:

In addition, former exchange visitors may be subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement of Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Your J1 visa will indicate whether or not you are subject to this requirement. Exchange visitors who are subject to, but do not wish to comply with, the two-year home country residence requirement may apply for a waiver of the requirement. For more information please visit the Department of State’s website at:


If your visa is refused under the provisions of Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act for lack of documentation, you will have twelve months to present the missing documents. Thereafter the process may be terminated and the petition returned to the U.S.

Your child may be able to receive a visa even after the age of 21 under the”Child Status Protection Act (CSPA)” (click on link for more information).  We will determine whether or not the CSPA applies for your case during the interview.

Immigrant Visa Post-Interview FAQs

Many applicants need administrative processing before a visa can be processed to conclusion. The process is usually quick, but at times may take months. We cannot expedite this process, nor can we advise how long it will take. As soon as the process is completed, your case number will be announced on

After the Presidential Proclamation 9645 came into full effect, the issuance of visas to all applicants from eight designated countries (Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, North Korea and Venezuela) is subject to additional administrative processing in order to determine if the applicant(s) can be granted an exception or will qualify for a waiver under P.P. 9645. For more information on the Presidential Proclamation, please visit

You are welcome to provide the documents to overcome your refusal up until the end of fiscal year for which you won the lottery. If your situation has not changed since your interview, the decision should remain the same.

The Consular Section strongly encourages you Not to buy your tickets or make travel arrangements until after your visa is approved.  The Consular Section cannot guarantee that your visa will be approved and cannot be responsible for the consequences of your decision to buy a non-refundable plane ticket.

If your case is pending because the Consular Officer requested that you provide further information/documents, you should follow the instructions on the blue refusal sheet given to you after the interview and provide your documents as indicated on that refusal sheet.

Please note that the instructions on the blue sheets are the only method by which the Consular Section can accept further documentation. The Consular Section cannot accept documents provided by other means and can only accept documents from a person listed on the petition. In addition, the Consular Section does not accept immigrant visa documents at the American Citizen Services (ACS) office.

Aside from the original interview, interviewing officers are not available to talk to applicants or petitioners about individual cases.

Consular officers are mandated by law to consider the totality of circumstances when determining whether an applicant has a public charge ineligibility (click on this link for more information).  Income is one of the many criteria that officers must review; others include the applicant’s health, age, education level, work experience, language ability, and family situation. It is not uncommon for applicants to be found ineligible even when their petitioner’s income is above the level specified in the poverty guidelines. To overcome this ineligibility, applicants must either find a credible cosponsor with sufficient additional income and assets, or prove that their financial situation has changed since the interview.

A waiver is a special authorization granted under U.S. law by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (click on the link to access their site) to waive an ineligibility that would otherwise prevent a beneficiary from immigrating to the United States. If you have an ineligibility, the Consular Section will let you know whether a waiver is available. If so, you will be told how to apply.

No. Your derivative family members can only travel to the U.S. with you or after you.

Immigrant and fiancé visas cannot be extended. If the visa is not used within its period of validity, you must bring your passport and the visa packet to our office for cancellation, along with a statement explaining the reasons why the visa was not used. A new visa thereafter is possible, though not certain. Payment of additional fees may be required.

Please contact us as soon as possible and request an appointment to bring your visa packet and passport (with the visa in it) back to our office.

Please contact us as soon as possible. Please provide information describing when and where your visa was lost or stolen. Be prepared to provide us a police report from local authorities regarding the matter. You will be contacted after your information has been reviewed.

For your country of residence, a police certificate is considered valid for 12 months from the date of issuance. Police certificates obtained from other countries where you previously resided are valid indefinitely, provided that you do not return to the country and reside for six months or more.

Please click here to learn about your rights and responsibilities as a green card holder.