The US Immigration Visa Process – Filing Petition with USCIS

Immigration Process USA

The process of becoming a lawful citizen in U.S is neither long nor galling if applicants follow the steps outlined diligently.

Petition at USCIS

The first step towards obtaining a visa is filing a Petition.  Petitioner’s sponsor reasons should be based on U.S Immigration Laws on family relationships, employment or others. USCIS will have to approve the petitions (Forms I-130 and Forms I-140) before applicant can begin with the procedure. USCIS transfers the approved petitions to NVC (National Visa Centre) for pre-processing. The applicants whose petition becomes current will be notified by NVC (National Visa Centre) through mail or letter.

NVC Pre-Processing

Now applicants need to commence with the second step that is National Visa Centre processing. There is a limitation on the numbers of visas in certain categories each year. Better not be surprised in case you are not there on this year’s list. NVC follows a 6 step process. First step is to choose an agent by completing the Choice of Address and Agent (DS-261) form at Consular Electronic Application Centre (CEAC). Either applicant can choose to be their own agent or he/she could be applicant’s friend, attorney, family member and even their petitioner.

Pay Fees

Next step is to pay the fees online at the Immigrant Visa Invoice Payment Centre. The two types of fees to be paid are Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee & Affidavit of Support Fee. Visa Requester requires a U.S bank account, bank routing number, NVC case number and Invoice ID number. After the payment applicant has to complete and submit Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Form (DS-260) at CEAC. Don’t forget to print the confirmation as it will be required during the interview. NVC takes a week’s time to process the payment and one would not be able to access the Form DS-260 till then.

Submission of documents

Post completion of the aforementioned steps – next comes the collection and submission of forms to the NVC. NVC will schedule your interview at the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate once the candidate’s petitioner has completed Affidavit of support form and has collected the financial evidence in addition to the civil documents. The Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration (Form DS-260) is to be submitted for each and every qualified family member immigrating to the CEAC. Always double check the documents before submitting the documents to ensure smooth processing.

The NVC case numbers beginning with AKD, AMM, BGH (except I-730), DMS, GZO, MEP can submit the documents electronically at The NVC case numbers beginning with MTL, GUZ (under visa category CR1, CR2, F1, F2A, F2B, F3, F4, IR1, IR2 or IR5), ADD, BNS, FRN, GTM, HNK, KEV, MRV, PHP, RDJ, SYD, TGG or THT (under visa category IR1, IR2, IR5, CR1 or CR2) in addition to the above, can submit using either email or mail at NVC address.

Interview Call

Post completion of the above steps and review of the documents by NVC (that generally takes up to 6 weeks), interview letter is sent to the applicant, the petitioner and agent/attorney (if applicable) with all the relevant details of the interview. The interviewee or interviewees need/s to be prepared beforehand with all the required documents – appointment letter, photographs, passport, originals, a medical certificate after being examined by an authorized physician and pre-registered courier service for returning passport and visas.

The Result

If the visa is approved, the applicant will receive their Immigration Visa placed on a page of the passport. Along with Sealed Immigrant Packet that is required during custom and border check and should not be unsealed.

The steps have to be followed carefully and without much bother applicant will be successful in obtaining an Immigrant Visa.