IV Application Process
Step 1: Filing the Immigrant Visa Petition
In immediate relative and family preference cases, the US citizen or LPR relative of the intending immigrant must submit a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office nearest their place of residence.
Once USCIS approves the petition, they will send the petitioner a notice of approval (Form I-797). USCIS will also forward the approved petition to the National Visa Center which will contact the intending immigrant with further information.
Important Notice for Immigrants in Family Preference Categories: US law limits the number of immigrant visas that are available each year in the family preference categories (see Immigrant Visa Categories). Immigrant visas in those categories are issued in the chronological order in which the petition was filed. The filing date of the petition is also known as the applicant's priority date.
Family preference visas cannot be issued until the applicant's priority is reached. Check the Visa Bulletin for the latest priority dates. USCIS will send the approved immigrant visa petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) where it will remain until the priority date is current. You do NOT need to contact the National Visa Center.
Step 2: Gathering Documents and Preparing for the Immigrant Visa Interview
Once you have received the instruction package for immigrant visa applicants from NVC, the intending immigrant must follow the instructions regarding visa fees and documentation.
When NVC has received your immigrant visa fee, you will be sent the immigrant visa application (Form DS-230, part I) along with further instructions. You will be contacted when your case is about to be scheduled for an interview at the US Embassy in Kingston.
After NVC notifies you of the scheduled interview date, but prior to the appointment date, visit the CSC website to register for DHL courier services. After registering, print a copy of the confirmation page. You must bring this confirmation page with you on the day of the appointment.
Step 3: The Immigrant Visa Interview
Every immigrant visa applicant must appear in person for an interview at the Embassy, but the petitioner is not required to attend. In most cases, petitioning relatives will not be allowed to attend the interview, though they will be permitted to wait outside in the designated waiting area. For children, a guardian or responsible adult may accompany the child if the parent is unavailable. For adults with physical or mental challenges, another adult may accompany the beneficiary to help facilitate the interview process.
At the interview, the consular officer will review all the required documents and ask a number of questions about your case. Note that if you fail to assemble all of the necessary items, the visa process will suffer delays. Please arrive at the interview fully prepared with all adequate documentation available. If all the required documentation is in order and the beneficiary qualifies for the immigrant visa, the visa will be authorized. If not, you will be instructed how to proceed with your case.
Approved immigrant visas will be delivered based on the delivery preference you selected when you registered with CSC online. You can expect to obtain your passport with U.S. visa through the DHL Courier Service either at your residence or at your selected DHL Point of Service (POS) in Kingston or Montego Bay. The courier company will deliver the passport with visa affixed approximately five to ten business days after the date of the Embassy interview. In most cases, the immigrant visa is valid for six months from the time of issue.