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Visa Faqs
 

Can I transmit citizenship to my spouse?

No, a United States citizen cannot transmit citizenship to a spouse. If your spouse wishes to relocate with you to the United States, he/she will require an immigrant visa. A Lawful Permanent Resident who is married to a U.S. citizen may apply to become a naturalized U.S. citizen after three years residence in the United States. Questions concerning this process should be addressed to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States. 

Which is quicker to process, an immigrant or a fiancé(e) visa?

The time it takes to process a visa application various with each individual case. However, in general, a fiancé(e) visa application may be slightly quicker than an application for an immigrant visa, as immigrant visa petitions are taking longer to be processed and approved by the USCIS in the United States. If the time factor is of importance, you should contact the USCIS where you will file the petition to ascertain processing times before deciding on applying for a fiancé(e) or immigrant visa.

My partner/ common-law spouse is a U.S. citizen. Can he/she sponsor me for immigration?

U.S. immigration law does not recognize common-law marriages. A U.S. citizen cannot file an immigrant visa petition for a partner in the immediate relative category as the spouse of U.S. citizen, or a fiancé (e) visa petition. You will be required to apply for an immigrant visa either in one of the employment based preference categories or through the Diversity Visa Program, commonly known as the lottery.

My fiancé(e) and I will not marry within 90 days of our arrival. Can he/she still apply for a fiancé(e) visa?

No. If the marriage will not take place within 90 days of the fiancé(e) visa applicant's arrival in the United States, it will not be possible to process an application for a fiancé(e) visa. An immigrant visa will be required. Visa free travel under the Visa Waiver Program or a nonimmigrant visitor or work visa is not appropriate.

Can we apply for the fiancé(e) visa while my fiancé(e) is in the United States?

No. An applicant for a fiancé(e) visa must apply for the fiancé(e) at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside the U.S. as he or she is required to enter the United States on the visa.

If I cannot sponsor my fiancé(e) how can he/reside with me in the United States?

Your fiancé(e) will be required to qualify for a visa either in one of the employment based preference categories, or through the Diversity Visa Program commonly known as the lottery.

We only wish to travel to the United States to marry. We will return to the United Kingdom after marriage. Do we still need a fiancé(e) visa?

A person traveling to the United States to marry a U.S. citizen with the intention of returning to his/her place of permanent residence abroad may apply for a visitor (B-2) visa, or if eligible, travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program. Evidence of a residence abroad to which the B-2 visa holder or visa free traveler intends returning should be carried for presentation to an immigration inspector at the port of entry.

Can I enter the United States on a fiancé(e) visa, marry and then leave the United States for my honeymoon?

On marriage, you must contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for further information. If you leave the United States without first obtaining permission from them to re-enter the country, you will be required to apply for an immigrant visa in order to return. This could delay your return by three to six months.

Can I travel to the United States while my application for an immigrant or fiancé(e) visa is being processed?

If you intend taking up permanent residence in the U.S., you are required to wait until the immigrant or fiancé(e) visa is issued. You cannot reside in the U.S. on a tourist visa or visa free under the Visa Waiver Program while waiting the issuance of an immigrant or fiancé (e) visa. However, if you wish to make a temporary visit at the end of which you will return to your permanent residence outside the United States, you may travel on a tourist (B-2) visa, or visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, if qualified.

If applying for a B-2 visa, you are required to furnish evidence of your residence outside the United States to which you intend returning at the end of your temporary stay. Although a pending immigrant or fiancé(e) visa application is not necessarily conclusive evidence of intent to abandon a U.K. residence, it is a factor considered by consular officers reviewing a visa application. If you are unable to convince the consular officer reviewing the application that you do not intend abandoning your residence, you will not be issued a visa.

When traveling to the U.S. either with a visa or visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, you should be sure to carry with you for presentation to an immigration inspector evidence of your residence outside the U.S. If the immigration inspector is not convinced that you are a bona fide visitor for pleasure, you will be denied entry into the United States.

Why do you require police certificates for an immigrant visa application? I have not been in trouble with the law.

The term police certificate means a statement which will advise the consular officer whether or not any criminal convictions are held in your name.

Where can I find information about obtaining police certificates?

The information is on the Department of State's website. Find the country and look under ”Police Record”. If it is your place of birth, or current residence you will require a police certificate if you have resided there for at least six months since your sixteenth birthday. The period of residence is twelve months, for any other country.

How long is a police certificate valid for?

With the exception of the U.K. police certificate which is considered valid for 12 months from the date of issuance, a police certificate is valid indefinitely, provided you do not return to the country and reside for six months or more, if it's your country of birth or current residence. The period is twelve months for any other country.

I reside outside the United Kingdom; how do I obtain a U.K. police certificate?

You should contact the ACPO Criminal Records Office (ACRO). Further information is available from their website at http://www.acpo.police.uk

This police certificate covers the whole of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and is sent to the address provided at the time of the application

If I obtain a UK police certificate will I also be required to furnish a Memoradum of Conviction from the Court?

If your the Subject Access Statement states "No Trace"or "No Live Trace", you will be required to obtain a Memorandum of Conviction from the Court.  Another way in which you can furnish this information is by the presentation of a Subject Access Statement.

 

Do I require court records for the United States?

If you have a conviction in the United States you will be required to obtain court records relating to all of the charges against you. You should contact the court where you were convicted. If you do not know the address of the court, the information is available from the internet at: http://www.refdesk.com/. If you are unable to obtain the court record, the Embassy will obtain them on your behalf.

I'm in Her Majesty's Forces; I am applying for an immigrant visa, do I require a police certificate?

Yes, you are required to obtain a police certificate for every country where you have resided for 12 months or more. 

I'm in the U.S. Forces. My spouse is applying for an immigrant visa. Is she required to furnish police certificates to cover her period of residence in every country where I have served, or will you accept a letter from my commander/U.S. Forces?

Your spouse will be required to obtain police certificates, even if she resided there as your dependent

I have received a letter saying that my child is no longer eligible to derive status from my immigrant visa application as s/he is over the age of 21. My child was under the age of 21 when the petition was filed, so why is s/he no longer eligible to apply for a visa?

Your son or daughter is eligible to derive status from the immigrant visa petition filed on your behalf only while s/he is under the age of 21, regardless of her/his age at the time the immigrant visa petition was filed. As he/she was able to apply for a visa before her 21st birthday, s/he is no longer entitled to derivative status and her/his application has been canceled.

An immigrant visa petition has been filed on my behalf. I now have a child. Can s/he be added to my application?

If your baby's mother or father is an American citizen, the baby could have claim to U.S. citizenship. If you reside in the Great Britain you should follow this link for further information. If you reside in Northern Ireland, you should write to the Consulate in Belfast. The address is Danesfort House, 223 Stranmillis Road, Belfast, BT9 5GR.

If your baby has no claim to U.S. citizenship, it may be possible for the child to derive status from the immigrant visa petition filed on your behalf, or for your spouse to file an immigrant visa petition for him/her. You should notify the Immigrant Visa Branch in writing of the birth of your child. They will advise you further. The address you require is Visa Branch, 24 Grosvenor Square, London, W1K 6AH

Since being issued with an immigrant visa I have had a baby. Can my baby immigrate with me?

If your baby's mother or father is an American citizen, the baby could have claim to U.S. citizenship. If you reside in the Great Britain you should follow this link for further information. If you reside in Northern Ireland, you should write to the Consulate in Belfast.The address is Danesfort House, 223 Stranmillis Road, Belfast, BT9 5GR

A child born after the issuance of an immigrant visa will not need a visa to accompany the parent provided they both travel within the period of validity of the visa. A copy of the child's long-form birth certificate showing the name of the parent must be carried for presentation to an immigration inspector at the port of entry, together with a valid travel document for the child.

I'm filing an immigrant visa petition on behalf of my son or daughter. I understand that in order to do so I'm required to reside in the U.S.

You are not required to reside in the U.S in order to file an immigrant visa petition. However, in addition to filing the petition, form I-130, you are required to file an I-864. In order to file an I-864 you must be either reside in the U.S. or intend to resume permanent residence in the U.S. at the time your son or daughter immigrates to the U.S.

My child is not immigrating with me do I still have to list his or her details on the biographic data form OF-230-I?

You are required to enter the details of every child under the age of 21, including a stepchild from a marriage that was entered into while the child was under the age of 18.

How long can I expect to be at the Embassy when I come for my immigrant visa interview?

Appointments are scheduled between 8:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. You should allow approximately two hours for the visa interview.

Does my child need to attend the immigrant visa interview?

All applicants registered for immigration as the spouse, parent, child under the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen are required to attend the Embassy in person for a formal visa interview with a U.S. consular officer. Persons under the age of fourteen who are deriving status from an immigrant, fiancé(e) or Kii petition filed on behalf of a parent or are applying for a derivative V visa and are applying for the visa at the same time as the parent need not attend the interview.

My spouse, who is a U.S. citizen, has filed the immigrant visa petition on my behalf. Is he/she required to attend the immigrant visa interview with me?

No. There is no requirement that the U.S. citizen attend the immigrant visa interview. There is also no requirement that your spouse remain in the United Kingdom until you are issued with your immigrant visa; he or she may travel to the United States ahead of you.

Will I get my immigrant visa on the day of the interview?

Visa processing takes 7 - 10 workdays. You must arrange for your documents to be returned to you by visiting https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-gb and making payment via that website.  

What if my immigrant visa is refused?

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 from the date of refusal in which to present the missing documents and enter the United States on the immigrant visa.

What if I do not present the documentation to overcome the immigrant visa refusal and enter the United States within the twelve months?

You will be required to reapply for an immigrant visa paying new visa application and issuance fees, and medical examination fees.

How long will I have to travel to the U.S. once the immigrant visa is issued?

Immigrant and fiancé visas are normally issued for the validity period of the medical examination, the maximum validity of which, is six mnths.  K3 & K4 visa holders are issued a visa valid for travel for two years. Please refer to the individual sections for further information.

What if I cannot travel during the validity period of the immigrant visa?

You should return the unused visa to the Immigrant Visa Branch with a letter explaining why you were unable to travel. Depending on the reasons for you not using the visa, it may be possible to re-issue you with a new visa on payment of new visa processing fees.

I sent in my completed forms to the Immigrant Visa Unit, when will I be scheduled an appointment for my interview?

If you have submitted the completed forms in connection with the administrative processing of your application, you should allow approximately three months for your case to be processed. During this period, we regret we cannot provide information on the status of the application or confirm if the forms have been received. Please note that you will not receive notification of the date and time of the visa interview until the Immigrant Visa Unit has received the results of the medical examination.