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Immigrant Visas

How to Begin the Immigrant Visa Process

What is an immigrant visa?

Simply put, an immigrant visa allows you to travel to the United States to live, work, and establish a permanent residence. There are many U.S. government agencies that work on an immigrant visa application. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will receive and approve the initial petition. The Department of State, through the U.S. Embassy Consular Section, will interview the applicant and issue the visa that permits travel to the United States. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) makes the final decision to admit you as a legal permanent resident (LPR) when you reach the port-of-entry to the United States. USCIS will receive your application and issue your “green card” after you arrive and establish residence. Read more about immigrant visas at http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate.html.

What are the basic paths that lead to an immigrant visa?

There are three basic methods for obtaining an immigrant visa. Most Dominicans obtain their immigrant visa through a family relationship with a U.S. citizen or U.S. LPR. Some workers are able to immigrate to the United States because an employer has filed an immigration petition for them. The Diversity Visa is a lottery that provides visas for citizens of countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Dominican citizens are not eligible for the Diversity Visa lottery.

How do I start the process of obtaining my immigrant visa?

The first step in obtaining a family-based immigrant visa is for your relative (the petitioner) to file a Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) at a USCIS Service Center in the United States.  Once your relative has filed a petition for you, you may check its status by accessing the USCIS Case Status Search Page. Find out if you are eligible for family-based immigration at http://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-through-family.

Some workers may be able to obtain an immigrant visa through employment. Find out if you are eligible for employment-based immigration at http://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-through-job.

What documents are required for my interview at the Consular Section?

Follow these steps to schedule appointments for your immigrant visa interview. A list of required documents is available here.

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