Appointment Date, Time, and Location
What if I need to change the interview date and time?
To determine the proper procedure for rescheduling your interview appointment, please click U.S. Embassy/Consulate General-Specific Interview Guidelines. If the U.S. Embassy or Consulate does not have any specific interview guidelines listed, you should contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate directly to reschedule your interview.
My interview hasn't been scheduled yet, but I want to get started on my medical exam. Where should I go to get an exam?
You will receive instructions concerning interview preparation in the appointment letter that you will receive from the NVC. You should not have your exam until your interview has been scheduled. For further information about how to arrange for your medical examination click Medical Examination.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Medical examination results are valid for six months in normal circumstances. But if you have certain medical conditions your examination results could expire in as little as 3 months. In any case you should not have your medical examination until the NVC notifies you of your interview appointment date. You may be denied entry to the United States if your medical examination results expire before your arrival.
Who Must Participate in the Interview
Does the petitioner have to be present at the interview?
No, only applicants must appear to be interviewed.
If a derivative applicant is following to join the principal applicant, do they have to be present at the interview?
Only the applicants who are listed on the interview appointment letter issued by the NVC must appear to be interviewed at the scheduled time. Applicants who will follow to join the principal applicant later will be interviewed separately. You should contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate directly to arrange separate interviews.
What Do I Need to Bring to the Interview
Are there any additional fees to be paid at post?
The immigrant visa application processing fee for each applicant must be paid before his/her visa can be issued. Applicants whose fee has not been paid should be prepared to pay the fee at the interview or the visa cannot be issued even if the interview was otherwise successful. You should contact the U.S. Embassy/Consulate to understand what payment methods are acceptable.
What must I bring to the interview?
Please review Interview Preparation – Required Documents for a list of the required documents you will need for your immigrant visa interview.
Do I need to bring copies of the originals submitted to the NVC?
If photocopies of original documents were not provided to the NVC with the original submission, they should be presented during the visa interview so that the original documents may be returned to you.
What happens to the documents submitted to the NVC?
Original documents submitted to the NVC with photocopies will be returned to the applicant(s) when the interview has been successfully completed.
Does every applicant need to fill out a Form DS-260?
Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application, is required for all Immigrant Visa applicants and Diversity Visa applicants.
My children were going to follow to join me. Can they accompany me instead?
Yes, you may change your children's status from follow-to-join to accompanying by directly contacting the U.S. Embassy/Consulate where your interview is scheduled.
Can I include my children if they were not originally part of the case?
If the visa for which you are applying allows derivative children, your unmarried children under the age of 21 may be added as derivative applicants after your interview has been scheduled. You must directly contact the embassy/consulate to request specific instructions. At the interview the added applicant(s) will be required to pay the same fees, and submit the same forms and supporting documents as the original applicant(s).
My child will turn 21 years old soon. Will that affect their visa?
If you plan to immigrate to the United States with your children, or to have your children join you in the United States later, you must prove that your children are:
- Eligible to be listed under your visa classification, and
- Under the age of 21 at the time they enter the United States
If your child will soon turn 21, your child could become ineligible to immigrate with you. If your child cannot immigrate with you because of their age, then a separate petition must be filed for your child and there may be a significant delay before your child becomes eligible for a visa.
If visas are available in your visa category before your child's birthday, the NVC may be able to expedite your case so that you and your child can immigrate together. Unfortunately, if visas are not available before the child's birthday, the NVC cannot expedite the case.
There is also a law called the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), which applies to a narrow range of cases and may allow the principal applicant's son or daughter to remain eligible under this petition. At the time of the parent's visa interview, the consular officer will determine whether or not CSPA is applicable in your particular situation.
The petitioner on my case recently became a U.S. citizen. Can I still apply for an immigrant visa?
Yes, although the type of immigrant visa that you can receive will change. If the family member in the United States who petitioned for you has become a U.S. citizen, you should immediately contact the U.S. Embassy where your interview is scheduled. They will need proof of your petitioner’s naturalization, so please obtain one of the following documents:
- A copy of the biodata page of your petitioner’s U.S. passport; or
- A copy of your petitioner’s certificate of naturalization.
Effect on spouses and minor children: If you are applying for a visa in the family second preference (F2A) category, when your petitioning spouse/parent becomes a U.S. citizen you become eligible for the immediate relative (IR) visa category. This benefits your application because there are no limits on the number of visas that can be issued each year in the IR categories.
- Important: If your minor children are listed on your F2A visa application as “derivative applicants,” now that your petitioner is a U.S. citizen he/she must file new and separate petitions for each child. This is because children cannot be included as “derivative applicants” on a parent’s immediate relative (IR) visa. (This is different from the family second preference (F2A) petition, which allows minor children to be included in their parent's F2A petition.)
- Children born abroad after a parent became a U.S. citizen may qualify for U.S. citizenship. They should apply for U.S. passports. The consular officer will determine whether the child is a U.S. citizen and can have a passport. If the consular officer determines the child is not a U.S. citizen, the child must apply for an immigrant visa if he/she wants to live in the United States.
Effect on adult children: If you are applying for a visa in the family second preference (F2B) category as an unmarried adult child (age 21 or older), when your petitioning parent becomes a U.S. citizen you become eligible for the family first preference (F1) visa category. However, under a federal law called the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) you can “opt out” of conversion to the F1 visa category and remain an F2B visa applicant. This may be beneficial because sometimes the waiting time for an F2B visa is shorter than the waiting time for an F1 visa. You should check the Visa Bulletin to see if it would be helpful for you to remain in the F2B category. (Applicants keep the priority date of their F2B petition even if it converts to the F1 visa category.) If you want to opt-out of the F1 category, you must submit a request using these guidelines:
- Applicants whose case is at NVC should submit requests using NVC’s online inquiry form. NVC will forward the request to USCIS and change the visa category back to F2B upon receipt of USCIS’s approval.
- Applicants whose case is at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas should ask the embassy to submit a request on their behalf. The consular officer will forward the request and adjudicate the visa application in the F2B category only upon receipt of USCIS’s approval.
When Your Visa Is Issued - What You Should Know
How much time do I have to immigrate after my visa is issued?
Review your visa when you receive it and also carefully note its expiration date. You must enter the United States before your visa expires, and before your medical examination results expire.