12 Steps in the Immigration Process for the USA

12 Step Immigration Process for the USA

12 Steps in the Immigration Process for the USA


The 12 steps in the immigration process for the USA are as follows:


Determine your eligibility


The first step in the immigration process is to determine whether you are eligible to immigrate to the United States. This involves reviewing the various eligibility requirements, such as age, education, work experience, financial resources, family relationships and refugee status.


Choose an immigrant visa category


Once you have determined your eligibility, you must choose the appropriate immigrant visa category that matches your circumstances. There are several immigrant visa categories, including family-based, employment-based, refugee or asylee status, and diversity lottery. Each category has specific eligibility requirements and application procedures.


File a petition


If you are applying for a family-based or employment-based visa, you or your sponsor must file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on your behalf. The petition must include all required forms, documents, and fees and show you meet the eligibility requirements for the visa category.

Wait for approval


After filing your petition, you must wait for USCIS to review and approve it. This can take several months or longer, depending on the category and your individual circumstances. USCIS may request additional documentation or schedule an interview with you to verify your eligibility.


Wait for a visa number


Once your petition is approved, you must wait for a visa number to become available in your category. This is particularly relevant for family-based and employment-based visas, which have annual quotas. The visa number is assigned based on your priority date which is the date your petition was filed with USCIS.


Complete the National Visa Center (NVC) processing


Once a visa number becomes available, your case is transferred to the NVC, which will coordinate with you to gather necessary documents and prepare your case for an interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. This includes submitting a visa application, paying fees and providing biographical and financial information.

Schedule and attend an interview


After completing the NVC processing, you must schedule and attend an interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. The interview is conducted by a consular officer who will determine your eligibility and approve your visa if you meet all the requirements. You must bring all required documents, such as a passport, visa application and proof of financial support, to the interview.


Undergo a medical examination


Before your interview, you must undergo a medical examination by a designated physician to ensure that you do not have any communicable diseases or other medical conditions that would make you inadmissible to the United States. The results of the medical examination are reported to the consular officer.


Submit biometric data


As part of the application process, you must submit biometric data (fingerprints and a photograph) for a security background check. This information is used to verify your identity and check for any criminal or security concerns.


Wait for administrative processing


After the interview, the consular officer may need to conduct additional administrative processing, which can take several weeks or longer, depending on your individual circumstances.


Receive your visa


If your visa is approved the consular officer will place a visa stamp in your passport and you can enter the United States within the validity period of the visa. The visa may be for a single entry or multiple entries and you must comply with all immigration laws and regulations upon entry.


Adjust your status


If you are already in the United States on a non immigrant visa and are eligible to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident, you can do so by filing an application with USCIS. This process typically involves additional documents and fees.


If you are considering immigrating to the United States then take a Free Visa Assessment to help understand the first 3 steps of the 12 Steps in the Immigration process for the USA.


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Subject Matter Expert at Migration Made Simple | Website | + posts

Jacqueline Chow is an international immigration and visa expert with over 15 years of experience in the field. With a background in law and a passion for helping people, Jacqueline has built a reputation as a trusted and reliable source of information and advice on all aspects of immigration and visas. She has worked with clients from all over the world, including high-net-worth individuals, professionals, skilled workers and families. As a sought-after speaker and commentator Jacqueline has been featured in various media outlets and has given talks on immigration and visas at conferences and events around the world.