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FAQs
 

Non-immigrant Visas

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Immigrant Visas

  1. I would like to live and work in the United States. How do I apply for an immigrant visa?
  2. How long is an immigrant petition valid?
  3. How long must I stay in the U.S. after I have been granted Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status?
  4. What happens if the petitioner in an immigrant visa case resides in Poland and not in the United States?
  5. Can I apply for a nonimmigrant visa if an immigrant petition or a fiancée visa petition has been filed on my behalf?
  6. I am a Diversity Visa lottery winner, but I do not have a high school degree or the equivalent degree from a Polish school. Which professions meet the work requirement to qualify for a Diversity Visa?
  7. Do I need a job offer in the United States in order to apply for Diversity Visa?
  8. In the past I have overstayed a non-immigrant visa, entered and lived in the United States illegally, or have been deported from the United States. Am I eligible for Diversity Visa?
  9. I received an e-mail, phone call, or letter stating that I won the Diversity Visa Lottery, and an offer to help me get my visa. Should I cooperate with or send money to the people who contacted me?
  10. I am a Belarusian citizen and I have a visa interview scheduled. When I come to the Embassy, how long should I plan to stay in Warsaw? When and where can I pick-up my U.S. visa?
  11. Do I have to translate into English all the documents that are required for the visa interview?
  12. I am/was not able to come to my original immigrant visa appointment scheduled by the NVC/KCC. How can I re-schedule it?
  13. I have an appointment scheduled by National Visa Center/ Kentucky Consular Center. Do I have to register with GSS?
  14. I am an applicant for a fiance visa. Do I have to schedule my appointment through the Embassy or the Global Services Support (GSS)?
  15. During my visa interview the consular officer requested additional documents. How can I submit them?
  16. When must I pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee?
  17. Who has to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee?
  18. How do I pay the new fee?

 

Immigrant Visas


1. I would like to live and work in the United States. How do I apply for an immigrant visa?

A: Certain applicants such as priority workers, investors, and certain special immigrants can petition on their own behalf. Diversity Visa (lottery) participants may also apply for immigration on their own behalf. All others must have a relative or potential employer file a petition for them. Applicants for family-sponsored immigrant visas should request that their U.S. citizen relative file a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Applicants for employment-based immigrant visas may require an approved petition (Form I-140) from the USCIS. Prior to filing a petition with the USCIS, both skilled and unskilled workers must obtain certification from the Department of Labor that there are no qualified workers available for the proposed employment in the United States. All other special immigrants file an I-360 petition with USCIS. An investor files a Form I-526 petition with the USCIS. Diversity Visa immigrants must file an application with the U.S. Department of State. Information on registration is announced each year by the State Department. For more information on immigrant visa categories click here.

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2. How long is an immigrant petition valid?

A: Petition validity varies according to the type of petition filed. Fiancée (K) petitions are valid for four months from the approval date. Family-based, immediate relative, and employment-based petitions are subject to the Termination of Registration rule. The rule states that in accordance with Section 203(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, an applicant’s registration for an immigrant visa shall be terminated if, within one year after transmission of a notification of the availability of an immigrant visa, the applicant fails to apply for an immigrant visa. If you have a specific question about the validity of a petition filed for you, please contact the Embassy directly for further assistance.

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3. How long must I stay in the U.S. after I have been granted Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status?

A: A person granted Legal Permanent Resident status in the United States must not remain outside the United States for more than one year. LPRs who have been outside the United States for more than one year are considered to have abandoned their U.S. residence and lose their LPR status.

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4. What happens if the petitioner in an immigrant visa case resides in Poland and not in the United States?

A: U.S. immigration law requires that an immigrant visa applicant present an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) from the petitioner/sponsor and that the petitioner be domiciled in the United States. If the residence requirement is not met, the beneficiary is not eligible for an immigrant visa.

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5. Can I apply for a nonimmigrant visa if an immigrant petition or a fiancée visa petition has been filed on my behalf?

A: Under Section 214(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, consular officers must presume that every applicant for a nonimmigrant visa is an intending immigrant until the applicant shows otherwise. Applicants with immigrant visa petitions filed on their behalf have thereby demonstrated intent to immigrate to the United States. Therefore, their ability to convince a consular officer that they intend to travel for a short period of time, and for nonimmigrant purposes only, is likely to be lessened.

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6. I am a Diversity Visa lottery winner, but I do not have a high school degree or the equivalent degree from a Polish school. Which professions meet the work requirement to qualify for a Diversity Visa?

A: The annual Diversity Visa program makes permanent residence visas available to persons meeting simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. An applicant must have either a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform. The U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net OnLine database is used to determine qualifying work experience, http:/online.onetcenter.org.

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7. Do I need a job offer in the United States in order to apply for Diversity Visa?

A: A written job offer in the United States is not required, but is often helpful in adjudicating a case and ensuring that new immigrants to the United States will have the financial means to support themselves and not become a public charge on the U.S. government. More information on Diversity Visas, including forms and instructions, is available here.

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8. In the past I have overstayed a non-immigrant visa, entered and lived in the United States illegally, or have been deported from the United States. Am I eligible for a Diversity Visa? 

A: Winning the diversity visa lottery does not remove pre-existing visa ineligibilities. If you know that you are ineligible under the Immigration and Nationality Act’s Section 212(a)(9)(B)(i)(I) (the “three year ban”) or Section212(a)(9)(B)(i)(II) (the “ten year ban”), then you will be ineligible for any immigrant visa until your ban expires. Depending on your personal situation, you may or may not be allowed to request a waiver of the ineligibility.

Some applicants may have ineligibilities for grounds other than immigrant violations, such as misrepresentation, a criminal record, or a health related ground. Winning the lottery does not remove these ineligibilities. As every individual situation is different, only an interview with a consul can determine for certain whether you are ineligible for a visa. However, if you suspect you might be ineligible for a visa because of prior immigration violations or for another reason, we strongly recommend that you contact the Correspondence Unit by e-mail to discuss your situation before continuing with the application process. Send your e-mail by clicking on the mailbox icon in the right upper corner of this page.

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9. I received an email, phone call or letter stating that I won the Diversity Visa Lottery and an offer to help me get my visa. Should I cooperate with or send money to the people who contacted me? 

A: No! The Department of State only uses the online registration and status check system to communicate with winners. We do not cooperate with any agents, translation bureaus, or visa facilitators. The only time you should pay any money throughout the entire process is when you come to the embassy building for you interview with a consul. A criminal organization seeking to steal you money has likely contacted you, not the Department of State. Please let us know about any people who contact you claiming to represent the United States government or the diversity visa lottery program by writing to the Consular Section.

Occasionally agents or visa facilitators will enter people into the lottery without their knowledge and then demand money or cooperation in exchange for online registration number and visa appointments. Please do not cooperate with them or pay them anything. Instead, contact us  and we can advise you on the next steps to take.

Send your e-mail by clicking on the mailbox icon in the right upper corner of this page.

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10. I am a Belarusian citizen and I have a visa interview scheduled. When I come to the Embassy, how long should I plan to stay in Warsaw ? When and where can I pick-up my U.S. visa? 

A: The Embassy makes every effort to quickly adjudicate your visa application, but the adjudication process may take more than 48hours. Due to technical and procedural concerns, you may be required to stay longer than 2 days in Poland. We recommend that you should apply for a Schengen visa valid for at least 5 days.

For non-residents of Poland the designated visa pick-up location is the TNT office in Warsaw at 19 Annopol Street. We encourage applicants not to finalize travel plans until they receive their visa and documents from the Embassy.

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11. Do I have to translate into English all the documents that are required for the visa interview?

A: Applicants from Poland do not need to bring English translations of original documents issued by appropriate Polish authorities (e.g. birth and marriage certificates, Zapytanie o Karalnosc). However, applicants who have been convicted must bring original court decision accompanied by the English translation. If the applicant's documents were issued in a different language (not Polish or English) each presented document must be accompanied by the English translation.

12. I am/was not able to come to my original immigrant visa appointment scheduled by the NVC/KCC. How can I re-schedule it?

A: Applicants should keep the appointment date even if they are not ready with all necessary documents. Only in case of emergencies or serious health or family problems they should contact the Embassy regarding scheduling a new appointment.

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13. I have an appointment scheduled by National Visa Center/Kentucky Consular Center. Do I have to register with GSS?

Yes. All applicants scheduled by NVC or KCC have to register at www.ustraveldocs.com or by calling the Visa Information and Appointment Service at the toll free numbers:

  • in Poland at +48 22 307 1361 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • in the U.S. at (703) 988 7101 from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST
  • in Belarus at 8-820-0011-0261 

in order to choose one of the TNT branch offices as their visa pick-up location. For non-residents the designated visa pick-up location is the TNT office in Warsaw at 19 Annopol Street. Documents will not be accepted form applicant who did not perform registration through GSS system.

14. I am an applicant for a fiancé/fiancée visa. Do I have to schedule my appointment through the Embassy or the Global Services Support (GSS)?

A: Fiancé(e) visa applicants must register online at www.ustraveldocs.com or by calling the Visa Information and Appointment Service at the toll free numbers:

  • in Poland at +48 22 307 1361 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • in the U.S. at (703) 988 7101 from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST
  • in Belarus at 8-820-0011-0261 

in order to schedule an interview and choose the TNT courier service visa pick-up location. Before scheduling a visa interview, the K visa fee payment must be done in person at a Bank Pocztowy Branch in Poland and only in Polish zlotys. You must wait until the next business day after payment to schedule an appointment. 

15. During my visa interview the consular officer has requested additional documents. How can I submit them?

A: The consular officer has made a decision in your case and provided you with a letter indicating if you should deliver additional documents by TNT courier or return to the Embassy with the missing documents on another date.

16. When must I pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee?

You must pay the fee after receiving your immigrant visa, but prior to departing for the United States. USCIS will not issue your green card until USCIS receives payment. However, even if you have not paid the fee, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers will admit you, as long as you are otherwise eligible to enter.

17. Who has to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee?

All applicants issued immigrant visas (including Diversity Visas), except children adopted under the Orphan (IR-3/IR-4) or Hague Processes (IH-3/IH-4), Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants who were employed by the U.S. Government (SIV), returning residents (SB-1), and K visas (K1/K2 fiance visas and K3/K4 spouse of American citizen visas) will have to pay the new fee.

18. How do I pay the new fee?

You will pay the fee by going to www.uscis.gov/uscis-elis, creating a new account, entering all the required data as well as payment information, and authorizing payment. Only you, as the immigrant, may open a USCIS ELIS account and pay the required fee in order to obtain your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). If you are paying for additional family members, please provide their data as it appears on the immigrant visa in their passport.

If you have a question that is not answered here, or for more information on Immigrant Visas, please visit the Immigrant Visas page of this website.

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