Entry into the United States

Validity Period of Visa

The validity period of an immigrant and fiancé(e) visa is based on the medical examination, the maximum validity of which is six months from the date on which it is performed.  You will be advised further at your interview.  K-3 visas are usually valid for travel for two years from the date of issuance.  A K-4 visa is valid for two years or until the day before the holder’s twenty-first birthday, whichever is shorter.

If you are unable to travel to the United States before the visa expires, you should return the visa to the Immigrant Visa Unit with a covering letter explaining why you have been unable to travel.  Please do not return the visa until it has expired.  Your case will be reviewed by a consular officer and if you are able to show, to the satisfaction of the consular officer, that the reason for not traveling was due to circumstances beyond your control, a new visa will be issued.  You will be required to pay new visa processing and issuance fees and may be required to attend a further medical examination.  Further information will be provided to you once your case has been reviewed.

If you were advised on the day of your interview that your application is successful, you should allow approximately 7 to 10 working days for your application to be processed.  If additional information or documentation was required in your case, you must allow additional time. All times are given for guidance only as processing varies in every case. We cannot guarantee that a visa will be issued by a specific date, so please do not make final travel plans, or give up employment or accommodation, until you have received your passport containing a valid visa.

As soon as visa processing is complete and delivery arrangements have been made, the courier will contact you by email and/or text with delivery tracking information.  Your passport will be returned to you in a plastic courier envelope.

If your courier envelope contains a large white envelope, known as a visa package, it is important that you do not open the visa package. It should only be opened by immigration officials at the U.S. Port of Entry.

If your visa is annotated with the phrase “IV Docs in CCD,” you will not receive an immigrant visa package. That is because you scanned your supporting documents as part of the visa process.

If the visa package arrives with minor nicks or tears, you can apply a small amount of clear tape and explain to the immigration officials that the envelope was damaged in transit. If you have accidentally opened the envelope or it is extensively damaged, please contact us to request that the visa package be resealed. When you fill out a contact form to request resealing, please include your proposed date of travel.

If your visa is annotated with the phrase “IV Docs in CCD,” you will not receive an immigrant visa package. That is because you scanned your supporting documents as part of the visa process.

If your child is born after the issuance of your immigrant visa s/he will not need a visa to accompany you provided you both travel within the period of validity of your visa.  You are required to carry a copy of your child’s long-form birth certificate for presentation to an immigration officer at the port of entry, together with a valid travel document for the child.If you hold a K-1 or K-3 visa your child will require a valid visa in order to travel.Please note: If the child’s natural parent is a U.S. citizen, your child could have claim to American citizenship and his/her eligibility for citizenship must be determined before traveling.

You may not enter the United States to take up residence ahead of the U.S. Citizen petitioner.

You are required to present the immigrant visa to the immigration officer at your port of entry into the United States, at which time, you will be given the forms you are required to complete to apply for a Permanent Resident Card (PRC), commonly known as a “Green Card”. The card will be mailed to the address of your final destination in the United States at a later date. Your passport will be stamped to show that you have been admitted as a Lawful Permanent Resident or Conditional Resident and that an application for an PRC is being processed.

What if I want to leave the United States?

The stamped visa in your passport acts as a temporary PRC for up to 12 months.  If you leave the United States before the PRC is received, you may re-enter the country using the stamp in your passport, provided it is still valid. Should the stamp expire while you are abroad, you should contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate having jurisdiction over your place of residence for further information. Questions concerning the PRC should be addressed to the office of the USCIS in the applicant’s district of residence in the U.S. If you are in the United Kingdom, you should contact the USCIS office at this Embassy for further information.

If you enter the United States on a K-1 visa, you are required to marry within 90 day of your arrival.  After the marriage ceremony has taken place, you will be required to apply for an adjustment of status from nonimmigrant to conditional resident with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Conditional residence is granted for a two-year period.

If you marry and then leave the United States for a holiday or visit abroad, you must obtain advance parole from USCIS before departing the country.   If you do not obtain Advanced Parole, you will require an immigrant visa in order to return to the United States; this will take approximately 10-12 months to process.

If you hold a K-3 visa, you will be admitted into the United States for a two year period to await the issuance of an immigrant visa.  Children holding K-4 visas will be admitted for two years or until the day before their twenty-first birthday, which ever is shorter.  Should the I-130 petition be denied or revoked by USCIS, your status will terminate 30 days later. Your status will also terminate if you divorce, or in the case of a K-4 visa holder, turn 21 or get married.

Working on a K visa

USCIS may grant permission for the holder of a K visa to take up employment in the United States.  Information is available from their website, www.uscis.gov

This fee does not apply to K-1 and K-2 visa holders.  If you have any questions about the fee you must contact USCIS.  Contact information is via www.uscis.gov For all other visa types, you are required to pay $165 to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  This infomation was also provided to you when your visa package was sent to you by mail.

1. Go to www.uscis.gov/uscis-elis.  Log on and ‘Create New Account’, complete all the relevant fields accurately.

2. Select the benefit type (USCIS Immigrant Fee), enter your name, date of birth and country of birth, exactly as it appears on the visa in your passport.  Enter your A number and case ID (Given to you on the handout with your visa package).

3. If you are paying for additional family members, provide their names, dates and places of birth as on the immigrant visa in their passports.

4. Enter payment information and authorize payment.

You must pay before travelling to the United States.  You will not receive your Permanent Resident Card until the USCIS Immigrant Fee has been received.

Detailed information for new Immigrants to the United States is available from the USCIS website here.