A foreign citizen who seeks to enter United States, must possess a Visa. A Visa is a travel document which gives an individual permission to travel to a specific country and stay there for the specific period of time. The Visa will be placed in the passport of the individual or a travel document will be issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship. US visas does not give any guarantee to enter the United States. Instead, the US visas determines the eligibility of the individual to seek entry in to the United States. The officers of Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will decide whether the individuals with the US Visas will be allowed to enter US.
The US visas are classified into Immigrant Visa and Non-immigrant visa. Immigrant visas are issued to people who wish to travel to live permanently in United States. Non-immigrant visas are issued to people who wish to travel to United States on a temporary basis (business or pleasure).
The family member inside United States must petition the applicant by filing the appropriate petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration services(USCIS). The USCIS will approve the petition, and it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). The National Visa Center then informs the applicant of the approved petition that has been received. As soon as a visa number is provided or after the USCIS approves the petition for the immigrant, the National Visa Center sends the applicant instructions on the next steps to take.
The applicants for non-immigrant US visas must generally file the petition at the US. Embassy or Consulate of their country. The US Embassy or consulate will conduct interviews for the applicants and will have fingerprints taken. Then once USCIS approves a visa petition, it is necessary to have the visa stamped into the applicant’s passport. It will generally take 1 to 3 weeks from the visa interview for the visa to get stamped into the applicant’s passport at a local US Embassy or Consulate. Applicants who are already in the United States (e.g. Student visa) may be able to apply for adjustment of status while remaining in the US.
How to check the status of the Petition?
Generally the applicants for US visas will be be sent a mail from USCIS. Any major change in the case status will warrant a letter explaining the status of the petition. There are also other ways where the status can be checked.
– The applicant may check the status of his/her petition on USCIS website,by registering on the website. The individual may find when the case was last processed or and if it has been transferred to another office.
– The applicants may sign up for case status updates,where they will be notified by email if there is an update on the status.
The applicants may also contact the USCIS customer service with the application receipt number ( a 13 digit number) which will be sent to the applicants after application has been received by USCIS