Immigrant Visa Information

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Overview

In general, a person who wishes to immigrate to the United States must have a petition approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before applying for an immigrant visa. The petition is filed either by a qualified relative or a potential employer at a USCIS office in the United States. Specific information about filing immigrant petitions is available on the USCIS website. An individual with an approved petition and a priority date that is current for processing (when applicable) is eligible to apply for an immigrant visa or K nonimmigrant visa.

New Immigrant Visa Form DS-260.  Beginning September 1, 2013, the Immigrant Visa application previously known as Form DS-230 will change to an electronic format known as Form DS-260, which can be found here.

Embassy Appointment

If you have an interview date, you must appear at the Embassy on the date of your appointment. You should arrive at the Consulate fifteen minutes before your appointment. Please read about security restrictions at the Consulate that describe what you can and cannot bring with you to your interview. You should bring your appointment letter and the documents required for your visa class.

It is very important that you are well prepared for the interview and having all the documents you require.

You should bring to the interview the original documents detailed in the following pages. Click here for a list of all necessary documents, including a description of each.

If you are missing documents when submitted to the Consulate for your interview, the processing of your case will be delayed and you will not get a visa until the requirements are completed.

Attention: Approved immigrant petition does not mean that a visa will be issued automatically. An immigrant visa petition approved means that the applicant has demonstrated a relationship with an American citizen or a legal permanent resident who qualifies the applicant to apply for an immigrant visa. The purpose of the interview is to determine whether an applicant is eligible for a visa under the immigration law of the United States. Please do not make plans to leave Costa Rica and buy air tickets before your visa is issued. If you receive a visa, have to travel to the United States before the expiration date of the immigrant visa..

K Visas Information

K-1 Visa Information

Marriage will be celebrated in the United States: Visa of Fiancé. An American citizen can file the petition I-129F with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the US to apply to the fiancé visa, K-1. The citizen who chooses this decision should remain without marry until the fiancé enters to the United States, and the wedding must take place within the first three months that the fiancé has entered to the United States. One of the main requirements is that the American citizen and the beneficiary should have been met in person, at least once during the two years before the petition was filed. Children of the beneficiary who are under 21 years may be included in the petition I-129F as derivatives (K-2). For the I-129F, you can go to the USCIS website www.uscis.gov.

IMPORTANT: Requirements for a K-1 Visa should be collected until you receive confirmation from the US Consulate that your case was received in San Jose. You will receive confirmation that your case was received by an e-mail or phone call. If the documentation is collected before your case is received in San Jose, the documents obtained may expire, as these have limited validity, and you would have to get the documents again.

More information related to a fiancé visa.

Rights and Protections for Foreign-Citizen Fiancé(e)s and Spouses of U.S. Citizens and Spouses of Lawful Permanent Residents

 K3 Visa Information

The K3 visas are for spouses of American citizens in which the petition I-130 has been filed, but has not yet been approved by USCIS. This category of visa allows the holder to enter the United States to then become a legal resident of the United States by means of adjustment of status. To start the application process for the K-3, after the filing of the petition I-130, the American citizen can file the I-129F for K-3 visa. The petition I-129F is available at: www.uscis.gov. Children of the beneficiary, who are under the age of 21 may be included as derivative (K-4) in the I-129F.

If the I-129F for K-3 visa is approved, the case will be sent to the US Consulate in the country where the marriage took place.

IMPORTANT: Requirements for a K-3 Visa should be collected until you receive confirmation from the US Consulate that your case was received in San Jose. You will receive confirmation that your case was received by an e-mail or phone call. If the documentation is collected before your case is received in San Jose, the documents obtained may expire, as these have limited validity, and you would have to get the documents again.

More information about K3 visas

Rights and Protections for Foreign-Citizen Fiancé(e)s and Spouses of U.S. Citizens and Spouses of Lawful Permanent Residents

Same-sex marriages: U.S. Citizens can file I-130 petitions on behalf of their spouses or I-129F petitions for fiancé(e) visa with USCIS. For more information, please visit: http://www.uscis.gov/family/same-sex-marriages

USCIS Immigrant Fee

Effective December 23, 2016, all individuals issued immigrant visas overseas must pay a $220.00 USCIS Immigrant Fee before traveling to the United States. Only prospective adoptive parents whose child(ren) is/are entering the United States under either the Orphan or Hague Process, Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants who were employed by the U.S. government, returning residents, and those issued K visas are exempt from the new fee. The below USCIS website has more details on the new fee, including contact information for USCIS, if there are further questions: www.USCIS.gov/immigrantfee.

Boarding Foils Applications

Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) are required to present a valid Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (also known as a "green card") when seeking admission into the United States. 

In cases in which the LPR is not in possession of a valid Form I-551, the U.S. Consular Sections overseas can issue "boarding foils" to qualified Lawful Permanent Residents applying to replace lost/stolen cards overseas.

You must apply for a boarding foil within (12) months after departing the United States. Additionally, please note that the validity of a boarding foil is only valid for thirty (30) days from the date of issuance.

In order to apply for a boarding foil, you require an appointment.  See the steps below to schedule an appointment:

 STEP 1. Gather he following documents:

1.Valid passport

2.Fill out  the Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document. This form can be obtained at https://www.uscis.gov/i-131a

  1. Pay the $575 I-131A fee online and print the receipt. The information for the payment is available at https://www.uscis.gov/i-131a Please note that this fee is non refundable.

4.Photocopy of your LPR card (if available) or proof of you legal permanent resident status such as copy of notices received from USCIS, stamps in the passport, etc.

  1. Alien Registration number (A number), if known.
  2. Other identifiable documents, for example: driver's license, State I.D., etc.
  3. General Report from the Police (Lost/stolen LPR card cases only).
  4. Proof of your arrival in Costa Rica (ticket, boarding pass, luggage tags, etc.). 
  5. For bearers of conditional  legal permanent resident cards that are expired  (CR1, CR2, CR6, CF1, among  others), please provide the proof that you filed the I-751, Petition to Remove Condition of Residence, application with USCIS.
  6. Copy of the passport biographic information, as well as the entry stamps to CR and last entry stamp to the US.

STEP 2. Scan all the documents listed above and e-mail them to: boardingfoilssnj@state.gov

 STEP 3. Once the documents have been received by the Consular Section, you will receive an e-mail with the information on your appointment date.

Please do not make any final departure plans to the United States until you have your boarding foil in hand.

Issuances

The consular officer will inform you as to how and when to pick up your passport with the issued boarding foil.  Generally, successful applicants receive their passports back within three working days. The Consular Officer determines the passport delivery date based on travel itinerary.

Refusals

During the interview with the Consular Officer, you should demonstrate your eligibility for this service given all of the facts and circumstances.  Some applicants may be found permanently or temporarily ineligible to enter the United States.  In these cases, the Consular Officer will explain why you are ineligible.

Additional Processing

Some applications require additional processing.  While we realize the associated issuance delays may disrupt your travel plans, we must adjudicate applications in accordance with the provisions of U.S. laws. We cannot predict when the boarding foil will be ready. The Consular Officer will provide you with written instructions as to when to come and collect the boarding foil.

 Please do not make any final departure plans to the United States until you have your boarding foil in hand.